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Archdiocesan Priest, Rev. Richard J. Feller, Dies Pastor Emeritus of Holy Ghost Parish in South Holland

Rev. Richard J. FellerChicago, IL (May 26, 2015) – Rev. Richard J. Feller, pastor emeritus of Holy Ghost Parish in South Holland, passed away on Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 2015, at Saint Benedict Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Niles.  Fr. Feller was 88 years old.

Fr. Feller was born in Chicago on May 11, 1927.  He attended St. Matthias Elementary School in Chicago and Quigley Preparatory Seminary. After graduating from the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees, he was ordained a priest on May 1, 1953 by Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago.  He obtained a Masters in Psychology from Loyola University in 1969.

His first assignment was as Assistant Pastor at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago, where he served until 1958. He then served as an Assistant Pastor at St. Colette Parish in Rolling Meadows from 1958 to 1964, Christ the King Parish in Chicago from 1964 to 1968 and St. Alphonsus Parish in Prospect Heights from 1968 until 1973.  He was Assistant Pastor of St. Ita Parish in Chicago starting in 1973 and was appointed Pastor in 1976.  In 1988, he became Pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in South Holland, serving there until he retired in 1997.  During retirement, he assisted at St. Eugene Parish in Chicago.

Fr. Feller was a strong proponent of Catholic education and over the years served in other capacities for the Archdiocese, including as a counselor for Catholic Charities and the Council of Catholic Women.  From 1976 until 1984, Fr. Feller also served a term as Deputy to the Urban Vicar of Vicariate V, the Very Rev. Frederick M. Niemeyer.

When asked about Fr. Feller, Rev. George Koeune, Pastor of St. Eugene Parish, said, “Fr. Feller had three loves.  He loved parish life, being with people and the school children.  He loved and supported the Pro-Life movement, and he loved being generous not only to the parishes where he served, but to many, many charitable groups and organizations.” 

Fr. Feller’s niece, Marie Knoll, remembered her uncle as being “gracious, kind and thoughtful whether he’d known someone for ages or only a short time.  In his concern for others, he often sent cards for various occasions or quick notes to let people know he was thinking of them.”  She went on to say, “His concern for the vulnerable was also a hallmark of his 62 years of priestly ministry, especially his commitment to visiting the sick and dying, to the pro-life movement, to justice for the poor, to men and women religious at the Guest House, and to numerous other charities. His humility, wry sense of humor, and devotion to helping others endeared him to his parishioners, family and friends alike.”

With two brothers and five sisters, Fr. Feller was very dedicated to his extended family that includes 19 nieces and nephews, and 44 grand-nieces and nephews. He is survived by his brother, Thomas Feller of New Hampshire, and his sister, Margaret Campbell, of Park Ridge.  

Visitation for Fr. Feller will take place on Wednesday, May 27, from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. at St. Eugene Church, 7958 West Foster Avenue in Chicago.  A wake service will be conducted at 7 p.m. Most Rev. Raymond E. Goedert, Retired Auxiliary Bishop, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Feller on Thursday, May 28, at 10 a.m., at St. Eugene Church.  The homilist will be the pastor of St. Eugene, Rev. George Koeune.   Interment will be at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.

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