Rev. James Francis Meara, CSV, died on June 17, 1985 at Resurrection Hospital in Chicago. Jim would have been 78 years old on Saturday, June 22nd.
In 1921 Jim came to St. Viator Academy in Bourbonnais from Decatur, Illinois to begin his high school education. He made his novitiate in 1924 at Chamberlain, South Dakota and pronounced his first vows on August 15, 1925. This year marked his 60th year in the Congregation. Jim pursued his studies at St. Viator College and at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1934 and last year celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest.
Jim served for sixteen years at St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, Illinois, five of those as pastor. In 1950 he was appointed pastor of St. Patrick’s in Kankakee, Illinois and in 1954 he began an eleven year assignment as chaplain of the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Chicago. In 1965 Father Meara was appointed administrator of St. Peter Parish in Piper City, Illinois and in 1969 he took over as pastor of St. Martin’s in Martinton, Illinois. In 1975 Jim moved to the Province Center and from there he continued to provide temporary pastoral assistance to a number of parishes. This last assignment also put Jim in close proximity to his favorite recreation spot, Arlington Park.
Father Jim’s wake was held at St. Patrick Church from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 1985. A prayer service was held at 7:30 p.m. A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated there at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Jim’s body was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside next to his good friend and racing partner, Dumas McCleary. That seems an appropriate destiny.
Please remember Father Meara in prayer and celebrate in Eucharistic liturgy for the repose of his soul.
Taken from a letter to the Viatorian Community from the Provincial, Rev. Patrick W. Render