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Fr. Thomas J. Raftery Dies Served Archdiocese for Sixty Years

Fr. Thomas J. RafteryChicago, IL (May 10, 2004) - Fr. Thomas J. Raftery, pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart Church, Winnetka, died Sunday, May 9, at Little Company of Mary Hospital, where he had been taken the day before following a heart attack. Fr. Raftery was 84 years old and, though retired, was still actively serving the Archdiocese of Chicago.

A Chicago native, Fr. Raftery was ordained in 1944 by Samuel Cardinal Stritch following studies at Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein.

Fr. Raftery served as assistant pastor at St. Cecilia Parish on South Wells, which is now closed, for eleven years beginning in 1944. For nine years, from 1955 to 1964, he was the assistant pastor at St. Dorothy Parish on the south side. During that time, Fr. Raftery also taught religion at Mercy High School, formerly located on Prairie Avenue. He served as an assistant pastor at St. Raphael (1964-1967), Resurrection (1967-1968) and St. Thaddeus (1968-1973).

Fr. Raftery was named administrator and then pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka in 1973. He served there for 17 years until his retirement in 1990, when he was made pastor emeritus.

Though officially retired, Fr. Raftery did not withdraw from ministry and continued until the time of his death to serve the parish and school communities of Christ the King Parish on the city's southwest side.

Visitation for Fr. Raftery will take place at Christ the King Church, 9235 S. Hamilton Ave., Chicago, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, and from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12. Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Raftery on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at Christ the King Church. Interment will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park.

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