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Pastor Emeritus of St. Matthias Parish in Chicago

CHICAGO (November 16, 2012) – Rev. Miguel Alcantara, pastor emeritus of St. Matthias Parish on Chicago's north side, died Tuesday, November 13, at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, following a heart attack. He was 72 years of age and on medical leave since 2001.

Fr. Alcantara was a native of the Philippines and received his elementary, secondary and college education and did philosophy studies there. He completed Theology studies and did post graduate work at Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He was ordained in 1965 in Rome for service in his native Philippines.

From 1965 until 1970, Fr. Alcantara served as an associate pastor, pastor and administrator in various parishes in the Philippines. From 1970-74, he was a student at DePaul University here with residence at St. John Berchmans Parish in Chicago. From 1974 to 1982, he served as a pastor or associate pastor in two dioceses in the U.S. and one in Brazil before seeking incardination in the Archdiocese of Chicago, a canonical process that formally joins a priest to a diocese.

Fr. Alcantara was the first Fillipino priest to be incardinated for the Archdiocese, noted Teresita Nuval, director of the Archdiocese's Office for Asian Catholics. "Fr. Alcantara assisted with the faith development of Fillipino Catholics and he was involved with devotions and religious events, including regular monthly Masses with Fillipino groups," noted Mrs. Nuval.

For eight years beginning in 1985, Fr. Alcantara was the associate pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Calumet City. For the next six years he was the pastor of St. Matthias Parish on Chicago's north side. From 1999 until taking medical leave in 2001, Fr. Alcantara was the associate pastor briefly at both Sacred Heart Parish in Melrose Park and St. Cyprian Parish in River Grove.

During the period following his pastorship at St. Matthias, Fr. Alcantara assisted with Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation at St. John Cantius Parish on Chicago's northwest side. The pastor there, Fr. Frank Phillips, C.R. said, "He liked to be with the people all the time. He served the people and considered them like a family." From late 2003 until early this year, Fr. Alcantara served as an associate chaplain at O'Hare and Midway Airport chapels, celebrating Mass for the traveling public.

Visitation for Father Alcantara will take place at St. Mary of the Woods Church, 7033 North Moselle Avenue in Chicago, on Sunday, November 18 from 3 to 8 p.m., with a prayer service at 5 p.m.

Fr. Phillips will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Alcantara at St. Mary of the Woods Church on Monday, November 19, at 10 a.m. Interment is private.

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