Dear Friends,

By Bishop Robert Kurtz, C.R., In Residence

I would like to share a few details of my biography with you, the parishioners of Holy Trinity Parish, in the hope that we might have some common talking points when, on some happy occasion, we have the opportunity to meet.

I was born on the Northwest side of Chicago on July 25, 1939. My mother’s name was Augusta and my father’s name was Joseph Kruczynski, but he shortened the family name to Kurtz.

My elementary education took place in two Chicago parish schools: St. Philomena, were I received my
First Holy Communion and St. Hyacinth, where I was
Confirmed and later graduated in 1953.

From 1953 to 1957, I attended Weber High School under the direction of the Resurrection Fathers. Shortly after graduation, I entered the Novitiate of the Resurrection Fathers in Winnetka, Illinois to begin a program of formation for the Religious Life and Priesthood.

Upon completing the Novitiate and professing the religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, I began University studies at St. John Cantius Seminary on the campus of the Jesuit St. Louis University. At the time, all Resurrectionist seminarians were directed to major in a “teachable” field of studies to prepare for a career in High School teaching. I majored in Spanish Language and Literature, secretly hoping to serve in the new resurrections mission in La Paz, Bolivia. Although I eventually completed a Master’s degree in Spanish, I never made it to Bolivia as a missionary!

While at St. John Cantius Seminary, we studied Philosophy with a great number of Jesuit seminarians, but our four years of Theology studies were conducted at our own House of Studies. On March 11, 1967, the six members of our seminary class were ordained to the Priesthood by Cardinal Joseph Ritter in the magnificent, mosaic covered Cathedral of St. Louis. Surprisingly enough, all six of us are still alive and members of the Congregation of the Resurrection—we might qualify for the Guinness Book of Records! We celebrated our Golden Anniversary of Priestly Ordination on March 11, 2017.

My assignments as a priest were many and varied, but not exactly typical. My first years as a priest were spent at Gordon Technical High School in Chicago as a Spanish teacher (1967-1971). I then served the Spanish-speaking community of St. Hedwig Parish in Chicago as Associate Pastor while also pursuing Biblical Studies at the the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

In the summer of 1975, I was chosen by the Community to attend the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection in Rome. There I was elected to the General Curia to serve as the Assistant to the Superior General for a term of six years.

Subsequently, I was elected to serve two six years terms as Superior General of the Congregation. I enjoyed living in Rome and serving the worldwide Resurrection Community. I was present in Rome for 15 years of the reign of St. John Paul II and I had many opportunities to meet with him. I was also blessed to meet regularly with all my Resurrectionist brothers serving the Church in 18 different countries of the world.

After completing my terms as Superior in 1993, I returned to Chicago where, after a short Sabbatical, I volunteered to serve in the recently founded mission of the USA Province in Oaxaca, Mexico. I enjoyed being in Mexico, especially the visits to the Indian villages in the surrounding mountains of the city of Oaxaca. However, after 18 months I was named Bishop of Hamilton in Bermuda by Pope John Paul II.

My Ordination as Bishop took place at St. Theresa’s Cathedral in Hamilton, Bermuda on September 15, 1995—the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. But, as it turned out, my 20 years of ministry in Bermuda was in no way sorrowful. On July 25, 2014, upon reaching the age of 75, I submitted my resignation to the Holy Father in accord with the Law of the Church. On October 1, 2015, I was privileged to Ordain a fellow Resurrectionist as my Successor and Bishop, the Most Rev. Wisely Spiewak, C.R.

After a brief stay in Bermuda to assist with the transition, I was free to travel and, eventually to fulfill my dream of spending a year with the Contemplative Trappist Community at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. The year (April, 2016 -March, 2017) with the Trappists was beautiful experience.

When I returned to Chicago, I was invited to serve as a Formation Director for a young man who lived and worked in Bermuda for 12 years and had joined the Resurrectionist Community in Ontario, Canada. The Novitiate took place in Chicago and began on August 15, 2017, and it was completed successfully one year later with the profession of Religious Vows on August 15, 2018. The Candidate is presently a seminarian at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario.

I now find myself happily residing at the Holy Trinity Parish rectory, assisting Fr. Rafal and Fr. Marion when and where I am able to do so. And, due to the absence of an Auxiliary Bishop in the Joliet Diocese, I have also been invited to assist Bishop Conlon with Confirmations in some of the parishes of the Diocese. All in all, I look forward to the future with joyful anticipation.

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Holy Trinity Catholic Parish
25 East Richmond Street
Westmont, IL 60559