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Archdiocesan Priest, Rev. Edward J. McKenna, Dies

McKenna was Most Recently Catholic Chaplain at Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, Ill.

Chicago, IL (April 29, 2019) – Rev. Edward J. McKenna, retired priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, passed away on April 11, 2019. McKenna was most recently Catholic chaplain at the Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, Ill. He was 79 years old.

McKenna was born on Oct. 7, 1939, in Chicago and attended St. Dorothy Catholic School, St. Philip Neri Catholic School and Quigley Preparatory Seminary, all in Chicago. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., in 1958.

McKenna was ordained to the priesthood on April 29, 1965 by Auxiliary Bishop Cletus Francis O'Donnell and celebrated his first solemn Mass at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Chicago on May 1 of the same year.

McKenna served in many parishes before retiring in 2010: He was assistant pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on Washington Boulevard in Chicago; and associate pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, Ill., St. Bridget Parish on Archer Avenue in Chicago and St. Paul-Our Lady of Vilna School on 22nd Place in Chicago. In addition, McKenna served as a Catholic chaplain at Maryhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Glenview from 1980 to 1983 and at Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, Ill., from 1998 until his retirement in 2010.

Rev. William E. Vanecko, retired priest and classmate of McKenna at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, remembers McKenna as an accomplished violinist with a great love for music who wrote an opera with another archdiocesan priest. Vanecko added that McKenna was an active supporter of fair housing in the 1960s. 

Funeral arrangements are still pending and will be shared at a later date.