Rev. Francis T. Czerwionka, CSV, died Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at Resurrection Life Center in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 81. He was born in Chicago on January 10, 1924, the son of the late Theodore and Rose (Pranschke) Czerwionka. One sister, Mrs. Irene Eck, and one brother Mr. Theodore Czerwionka, Jr. preceded him in death. Three sisters and one brother survive him, Mrs. Genevieve Eck of Bartlett, Illinois, Mrs. Rosalie Meyer of Thorp, Wisconsin, Mrs. Michael Hartnett of Park Ridge, Illinois and Mr. Fred Czerwionka of Chicago, Illinois.
Fr. Czerwionka professed his First Vows with the Clerics of St. Viator on February 3, 1948. He studied theology in preparation for ordination at the Viatorian seminary in Evanston, Illinois and at Catholic University in Washington, DC. He was ordained a Viatorian priest on February 7, 1959 by Bishop McNamara.
He attended Ammundsen High School and Lane Technical High School in Chicago. During World War II, he was a combat soldier with the 4th Armored Division, 10th Armored Infantry, which was General George Patton’s “spearhead” division. He rode tanks or halftracks into battle, including the heavy fighting at Bastogne, Belgium, in which his outfit relieved the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. He earned battle stars for five major battles during the war, which include: Rome-Arno, Southern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.
After the war, he attended DePaul University, Chicago, where he received a Ph.B. in Latin. He completed his graduate studies at Jacksonville State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he earned a degree in Clinical Pastoral Education.
Fr. Czerwionka served as teacher and assistant dean at Cathedral Boys’ High School (1951-52) in Springfield, Illinois. He then served as counselor and guardian at Isle of Hope in Savannah, Georgia (1955-56). From 1959-62, he served as associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Kankakee, Illinois and taught at St. Patrick High School. He was chaplain at Manteno State Hospital in Manteno, Illinois (1962-71), Jacksonville State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois (1971-72), St. John’s Hospital in Detroit, Michigan (1973-74), Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois (1975-81) and St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, Illinois (1981-83). From 1983-92, he served as pastor of St. George Church, St. George, Illinois. He retired to St. Patrick Church in Kankakee in 1992. In 2004, he moved to Resurrection Life Center in Chicago, where he resided until his death.
Visitation was at St. George Church, 5272 East 5000 North Road, St. George, Illinois, on Saturday, April 30, from 9:00 -11:00 a.m. The Mass of the Resurrection immediately followed visitation. Burial was at St. George Church cemetery.
Please remember our brother Frank, and his family in your masses and prayers.
Taken from letter to the Viatorian Community on April 27, 2005 from the Provincial, Rev. Charles G. Bolser, CSV