Fr. Valerius Messerich, OFM
Reverend Valerius Messerich, OFM, died on Thursday, May 10, 2007, at the age of 87 at Hospice Unit of St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, IL. St. Paul, MN was his home; there he was born on December 17, 1919, the son of John and Delphine (nee Sitzmann) Messerich and given the name of “Urban” at his baptism in St. Matthew’s Church. And it was to Sacred Heart Friary in St. Paul that he was attached until his retirement to Sherman, IL, in 2005. In between these two bookends of St. Paul, Valerius had a colorful and varied career in his service to the Church and to the Order as a friar and a priest. Val entered the Order on August 12, 1939; made his solemn vows on the feast of St. Louis the King in 1943; and was ordained a priest on June 20, 1946. After a brief time in 1947 as a student at Quincy College, he taught at St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary in Westmont for a year (’47-’48), followed by three years of studies in Rome at the Antonianum. Upon his return in 1951 he served the province for 11 years as a professor of philosophy and master of clerics at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Cleveland; during this time he exercised his sacramental ministry at St. Joseph’s Motherhouse. He went back to Rome in 1962 to serve as the master of priest students at the Antonianum. From 1969 to 1977 Val was on the philosophy faculty of Quincy College (now University), and then he helped out for a year in Zaire. For the last 27 years of his active minister Val was involved in pastoral work and spiritual assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order. He spent four years as confessor at St. Peter’s Church-in-the-Loop in Chicago and spiritual assistant to the St. Louis-St. Francis SFO Fraternity, nine years as pastor of Guardian Angels in Chaska, MN, and two years as senior parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Church in Jordan, MN. After that, while attached to Sacred Heart Friary in St. Paul, Val served as pastor of St. Mathias Parish in Hampton (MN) from 1993 to 2002 when he retired. During his time in Minnesota he engagingly and faithfully assisted the Secular Franciscans on the regional level from 1991 to 2005. When it became evident that his life was being consumed by dementia, Valerius was moved to Villa West of Our Lady of Angela Friary in Sherman, IL, until such time that he needed special care first at a facility for Alzheimer Disease and then in the hospice section of St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, IL, where he died.
He was preceded in death by his parents: John and Delphine (nee Sitzmann) Messerich and Brother: Jerry Messerich.
Surviving: Brother: Don Messerich St. Paul, MN and Sister: Valeria (Messerich) Pezzani, St. Paul, MN and many nieces and nephews.
Staab Funeral Home in Springfield, IL is in charge of arrangements. You can contact Staab Funeral Home 1-800-728-6461 or staabfuneralhome.com.
The Funeral Services for Reverend Valerius Messerich OFM will take place on Tuesday, May 15, 2007, in St. Clare Chapel of the Motherhouse of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, 4849 LaVerna Road, Springfield, IL 62707. Visitation from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Burial in the Friars’ Plot of Calvary Cemetery, Springfield.