Reverend Francis E. McDonnell, S.T.L.
Reverend Francis E. McDonnell, S.T.L. died Nov. 14 at Presence Cor Mariae in Rockford, Illinois. Father was born on February 21, 1927 in Sterling to Thomas J. McDonnell and Margaret A. Weber.
Father McDonnell was ordained by the Most Reverend John J. Boylan at St. Mary Parish in Sterling, Illinois on April 11, 1951. Father attended St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md., where he received a Bachelor’s degree in 1947 and a bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology (STB) in 1949 as well as his Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) in 1951. He later attended the University of Notre Dame, where he received an Master’s degree in Philosophy.
Father served for nine years with the Society of St. Sulpice, teaching in their seminaries. Father then served as a faculty member at Marmion Academy in Aurora. He also served as Chaplain of Mercyville Sanitarium in Aurora and on the faculty at Roncalli High School in Aurora. He was appointed to be Moderator of the Catholic Interracial Council from 1964-1972. Father served Catholic Charities from 1964-1972, first as Assistant Director and then as Director. While in Rockford Father was also the Chaplain to Mount St. Francis Convent. Father McDonnell was the Defender of the Bond for the Tribunal in 1968. He served as pastor of St. Patrick in Rockford from 1969-1983. In 1975 he was assigned as Pro-Synodal Judge for the Tribunal. In 1983 Father was assigned as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Sterling and retired there from active ministry on June 10, 1997.
Father was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Patrick McDonnell, Dr. Thomas McDonnell; and Dr. John McDonnell; sister-in-law, Eileen; nephew Patrick.
Father is survived by sisters-in-law Dolores and Helen; nieces and nephews Meg (Leo) Bressanelli, Ann (Pat) McDonnell, Tom (Marie) McDonnell, Kate (Pat) Cavanagh, Sue (Jim) Olson, Patty Clark, Mike McDonnell, Rita (Rick) Kerley, John (Priscilla) McDonnell, Janet (John) Conneely, Joan (Jim) Sweeney, Tim (Kelly) McDonnell, and many great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Parish, 2224 Avenue J, Sterling. Visitation will take place at the church from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m. Burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery, Sterling. Arrangements are being made by McDonald Funeral Home, Rock Falls, Illinois.