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Archdiocesan Priest, Rev. David P. Dowdle, Dies

Dowdle was Senior Priest at St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs, Ill.

Chicago, IL (April 25, 2019) – Rev. David P. Dowdle, senior priest and former pastor at St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs, Ill., passed away on April 18, 2019. He was 65 years old.

Dowdle was born on November 22, 1953, in Chicago and attended St. Bernardine School in Forest Park, Ill., and Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Niles College Seminary of Loyola University and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., in 1977.

Dowdle was ordained to the priesthood on May 9, 1979, by John Cardinal Cody, archbishop of Chicago, and celebrated his first solemn Mass at St. Bernardine Catholic Church in Forest Park, Ill., on May 19 of the same year.

Following ordination to the priesthood, Dowdle served as associate pastor at: St. Marcelline Parish in Schaumburg, Ill., St. Mary of Celle Parish in Berwyn, Ill., and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, Ill. He was appointed pastor of St. Gall Parish on 55th Street in Chicago in 1992 and served in that role until 2000, when Dowdle became director of spiritual formation for the Institute for Diaconal Studies (then called the Deacon Formation Program). In that role, he oversaw the spiritual formation component of the training and supervised the spiritual directors who accompanied the men and their wives during formation.

In 2007, Dowdle was appointed pastor of St. John of the Cross in Western Springs, Ill., and served in that role until 2018. As his health declined, he continued to serve as a senior priest.

“Fr. Dave was a spirit-filled, amazing individual who deeply cared for those in aspirancy,” said Anne M. Chrzan, former associate director for the Institute for Diaconal Studies. “He was instrumental in implementing the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons. After he left the program and became pastor at St John of the Cross, he would regularly see the deacons for spiritual direction: He believed in the vocation of the permanent diaconate.”

Deacon Bob Puhala, director of the Institute for Diaconal Studies who worked with Dowdle from 2005 until 2007, remembers him as a “direct communicator and fearless in his dedication to diaconate formation.” Fun fact: When Dowdle served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview, Ill., he baptized Puhala’s youngest daughter.

Very Rev. Gregory Sakowicz, rector of Holy Name Cathedral, met Dowdle at Niles College Seminary of Loyola in 1971. Sakowicz remembers his classmate as “very friendly, with a wonderful sense of humor, always willing to help others. He was a dedicated and hard-working priest who was always willing to be inconvenienced. Dave truly loved serving as a priest and was highly respected among the priests in the archdiocese. He was loved by the people wherever he served.”

Visitation hours will be on Friday, April 26 from 3 to 8 p.m. with the wake service at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 10 to 11 a.m. The funeral Mass will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. All funeral services will take place at St. John of the Cross Parish, 5005 Wolf Road in Western Springs, Ill.