Rev. Richard James Mueller passed away on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at
the Brandel Care Center in Northbrook. Fr. Mueller was the Pastor
Emeritus of St. Norbert Parish
in Northbrook and since 1991 was the Director of the Vocations Office
InSearch Program a formation program for college-age men discerning
a vocation to the priesthood. He was 78 years old.
Fr. "Dick" Mueller was born in Chicago on July 25, 1937. He attended
Little Flower School in Chicago and Quigley Preparatory Seminary. Fr.
Mueller graduated from the University of St. Mary of the Lake /
Mundelein Seminary. He also received Master's Degrees in Counseling
Psychology and Religious Education from Loyola University Chicago, and
in Applied Spirituality from the University of St. Francis, as well as a
Doctorate in Ministry from Mundelein. Fr. Mueller was ordained into the
priesthood on May 1, 1963, by Albert Cardinal Meyer, Archbishop of
Fr. Mueller served as Assistant Pastor at
St. Bernadette Parishh' in
Evergreen Park (1963-67); Immaculate
Conception Parish on North Park Avenue in Chicago (1967-68); and
St. Luke Parish in River
Forest (1992-95). He was Chaplain of the
Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University f rom 1968 to 1973,
and a member of the faculty of Niles College Seminary from 1973 to 1992.
Fr. Mueller was named Pastor of St. Norbert Parish in Northbrook in 1995
and served there until 2007, when he was named Pastor Emeritus.
According to Rev. Francis Bitterman, Vocation Director for the
Archdiocese of Chicago, "Fr. Mueller developed the InSearch program,
which meets ten weeks in the fall and ten weeks in the spring, helping
men in their last couple years of college or working in the world to
keep the question of priesthood on the front burner." He continued, "He
invited different priests to come in each week to be guest presenters,
tell their own story and to speak on topics relevant to discerners. Fr.
Mueller helped hundreds of men discern their vocation over the past 20
years, to both Archdiocesan and religious life. Personally, he was a
great friend and mentor to me."
Rev. Vincent F. Costello, Pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Deerfield, was
close friends with Fr. Mueller. He said, "Fr. Mueller was a great priest
and a wonderful friend who loved the Lord Jesus, the Scriptures, the
Church, the priesthood and the people he served. After over 53 years of
priestly service, it is difficult to estimate the number of lives he
touched." He went on to say, "On a personal note, I will miss him very
deeply, as will so many people whom he loved and who loved him."
Rev. Joseph T. Noonan, Pastor of St. Damian Parish in Oak Forest, knew
Fr. Mueller through the InSearch Program and said, "He was a stellar
priest and a man of God who inspired the faith of so many people,
including men discerning priesthood. Through his example of his love of
Jesus and joy of serving Him, he encouraged their call."
Fr. Mueller was instrumental in Jeff Grossich's call to priesthood, now
in his first year at Mundelein Seminary. He recalled, I was in the
InSearch program for three years, while I was at law school, and Fr.
Mueller was leading the program. He had a really good sense of humor and
was very encouraging. He was really good at noticing other people's
gifts and pointing them out to them. He had a very deep spirituality. I
definitely would not be here today without him."
Another Mundelein Seminarian was greatly influenced by Fr. Mueller,
Christian Shiu. He reflected, "Fr. Mueller was an incredible spiritual
father. He was kind, generous and wise. He loved the people of God, and
more to it, Fr. Mueller loved the priesthood and was committed to
helping others discover God's call. I will always be personally grateful
for his encouragement and support, for his confidence in me and for
leading me to Christ and the call to priesthood."
Fr. Mueller is survived by a niece, Ms.
Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of