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Pastor Emeritus of Nativity BVM Parish

CHICAGO (July 8, 2013) – Rev. Msgr. John Kuzinskas, pastor emeritus of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish on Chicago’s southwest side, died Thursday, July 4, at Loyola University Medical Center following an illness.  He was a resident of Holy Family Villa in Palos Park at the time of his death.  He was 87 years old and a priest of the Archdiocese for 61 years.

Msgr. Kuzinskas was born in Waukegan June 3, 1926 to Lithuanian parents.  He graduated from St. Bartholomew Catholic School in Waukegan, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained in 1952 by Cardinal Stritch.

His first year as a priest was served as assistant pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish on Chicago’s south side. From 1953 to 1966, Msgr. Kuzinskas was the assistant pastor of St. George, a Lithuanian parish that was closed in 1990.  From 1966 to 1973, he was assistant pastor of Nativity BVM Parish on Washtenaw in Chicago.

In 1973, he was named administrator of St. Bartholomew Parish in Waukegan and the following year became the pastor, a position he held until 1979.  St. Bartholomew in Waukegan closed in 1991.  For seven years beginning in 1979, Msgr. Kuzinskas was the pastor Our Lady of Victory Parish on Chicago’s northwest side.  Fr. Dan McCarthy, pastor emeritus of St. Tarcissus, was associate pastor at Our Lady of Victory during part of this time and succeeded Msgr. Kuzinskas as pastor in 1981.  “He was a great mentor to me and to a lot of priests and seminarians,” McCarthy said.  “He was a people person and would move easily among people at a function, and if he didn’t know their name, he would ask and then never forget it,” McCarthy added.

He served from 1986 to 1988 as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish on 44th Street in Chicago before returning to Nativity BVM Parish as pastor.  He retired in 1997 and was named pastor emeritus. That same year, he became chaplain at Holy Family Villa in Palos Park.

Msgr. Kuzinskas held a number of positions on Archdiocesan boards including the Pastors Review Board, Catholic Cemeteries Board and a decade on the Board of Consultors from 1989 to 1999.  He also served on the Priests’ Senate and was a deputy Vicar in Vicariate IV and the Assistant Vicar for Senior Priests.

As a senior priest, Msgr. Kuzinskas continued to serve at various parishes helping out with Mass.  “He was a generous and kind-hearted person who empowered a lot of priests and lay people and at the same time he was humble,” said his friend, Fr. McCarthy.

Visitation for Msgr. Kuzinskas will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at Holy Family Villa, 12220 South Will-Cook Road in Palos Park.  Most Rev. John Gorman, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a Funeral Mass for Msgr. Kuzinskas at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 12, at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, 2700 West 69th Street in Chicago.  Msgr. Daniel Mayall, Rector of Holy Name Cathedral, will deliver the homily.

Interment will take place in Ascension Cemetery in Libertyville. Msgr. Kuzinskas is survived by two sisters, Bernice (Al) Machak and Aldona (Harvey) Wright, and nieces and nephews.

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