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Archdiocesan Priest, Rev. Lawrence M. Duris, Dies

Fr. Duris was Pastor of St. Ailbe Church in Chicago

Chicago, IL (February 26, 2018) – Rev. Lawrence M. Duris died unexpectedly on February 19, 2018. He was 74 years old. Fr. Duris had ministered as pastor of St. Ailbe Church since 2009.

Fr. Duris was born on March 7, 1943 in Chicago. He attended St. Anthony School in Cicero, Ill., St. Peter Catholic School in Skokie, Ill., and Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago.

Fr. Duris earned a master’s degree in 1969 from the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. He was ordained into the priesthood on May 14, 1969 by John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago, and celebrated his first Solemn Mass at St. Peter Catholic Church in Skokie, Ill., on May 18, 1969.

After ordination to priesthood, Fr. Duris served as assistant pastor of St. Ethelreda Parish on Paulina Street in Chicago (1969-71) and Holy Cross Parish on 65th Street in Chicago (1971-76). He then served as administrator (1976-80) and pastor (1980-91) of St. Laurence Parish on Dorchester Avenue in Chicago. Fr. Duris became dean of Vicariate VI (Mid-Southside City) from 1987 through 1995. In 1991 he served as pastor of St. Philip Neri Parish on 72nd Street in Chicago from 1991 through 2009 when he became pastor of St. Ailbe – his last assignment. 

Rev. Robert Heidenreich, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka, Ill., had known Fr. Duris since high school and described him as a very good pianist. Fr. Heidenreich recalls Fr. Duris’ love for the black community since the seminary days. “Whenever he had time, when we were off, or on a break, he would visit one of the parishes in the black community. He had a very good pastoral approach to life,” added Fr. Heidenreich.

Bishop Francis Kane, vicar of Vicariate II, remembers his classmate as a quiet man with a great sense of humor. When a deadline would loom on some project, Bishop Kane recalls that Fr. Duris would be calm and unperturbed while the rest of his classmates were panicked. “Then, he would somehow manage to get it all put together at the last minute and the results would be spectacular.” Added Bishop Kane, “I will miss him and I think the African-American community will miss him as well.”

For the past year and a half, Alyssa Mostyn, principal of St. Ailbe Catholic School, had the opportunity to know Fr. Duris. “Fr. Larry was a gentle soul but so fiercely dedicated to helping those in his community,” said Mostyn. “He loved being in the black community and worked tirelessly to serve all.” Mostyn added that Fr. Duris “affectionately called the local Jewel his ‘ministry center.’ In true Fr. Larry form, his grocery trips took much longer than the average person’s because of how many people he stopped to listen to, talk to, and minister to.”

“His dedication to the neighborhood was palpable. He never stopped inviting all, Catholic and non-Catholic, to everything St. Ailbe had to offer,” said Mostyn. “He was dedicated to Catholic education and saw the school as the primary way to spread the Word of God to young people.”

Fr. Duris took great joy in cooking for others, appreciated art, and loved his dog, Max.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich will preside at a vigil service on Tuesday, February 27 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Ailbe Church, 9015 South Harper Avenue in Chicago. Visitation hours will be 9 – 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 28, followed by the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Ailbe Church.

Bishop Kane will be the main celebrant of the Funeral Mass, while Rev. Edward Upton – also a classmate – will be the homilist. The final commendation will be delivered by Bishop Joseph Perry.

Interment will take place at Holy Sepulchre in Alsip, Ill. 

Fr. Duris is survived by a sister, Christine Cooper, and two brothers, James and David.

Plecy