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Rev. Msgr. Robert F. Trisco, PA

Deceased: 2023-07-29

Diocese: CHICAGO

Seminary Graduation Year: 1955

Chicago (Aug. 3, 2023) – Msgr. Robert F. Trisco, professor emeritus of ecclesiastical history and archdiocesan priest, passed away Saturday, July 29, 2023, at the age of 93.

Trisco was born on Nov. 11, 1929, in Chicago. He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, graduating in 1951. He then attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, where he earned a licentiate of sacred theology degree in 1955 and a doctoral degree in ecclesiastical history in 1962 with his dissertation titled, “The Holy See and the Nascent Church in the Middle Western United States, 1826-1950.”

Trisco was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 8, 1954, by Bishop Martin J. O’Connor, Titular Bishop of Thespiae, and he celebrated his first solemn Mass on Dec. 9 of the same year at the Basilica of St. Agnes Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy.

After ordination, Trisco began his service at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1959. He was a professor of Church History and served as the Kelly-Quinn Distinguished Professor of Church History from 1999 until 2000, when he was granted emeritus status. Additionally, Trisco had a long record of service to the academic discipline of Church History and to the wider Catholic Church.

In recognition of his many contributions to the Church and in academia, Trisco was named an honorary prelate with the title of Monsignor in 1992 and a Protonotary Apostolic Supernumerary in 2005, presented to him by his former student Archbishop Dolan. He was named a Decorated Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 1993 and promoted to the rank of Knight Commander in 1998. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Belmont Abbey College in 1992 and was given the Centennial Award by the American Catholic Historical Association in 2019.

Msgr. Patrick R. Lagges, retired archdiocesan priest, remembered his friend as a great churchman. “Everything he did was for the Church and that always showed in my interactions with him,” Lagges said. “He was also a rather exacting professor.”

Trisco’s funeral services will take place in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

In Washington, D.C., visitation will be Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023, from 3 to 5 p.m. (EDT) in the Vincent P. Walter Room of Curley Hall, located at the Catholic University of America. The funeral Mass will be Monday, Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m. (EDT) in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Michigan Avenue in Washington, D.C. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, will be the main celebrant and homilist.

In Chicago, Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, Aug. 11, at 10 a.m. at St. Celestine Church of St. Mother Guerin Parish on 76th Street in Elmwood Park. Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant and Rev. James Wallace will be the homilist.

Interment will be at held at St. Joseph Cemetery in River Grove, Illinois.