Rev. Julius F. Kirchgessner, CSV died Sunday evening at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield where he had been a patient for several weeks. Jules died peacefully in his sleep after a difficult struggle with cancer for the past several months. On July 11, he would have been 77 years old.
Jules Kirchgessner was born in Mount Vernon, Illinois in 1912 but was raised in Metamora, Illinois. He entered the Viatorians in 1933, made profession at Fournier Institute in 1934 and graduated from St. Viator College in 1938. He earned a Master’s Degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois and pursued studies in education at DePaul. Jules completed his seminary studies in three years (and one summer!) at Kenrick Seminary between 1940 and 1943. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James A. Griffin at St. Joseph Parish in Springfield.
Springfield, Illinois became home to Jules and the focus of most of his labors. From 1938 – 1940 he was on the faculty of Cathedral Boys’ High School and did part time teaching at Springfield Junior College. From 1943 – 1945 he served as instructor and Principal of Fournier Institute. It was back to Springfield that he went in 1945 to teach for three years at Springfield Junior College. From 1948 – 1950 he was once again on the faculty of Cathedral Boys’ High School. In 1950 he began a ten year hiatus from Springfield, serving brief assignments at Stepinac High School, Spalding Institute, St. Patrick High School and St. Philip High School. Jules returned to Springfield in 1961 and has been there ever since. After his many years of teaching he took on additional responsibilities at the school as building manager, grounds crew, handy man and gracious volunteer. The image of Jules on the tractor is a familiar one to many Viatorians and Griffin graduates.
A visitation and wake service was held at St. Joseph Church, Springfield, from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., with prayer service at 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, June 20, 1989. A Funeral Mass was also held at St. Joseph’s Church on Wednesday, June 21, 1989 at 11:00 a.m. Burial was on Thursday morning at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside at 11:00 a.m.
Please remember Jules in your prayers and gather together in local communities to remember him at Eucharist.
Taken from letter to the Viatorian Community on June 19, 1989 from the Provincial, Rev. Patrick W. Render, CSV