FR. RALPH STARUS DIES AT AGE 64
Was Pastor of South Suburban Parish
(CHICAGO) December 11, 2008 - Fr. Ralph Edward Starus, pastor of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Parish in Posen, died Saturday, December 8, at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields. Fr. Starus was 64 years old and died of complications from pulmonary fibrosis.
Born in Berwyn, Fr. Starus grew up in Melrose Park and attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, where he celebrated his first Mass following his ordination in 1969. Fr. Starus graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary, Niles College and the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.
Following his ordination, Fr. Starus was assigned as the assistant pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, where he served for five years. From 1974 to 1977, he was the associate vicar for the Archdiocesan Office for the Laity and Office for Parish Councils, and also served as associate director of the Archdiocesan Office for Lay Councils and Organizations. While in this position, he pioneered “Christ Renews His Parish,” a practical parish renewal process for parishioners to experience personal conversion and Christian community in their own parishes.
During the years 1974 to 1983, he was also the assistant pastor at St. Maurice Parish on the southwest side, and during that same period was the director of the Council of Catholic Men/Union of Holy Name Societies.
According to his classmate, Fr. Tom Libera, one of Fr. Starus’ strengths was his ability to look ahead to discern parish needs. He also was rather intuitive when it came to improving ministry to the men in the parishes and ministry offices in which he worked. He also excelled at uniting multi-ethnic groups in parishes.
Fr. Starus served as associate pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Deerfield from 1983-1984. Always willing to challenge himself in new ways, Fr. Starus worked outside the Archdiocese for five years (1984-1989) as a dorm director and chaplain at Benedictine University in Lisle. During that time, he initiated a project that involved taking student groups to Bolivia to assist the people there.
He was also associate pastor for five years, beginning in 1989, of Mary Queen of Heaven Parish in Cicero before being named pastor, in 1994, of St. Malachy Parish on Chicago’s west side. He was pastor there for six years and then served, first as associate pastor and then as administrator, at St. Christopher Parish in Midlothian for a year.
At the time of his death, Fr. Starus was pastor of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr, where he had been serving since his appointment in 2002.
Fr. Starus will lay in state from 2 to 8 p.m., with a wake service at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, December 12, at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church, 14414 S. McKinley Ave., Posen. Most Rev. Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Starus at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 13, at St. Stanislaus Church. His classmate, Fr. Thomas Libera, pastor of St. Athanasius Parish in Evanston, will deliver the homily. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside
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