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Archdiocesan Priest Fr. Gerard Weber Dies
Made Significant Contributions to Catholic Catechetical Writings

Chicago, IL  (January 6, 2010) – Rev. Gerald Weber, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and a prolific writer of religious education texts, died Tuesday, December 22, in Los Angeles, CA.   He was 91 years old.  Fr. Weber last served in Chicago from 1968 to 1972 as pastor of St. Columbanus Parish on Chicago’s south side.

Fr. John Cusick, director of Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese, described Fr. Weber as, “the most significant catechist in the American Catholic Church,” and added that Fr. Weber’s Life in Christ, an adult instruction book he co-authored with James Killgallon, is the largest selling catechism for adults in the Catholic Church.  It was translated into Spanish and Chinese and printed in England and India.

During the decade (1958-68) Fr. Weber served as assistant pastor at St. Carthage Parish, which is now closed.  There he mentored Wilton Gregory, a non-Catholic, African American student attending St. Carthage School, who later was ordained a priest, served as auxiliary bishop of Chicago and is the current Archbishop of Atlanta.

In 1949, he founded Apostolate, a magazine for chaplains in the specialized Catholic Action movements, and edited this publication until 1954.  In 1952, Fr. Weber co-authored with James Killgallon a manual for chaplains in the popular Christian Family Movement (CFM), and in 1958 the two co-authored the adult instruction book, Life in Christ that solidified their reputation as best selling catechetical writers.

 During the 1960s, Fr. Weber co-authored a book for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Liturgical Press that outlined sermons, many of which were later reprinted by other religious publishers.  He co-authored Beyond the Commandments for Herder and Herder with Kilgallon.  In the early 60s, Fr. Weber created the series Word and Worship with Kilgallon and Sr. Mary Michael O’Shaunessey that included eight texts and teacher’s manuals used in Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic grade schools and parish religious education classes.

During that same period, he co-authored or edited four books for children and parents on preparing for the sacraments for Catholic educational publisher, Benzinger, and in the early 70s, he co-authored that company’s book on the religious program The Word is Life.  By 1972, Fr. Weber was working full time as a writer of religious education texts, and by 1980, he was serving as general editor of Benziger’s religion program In Christ Jesus and was the curriculum designer for several intermedia programs.  He also co-authored books on the liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent, one on finding meaning in the Mass and another on the basic elements of the spiritual life. 

Fr. Weber was a Chicago native and a graduate of the Chicago public school system, Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained in 1943 by Samuel Cardinal Stritch.

He served as assistant pastor for seven years beginning in 1943 at St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston.  For the next eight years, Fr. Weber was assistant pastor at two German parishes in Chicago that have since closed, Immaculate Conception (1950-52) and St. Francis Xavier (1952-58).  Following his service at St. Carthage Parish, he was named pastor of St. Columbanus Parish on Chicago’s south side, where he served for four years until 1972, when he began working full time as an author and editor.

A funeral Mass for Fr. Weber will be celebrated on Friday, January 8, in California.  Fr. Weber’s classmate, Most Rev. Timothy Lyne, retired auxiliary bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a memorial Mass at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 12, at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior Streets in Chicago.

Inurnment will be at All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines.  Fr. Weber is survived by a brother Donald and a sister Rose.

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