Father Patrick Cecil died on Monday, November 14, 2016.
Fr. Pat,” as he was more commonly known, was born in Chicago on June 21, 1952. He attended St. John Brebeuf School in Niles and St. Joseph School in Elgin. Fr. Cecil then went on to study at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, and later Niles College Seminary at Loyola University Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater. He graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, with a Master of Divinity degree. Fr. Cecil was ordained into the priesthood on May 10, 1978, by John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago. He celebrated his first Solemn Mass at Queen of Angels Parish on May 13, 1978.
Fr. Cecil served in the Archdiocese in a number of different parochial roles. He served as Associate Pastor of St. Angela Parish on Potomac Street, closed in 2005 (1978-84); St. Zachary Parish in Des Plaines (1984-91); and St. Mary Parish in Buffalo Grove (1992-96). He also served as Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Wadsworth (1996-2010). Fr. Cecil was named Pastor of St. Mary of the Woods Parish in 2010, and served in that capacity until his passing.
Fr. Cecil also served the Archdiocese as a Dean in Vicariates I and II, and as a member of the Archdiocesan Priests’ Placement Board.
In a 2008 interview with the Catholic New World, Fr. Cecil stated that he lived by this motto: “The work of a priest is to point out the movement of God in people’s lives. I think that’s what I try to do.”
Rev. Edward R. Fialkowski, Pastor of Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, had a long friendship with Fr. Cecil; they had known each other since 1956. “One of the pluses of our training was that we grew up together in the seminary and throughout our priesthood. Pat knew my parents and siblings and he was like an extended member of our family; my family loved him. It was like that for all of us – our parents treated the other guys like their own sons, and Pat’s parents were no exception.” Fr. Fialkowski continued, “Pat was always a kind, generous, upbeat and sincere priest. He was a guy who preached about what he truly believed. He was very dedicated to priesthood and to parish life. He was well respected by his classmates, and loved by his parishioners.”
Rev. Martin A. Zielinski, M.Div., Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Church History at Mundelein Seminary, was a classmate of Fr. Cecil. He reflected, “Pat really enjoyed being a priest and you could clearly see that in his interaction with people and with other priests.” He went on to say, “Our class was very fortunate because we got together regularly and Pat was instrumental in that. He was very attentive to the presbyterate.”Fr. Zielinski added, “He loved playing golf and he was very Irish – I remember him taking many trips to Ireland!”