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Sunday, June 1, 2014

With Heartfelt Gratitude: Fr. John Cusick Retires from Old St. Pat's Church

Mass program cover.  The colorful vestments above were all designed by Artist John David Mooney

Today we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension.  And, for many parishioners of Old St. Patrick's Church the 11:15 a.m. Mass was bittersweet. Because today we honored Fr. John Cusick who is retiring after 44 years of priestly ministry! Fr. Cusick grew up in Chicago's South Side but he has called Old St. Patrick's Church his home for the past 30 years!  

Taken from today's Mass program: "Fr. John Cusick, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, was ordained in 1970.  He was the creator, coordinator, and director of Young Adult Ministry from 1977-2013.  This past year, he served as a consultant to the Office. Crain's Chicago Business named John Cusick as one of seven clergy persons profiled as "preachers to seek out in Chicago."  In February 2012 he received the Blessed John XXIII Award from the Association of Chicago Priests for "excellence in priestly ministry and significant contributions to the life of the Church in Chicago." Those of us who gather at Old St. Patrick's know and appreciate him for his gifts of preaching, leadership, creativity, and compassionate service that he so generously shares with us.  We are grateful to Fr. John for all that he has done to contribute to the life and spirit of Old St. Patrick's and her people!

Photos above L-R: Fr. Jack Wall, Fr. John Cusick and Fr. Tom Hurley, Pastor of
Old St. Patrick's Church; John David Mooney, Fr. Cusick and Denise Stauder, SR'62, MV'66

After communion kind words were shared by Fr. Jack Wall, former Pastor of Old St. Pat's and Fr. Tom Hurley, current Pastor.  A check to help with travel expenses and a framed customized rendering of Old St. Pat's was bestowed on Fr. Cusick as Fr. Tom Hurley, Pastor of Old St. Pat's Church said, "A priest never really retires; not until he is lying vertically in the middle aisle of the church is a priest considered retired."  So fortunately for all of us, Fr. Cusick plans on being back at Old St. Pat's later in the year, perhaps November or December to help with presiding Masses.   

Some of you are reading this and wondering what is the connection with Sacred Heart?  Well, six degrees of separation. Besides it history: Old St. Patrick's is the second parish founded in the city of Chicago and the city's oldest public building.  Old St. Pat's windows were designed by Thomas A. O'Shaughnessy whose many descendants are Sacred Heart alums. 

But the Sacred Heart connection here is woven in the vestments that you see Father Cusick wearing in the top photo. They were all donated by a Sacred Heart alumna! Five years ago, Old St. Pat's parishioner Denise Stauder, an alumna of Sacred Heart Schools (Sheridan Road) and Maryville College had come into some money.  Denise went to Fr. Cusick and asked what was most needed and his response was new vestments to complement the church's newly renovated interior. 

Instead of just purchasing vestments, Stauder decided to contact John David Mooney, an artist friend of hers to design the vestments.  Mooney, an alumnus of Notre Dame is described as a "very creative, esoteric and spiritual man with a great heart and an absolutely expansive mind".  To read more about John David Mooney and the "Legacy in fabric" - click here.

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