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Oak Lawn pastor ‘was so dearly loved by the whole parish’

The Rev. Patrick Henry

The Rev. Patrick Henry

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Updated: April 15, 2013 11:26AM



When Oak Lawn resident Carmella Ammond needed spiritual guidance as her daughter battled cancer, she turned to the Rev. Patrick Henry, a friend and the pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish.

“He would be there in a minute. That man did everything for her,” said Ammond, a longtime member of St. Catherine.

Ammond’s daughter was not a member of St. Catherine’s, but that did not stop the Rev. Henry from being at her side every time she was hospitalized for treatment. When she died, he concelebrated the funeral Mass at St. Michael in Orland Park.

“He was there every step of the way,” Ammond said. “That man has a heart you would not believe.”

The Rev. Henry died Monday after a brief illness. He was 61.

His death shocked the St. Catherine community, where the Rev. Henry was pastor for the past 11 years.

“Our leader is gone,” said Oak Lawn Village Clerk Jane Quinlan, a longtime member of the parish. “It’s so devastating.”

Quinlan described the Rev. Henry as an energetic, friendly and supportive priest who exhibited outstanding leadership qualities during his tenure at St. Catherine.

Parishioners also recalled the Rev. Henry as an extremely devoted priest.

“He was just a very, very religious person,” Quinlan said.

“He walked with the Lord,” Ammond said. “He believed every word of the Bible.”

St. Catherine of Alexandria School Principal Catherine Hudson said students were stunned by the Rev. Henry’s death.

“The children loved him,” Hudson said. “He was so dearly loved by the whole parish.”

The Rev. Henry regularly visited classrooms and took time at the end of school Masses to bless students who were too young to receive communion, Hudson said.

“We’ll miss him dearly,” Hudson said.

Parish secretary Carol Handing said the Rev. Henry constantly strived to help parishioners in need.

“Anyone who had a problem, he was always there helping,” Handing said. “I just couldn’t say enough good things about him. It’s been very tough realizing he’s not coming back. It doesn’t seem real at this point.”

The Rev. Henry served at St. Christina Parish in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community and St. Symphorosa in the Clearing community before coming to St. Catherine.

He is survived by his mother, Catherine; brothers Phelim, James and Brendan; and sister Catherine.

Visitation is scheduled for 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at St. Catherine, 4100 W. 107th St., Oak Lawn. A funeral Mass will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the church. Interment is private.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, Needy Family Student Tuition Fund.



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