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Father Astuto served archdiocese nearly 59 years


Father Lucian Astuto

Father Lucian S. Astuto, an Omaha native whose nearly 59 years in the priesthood included serving in rural and urban parishes, as a hospital chaplain and five years on the staff at Boys Town, died April 12. He was 86.

Vistitation will begin at 2 p.m. April 15 at Immaculate Conception Church in Omaha, with a 6 p.m. Knights of Columbus rosary and 7 p.m. vigil service. Father Astuto's funeral Mass will be April 16, at 10 a.m. at St. Cecilia Cathedral, with interment in Calvary Cemetery, both in Omaha.

"In his ministry, he had a great care for people who were sick or dying," said his sister, Daughters of the Eternal Father Sister Mary Lucy Astuto of Omaha. "No matter when he got a call, he would go; he was very faithful about answering sick calls."

Ordained in 1957, Father Astuto was assistant pastor at then-St. Philomena Parish in Omaha from 1957 to 1961. He joined the Boys Town staff in Omaha in 1961 and served until becoming pastor of then-St. Patrick Parish in Clyde from 1966 to 1968.

He was pastor of then-St. Mary Parish in Spencer from 1968 to 1971, and Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Clarkson from 1971 to 1981.

Msgr. William Whelan, a seminary classmate and friend, said Father Astuto, while serving in Clarkson, was always ready to help him out while he was serving at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in neighboring Howells.

Father Astuto was named chaplain in 1981 at then-Archbishop Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha, where he served until 1984, when he became pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Omaha, serving there until he retired in 2001.

"He was very traditional and faithful to the authority of the pope and the archbishop," Msgr. Whelan said. "While serving at St. Patrick Parish, he introduced a Latin Mass with the permission of the archbishop."

In his retirement, Father Astuto taught homiletics and pastoral practice at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Neb., from 2002 to 2013. He also wrote a book titled "Manual of Pastoral Theology" in 2002, which he used in his teaching.

Father Astuto studied at Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo., and St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.

He was preceded in death by parents, Rosario and Lucia (Giuliano) Astuto, brother, Salvatore "Sammy" V. Astuto; and sister, Josephine A. Eby. In addition to Sister Astuto, he is survived by a brother, Joseph Astuto of Omaha, and brother-in-law, Hank Eby of Bellevue.

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