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Pastor of Our Lady, Mother of the Church Parish at the Time of His Death

Chicago, IL (April 11, 2012) – Rev. Richard Klajbor, pastor of Our Lady Mother of the Church Parish in Chicago, died Tuesday, April 10, at the age of 59.  Fr. Klajbor suffered from chronic liver disease for the past several years, and his death was related to this chronic condition.

Fr. Klajbor was born in Chicago and attended Catholic elementary schools here before entering St. Augustine Seminary in 1967, a high school seminary of the Augustinian order in Holland, Michigan.  He spent two years, from 1971 to 1973, at the order’s Tolentine College in Olympia Fields, before transferring to Niles College, where he graduated in 1975.  Following his graduation from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary in 1979, he was ordained by Cardinal Cody.

Fr. Klajbor served as associate pastor of St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish on Chicago’s southwest side from 1979 to 1983.  From 1983 until 1990, he served Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Chicago, first as administrator for two years, and then as pastor for five years, until the parish closed in 1990. During this time, Fr. Klajbor was the part-time director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Ministry to Polonia.

According to his friend and classmate, Fr. Richard LoBianco, Fr. Klajbor loved his work in the Ministry to Polonia office.  “He had a charism for reaching out and uniting people of diverse ethnic backgrounds,” noted Fr. LoBianco.  “He loved all the different cultures,” he continued, “and always said that the Church is a body made up of many.”

Fr. Klajbor studied Polish at the University of Krakow and he could say Mass in English, Polish and Spanish, and, true to his interest in unity in diversity, he was a candidate for a doctorate in cross-cultural ministry at Catholic Theological Union.

Fr. Klajbor became the pastor of Holy Innocents Parish in Chicago in 1990, and served in that capacity for nearly two decades, until 2008.  While at Holy Innocents, he began the Parish Unity Carnival and celebrations of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other ethnic and civil holidays and expanded existing celebrations, including Our Lady of Czestochowa. He helped to establish the Bishop Abramowicz Seminary Program and eventually served as its third rector between 2005 and 2008, the year he was named the pastor of Our Lady, Mother of the Church Parish.

Visitation for Fr. Klajbor will take place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, at Holy Innocents Church, 743 North Armour Street in Chicago, and from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, at Our Lady Mother of the Church Parish, 8747 West Lawrence Avenue in Chicago.
Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Klajbor at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 13, at Our Lady Mother of the Church Parish. Interment is private.

Fr. Klajbor is survived by two brothers, Raymond and Ronald Klajbor and eight nieces and nephews.

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