Reunion of St. Jude Seminary Alumni

They came from near: Shorewood, Libertyville, Crystal Lake, and Manteno; and far: Fort Collins, Las Vegas, San Jose, Indianapolis, and Wauwatosa. They had been apart for weeks, months, years, many for decades.

At noon on Saturday, June 24, 2023, former St. Jude Seminary students, family members and friends began arriving at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (OLG) in South Chicago for the start of a two-day, all-alumni reunion, the first since 2010. The gathering coincided with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Parish. By day’s end, sixty-two former Judeans and guests were present. Richard “Dick” Harrigan ’49 at ninety-one was the oldest; Henry Danko the teenage grandson of Mike O’Connor ’64 the youngest.

Group picture of former St. JUde Seminary Alumni (1953-1970) at Summer 2023 Reunion

Fr. Steve Niskanen, Associate pastor and Director of the National Shrine of St. Jude welcomed the visitors to the parish and served as host for the afternoon. Lunch, and the later evening meal, afforded the opportunity to mingle and renew friendships, even though it was sometimes a challenge to recalibrate names with now not so recognizable faces.

Mid-afternoon allowed time for Fr. Niskanen’s guided tour of OLG, the Shrine and the nearby SALUD Center, a former YMCA now a residence for seniors and a recreation center. It is a joint development between Claretian Associates and the Preservation of Affordable Housing.

Malachy McCarthy, retired province Archivist, delivered a presentation entitled: In the Footsteps of Claret, the Claretians Arrival in Chicago, once the group reconvened.

Alumni participated in a Mass in honor of and concelebrated by Bishop Emeritus Placido Rodriquez, CMF ’59, a former pastor of OLG who is currently celebrating his 55th year as a priest and 40th as bishop. Liturgy concelebrants were Fr. Mark Brummel, CMF ‘51 and Fr. Rosendo Urrabazo, CMF, recent past Provincial. Father Hector Navalo, CMF, the current Pastor of OLG, Br. Dan Magner, CMF and Br. Richard Wilga, CMF from the Claretian Oak Park community were also in attendance.

Dinner in the parish hall, alive with conversation and playful reminiscing, concluded day one of the reunion.