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'Beloved' St. Catherine priest dies suddenly

Father Patrick Henry served Oak Lawn parish for nearly a decade

By Laura Bollin

A priest who served at an Oak Lawn parish for nearly 10 years and was beloved by everyone, according to one Oak Lawn trustee, died suddenly Monday.

The Rev. Patrick Henry, of St. Catherine of Alexandria Church came to Oak Lawn at roughly the same time Trustee Tom Phelan moved to the village, Phelan said at the Village Board’s meeting Tuesday. Village officials who knew Henry took time to express their thoughts about the man Mayor Dave Heilmann called “a terrific soul.”

Phelan, a member of the men's club at St. Catherine, said there was initially concern among members that Henry was going to change things at the church.

"We said we were newbies together," Phelan said of himself and Henry. "He came to a big gathering of ours, and someone asked if he was going to change things, and he said, ‘Are you guys crazy? Why change any of this? He was beloved by everybody.”

Oak Lawn village Clerk Jane Quinlan learned of Henry's death early Monday morning.

"This is devastating for St. Catherine's and for the village," Quinlan said. "Father Pat brought a lot to the village of Oak Lawn."

St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, 10621 S. Kedvale Ave., was open for private prayer in Father Henry's memory Tuesday evening. Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 15 at St. Catherine. Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16.