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Served a Dozen Years in Panama Mission

Chicago, IL  (February 17, 2011) Fr. John P. Enright, pastor emeritus of Epiphany Parish on Chicago’s west side, died Monday, February 14. He was 83 years old and was a resident at St. Benedict Home in Niles at the time of his death.

A native of Chicago’s northwest side, Fr. Enright graduated from Resurrection School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained in 1953 by Cardinal Stritch.

From 1953 to 1962, he served as assistant pastor of two north side parishes, St. Andrew Parish (1953-56) and St. Henry Parish (1956-62).  He was assistant pastor at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish near Midway Airport for two years from 1962-64.  During much of this time, from 1956 to 1961, Fr. Enright served as a chaplain, first for couples preparing for marriage in the Pre Cana program, and then at two Catholic high schools, Sacred Heart Academy, from 1956-58, and Marywood Academy in Evanston from 1958-61.  Both of these schools are now closed.

In 1964, Fr. Enright was assigned to the Archdiocese’s mission in Panama, where he served in parish ministry until 1976. As a young seminarian, one of Chicago’s current auxiliary bishops, John Manz, joined the mission group one summer working with the priests who teamed up to serve several parishes.  “Fr. Enright, who acted as my pastor, was a classic storyteller in the Irish tradition and a genial guy,” Bishop Manz noted.  “He loved the people, particularly the very poor who came to the parishes from outlying rural areas, and he focused on providing leadership training for them,” Manz added.

Following his return from Panama, Fr. Enright served for 18 years as pastor of Epiphany Parish on the west side.  From 1994 to 1997 he was pastor of Santa Teresita Vicariate, a mission of St. Theresa Parish in Palatine for Spanish-speaking Catholics.  Santa Teresita Vicariate became Mision San Juan Diego and relocated to Arlington Heights. 

In 1997, Fr. Enright retired from active ministry and was made pastor emeritus of Epiphany Parish.  He subsequently served as co-director of the new Office for International Priests, continuing as advisor when that office was renamed the Office for International Hispanic Priests.

Fr. Enright remained active in his retirement, serving at a number of churches in the Diocese of Joliet.  At Mary Queen of Heaven Parish in Elmhurst he helped out with weekday and Sunday Masses and during other liturgical services, according Deacon Tom Nolan, who described Fr. Enright as a “good friend to people and beloved” by the parishioners.  “He was a terrific priest and a gentle, prayerful man,” said Deacon Nolan.  Fr. Enright also helped out at St. Mary Parish in West Chicago and St. Isidore in Bloomingdale. 

Visitation for Fr. Enright will take place at Saint John of the Cross Church, 5005 South Wolf Road in Western Springs, from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, February 18, with a prayer service at 7 p.m.  Most Rev. John Gorman, retired auxiliary bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at an 11:15 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, February 19, at Saint John of the Cross Church.  Fr. Donald Headley, senior priest at St. Mary of the Woods Parish in Chicago, will deliver the homily.  Interment is at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Three sisters, Elizabeth Enright, Maureen Krickl and Margaret Kerrigan, two brothers, James and Dan Enright, and many nieces and nephews survive Fr. Enright.

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