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Longtime Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel

Chicago, IL (May 31, 2011) – Rev. Richard J. Tlapa, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, died Saturday, May 28, in Merrillville, Indiana at the age of 91.  He was pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, formerly on Western Avenue, which is now closed.

Fr. Tlapa came from a diverse cultural background.  He was gifted intellectually and could read or speak eight languages. He authored two books published by Franciscan Herald Press, New Apostles Mission to the Inner City (1977) and The Priest in the Pew (1986).

Fr. Tlapa was born in Cicero on February 20, 1920.  He attended public schools in his hometown before graduating from Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the
Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained by then Archbishop Samuel Stritch in 1944 and served as the assistant pastor of Blessed Agnes Parish (now St. Agnes of Bohemia) for the next eleven years.

In 1955, Fr. Tlapa became the assistant pastor of his home parish, Our Lady of the Mount in Cicero, where he served for seven years.  For the next seven years, Fr. Tlapa served for one or two year periods in five parishes in Chicago and south suburban Harvey. These were: Our Lady of the Angels, now closed, (1962-63); Maternity B.V.M., (1963-64); SS. Cyril & Methodius (1964-66); St. Ludmilla, now closed, (1966-67); and Ascension Parish in south suburban Harvey that combined with St. Susanna Parish to form Ascension / St. Susanna Parish (1967-69).

Fr. Tlapa was made pastor in 1969 of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish on Western Avenue in Chicago, where he served until his retirement from active ministry in 1989.  That year he was made pastor emeritus of the parish.

Visitation for Fr. Tlapa will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, in St. Stephen, Martyr Church, 5920 Waite Street in Merrillville, Indiana. Fr. Michael Maginot, pastor, will be the principal celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Tlapa at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 2, at St. Stephen, Martyr Church.

Interment will be at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Chicago.  Fr. Tlapa is survived a cousin, Marie K. Gray of Merrillville.

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