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Newman Chaplain, Spiritual Director and Pastor Emeritus of St. Edna in Arlington Heights

CHICAGO, IL (July 31, 2013) – Rev. John Joseph Hurley, pastor emeritus of St. Edna Parish, who served as a Newman chaplain and spiritual director at Niles College, died Tuesday, July 30, at St. Benedict Home where he was a resident..  He was 82 years old and a priest of the Archdiocese for 57 years.

Fr. Hurley was born in St. Paul Minnesota on January 22, 1931 into an Irish family that included three brothers and two sisters. His family moved to Chicago in 1934. In Chicago he attended St. Jerome School and graduated from St. Gertrude School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary.  He was ordained by Cardinal Stritch in 1956.  Fr. Hurley did post-graduate studies at Loyola University, earning an M.A. degree in Psychology in 1969.

In his first decade as a priest, Fr. Hurley served at two parishes.  He was assistant pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in southwest suburban Hometown from 1956 to 1962, then at Queen of the Universe Parish on the southwest side of Chicago from 1962 to 1966.

For the next two years, Fr. Hurley served as the spiritual director at St. Mary of the Lake Junior College in Niles, where students took a two-year undergraduate course of studies prior to attending Mundelein Seminary.  He also lectured in Psychology there.  In 1968, he was named assistant pastor of St. Veronica Parish, where he served until 1975.  That parish closed in 1991.

The same year he began work at St. Veronica, he also began a 15-year ministry as a Newman chaplain. From 1968 to 1983 he served students and faculty at Northeastern Illinois University, and then in the same capacity at Calvert House at the University of Chicago from 1975 to 1983.

In 1983, he became pastor of St. Edna Parish, serving there for 19 years until his retirement in 2002, when he was named pastor emeritus. From 1995 until 2001, Fr. Hurley was Dean for that section of the Archdiocese serving the northwest suburbs.

Laura Kniskern has been a parishioner of St. Edna’s for 42 years and an administrative assistant to Fr. Hurley before and after his retirement.  “The people at St. Edna were very important to him,” she said of Fr. Hurley, “and he was always available to them.”  Fr. Hurley initiated the practice of having children come around the altar during his homilies, when he would engage in Q and A sessions that brought out what only children could offer, according to Kniskern.  She also tells the story of Fr. Hurley receiving two lollipops one time, which he put in his pocket and later gave to two children.  Of course there were many more children after that looking for them so he always had plenty on hand.  To this day there is a basket after Mass with Fr. Hurley’s lollipops available.

Being with his parishioners during sacramental moments was also important to Fr. Hurley.  Even after he took up residence at St. Benedict’s he would be driven to and from St. Edna’s for weekend confessions.  When asked on his 40th anniversary how he wanted people to remember him, Fr. Hurley said simply, “I was a priest to them.”

Fr. Hurley served on the Pastors’ Review Board and on the advisory boards of St. Viator High School and the Respect Life Office, where he also did post-abortion counseling through Project Rachel. He was also a counselor for Catholic Family Services.  Fr. Hurley was a member of the Archdiocesan Board for the Certification of Directors of Religious Education and the Archdiocesan Commission for Educational Services.

Visitation for Fr. Hurley will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. on Monday, August 5, at St. Edna Parish, 2525 North Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights. Most Rev. Francis Kane, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will be the main celebrant of the funeral Mass for Fr. Hurley at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, August 6, at St. Edna.  Fr. Jerome Jacob, pastor of St. Edna Parish, will deliver the homily.  Interment will take place in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Fr. Hurley is survived by a sister, Sister Marian Hurley, B.V.M., many loving nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

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