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LONG-TIME PASTOR TO HISPANIC COMMUNITY, REV. RAPHAEL OROZCO, DIES

Chicago, IL (December 23, 2008) – Father Raphael Orozco, Pastor Emeritus of the former Santa Teresita Vicariate in the northwest suburbs, died on Sunday, December 21, of complications from kidney cancer at the Little Sisters of the Poor/St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine. He was 85 years old at the time of his death.

Born in Mexico, Fr. Orozco grew up in Chicago where he attended Saint Gabriel Elementary School. He graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary. Fr. Orozco was ordained by Samuel Cardinal Stritch on May 3, 1950 and said his first Mass at his home parish, Saint Gabriel, later that month.

For seven years, from 1950 to 1957, Fr. Orozco served as the assistant pastor of St. Ann Parish in Lansing. In 1957, he was named assistant pastor of St. Jarlath Parish on Chicago’s West Side, and served there for four years before being named pastor of the Santa Teresita Vicariate in 1961. The Santa Teresita Vicariate had its beginnings when Cardinal Albert Meyer, concerned for the religious needs of Hispanic farm workers in the Northwest Suburbs, provided a church outgrown by a neighboring parish in 1961. Named Santa Teresita, and later renamed Mision San Juan Diego in 1997, it became the first mission for Hispanics in the area and is now a parish. Fr. Orozco retired in December of 1993.

Visitation for Fr. Orozco will be from 3 to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 26, at Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 201 North Northwest Highway, Palatine. A funeral Mass for Fr. Orozco will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 27, at St. James Church, 134 North Avenue, Highwood. The Most Rev. Thad J. Jakubowski , Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago will be the main celebrant and Deacon Miguel Vargas of Mision San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, will be the homilist. Interment will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

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