Meet One of Our 2017 Gala Honorees: Fr. Jim Friedel

At the Fifth Annual Augustinian Gala, on April 28, we will be celebrating the service of four very special honorees: Fr. Jim Friedel, O.S.A., Fr. Tom McCarthy, O.S.A., and Augustinian Affiliates Anne and Don Berschback. Over the next couple weeks we will be posting profiles of each of these honorees, and today, we are very pleased to begin with the Prior of St. Jude Parish, New Lenox, Fr. Jim Friedel.

In Fr. Friedel, we celebrate a dynamic pastor, formation director, and retreat leader, who has dedicated nearly 60 years to living out the Augustinian ideal of community. 

It was thanks to the determination of his parents that Fr. Jim, a native of Chicago Heights, first encountered the Augustinian brotherhood. Though a nearby high school attempted to recruit Friedel for basketball and baseball while still a student at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, his parents adamantly insisted that he find the nearest Catholic school instead. That would turn out to be Mendel Catholic, which meant that each day Fr. Friedel would take “a four-block walk to the bus then the train (the Illinois Central Railroad) and then another six-block walk.”

While at Mendel, Fr. Friedel found stable support and encouragement from his Augustinian teachers and coaches, who were planting the seeds of his future vocation. In 1955, he continued on to Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, where he studied for two years before being received into the Augustinian novitiate. He made his first profession of vows in the Order of St. Augustine on February 3, 1958. 

Shortly after, he resumed his studies at Villanova University and transferred to the extension campus of Tolentine College in Olympia, IL. He received his B.A .in Philosophy in 1961. He earned an M.A. in Religious Education from Loyola University, Chicago, in 1964 and a D. Min. from St. Mary of the Lake University, Mundelein, Illinois, in 1981.  He was ordained a Priest February 6, 1965.

Following his ordination, Fr. Friedel returned to his alma mater, Mendel Catholic, as a teacher, in 1965. One year later he was transferred to St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan, as a teacher and assistant Rector. 

He relocated in 1971 to Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, where he was Dean of Men and Master of Professed.  In 1972 he became Master of Theologians at St. John Stone Friary, Chicago. In 1974 Father Friedel was named Director of Chicago Marriage Encounter, a program designed to strengthen marriages.  He resided at Mendel Monastery, Chicago, while he worked with Marriage Encounter.

Fr. Friedel was appointed Associate Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago, in 1978 and in 1982 he became Pastor. He moved to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, in 1991, and began the Parish Retreats ministry.  He visited Catholic parishes and Religious communities across the United States to conduct spiritual retreats.  

“Those who had him in formation at Holland and at John Stone, knew him as a great teacher and counselor, and a great athlete as well,” said Father Bernie Scianna, O.S.A., “And those who have attended one of his parish missions or retreats have been inspired to live their faith more deeply.”

He served as Prior of Tolentine Monastery from 1993 until 2006. He was assigned in 2010 to the Augustinian Community at St. Jude Parish, New Lenox.  He was appointed Prior there in 2010 and continues to serve in this position.

“I am grateful for his example of faithfulness over these many years in his various ministries and especially for his continued service as Prior of the St Jude Community and his ministry there and at St. Mary Magdalene in Joliet,” said Fr. Bernie, “He is truly a faithful friar and a very pastoral priest!”

Fr. Friedel has shown us what it means to share the love of God with the world, to live faithfully in daily life, and to surrender one’s will to the greater Augustinian mission. We look forward to celebrating him this year.

Please join us in congratulating Father Friedel at this year's Augustinian Gala!

This year's fifth annual Augustinian Gala will be held at the historic Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago.  The gala is on April 28, 2017.  

For information on how to register, sponsor, or donate please click below: