FATHER JOSEPH P. GREMBLA DIES
Served as Pastor in City’s Southwest Community
Chicago, IL (November 1, 2004) – Fr. Joseph P. Grembla, former pastor of two parishes on Chicago’s southwest side, has died at the age of 72. Fr. Grembla died Thursday, October 28, at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital following complications from a stroke. He was recovering from heart by-pass surgery.
Fr. Grembla grew up on Chicago’s near northwest side, in Holy Innocents Parish. He was a graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. Ordained in 1957, Fr. Grembla spoke three languages and his ministry included service at tri-lingual parishes.
Fr. Grembla began and ended his ministry at St. Bruno Parish. The parish, near Midway Airport, was his first assignment in 1957. He was the associate pastor there for seven years. He was made pastor there in 1991, serving two terms before his retirement in 2002.
He served as pastor of St. Pancratius Parish for six years from 1985 to 1991 before going to St. Bruno. Fr. Grembla was an associate pastor at St. Mary of Perpetual Help (1964-1969), St. Helen (1969 to 1974), and pastor at St. Fidelis (1974 to 1985).
Fr. Grembla earned a master’s degree in arts in religion from the University of St. Mary of the Lake and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University. He served on the Clergy Personnel Board, and on the renamed Priests’ Placement Board of the Archdiocese, and as a Dean in Vicariate V, in the area southwest of the city. While stationed at St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish, he taught at the parish high school, which is now closed.
Though retired since 2002, Fr. Grembla kept up an active ministry at St. Francis Borgia Parish and at St. Pricilla Parish, parishes where the pastors were his former assistants. He was particularly active in the Polish community and was a member of the Polish Roman Catholic Union and the Polish National Alliance. Fr. Grembla was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Archbishop Weber Council.
He is remembered at St. Francis Borgia Parish as a compassionate man, warm and gracious. He was fond of visiting the classrooms of the children in religious education classes. Fr. Grembla was known as a mentor to many priests and served for three years on the Archdiocese’s Incardination Committee, assisting priests coming into the Archdiocese from another diocese.
Visitation for Fr. Grembla will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. on Monday, November 1, at Szykowny Funeral Home, 4901 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, and from 3 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2, at St. Bruno Church, 4 S. Harding Ave., Chicago.
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Grembla at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, at St. Bruno Church. Interment is in St. Adalbert Cemetery, Niles.
Fr. Grembla is survived three sisters, Theresa Szuba, Bernardine Karr and Othilia Weglarz, eight nieces and nephews and 13 grand nieces and grand nephews.