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Ordained May 1, 1956

Chicago, IL ( October 8, 2008 ) - Rev. Norbert Bykowski, a United States Army Chaplain for thirty years, died on Tuesday, October 7, due to complications from cancer at the Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry. Fr. Bykowski was 78, and lived in this far northwestern suburb since his retirement as a U.S. Army Colonel Chaplain on June 27, 1996.

A Chicago native, Fr. Bykowski was born on June 5, 1930 and was baptized at St. Ferdinand Church in the city’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. Fr. Bykowski graduated from St. Constance Elementary School in the city’s Jefferson Park neighborhood in June 1944, Quigley (North) Preparatory Seminary, in June 1949, and the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary in May 1956. While in the seminary, Fr. Bykowski was known for the handyman skills he acquired as a youth from his father, as well as for the intimidating fastball he threw as a pitcher with area baseball teams.

Fr. Bykowski was ordained a priest on May 1, 1956 and celebrated his first solemn Mass at St. Constance Church. On July 7 of that year, he was named assistant superintendent of St. Hedwig’s Manual Training School in Niles, an institution for Polish youth orphaned after World War II. Fr. Bykowski served there until December 1960, when he became assistant pastor of St. Cornelius Parish in Jefferson Park, where he served until June 1965.

Fr. Bykowski then served ten months as assistant pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish in the city’s Portage Park neighborhood, before leaving in April 1966 to become a U.S. Army Chaplain. Fr. Bykowski began as a chaplain with the U.S. Army Reserve in July 1961. After retiring in June 1996, Fr. Bykowski ministered at a number of parishes in Chicago’s northern and far northwestern suburbs.

Visitation for Fr. Bykowski will be from 2 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 9 at the Montclair-Lucania Funeral Home, 6901 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Most Rev. Thad J. Jakubowski, D.D., Retired Bishop of Chicago, will celebrate a funeral Mass for Fr. Bykowski at 10:30 a.m., Friday, October 10, at St. Constance Church, 5843 W. Strong St., Chicago. Interment will be at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Niles.

Numerous nieces and nephews survive Fr. Bykowski.

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