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Obituaries October 5, 2023

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Bishop Kevin BirminghamARCHDIOCESAN BISHOP KEVIN M. BIRMINGHAM

Most Rev. Kevin M. Birmingham, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago and former secretary to Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, passed away unexpectedly Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. He was 51 years old, a few days shy of his 52nd birthday.

Birmingham was born on Oct. 7, 1971 in Oak Lawn to Jeanette Ann Larsen and Joseph James Birmingham. He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago, Niles College Seminary in Niles and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein.

Birmingham was ordained to the priesthood on May 24, 1997, by Archbishop Francis George, and he celebrated his first solemn Mass on May 25 of the same year at Our Lady of the Ridge Parish in Chicago Ridge.

As Birmingham stated in a Chicago Catholic interview in 2020, the Oblate Sisters of Jesus the Priest from Mexico City, who ministered at Niles College and Mundelein Seminary, arranged for his second Mass as a priest to be celebrated from the main altar at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. He made the trip to Mexico after his ordination to give thanks to Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom he developed a devotion while he was in seminary, especially when he spent time in Morelia, Mexico, learning Spanish.

After ordination to the priesthood, Birmingham served as associate pastor at St. Peter Claver Mission in Robbins, St. Benedict Parish in Blue Island and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orland Park. He was pastor at St. Anne Parish in Hazel Crest (2005 – 2011) and Maternity BVM Parish on North Avenue in Chicago (2011 – 2014). Birmingham served as administrative secretary to Cardinal Cupich from 2014 to 2020.

“The Church has lost a wonderful priest and bishop today and I lost a dear friend and valued colleague,” said Cardinal Cupich. “From the start of his ministry, Bishop Kevin Birmingham was a devoted and joyful priest. He felt called to serve Latino Catholics especially, and he learned Spanish in order to do so. He served in my office for six years as priest-secretary, always with dedication and attention to every detail, a role in which his reputation for kindness only grew. May we honor his memory by continuing to do as he did, and model the love God has for his children in all we do.”

Most. Rev. Jeffrey Grob was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of Chicago alongside Birmingham. He had known him his whole priesthood and worked together when Grob was in the chancery. “He was genuine, personable, funny and pastoral. He had a pastor’s heart. Even after he became a bishop he did not put on airs, you saw the true man. His laughter was contagious, but in the moment, he could be genuinely concerned about an issue. Sincere and genuine: That is what drew people to him.”

On Sept. 11, 2020, Birmingham was appointed auxiliary bishop of Chicago and Titular Bishop of Dolia. He was ordained a bishop on Nov. 13, 2020 by Cardinal Cupich at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago and served for a year as director of the Department of Parish Vitality and Mission.

Most Rev. Robert J. Lombardo shared that he always found “Bishop Kevin” a joy to be with. “He was dedicated to God and the Church and always had a very joyful spirit. He will be greatly missed.”

Survivors include his mother Jeanette A. (nee Larsen) Birmingham and his siblings: Gary (Sandy) Birmingham, Jeanne (Dave) Williams, Joleen (David) Fields, Donna (the late Mike) Green, Matt (Debbie) Birmingham, Theresa Gill, Mark Birmingham and Brandon (Elizabeth) Birmingham. He was uncle of 23 nephews and nieces, and great uncle of many.

He was preceded in death by his father and brother, Lawrence J. “Larry” Birmingham.

Local visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, October 6, at the Church of Our Lady of the Ridge, 10811 Ridgeland Ave. in Chicago Ridge.

Interment will be private at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip.

FilipekMARY JEAN FILIPEK

Mary Jean Filipek (nee Kelly), age 97, peacefully passed away August 12.

Mary was born May 26, 1926, in Friend, Nebraska to William and Katherine (Woulf) Kelly. Mary was married to her beloved husband Frank Filipek for 58 years. He preceded her in death on March 6, 2008. They had 2 loving sons, Jim (Mary) from Kankakee, IL and Tom (Beth) from Fairfield Township, OH. Mary was the proud grandmother of Brad (Dana) Filipek, the late Megan Filipek, Katie (Justin) Klusas, Dawn (John) Nagel, Heather Hamilton and Chris (Betsy) Benoit. She adored being GiGi to Mason, Avery and Faith Filipek, Ben, Claire and Michael Klusas, Ava and Adam Nagel, Cole, Luke and Beckett Hamilton, Will, Katie, Charlie, Jacob, Margaret and Louis Benoit. Loving aunt to her special nieces Kathy (Don) Robson an Marilyn Smith. She is also survived by many great nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She was preceded in death by her granddaughter Megan Filipek in 2006 and her siblings Marcella (Walt) Niemann, Don (Billie) Kelly, Madeline Tosland, Jerry Kelly and Patrick (Patti) Kelly.

At a young age Mary moved with her parents from Friend, Nebraska, to Chicago. That is where she met her husband, Frank. They were united in marriage on Oct 15, 1949.  They were blessed with 2 sons who they raised in the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood of Chicago. In 1984 Mary and Frank moved to Downey, California to be near her siblings. Mary worked for Rockwell International and was proud to have been the secretary to those who worked on the NASA Space Shuttle.

In 2004 Mary and Frank moved to Kankakee, to be close to family. In 2019 Mary moved to Majestic Care Assisted Living (formerly The Pavilion) in Fairfield, Ohio.  She made many new friends and participated and enjoyed many fun activities while also spending time with family.

Mary was a fighter and enjoyed life to the very end. Her favorite things to do were playing bingo, going to the casino, playing cards, games with family and friends, watching baseball and celebrating her favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day.  Most of all Mary loved being with family and was a proud Mom, Grandma and GiGi.  Her family was everything to her.

The family would like to thank the staff at Majestic Care Assisted Living and DaVita Dialysis for all their wonderful care, compassion and kindness.

A visitation is planned for Saturday, October 14, 2023, 11:30-12:30, followed by a Memorial Mass at 12:30, at St, Faustina Kowalska Parish (Former St. Jane de Chantal), 5252 S. Austin Ave. Chicago, Illinois 60638. Mary will be laid to rest with her husband at The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. For more information visit avancefuneralhome.com, 513-829-6257.

HernandezARACELI HERNANDEZ

We celebrate the life of Araceli Hernandez who passed away September 28.

Araceli was born in Chicago, and grew up in Central Stickney, with her loving, close-knit family; parents Rafael and Guillermina and her three older siblings; Sandra, Miguel, and Stephanie. Treasured granddaughter of Maria Savala and the late Ruben Hernandez and Ramona Rivera and the late Juan Jose Navarro. She will be dearly missed by her many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Araceli attended Charles J Sahs Elementary School. Graduated from Reavis High School, obtained an associate in arts degree from Moraine Valley Community College and had begun her path at St. Xavier University to prepare for her goal to be a High School Algebra teacher and Basketball Coach. Between home and Jalisco, Mexico, where she spent her summers visiting family, she spread her smile, laughter, and positive energy. The most selfless person in the family always caring for others even during her difficult times. Even during those difficult times, she still managed to spread her contagious radiant smile.

Araceli never wavered in her passion of wanting to help people, recently becoming a basketball coach for kids and attending St. Xavier University to fulfill her dream of being an algebra teacher. She was always goal-oriented and was accomplishing her dreams right before everyone’s eyes. She made her family proud with all that she was able to accomplish during her time here with them.

Araceli graced this earth for only a short time but leaves a legacy of kindness, love and friendship. She was a treasure and inspiration to all. She will always be a ray of sunshine in everyone’s life and an example of a beautiful person.

Visitation was held October 3 at Foran Funeral Home, 7300 W. Archer Ave. (55th street just west of Harlem). Visitation at the funeral home October 4 until time of Prayers. Procession from the funeral home to Our Lady of Snows Church for a Mass in Celebration of Araceli’s life.

kwilosJOHN PATRICK KWILOS

We celebrate the life of John Patrick Kwilos, age 47, who passed away September 25.

He was the proud and loving father of Patrick and Tyler; beloved son of Mary Kwilos and Roy Kwilos; much loved brother of Jacqueline (James) Griffin and dear uncle of Juliana and James III; cherished grandson of Jean and the late Chester “Pat” Bara and the late Adeline and John Kwilos; loving partner of Aileen Myers. Also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.  John was a true sports fan.  Some of the best times of his life were being a Meteor for De La Salle.

Visitation was held October 1 at Foran Funeral Home, 7300 W. Archer Ave., Summit. Family and friends met October 2 at Blessed Sacrament Church, 3745 S. Paulina, for a mass in celebration of John’s life.

MunozSANTOS MUNOZ-ZERMENO

With sadness we announce the passing of Santos Munoz-Zermeno, age 37, of Tinley Park, who passed away September 23, with his wife, sons, mother and sister at his side, after a courageous two-year battle with cancer.

Santos was the owner of Santos Lawn and Landscaping Company servicing the Garfield Ridge and Clearing neighborhoods. Santos was meticulous about cutting his customers lawn and took much pride in his profession. He was always very happy and always had a smile. Santos always watched out for his older sister Ana. He adored his sons; he always took care of his boys and was so very proud of them. Santos was a wonderful man who loved his music, BBQ and his family.

He was the beloved husband of Cathy; proud and loving father of Gavin and Noah; cherished son of Tomas and Elena Munoz and dear brother of Ana, Cristina, Hector, Edith Neli, Tacho, Roberto, Janet, Lupe, Gilberto, Sara and the late Sara. Uncle of many nieces and nephews. Dear nephew to his favorite uncle and aunt, Jerry and April Zermeno and cousin to Lauren, Nicole and Jay.

Visitation was held September 25 at Foran Funeral Home, 7300 W. Archer Ave. (55th street just west of Harlem). Visitation at the funeral home September 26 until time of Prayers. Procession from the funeral home to St. Daniel the Prophet Church for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Orland Park.

ScheafferCAROL E. SCHEAFFER

Carol E. Scheaffer, long- time resident of Chicago, Garfield Ridge community passed away October 1.

She was the beloved wife of Burton Scheaffer; loving mother of Thomas Scheaffer; dear grandmother of Madeline Scheaffer; dearest sister of Joyce Narbut. Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Evelyn Narbut.

Visitation and Services private. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society in honor of Carol.

 

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