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Archdiocesan Priest, Rev. John J. Kastigar, Dies

Kastigar was a retired priest and military chaplain

Chicago (Dec. 1, 2020) – Rev. John J. Kastigar, retired priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and former United States Air Force chaplain, passed away Friday, Nov. 27, at the age of 94.

Kastigar was born on July 11, 1926, in Cicero. He attended St. Odilo Catholic School in Berwyn, Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary for his philosophical and theological studies in Mundelein.

Kastigar was ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 1952, by Samuel Cardinal Stritch, and celebrated his first solemn Mass on May 4 of the same year at St. Odilo Parish in Berwyn.

After ordination, Kastigar served as assistant pastor at St. Frances of Rome Parish in Cicero and Our Lady of the Snows Parish on Leamington Avenue in Chicago. He then served as an Air Force chaplain from 1961 to 1982. After a sabbatical and assisting St. Alexander Parish for several months, Kastigar returned to the Military Chaplaincy at Fort Huachuca in Arizona where he served for 30 years. 

“He loved the Church and was so happy to be a priest,” said Rev. Jim Kastigar, associate pastor of St. Agnes of Bohemia and Kastigar’s nephew. According to Jim Kastigar, his uncle served as a military chaplain in difficult places, such as in Alaska and Germany during the Cold War, in Panama during the transfer of the Canal to the Panamanians. However, he used to say that wherever he went God’s people were always good to him.

Most Rev. Raymond E. Goedert, retired auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, mentioned that his classmate was a wonderful priest: “He served the Church and the country so well.”

Rev. William J. Flaherty, pastor emeritus of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Flossmoor, remembered his classmate as a cheerful person who enjoyed being a priest.

Visitation hours will be from 10-10:30 a.m. on Dec. 2, while funeral Mass will take place immediately afterward at St. Agnes of Bohemia, 2651 S. Central Park Ave. Funeral Mass and interment will be private for family and clergy only. Entombment with Military Honors will take place at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. In lieu of flowers, memorial offerings in Kastigar's name may be made to the Priest Retirement & Mutual Aid Association.