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Pastor Emeritus of St. Edmund in Oak Park

CHICAGO (July 24, 2012) – Rev. Joseph B. Ruiz, pastor emeritus of St. Edmund Parish in Oak Park, died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 22, at Most Holy Redeemer Parish, where he had been serving as a senior priest.  He was 73 years old and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 46 years.

“He was a warm and unaffected priest who put everyone at ease,” according to Fr. Bill Burke, a longtime friend of Fr. Ruiz.  “He brought his genius of being real with people to his work as a spiritual director and people were moved by that,” Fr. Burke added.

Fr. Ruiz was born in Evergreen Park.  He attended Catholic elementary school and graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He was ordained by Cardinal Cody in 1966, the year he graduated from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.

Fr. Ruiz spent his first seven years as a priest serving as assistant pastor of St. Justin Martyr Parish, which closed in 1989.  Beginning in 1973, he was assigned as assistant pastor at the Ford City Catholic Center, an experimental parish located in Ford City Shopping Center on Cicero Avenue.

For five years beginning in 1979, Fr. Ruiz was the associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Homewood.  He served as associate pastor at Mary Seat of Wisdom in Park Ridge from 1984 to 1990 and in the same capacity at St. Clement Parish on Chicago’s north side for the following two years.

In 1992, Fr. Ruiz was made pastor of St. Edmund Parish in Oak Park and served there for 12 years.  In 2004, he began a five-year assignment at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park, first as associate pastor and then as administrator.  He retired in 2009 from active ministry and was made pastor emeritus of St. Edmund Parish.

Fr. Ruiz retired to Most Holy Redeemer Parish, where he was active as the spiritual director with the Christ Renews His Parish program and often gave retreats.  Fr. Hyland, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer, noted that Fr. Ruiz had a good sense of humor that made life in the rectory more enjoyable.  “His message to people was that God was loving and merciful,” said Hyland.

Visitation for Fr. Ruiz will take place from 3 to 8 p.m., on Wednesday, July 25, at St. Edmund Church, 188 South Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park.  Auxiliary Bishop John Manz will be the principal celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Ruiz at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 26, at St. Edmund. Fr. Burke will deliver the homily.

Interment will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park.  Fr. Ruiz is survived by his brother, David Ruiz of Indianapolis.

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