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Rev. Jerome L. “Father Jerry” Leake, 76, pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church, was honored on his 50th anniversary of ordination.

Aurora priest celebrates 50 years of ministry, 38 years as police chaplain

AURORA, Ill., May 27, 2018—An Aurora Roman Catholic priest celebrated 50 years of ministry Sunday, May 27.

Rev. Jerome L. “Father Jerry” Leake, 76, pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church, was honored on his 50th anniversary of ordination.

Events included a mass at 10:30 a.m., followed by an open house and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to leading St. Joseph for 20 years, he serves as senior chaplain for the Aurora Police Department. He’s been doing it since 1975, except for a few years when he was chaplain for Elgin’s department.

After graduating from Chicago’s Quigley Preparatory Seminary, Rev. Leake was ordained May 25, 1968. His assignments included Our Lady of Good Counsel parish and Rosary High School, Aurora, 1968-1970; Sacred Heart parish and Aurora Central Catholic High School, Aurora, 1971-1994;  St. Joseph Parish, Elgin, 1994-1997; and St. Joseph parish, Aurora, 1997-present.

Rev. Leake reflected on his golden anniversary of priesthood in the May 27 “St. Joseph Parish Community,” the church’s newsletter.

He said, “I could write a book about being a pastor, a high school religion teacher and a police chaplain. Maybe when I retire; but for now I would like to share some reflection…”

Rev. Jerome L. “Father Jerry” Leake, 76, pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church, was honored on his 50th anniversary of ordination on Sunday, May 27. (Al Benson photo)

He wrote, “Anniversaries have four areas: gratitude, prayer, love and forgiveness. Prayer is essential for any kind of priestly life. There are many ways to pray but we must be people of prayer.”

Forgiveness. “Forgiveness is also essential for a God relationship and our human relationships. We have all been wounded and needed love, healing and forgiveness.”

Love and the will of God. “Through prayer we come to better understand the will of God. His unconditional love for us.”

In March, in honor of 38 years’ service, Aurora police personnel held a ceremony to award Rev. Leake the same type of ring given to APD employees on retirement.

Freelance Photo-Journalist | + posts

Al Benson is an Aurora-based freelance photo-journalist. His work has appeared in The Voice, The Daily Herald, The Beacon-News, and the Chicago Tribune.






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