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Pastor for Many Years at St. Cyprian

CHICAGO (June 27, 2012) – Rev. Thomas M. Powers, pastor emeritus of St. Cyprian Parish in River Grove, where he served for 16 years, died Monday, June 25, of kidney failure at St. Alexius Medical Center.  Since 2008, Fr. Powers was a resident of St. Benedict Retirement Home in Niles.  He was 88 years old.

A native of Chicago, Fr. Powers grew up on the city’s northwest side in an Irish-American family that included a brother, John, who is also an Archdiocese of Chicago priest.  Fr. Powers attended Catholic elementary schools and graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary. He was ordained by Cardinal Stritch in 1949.

Fr. Powers was a man who took great joy and pride in his priesthood, according to Bishop Francis Kane, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, who will preside at the funeral Mass for Fr. Powers.  “He took his role as celebrant of the sacraments and proclaimer of the word seriously,” Kane noted, adding that he simply enjoyed ministering to people.

His first assignment as a priest was assistant pastor at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish on Chicago’s south side.  He served there for two years before beginning a ten-year stint as assistant pastor of St. Henry Parish on the north side.  For nine months at the end of 1961, Fr. Powers was the assistant pastor at Santa Maria del Popolo in Mundelein.

From 1962 to 1968, and again from 1969 to 1977, Fr. Powers was assistant pastor at Our Lady of Mercy Parish.  For one year between these assignments, he was assistant pastor at St. Norbert in Northbrook.  In 1977, Fr. Powers became the pastor of St. Cyprian Parish in River Grove and remained there until his retirement in 1993, when he was made pastor emeritus. From 1999 until 2008, he was in residence at St. Joseph Parish in Wilmette.

During part of that period, Bishop Francis Kane was the pastor at St. Joseph and recalls many enjoyable moments and good conversations with the affable assistant pastor. Noting that he loved to play bridge with his priest friends at the rectory, Bishop Kane added, “He had a special bond with his family and he spoke often about his appreciation and pride in his family. I believe his experience of family helped him to appreciate a special sense of kinship among the people with whom he worked during his 63 years of priesthood.”

Fr. Powers' brother, Fr. John Powers, reiterated his brother’s expertise at card playing and his devotion to and pride in his family that included an uncle who was a priest and an aunt who was a nun.  Fr. John Powers said his brother had a strong dedication to the Blessed Mother and the rosary.  “He always said 15 decades of the rosary every day, not the usual five,” said his brother, “and he did that even after a long day of work or recreation no matter where he was.  He loved being a priest.”

Visitation for Fr. Powers will take place at St. Cyprian Church, 2601 North Clinton Street, River Grove, on Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m.  Bishop Francis Kane will be the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Powers at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 29.  Interment will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery in River Grove.

Fr. Powers is survived by his brother, Rev. John Powers, a sister, Mary (Don) Blindauer, and several nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews.

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