Father Thomas J. Purtell, 83, died Aug. 24. He was pastor emeritus of St. John Fisher Parish.
Born in Chicago, Father Purtell attended Our Lady of Victory School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1961.
He was assistant pastor at St. Joseph, Homewood; Our Lady of Lourdes (Keeler Street); and St. Benedict, Blue Island. He was named pastor of St. John Fisher Parish in 1984, and he remained there until he retired in 2003.
Father Daniel Brady, pastor emeritus of St. Cecilia Parish in Mount Prospect, knew Father Purtell for almost 70 years and remembers his classmate as “a very good friend, a marvelous storyteller and wonderful priest.”
Deacon Anthony Llorens, 85, died Aug. 25. He was a member of the first class of permanent deacons in the archdiocese, ordained in 1972, and served at Providence-St. Mel and St. Martin de Porres parishes.
Deacon Llorens owned a company that made grinding wheels for the aeronautics industry, according to his daughter, Julie Richardson.
As a deacon, he led classes for people participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. He was active in the Westside Catholic Cluster, which gave him its first Bishop Dempsey Award; and the Black Catholic Deacons of Chicago. He received the Augustus Tolton Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Black Catholics.
He was the deacon who sang the prayers of the faithful at Pope St. John Paul II’s 1979 Mass in Grant Park, Richardson said.
He served as president of the Providence-St. Mel school board, was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and was an honorary member of the Knights of St. Peter Claver.
He and his wife of 66 years, Mathilda, had 10 children: Anthony, Magdalena, Michael, John, Arnold, Ronald, Julie, Martin, Antoinette and Sophia. They had 24 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
Felician Sister Mary Sebastian (Helen) Dzwierzynski, 100, died Aug. 14 in Our Lady of the Angels Convent.
Sister Mary Sebastian was born in Chicago, where she attended St. John of God and Hamline elementary schools and Good Counsel High School. She entered the Felician Sisters’ postulancy in 1942 and professed her final vows in 1950. She ministered for almost 25 years as a teacher in elementary schools in Illinois and Wisconsin. Later, she cared for the aged in Illinois and Wisconsin. She also served as a housekeeper at the Cardinal’s Residence.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she ministered at Sts. Peter and Paul (1944-1946), Sacred Heart (1948-1959), St. Bruno (1959-1960), St. Bronislava (1964-1968), St. Andrew Home in Niles (1983-1986), and the Cardinal’s Residence (1986-1994).
Jesuit Father Earl A. Weis, 95, died Aug. 15 in Clarkston, Michigan. He had served as a professor of theology at Loyola University Chicago for almost 40 years.
\Father Weis, who was a Jesuit for nearly 77 years and a priest for 64 years, also served as chair of the theology department at Loyola University Chicago from 1971 to 1980.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1941. In addition to teaching, he was a staff editor of the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1963-1966) and editor of Corpus Instrumentorum (1966-1970).