Mercy Sister Gwendolyn (Mary Catherine) Durkin, 91, died July 30. She had been a Sister of Mercy for nearly 67 years.
Born in Chicago, she graduated from the Academy of Our Lady, and in 1947, earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Saint Xavier College. She began her ministry at Catholic Charities for two years while attending graduate school.
After two years as a social worker and eight years as director of Mercy Clinics, Sister Gwendolyn became administrator/ chief executive officer of Mercy Hospital in 1963. She led what was then a 350-bed hospital, and helped plan and build the new Mercy Hospital and Medical Center that opened in 1968.
Just three weeks after being named CEO, Sister Gwendolyn was faced with a fire that broke out at the hospital. They safely evacuated 160 patients and had the fire under control before the fire department arrived. In the Daily Southtown, Sister Gwendolyn was quoted later as saying, “When I got through that, I realized I could get through anything.”
She would be tested again in 1967 when a major snow storm hit Chicago stranding thousands. The hospital opened its doors, providing shelter for some 250 who had made their way there.
According to Mercy Sister Susan Butters, to help feed the guests, she and Sister Gwendolyn went out into the street and brought back bread from several stalled bread trucks. “We met the driver of one of the trucks in our auditorium,” she said.
After 15 years with Mercy Hospital, she filled a variety of roles. From 1969 to 1970, she was a supervisor for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. After serving a brief time as a staff advisor for the Sisters of Mercy-Chicago Province, she was assistant administrator at Misericordia Home for a year.
From 1972 to 1976, she was director of outpatient services and then assistant administrator for Holy Cross Hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Casimir.
Sister Gwendolyn returned to Mercy Hospital as vice president of human resources and general administration from 1976 to 1992. In 1994 she served as cochief executive officer for one year.
Deacon Benito Centeno, 88, died July 30, in Pompano Beach, Florida. He was ordained in 1972 and served at St. Francis of Assisi Parish for 25 years and St. Genevieve Parish for eight years.
He and his late wife, Magda, were involved in PreCana classes, baptism preparation and visiting the sick of their parishes. He retired from active diaconal service in 2003 with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to his ministry, he worked for more than 25 years at John Crane Packing Company and was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in the Korean War.
He is survived by his six children, Maria, Jaime, Sylvia, Jose, Angel, Luis and Pedro; 13 grandchildren; 10 greatgrandchildren; and two brothers, Juan and Pedro.
Father James (Pat) F. Galivan, 70, died Aug. 8.
Born in Chicago, he attended Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and Kelly High School before earning a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and continuing his seminary studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He was ordained in 1981.
He served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Charity, Cicero (1981-1983); Holy Trinity (1983-1989); St. Cletus, La Grange (1989-1992); St. Hugh, Lyons (1992-1999); and St. Christopher, Midlothian (1999).
In addition to his parochial roles, Father Galivan also held the position of Chaplain to the Catholic Alumni Club of Chicago (1985). He recently retired from ministry for health reasons.
Father Galivan is survived by a sister, Carol Becker.
Msgr. John Peter McNamara, 85, died Aug. 9 at Holy Family Villa in Palos Park. He was pastor emeritus of St. Theresa, Palatine.
Born in Chicago’s St. Kilian Parish, he attended St. Carthage School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He was ordained in 1956.
He served as assistant pastor of Holy Name Cathedral (1956- 1963), St. Bride (1963- 1968), St. Helena of the Cross (1968-1970) and Divine Providence, Westchester (1975- 1979). He was pastor at St. Bernard (1970- 1975), St. Symphorosa (1980-1991); and St. Theresa, Palatine (1992-2001). He was named pastor emeritus of St. Theresa when he retired in 2001.
Retired Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert noted that Msgr. McNamara’s was one of the first residents of the Bishop Timothy J. Lyne Residence for Retired Priests in Palos Park. He said, “A noteworthy fact is the care Msgr. McNamara’s showed his brother priests at the Bishop Lyne Home. He was among the first group who went there when it opened and he became the primary person to oversee the program. Msgr. McNamara remained very dedicated to that program until the end.”
Msgr. McNamara is survived by a sister, Nancy Grant.
Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Richard Stephen Seminack, 74, died Aug. 16 at Alden Poplar Creek Rehabilitation Center in Hoffman Estates. He had been eparch of the St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Chicago since 2003 and was a priest for 49 years.
He was born in Philadelphia, a grandson of immigrants from Ukraine and the oldest of seven children. He attended Catholic elementary and high schools before transferring to the Ukrainian Catholic St. Basil's Seminary Preparatory High School, Stamford, Connecticut in his senior year. After graduating from St. Basil's College in 1963, he attended the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C where his major was Eastern and Western canon law. He was ordained by Metropolitan Archbishop Ambrose Senyshyn for the Archeparchy of Philadelphia in 1967. He also earned a degree in Eastern canon law from the Oriental Instute in Rome.
He served several Pennsylvania parishes and held several chaplaincies in Pennsylvania. In addition, he trained for and became a commissioned officer (Lieutenant) in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps in August, 1979. He also served for two years in Miami.
He was enthroned as fourth Eparch of St Nicholas Eparchy in Chicago on June 4, 2003, overseeing territory that extends from Michigan and Indiana west across the United States. The eparchy has about 45 parishes and missions in four time zones.
The first part of the funeral for a hierarch services are to be celebrated at St Nicholas Cathedral Aug. 21 and 22, with Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia and a number of other bishops of Eastern and Western Catholic churches participating. The second part of a hierarch’s funeral will be in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Philadelphia, Aug. 26, with burial in the Seminack family plot in St Mary’s Cemetery, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.