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On Faculty of Archdiocese's Seminaries in 60s and 70s

CHICAGO (May 22, 2012) – Rev. Joseph J. O’Brien, former faculty member at Quigley Seminary North and Mundelein Seminary, died Wednesday, May 16, at Resurrection Hospital.  He was 81 years of age and was serving as a senior priest at St. Catherine Laboure Parish in Glenview at the time of his death.  He retired from active ministry in 2000 and was named pastor emeritus of St. Clement Parish in Chicago.

A Chicago native, Fr. O’Brien grew up in River Forest and attended St. Luke elementary school there.  He is a graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  Samuel Cardinal Stritch ordained Fr. O’Brien in 1957.

He is described by his classmate, Fr. Patrick O’Malley, a member of the faculty of Mundelein Seminary, as a good listener and a voracious reader who loved history. “He was a priest with a lot of wisdom and knowledge and he shared that generously,” said O’Malley.  He also noted that Fr. O’Brien was a great supporter of women’s role in the Church and in society and worked closely with them during his term as chairman of the Association of Chicago Priests.

For three years following his ordination, Fr. O’Brien did post-graduate studies at Mundelein, earning his doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1961. He served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in northwest Chicago from 1960 to 1961, before joining the faculty of Quigley Seminary, where he taught for five years while in residence at St. Luke Parish in River Forest.

From 1967 to 1975, Fr. O’Brien was professor of Sacred Theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  During that time, he was the assistant pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, which was consolidated with All Saints Parish and is now All Saints/St. Anthony. 

In 1975, Fr. O’Brien was named associate pastor of Our Lady of the Brook Parish in Northbrook, where he served for three years.  In 1978, Fr. O’Brien became the associate pastor of Our Lady Gate of Heaven Parish on Chicago’s south side, serving there for two years before taking on another two-year assignment as associate pastor at St. Clement Parish on the north side of Chicago.

Fr. O’Brien’s first pastorate was at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Oak Lawn, where he served from 1982 to 1989.  He became pastor in 1989 of St. Clement Parish and served in that capacity until 1996.  He served briefly as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka before becoming a senior priest assisting the full time clergy at St. Catherine Laboure Parish in Glenview.   

Visitation for Fr. O’Brien will take place from 2 to 9 p.m. at St. Catherine Laboure Church, 3535 Thornwood Avenue in Glenview.  Most Rev. Francis Kane, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. O’Brien at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 25, at St. Catherine Laboure.  Fr. Patrick O’Malley will deliver the homily.

Interment is at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside.  Fr. O’Brien is survived by his brother, John O’Brien.

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