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Served for Many Years on Chicago’s Northwest Side

Chicago, IL  (September 29, 2009) – Fr. Edmund J. Siedlecki, a pastor and assistant pastor for over 30 years on Chicago’s northwest side, died Sunday, September 27, at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville of heart failure.  He was 82 years old and retired from active ministry since 1997.

Fr. Siedlecki was born in Cicero and graduated from St. Casimir elementary school, now closed, and Quigley Preparatory Seminary.  He was ordained by Samuel Cardinal Stritch in 1952 and continued at the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary for post -graduate studies until 1956.  In that year, he began an eight-year term as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish on Chicago’s northwest side. 

From 1964 to 1971, he served as assistant pastor at two more northwest side parishes, St. James (1964-68) and St. Eugene (1968-71).  For the next three years, he served as pastor at St. Susanna Parish in Harvey, which is now closed.

For 13 years beginning in 1975, Fr. Siedlecki was the pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish, also on the northwest side. He was pastor for one year at St. Helen Parish before being named pastor of Five Holy Martyrs Parish in 1990, where he served until 1997.  For one year (1996-97) he was the administrator of the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House in Mundelein.  Fr. Siedlecki retired from active ministry in1997 and was named pastor emeritus of Five Holy Martyrs Parish.

In 1975, he was named chairman of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.   He had a great interest in architecture and design and also served as a member of an Archdiocesan Commission on Sacred Art and Architecture, consulting with parishes on these subjects.  His friend, retired priest Fr. Richard Wojcik, said he was a zealous implementer of the directives of the Second Vatican Council.  Fr. Wojcik noted that Fr. Siedlecki also greatly enjoyed travel and took every opportunity during his trips to experience the arts, whether a concert, museum exhibit or theater performance.

Fr. Siedlecki’s musical tastes tended toward Gregorian chant and anything classical. His sense of humor described as “impish” often led him to compose and sing songs about those with whom he lived and worked, always intent on keeping a joyful spirit.  Maintaining an active mind was also important to him.  In his retirement years he took on the task of translating the Catholic catechism into Polish, and learned just a week before his death that it was approved for publication.

Fr. Siedlecki could read and speak Polish and Latin with a high degree of proficiency.  He was a lecturer at Niles College and graduate studies advisor at Mundelein Seminary.   In addition to his parish duties, Fr. Siedlecki was the chaplain at Prosser High School for a period beginning in 1964.  In the 1980s he was a Dean in the area of Vicariate III that covered parts of Chicago’s northwest side, a senator on the Archdiocese’s Presbyteral Senate and served on the Archdiocese’s Board of Consultors. 

A wake for Fr. Siedlecki will be held at Szykowny Funeral Home, 4901 South Archer Avenue in Chicago, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 1.  He will lie in state from 2 to 9 p.m., Friday, October 2, at Five Holy Martyrs Church, 4327 South Richmond Street in Chicago.  At 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 3, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Siedlecki at Five Holy Martyrs Church.  Fr. Daniel Coughlin will deliver the homily.  Interment is at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice.  Two nieces and two nephews survive Fr. Siedlecki.

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