A priest nearly 70 years, the Rev. John P. Frawley was ‘servant to the sick’
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com July 5, 2013 5:14PM
The Rev. John P. Frawley
Updated: August 8, 2013 6:57AM
An estimated 900 people on Friday attended the funeral of a Chicago native who touched countless lives in his nearly 70 years as a priest.
They crowded into St. Thomas More Church, 2825 W. 81st St., Chicago, for the funeral of the Rev. John P. Frawley.
Rev. Frawley died June 30, two days before his 94th birthday, after a brief illness.
Church secretary Kathy Siniawski said Friday that she took countless phone calls from concerned former parishioners, some from as far away as California, regarding Rev. Frawley after news spread about his death.
“He was a special man. Many people loved him. He was very active until the last two months. Until then, he visited the sick every day. He was up all night and out all day, like a teenager,” Siniawski said.
“He was very understanding, very sweet, not judgmental,” she said.
John Healy, of Chicago’s Clearing community, said Frawley was a friend of his family for the past 47 years.
“If it was you, a family member or a friend was ill, he’d bring you Communion every day until you got better,” Healy said Friday. “He was a servant to the sick.”
Dementia eventually began taking its toll on Rev. Frawley, Healy said.
The last Mass the Rev. Frawley celebrated was on the Friday before Palm Sunday at a nursing home, Healy said.
Friends? Rev. Frawley had many.
“His Christmas card list had 1,200 names. And for every card he sent, he used a typewriter to send a personalized message to each person,” Healy said.
Rev. Frawley enjoyed golfing, often using just one club, a 3-wood or an iron, to play a round of golf, Healy said.
“He even putted with that 3-wood. I think the angels helped him on some of those putts,” Healy said with a laugh.
Michaeleen O’Neill, a parishioner at St. Thomas More, wrote in an email to the SouthtownStar that Rev. Frawley “was kind and humble” and “definitely family to so many people.”
“Father Frawley wasn’t rich, but he was rich in friendships and giving of himself. Everyone will miss him so much,” she wrote.
Rev. Frawley, who was born July 2, 1919, in Chicago, graduated from St. Frances of Rome Catholic School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. He was ordained in 1944 by Cardinal Stitch, then served as assistant pastor at St. Columbanus Parish on the South Side until 1953, according to a news release from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
From 1953 to ’61, he was the assistant pastor at St. Clement Parish. From 1961 to 1966, he was assistant pastor at the now-defunct Holy Family Parish.
In 1966, Rev. Frawley began serving the people of St. John the Baptist Parish on 50th Street, first as assistant pastor, until 1980, and then as pastor until his 1989 retirement.
In 1990, Rev. Frawley took up residence at St. Thomas More. Current pastor Father Charles Fanelli said Rev. Frawley was “completely devoted to serving the sick,” noting he “took Communion to the sick every night.”