Funeral for Father Tim Vakoc, injured in Iraq, on Friday

  • Updated: June 24, 2009 - 11:13 PM

Funeral services for Father Tim Vakoc, the Twin Cities priest gravely injured in Iraq in 2004, will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral of St. Paul, officials from the Archdiocese of St. Paul said Wednesday.

The Rev. John Nienstedt, the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, will celebrate the mass. Bishop Richard Higgins of the Archdiocese of the Military in Washington, D.C., will also participate. Burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery will take place immediately after the service.

Father Tim, as he was known, was the first military chaplain grievously wounded in the Iraq war. He was injured by a roadside bomb as he was returning from celebrating mass with troops on May 29, 2004.

The blast cost him an eye and severely damaged his brain. He was hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, and transferred to the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center in October 2004. For more than two years, he was in what doctors called a "minimally responsive state." Then, in the fall of 2006, he spoke for the first time in 2 1/2 years, raising hopes of recovery.

He had been living at the St. Therese Care Center in New Hope. He died at North Memorial Medical Center about 8 p.m. Saturday.

An audio slideshow and more about his life are at startribune.com/local.

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