Chicago priest, Father Ronald Lewinski dies suddenly at 71

Fr. Ronald J. Lewinski. Photo courtesy of University of St. Mary of the Lake

Father Ronald J. Lewinski, who as a parish priest served in many leadership roles in the Archdiocese of Chicago, died unexpectedly on July 19 at St. Theresa Rectory in Palatine, IL. He was 71.

A native of Hammond, IN, Father Lewinski graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary with Baccalaureate of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. After completing his theological studies at Mundelein Seminary and the Faculté Catholique in Lyon, France, Rev. Lewinski was ordained into the priesthood on May 10, 1972 by John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago. Rev. Lewinski celebrated his first Solemn Mass at the Assumption B.V.M. Parish on May 14, 1972.

Rev. Lewinski served in the archdiocese in a number of different roles. He was Assistant Pastor of St. Frances of Rome Parish in Cicero (1972-78), Associate Pastor of St. Hilary Parish on California Avenue (1978), St. Marcelline Parish in Schaumburg (1979-84) and St. Joan of Arc Parish in Evanston (1984-95). Over the years of his ministry, Rev. Lewinski served as Director of the Office for Divine Worship (1984-94), the Director of the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House (1995) and became Pastor of St. Mary of Annunciation-Fremont Center (1996-2014). He was also the Archbishop’s Delegate for the Parish Transformation program (2013-16) before becoming Co-Director of the Department of Parish Vitality and Mission in 2016 along with Rev. Peter Wojcik.

While esteemed for his pastoral ministry, Father Ron was instrumental in building up the catechumenate and implementing the revised Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. He addressed the 2014 National meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions [FDLC] reflecting on the pastoral issues raised in a 2014 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate [CARA] survey on initiation practices.

In April, Father Ron received the Celebration of Mundelein, As Those Who Serve Award.  In his acceptance remarks, Father Ron said, “We need imaginative priests and parishioners. We need risk takers. We need priests and laity with a passion for mission.”

For the obituary from the Archdiocese of Chicago, click here.

For the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary reflection, click here.

Fr. Fr. Lewinski’s remarks upon receiving the As Those Who Serve Award, click here.