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Served Parishes in Southwest Suburbs for Many Years

Chicago, IL  (August 12, 2010) – Fr. Anthony C. Puchenski, associate pastor of St. Zachary Parish in Des Plaines, died Wednesday, August 11, at Holy Family Villa in Palos Park.  Fr. Puchenski was 65 years old and had served Archdiocese of Chicago parishes in the southwest suburbs and Chicago’s southwest side for most of his priestly life.

Fr. Puchenski was born and raised in the Midway East area and identified strongly with his Lithuanian heritage and community.  He graduated from St. Nicholas of Tolentine School, Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained by John Cardinal Cody in 1971 and began a six-year assignment at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in his old neighborhood.

For the next 10 years, Fr. Puchenski remained in the southwest suburbs, serving from 1978 to 1984 at St. Damian in Oak Forest, and from 1984 to 1988 at St. Patricia in Hickory Hills.  For 11 years beginning in 1988, Fr. Puchenski was the pastor of Immaculate Conception on 44th Street on Chicago’s southwest side.

He served as associate pastor and then administrator of St. Julie Billiart in Tinley Park for five years from 2000-2005.  For the next four years, Fr. Puchenski served as associate pastor at four parishes in Lemont: St. Alphonsus, St. Patrick, SS. Cyril & Methodius and St. James at Sag Bridge, before being named associate pastor of St. Zachary.

Fr. Joseph Mulcrone, a classmate of Fr. Puchenski, said he always wanted to be a parish priest and was fulfilled and happy in that role.  “He was committed to the liturgy,” Fr. Mulcrone added, “and he focused on the liturgy, insisting on good music and proclaiming the Word well.”  According to Fr. Mulcrone, who will deliver the homily at Fr. Puchenski’s funeral Mass, even when he was sick Fr. Puchenski was reading information about the new liturgical updates, and just three weeks before his death, Fr. Puchenski summoned the strength to baptize his niece’s baby, an act that brought him great joy.

Fr. Puchenski will lie in state from 5 to 9 p.m., Sunday, August 15, at St. Zachary Church, 567 West Algonquin Road in Des Plaines.  Bishop John Manz, a classmate of Fr. Puchenski, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. on Monday, August 16, at St. Zachary Church.  Interment is at St. Casimir Cemetery in Chicago.  Fr. Puchenski is survived by his sister, Mary Wolter.

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