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Former Air Force Chaplain Ordained May 1, 1952

Chicago, IL (June 25, 2007)—Rev. James P. Shields, a chaplain for 24 years with the United States Air Force, died on Friday, June 22, at age 80 of cancer at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

A Chicago native, Fr. Shields was born on December 1, 1926, and was baptized at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on the city’s west side. Fr. Shields graduated from St. Mel Catholic School in June 1940, Quigley (North) Preparatory Seminary in June 1945 and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in May 1952.

Fr. Shields was ordained a priest, along with his older brother William, on May 1, 1952. Eleven days later, Fr. Shields celebrated his first solemn Mass at the now-closed St. Mel/Holy Ghost Church on the city’s west side. On July 8, 1952, Fr. Shields was named assistant pastor of Ascension Parish in west suburban Oak Park. He remained there for eight years, and in July 1960, he was named assistant pastor of the nearby Mary, Queen of Heaven Parish in Cicero.

In December 1962, Fr. Shields began a 24-year career as a U.S. Air Force chaplain. After retiring from the Air Force in March 1987, he returned to Chicago to serve at St. Hubert Parish in northwest suburban Hoffman Estates, where his older brother, Fr. William Shields, was pastor.

For six months of the year, Fr. James Shields would serve as an extern priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, while spending the remainder of the year living and working at St. Hubert’s. He continued this schedule for the next several years while spending subsequent summers at St. John Parish in Streamwood, Transfiguration Parish in Wauconda and Santa Maria del Popolo Parish in Mundelein. Up until his recent hospitalization, Fr. Shields and his brother William both lived at Santa Maria del Popolo, where they became accomplished bridge partners.

Visitation for Fr. Shields will be Tuesday and Wednesday, June 26 and 27, from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. and again from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., at Santa Maria del Popolo Church, 116 N. Lake Street, Mundelein. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Shields. Most Rev. Raymond E. Goedert, D.D., Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, a seminary classmate of Fr. Shields, will give the homily. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Fr. Shields is survived by his brother, a sister, Mrs. Mary (Bob) Williams, and several nieces and nephews.

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