|Fr. Jerome Klug, former pastor of
St. Peter Damian Parish in
Bartlett, died of heart failure on Monday, January 30, at the Rosewood
Nursing Home in Northbrook. Fr. Klug was 82 years old.
A native of Chicago’s northwest side, Fr. Klug attended St. Edward School before entering Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He graduated from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein and was ordained by Samuel Cardinal Stritch in 1949.
For 10 years, beginning in 1949, Fr. Klug was assistant pastor of St. Gregory Parish on Chicago’s north side. In 1959, he became assistant pastor of St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, where he served for five years before being named assistant pastor in 1964 at the now closed Immaculate Conception Parish at 31 st and Aberdeen in Chicago. In 1968, Fr. Klug became assistant pastor at Little Flower Parish, which is also now closed.
Fr. Klug served as assistant pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Deerfield from 1972 to 1973, when he was named pastor of St. Peter Damian in Bartlett. He served as pastor there for 17 years before his retirement in 1990. He was named pastor emeritus of St. Peter Damian in that year.
Fr. Klug was the second pastor of St. Peter Damian, a parish of 400 families that was growing rapidly. The church at the time could only seat about 120 people, and the rectory was a small area attached to the church. He built a new rectory, the current church and a parish religious education center to accommodate the parish’s growing numbers. Today, St. Peter Damian has over 2000 registered families.
Fr. Ron Mass, pastor of Incarnation Parish in Palos Heights, was the first associate pastor appointed at St. Peter Damian and served with Fr. Klug for five years, beginning in 1977. He describes Fr. Klug as well liked by the parishioners and someone who was very “hands on” when it came to getting things done. Fr. Mass said Fr. Klug began programs that involved young people in the parish and developed the religious education and sacramental preparation programs while pastor.
Throughout the 60s and early 70s, Fr. Klug also served on the faculties of St. Scholastica and Maria high schools. For four years between1968 and 1972, he was the director of the former Little Flower High School.
Fr. Joseph Wojcik, pastor of St. Jane de Chantal Parish in Chicago, and a friend of Fr. Klug, noted that Fr. Klug was able to be very trusting of people because he believed firmly that God’s Spirit was at work in people guiding them. He was, according to Fr. Wojcik, someone who supported the role of the laity in his ministry, believing strongly that the parish belonged to the people and that it would continue to function and grow because of them long after he left.