Dale Joseph Melczek (born November 9, 1938) is an American retired prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.
Melczek first served as an Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit before becoming the third Bishop of Gary, a post he held from June 1, 1996 until his retirement on November 24, 2014.
Dale Melczek was born in Detroit, Michigan, and studied at St. Mary's College. He then attended St. John's Provincial Seminary, where he was awarded a Master's degree in Divinity. Melczek earned a Master's in Education from the University of Detroit, and did his postgraduate work at the University of Notre Dame.
Melczek was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 1964, and then served as associate pastor at St. Sylvester Church in Warren, Michigan, until 1970. He served as co-pastor (1970-1972) and later pastor (1972-1975) of St. Christine Church in Detroit, and concurrently vicar of the West Detroit Vicariate (1973-1975). He served as assistant vicar for parishes from 1975 to 1977, when he became secretary to John Cardinal Dearden and vicar general of the Archdiocese.
Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit
On December 3, 1982, Pope John Paul II appointed Melczek as Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit and Titular Bishop of Tragurium. He received his episcopal consecration on January 27, 1983 from Archbishop Edmund Szoka, with Bishops Harold Perry, and Arthur Krawczak serving as co-consecrators.
As an auxiliary bishop, Melczek served as episcopal vicar of the Detroit Northwest Region. In 1987, he coordinated John Paul II’s visit to Detroit.
Bishop of Gary
On August 19, 1992. Melczek was named Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Gary and on October 28, 1995 the Coadjutor Bishop of Gary. John Paul II appointed Melczek as the third Bishop of Gary on June 1, 1996.
In November 1996, Melczek was elected to the Board of Catholic Relief Services. In 1997 Melczek visited the Philippines and in 1998 Myanmar and Cambodia. In the summer of 1999, he went to Indonesia and East Timor. Melczek visted the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of the Congo in 2001, then Angola, and Tanzania in 2003.
Melczek also served as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on the Laity (2002-2005), co-chairman of the Race Relations Council of Northwest Indiana (2002-2007), and episcopal liaison to the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (2002-2007).
In 2003, Melczek petitioned Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to remove Richard Emerson from the priesthood. Emerson first served in the diocese of Gary starting in 1978, then moved in 1986 to the diocese of Orlando as a temporary assignment to be near his parents. In 1991, Orlando Bishop Norbert Dorsey requested Emerson's transfer back to Gary, where Emerson resume ministry. Multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior were generated from all of Emerson's assignments.
On December 22, 2003, Melczek removed Monsignor Don Grass from ministry after he admitted guilt to sexually abusing a minor. It happened while Grass was assigned to Cathedral of the Holy Angels in Gary during the late 1960's.
On January 15, 2005, Melczek and the diocese of Gary were named in a lawsuit by an Orlando man. The plaintiff stated that Emerson had sexually abused him as a minor by Emerson during the late 1980s and early 1990s when Emerson was posted at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Orland. The lawsuit claimed that the diocese of Gary and Melczek ignored earlier sexual abuse allegation against Emerson during his first stay in Indiana. At his request, Emerson was removed from the priesthood in 2006.
On July 7, 2010, Melczek and the diocese of Gary were sued again, based of allegations by a different man in Orlando against Richard Emerson.
On November 9, 2013, Melczek turned 75, the age at which Catholic bishops nust submit their resignations to the Pope. On November 24, 2014, Pope Francis accepted Melczek's resignation, replacing him with Auxiliary Bishop Donald J. Hying.
Melczek served as apostolic administrator until Hying's installation in January 2015. He also served as administrator of Our Lady of the Lake parish in Gary.
Melczek is the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Gary.