LONDON, ONTARIO, CANADA — Father Ronald Trojcak passed away peacefully on April 4 in London, Ontario, Canada. He was surrounded by his loving friends and caretakers. The son of Michael Trojcak and Rita Falk Trojcak, Father Trojcak was born in Taylorville on Aug. 21, 1935.
As a teenager, Father Trojcak entered the University of Illinois where he studied music from 1952 to 1955 — and his love for music continued throughout his life. He then entered the seminary at Notre Dame and moved to St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein in 1955. Following his ordination on May 26, 1962 by Bishop William A. O’Connor he served at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Effingham from 1962 to 1965, then at St. Patrick Parish in Decatur from 1965 to 1968. In Decatur, he became deeply involved in social justice issues and civil rights.
From 1968 to 1969, Father Trojcak completed a master’s in theology at the McCormick Theological Seminar in Chicago and later moved to Toronto to begin his Ph.D. in theology. He began teaching Scripture at King’s University College, an affiliate of Western University, in London, Ontario in 1972 and completed his Ph.D. in 1978. Until he retired from the college in 2001, he also served as college chaplain. Following retirement he continued to teach for several years in the Social Justice and Peace Studies Program. He returned to the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois to teach at Quincy University from 2003-2004.
During a sabbatical in 1980, Father Trojcak spent a year in St. Dominic’s Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia. While there he also acted as chaplain to an orphanage. While in Zambia, Father Trojcak also began to collect African tribal art, a passion that lasted for the rest of his life. In 2000 he contributed a large part of his collection to Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss., where he taught for a year.
Throughout his long life as a priest, Father Trojcak touched the lives of thousands of students. They appreciated his homilies and admired the way he preached about a loving, redemptive God. As he once put it, “Faith has to be the act of an intelligent human being. It cannot be a kind of escapism. You have to be able to coordinate the life of the mind with the life of faith.”
He is survived by his sisters, Jeanne and Doris; three adopted sons, Ngandwe, Marcelo and Dieudonne; and several grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass in celebration of Father Trojcak’s life was celebrated on April 14 at the Chapel at Windermere on the Mount in London, Ontario. Burial was to be held at a later date.