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Greta Kreuz, former ABC7 religion reporter and anchor, remembered as ‘a light in this world’

Greta Kreuz, shown serving as the master of ceremonies at a 2019 dinner for the Catholic Business Network of Washington, D.C., that raised funds for Catholic education in the city, was an award-winning TV journalist and member of Blessed Sacrament Parish who died Jan. 30. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

Former ABC7/WJLA-TV reporter and anchor Greta Kreuz, who covered religion as her main news beat in the Washington D.C. area, was remembered for a great devotion to her Catholic faith and how her deep love for God never failed to shine through in her dedication to family, friends and her craft. She died on Jan. 30 at the age of 63 due to lung cancer.

 “Anyone who came in contact with Greta was touched by God through her,” said Father William Foley, pastor of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Washington, D.C. during the homily of a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated Feb. 12 at the parish. “She was such a radiant presence in our midst, especially in her suffering.”

 Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person attendance for the funeral Mass was limited to a few family members. More than 800 mourners viewed the liturgy online.

 The priest recalled a visit with Kreuz, who never smoked in her life, during her lengthy cancer battle. He said he did not expect to see her at Mass much more due to the toll the illness had taken, but she surprised him. “The next week she was the lector at the 5:30 Mass,” he said. “She would not give up.”

 Reflecting on the Gospel of the Mass (Matthew 5: 3-12), Father Foley said Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount describes the core of what it means to be a Christian. Each of the Beatitudes, he said, represented some aspect of Kreuz’s life. “She lived these virtues,” due to her great faith, trust and love, said the priest, who was joined in concelebrating the Mass by Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, and Father Emmanuel Magro, parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish.

 As a longtime television news anchor and reporter, Kreuz was highly respected in her field, said Father Foley, adding that her service as a lector at Mass was another equally valuable part of her life. “She was one of the best proclaimers of the Good News, words that truly flowed from her heart,” he said.

In 2015, Greta Kreuz, then a retired  ABC7 reporter and anchor, joined Isaiah “Ike” Leggett, then the Montgomery County Executive, and other local leaders and noted professionals in taking a “Walk with Francis” pledge outside the headquarters of Catholic Charities, pledging to pray and serve others in honor of the pope's visit to Washington. (CS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann)

A native of Fishkill, New York, Kreuz graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1975. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1979 and a master’s degree in broadcasting and public affairs from American University in 1983. Kreuz joined ABC7/WJLA-TV in 1988 and retired in 2014.

 As an on-air news reporter, Kreuz covered countless stories and events, as well as a variety of news beats, including education, transportation and religion. In 1998, she launched the religion beat and became the first full-time religion reporter for a Washington network affiliate. Among her major stories were the events of September 11, 2001; the 2005 death and funeral of Pope Saint John Paul II; the election in 2013 of Pope Francis in Rome; and stories related to the clergy abuse crisis. She briefly came out of retirement in 2015 to anchor ABC7’s coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to Washington, D.C. She won several Emmy, AP and Edward R. Murrow awards for her work.

 In addition to her lectoring duties at her parish, Blessed Sacrament, she also taught religious education there for many years. She served on the boards of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and Mount Carmel House, a transitional housing program in Washington, D.C. She served as an emcee at galas supporting the Catholic Coalition for Special Education and the Special Olympics. Kreuz was also a passionate advocate for LUNGevity, a charity that supports those fighting lung cancer.  Throughout her career, she served as a mentor to college students studying broadcast journalism.

Greta Kreuz, shown speaking at a 2019 Catholic Business Network of Washington, D.C, dinner, was a strong supporter of Catholic education. (CS photo/Andrew Biraj)

At a Catholic Business Network of Washington, D.C. dinner in 2019, Kreuz, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies, and noted, “I really am dedicated to Catholic education.” Her two children, who are now adults, attended Catholic school years earlier.

“The kids are so polite and respectful. The teachers are so dedicated. The parents are engaged. (Catholic education) is really an investment we can’t afford not to be a part of,” she said. 

In the days following her death, heartfelt tributes from friends and former colleagues filled Kreuz’s Facebook page, such as one from the John S. Mulholland Family Foundation, Inc., a charity that aids in feeding the local needy, of which Kreuz served as a founding director, board member and an emcee of their early galas. “She was a delightful person and that beautiful face, golden voice and huge heart will be missed by so many,” the foundation’s statement said.

At the end of Mass, Kreuz’s daughter, Faith Cerny, delivered a eulogy, in which she spoke of her mother’s faith, courage and resilience. In spite of a tough cancer diagnosis in 2012, she said Kreuz continued to live her life with passion, spunk and humor, describing her mom as the “life of the party” who loved to laugh and possessed a bright smile. The source of all these attributes, she said, was her mom’s deep and abiding Catholic faith.

 “Her faith was her rock, her grounding force and her driver,” she said, adding that her mom experienced tough losses over the years in the deaths of her sister, her parents, her first and second husbands, as well as her fellow long cancer patients. And yet, she seemed to blossom in the later years of her life, said her daughter, the elder of Kreuz’s two children.  “She taught, volunteered, mentored and shared boundless love for Peter and me,” she said.

 Faith Cerny said her mother’s memory will live on in the community she loved and touched. “She was a light in this world,” she said. “May Heaven receive this beautiful soul.”

 Kreuz is survived by a daughter, Faith Cerny, and a son, Peter Haley.