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Fr. Robert Kash

Pastor emeritus

Father Robert J. Kash, 92, died Feb. 27. He was pastor emeritus of St. Fabian Parish in Bridgeview.

Born in Chicago, Father Kash attended St. Bruno School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained to the priesthood in 1952.

He served as assistant pastor at St. Joseph, Chicago Heights (1952-1962); St. Florian (1962-1963); St. Wenceslaus, (1963-1967); and St. Michael (South Shore Drive) (1967-1971). He was pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul (1971-1977).

Fr. Kash then was associate pastor of St. Pascal (1982-84) before being named pastor of St. Fabian (1984-1995). After retiring in 1995, Father Kash served as administrator of St. Denis and Our Lady of the Snows.

Deacon William Mages

Class of 1978

Deacon William Mages, 75, died Jan. 26. He was ordained in 1978 and served at St. Mary of the Woods Parish.

He is survived by his wife, Patti; and his children, Heidi and Gretchen Mages; three grandchildren; and his sisters, Dolores Bach, Kathleen Miller, Mary Pat Mages and Jeaniane Benton. 

Br. Stephen Kerekes


Divine Word Brother Stephen Kerekes, 90, died Jan. 24 in Techny.
Born in South Bend, Indiana, he entered the Divine Word Seminary in New York in 1945. He entered the novitiate in Techny in 1950. After 10 years of seminary studies, he joined the Trappist order and was admitted to the cloistered life at Our Lady of Gethsemane Monastery in Kentucky. 

In 1964, he returned to the Society of the Divine Word as a brother candidate, worked in the Divine Word vineyards in New York and professed first vows for a third time.

He professed perpetual vows in 1968 and prepared for his first assignment in Papua New Guinea. After brief stops in the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan, he arrived in Papua New Guinea in November of that year.

During his time there, he managed and taught at St. Joseph Vocational School before becoming harbor master and manager of the Mission Supply Store in Alexishafen. He also served as postmaster and supervised the local radio station. He maintained communication with missionaries in the outer regions, coordinated weekly shipments and handled emergency requests.

In his spare time, he became a master clockmaker.

In 2002, Brother Stephen returned to the United States and was assigned to Divine Word Residence in Riverside, California. He moved to Techny in 2014.

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Sr. Barbara Kauss

Foreign missionary

Daughter of Charity Barbara (Richardine) Kauss, 76, died Feb. 3 in the Daughters of Charity Province of Congo, Africa, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident while being driven to the airport.

Born in Waukegan, Sister Barbara graduated from Holy Child High School in 1959 and joined the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1960 from Mother of God Church in Waukegan.  

Sister Barbara taught in Texas and Puerto Rico before being sent to what was then Zaire, which became the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.

Sister Barbara served in many roles while on mission in the Congo including the oversight of three secondary schools in Bikoro, Kinshasa, and Mbandaka.  Sister Barbara’s final mission was in Tarime Mara, Tanzania.

Sister Barbara is survived by her brother, David Kauss.

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Fr. John Bergin

Educator, youth minister

Divine Word Father John “George” Bergin, 79, died Feb. 8 in Techny. He was an educator, counselor and missionary priest for 50 years.

Born in Wisconsin, he entered the Society of the Divine Word Seminary at East Troy in 1952 and professed first vows in 1958. After being ordained in 1967, Father Bergin was assigned to Divine Word’s seminary in East Troy, where he served as a teacher and dean of students for six years.

He also taught and served as a counselor, vocation director and youth minister in Massachusetts and worked for the Mission Office in Techny.

After decades of teaching and counseling, he returned to Techny in 2013 and remained active, saying Mass and hearing confessions at nearby parishes and convents. He also was the vice rector at the Divine Word Residence, a home to more than 60 priests, brothers and novices.
Father Bergin is survived by his brother, Divine Word Father James Bergin.

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Sr. Isabel Miller


BVM Sister Isabel (Acarda) Miller, 96, died Feb. 17 in Dubuque, Iowa.

Born in Iowa, she entered the BVM congregation in 1939 and professed final vows in 1947.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Isabel taught at St. Pius, St. Callistus, St. Gertrude and St. Eulalia, Maywood. In retirement, she volunteered at St. Joseph Hospital and Cudahy Library at Loyola University, Chicago. She also taught in Rock Island, Illinois and in New York, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska and Mississippi.

She is survived by a brother, John Miller.

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Fr. Lawrence Duris


Father Lawrence M. Duris, 74, died unexpectedly on Feb. 19. He had served as pastor of St. Ailbe Parish since 2009.

Born in Chicago, Father Duris attended St. Anthony School, Cicero; St. Peter School, Skokie; Quigley Preparatory Seminary; and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1969.

He served as assistant pastor at St. Ethelreda (1969-1971) and Holy Cross Parish (65th Street) (1971-76). He was administrator (1976-1980) and pastor (1980-1991) of St. Laurence Parish (Dorchester Avenue) and pastor of St. Philip Neri (1991-2009) before being named pastor of St. Ailbe. In addition, Father Duris served as dean of Vicariate VI (Mid-Southside City) from 1987 through 1995

For the past year and a half, Alyssa Mostyn, principal of St. Ailbe Catholic School, had the opportunity to know Father Duris.

“Father 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 Father Duris “affectionately called the local Jewel his ‘ministry center.’ In true Father 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.”

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

Visitation hours will be 9-11 a.m. on Feb. 28, followed by the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Ailbe Church.

Bishop Francis Kane will be the main celebrant of the funeral Mass, while Father Edward Upton will be the homilist. The final commendation will be delivered by Bishop Joseph Perry.

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

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