RIP Ron Lewinski

Pray Tell just received word that Fr. Ron Lewinski died suddenly. He was 71, and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1972.

LewinskiFr. Lewinski was longtime director of the Office of Divine Worship in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He was esteemed for his longtime work as pastor. He was instrumental in building up the catechumenate and implementing the revised Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It was through his efforts that Pope John Paul II celebrated the Rite of Acceptance at Mass during his papal visit to Chicago.

Lewinskihad recently been appointed to the important position of Archbishop’s Delegate for Parish Transformation by Cardinal Cupich.

He was honored as the 2017 As Those Who Serve award recipient at Mundelein Seminary outside Chicago. In addition to serving on Mundelein Seminary faculty, he introduced the Parish Transformation initiative, built a new church and pastoral center for Saint Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Mundelein, growing the parish from 200 to 1,600 members, and continues to be a leader in parish engagement and revitalization.

Lewinski was known as  brilliant theologian, presenter, and raconteur. He will be greatly missed.

May he rest in peace.



  1. Wow, Ron and Peter Scagnelli in the same month. Great liturgy in the U.S. has lost two great proponents and practitioners of worship that truly celebrated and deepened the covenant between God and us.

    Well-done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Master forever.

  2. Yes, three great men of the church have gone to their reward in these last days: Robert Rambusch (the building), Peter Scagnelli (the words), Ron Lewinski (the liturgy). May they rest in peace and rise in glory!

  3. Ron shared with us his unique vision and voice, always expressed with enthusiasm and joy, and always more than a step ahead of our own. He will be missed elsewhere around the world, but especially throughout the Church of Chicago. God Bless, Ron.

  4. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of serving as a deacon with him at mass. He was kind, wise, funny and insightful. And a great laborer in the vineyard. May he rest in peace.

  5. I had the pleasure of working with him in giving a couple of institutes with the North American Forum, and he was really wonderful. A very smart guy, pastoral, and personable, with a fine liturgical sense. I had admired his writing and had recommended his book Guide for Sponsors for many years before ever meeting him, and I only wish I could have crossed paths with him more often. May he rest in peace; we are all in his debt.

    Maria — I hadn’t heard about Bob Rambusch’s death! I knew him well, and was even the recipient of his trademark postcards… I am so sorry to have missed the funeral! Yes, it seems we are losing many gifted people who did so much for the liturgy. Memorable colleagues and friends.

  6. Thirty years ago this month Ron Lewinski hired me at ODW in Chicago. The position as director of RCIA changed my life and career. I am so honored to have worked with Ron. After all these years, I hold on to those graced-filled and joyous relationships from an important era of liturgy within the Church. May God give you rest, my friend.

  7. My heart is filled with so much sadness with the passing of Fr.Ron. He was a dear friend who showed everyone he met the meaning of the love of God. My memories of St.Mary days, trip to Italy, my daughter’s wedding, the baptism of 4 grandchildren and so much more will always bring your wonderful smile to my mind. I am sure you are being welcomed into the arms of the Lord, for you were truly his messenger on earth. Love and miss you.

  8. I worked with Fr. Ron when he was a young priest at St. Frances of Rome and I was a young principal. He was a priest of priests who loved the liturgy and tried to make it come alive for the parishioners and the children. He never lost his enthusiasm or his zest for life. I am still numb and saddened by this great loss for Chicago and for his many friends. May you rest in peace “Lewie”

  9. After so many years of reading his work I had the pleasure of meeting Ron last November. I was discussing my latest work, The Role of the Coordinator in Christian Initiation (LTP July 2017) and will always remember his greeting as he wished me success with my work. I will honor his legacy in my own teaching. It is my hope to be part of the many people who work to renew the vision of initiation ministry.

  10. I had the pleasure of attending St. Mary’s Holy Thursday liturgy for five year. Everything flowed so smoothly and seemingly effortlessly that the 2 1/2 hour Eucharist seemed to take but an hour. It was like a retreat.

  11. Ron was the original reason I did the two Initiation Music resources, “Who Calls You By Name, Vol. 1 and 2.” He was the first person to encourage/challenge me to compose ritual music for the RCIA rites … the first piece from this was “You Are God’s Work of Art,” which I dedicated to him. I served on many Forum Institute Teams with him years ago … learned so much from him. Loved his company. And he made me laugh. A lot.

  12. When I received the news of Ron’s death, I was shocked and deeply saddened. As a newly ordained priest assigned to St. Frances of Rome parish, Ron was a teacher, mentor, and friend to me, a high school student in the parish at the time. His love for the liturgical life of the Church stirred to life my own, and his enthusiasm and deep spirituality provided an example for me. His death is a great loss for the Church in Chicago, in the United States, and the world. Condolences to Ron’s family and to all whom he touched so profoundly with his priestly zeal. Well done good and faithful servant…rest now in peace!

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