Palos Heights Associate Pastor, Fr. David Byrne, Dies
Was Catholic School Principal Before Ordination
Chicago, IL (June 15, 2004) - Fr. David J. Byrne, associate pastor of Incarnation Parish in Palos Heights, died Sunday, June 13, of cancer at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. He would have been 62 years old on Thursday. Fr. Byrne had been serving at Incarnation since 2000.
Priesthood came as a second vocation to Fr. Byrne, who discerned his vocation while principal of St. Victor School in Calumet City. He earned a B.S. degree in social science from John Carroll University in 1964 and an M.A. degree in Educational Administration from Indiana University in 1968. Before his ordination by John Cardinal Cody in 1978, he pursued a career in educational administration.
Fr. Byrne also held several offices in the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) from 1974 to 1980. He served a two-year term from 1974-1976 as the association's vice president and a two-year term as president from 1976-1978. He was a member of the NCEA Board for three years from 1977-1980.
His friend and fellow priest, Fr.Greg Sakowicz, pastor of St. Mary of the Woods Parish in Chicago, said Fr. Byrne was articulate, hard working and always ready for a challenge. Fr. Sakowicz said he also had a sense of humor and was a man of deep faith.
For four years beginning in 1978, Fr. Byrne was the associate pastor at Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park. He had special responsibility for school matters during his six years as associate pastor at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Oak Lawn, from 1982 to 1988. For most of the 90s, Fr. Byrne served as pastor of St Bernadette Parish in Evergreen Park.
During that time, he was also the Associate Director of the Center for Pastoral Ministry (CPM) charged with the work of providing ongoing education for priests. Fr. Byrne's work involved planning pilgrimages, and he organized several to Israel. The CPM later branched out to include continuing education for lay persons involved in ministry as well.
A wake for Fr. Byrne will take place at Incarnation Church, 5757 West 127 th St., Palos Heights, from noon until 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 17. Auxiliary Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S., will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Byrne on Friday, June 18, at 11 a.m. at Incarnation Church. Interment will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Worth.