In the words of a parishioner, Rev. William O. Goedert, the long-time pastor of “led a magnificent life.”
Father Goedert returned home to the Lord on Sept. 21. He passed away in the St. Germaine parish house that was his home for nearly 32 years at age 83.
He made such an impact on the young parish—which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year—that Father Goedert was appointed pastor emeritus where he had served as St. Germaine’s pastor from 1977 to 1995.
"Fr. Goedert was well respected by his colleagues in the clergy," St. Germaine parishioner Steve Rosenbaum said in an email. "The Family of St. Germaine was so fortunate to have him as our Pastor. His brilliance, with the ability to interact with people from all walks of life, will be greatly missed."
Father Goedert was born on Sept. 5, 1929 in Dyersville, Iowa, where he graduated from St. Joseph and St. Anne grammar school. He attended Quigley Seminary and was ordained in 1955 after completing studies at St. Mary On the Lake Seminary after earning M.A. and S.T.L. degrees, according to his obituary on the St. Germaine website.
He was a teacher and held important pastoral assignments for the Archdiocese of Chicago, including an associate pastor assignment at Holy Name Cathedral which led to a promotion as the assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Chicago Archdiocese.
Father Goedert also taught in the graduate schools of Loyola and St. Xavier Universities. He served as spiritual director in the major seminary for four years before being appointed president-rector of Niles College of Loyola University, training young priests for their vocations.
In 1977, Fr. Goedert began his 18-year assignment as pastor of St. Germaine where he earned the love and respect of his flock until his retirement in 1995. He returned to the parish in 1997 where he continued to serve and live even after his retirement.
In his true fashion, Fr. Goedert remained active in his retirement years. He was elected president of the Presbyteral Senate. He watched out for his fellow retired priests as a long-time board member of the Priests' Retirement Board and was a Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre.
Fr. Goedert was preceded in death by his parents, the late William O. and Hilda C. Goedert, and his brother, the late James P. Goedert, a Chicago Tribune obituary said.
He is the beloved “unk” to Elizabeth (Joseph) Duffy, Daniel (Bonnie) Goedert, William Goedert, Paula (David) Szakacs, Patricia (George) Rogers, Jacqueline Konaszewski, Katherine (Angelo) Rotondi and Monica (Chris) Sheerin; great uncle to Jackie (Jerry) Oprondek, Brian and Kevin Dorgan, Allison Rogers, Michael and Thomas Rotondi, Amy Konaszewski, Monica Goedert, Katie Szakacs, Matthew, Leah, and Robert Sheerin; grand uncle to Natalie and Ryan Oprondek.
Visitation for Fr. Goedert is from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday at St. Germaine Church at 98th Street Kolin Avenue. A Mass of the Resurrection is Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, offerings may be made in his name to St. Germaine Parish. Arrangements are entrusted to the Beverly-Ridge Funeral Home.
Parishioners and friends may also pay tribute to Fr. Goedert on his online guestbook at legacy.com.
By Lorraine Swanson