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Pastor for Over 20 Years of South Side Parish

CHICAGO (July 16, 2012) – Rev. James F. Nallen, recently retired pastor of St. Columba Parish on Chicago’s southeast side, died Saturday, July 14, after suffering a stroke while visiting in Morris, Illinois. Fr. Nallen was 72 years old.

A Chicago native, Fr. Nallen received his elementary education in Catholic schools before graduating from Quigley Preparatory Seminary. Following his graduation from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, he was ordained in 1966 by Cardinal Cody.

Fr. Nallen’s first assignment was assistant pastor at St. Odilo Parish in Berwyn, where he served from 1966 to 1973. He was assistant pastor for one year at Our Lady of the Snows Parish near Midway Airport before being named assistant pastor in 1974 at St. Mary in Riverside. Fr. Nallen remained at St. Mary until 1981, after which he was associate pastor of Sacred Heart in Melrose Park for about five months.

He was named pastor of St. Ethelreda Parish on Chicago’s south side in 1982 and remained there for 23 years until 2005. That parish was closed in 2007. Fr. Nallen become pastor of St. Columba in 2005, serving there until his retirement from active ministry July 1 of this year.

He was described by his classmate, Fr. Thomas Enright, pastor of Our Lady of Ransom Parish, as a "people first" priest. "He could never say, ‘No’ to anyone," Enright said, adding, "Whatever he had, you could have." Despite the weather or his own health issues, according to Enright, Fr. Nallen brought Communion every Friday to his housebound parishioners without fail.

Visitation for Fr. Nallen will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, at St. Columba, Greenbay Avenue and 134th Street in Chicago. Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at the Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Nallen at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18, at St. Columba. Fr. Enright will deliver the homily. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Fr. Nallen is survived by a sister-in-law, Mary Nallen of Wheeling, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his brother, Fr. Michael Nallen, who was also a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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