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Priest Also Directed Office That Assisted Foreign Missions and Missionaries

Chicago, IL (September 30, 2005) -- Rev. Robert H. Festle, the pastor emeritus of St. Edmund Catholic Parish in Oak Park, died of complications from pneumonia on Thursday, September 29, at Resurrection Hospital. He was 77 years old. Fr. Festle had also served as the former pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Parish in Palatine and the past director of the archdiocesan ministry that assists the work of missionaries throughout the world.

A native of Chicago’s north side, Fr. Festle attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School. He graduated from Loyola Academy and first attended the Illinois Institute of Technology before beginning his priestly studies at the St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein in 1948. Fr. Festle was ordained a priest in 1955, and went on to receive his licentiate in sacred theology in 1955.

Fr. Festle served first as an assistant pastor for three years at the former Our Lady, Help of Christians Catholic Parish in Chicago (1955-58) and for nearly five years at Holy Name Cathedral (1958-63) before serving as a chaplain to the U.S. Air Force- Illinois National Guard (1963-65) at O’Hare Field. He returned to parish ministry first as an assistant pastor at St. Gall Catholic Parish (1965-68) and then at the former Our Lady of Solace Parish (1968-69) during the same period of time he began work as the assistant director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and of the Holy Childhood Association (1966-69). These two offices then and now assist the needs of Catholic dioceses and missionaries in Eastern Europe, Central and South America, Asia and Africa. In 1969, Festle was named the full-time director of both the Propagation of the Faith and of the Holy Childhood Association, and served these offices until 1982. During most of those same years, he resided at and served as assistant pastor at Holy Name Cathedral (1969-80).

From 1981-1987, Festle served as pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Parish in Palatine. After a brief assignment as associate pastor of St. Cornelius Parish in Chicago, he was named pastor of St. Edmund Catholic Parish in Oak Park (1987-1992). Festle retired as pastor and from active ministry in 1992. At the time of his death, Fr. Festle had been a resident of St. Benedict Home in Niles.

In keeping with his wishes, Fr. Festle’s body will be donated to medical science. A memorial Mass for Fr. Festle will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Timothy J. Lyne at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, October 4, at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior streets. Burial will take place at a later date.

Fr. Festle is survived by a sister-in-law, a niece and a nephew.

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