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Rev. Peter Joseph Hereley, OP

Deceased: 2023-02-03


ICTE Spring: 2003

Fr. Peter Hereley, OP died on February 3, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois and was buried in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. He was 94 years old.

Joseph Robert Hereley was born on April 28, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Helen (Buckley) and Harry Hereley. He had three sisters: Patricia, Helen, and Mary.

From 1935–1942, Joseph attended St. Jerome and Our Lady of Victory elementary schools in Chicago. He then attended DePaul Academy from which he graduated in 1946. Following high school, he entered the Army and was discharged in 1948 with the rank of Corporal.

After his army service Joseph attended DePaul University in Chicago (1949) and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (1949–1950). He then left studies for positions at the brokerage firm of Paul H. Davis & Co. (1950–1951), the import-export division of Armour & Co. (1951–1952), and Commerce Clearinghouse, Inc., as an editor (1952–1955). At this time, he returned to study at Loyola University in Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955. Following this he worked at the brokerage firm of A.J. Krenske & Co. (1955–1956).

He entered the Dominican novitiate at St. Peter Martyr Priory in Winona, Minnesota, where on August 30, 1956, he received the habit from the Very Rev. J.E. Marr, OP, and was given the religious name of Peter. Br. Peter made his first profession on August 31, 1957, in the hands of Rev. George Kinsella, OP. After his novitiate, Br. Peter began his philosophical studies at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory in River Forest, Illinois. On August 31, 1960, he made his Solemn Profession.

Br. Peter studied theology from 1960–1964 at St. Rose of Lima Priory in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was ordained a deacon in 1962. On April 15, 1963, he was ordained a priest by the Most Rev. George Biskup, Auxiliary Bishop of Dubuque.

Fr. Hereley’s first assignment after ordination was as associate pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in River Forest, Illinois. This was followed in 1967 by his assignment as co-director of the Catholic Campus Parish at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. In 1970 he was assigned as Chaplain-Director of Holy Trinity Newman Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

In 1980, Fr. Hereley was asked by Fr. Damian Fandal, the Provincial, to establish and direct the Office for Radio and Television for the Province of St. Albert the Great, with residence at St. Pius V Priory. He worked first with preachers and teachers to give them an opportunity to develop skills for working with media. From 1985–1991, as Director and Producer of Dominican Central Productions, he directed over thirty television productions which were eventually broadcast on educational channels throughout the country such as the Eternal Word Television Network and the Catholic Telecommunications of America.

Fr. Hereley preached for Food for the Poor (1989–1992) and then for The Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (1992–1993), residing at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory in River Forest, Illinois. From 1992–1996, he became the business manager for the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem and served as the procurator for St. Stephen Priory there. He then returned to preaching for The Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, with residence at St. Vincent Ferrer Priory in River Forest, Illinois. From 1996–2002 he was also prior at St. Vincent Ferrer Priory. From 1998–2011 he was President of The American Friends of the Ecole Biblique.

In 2020, due to diminished health, he moved to St. Pius V Priory in Chicago, and he died on February 3, 2023. He will be missed by his Dominican family and by his birth family. He is survived by many nieces and nephews. He always tried to set a good example for them, and his family was very proud of him. Most of them have the surname Marren (through his sister Mary) and some Kilbridge (through his sister Helen) and some Coniglio (nee Biernat, through his sister Patricia). He was the last living Hereley of which his family is aware. He had a vice-grip handshake and a famous booming laugh.

His funeral Mass was celebrated 11:00 a.m. at St. Pius V Parish, 1919 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, Illinois, on Friday, February 10, 2023, with the Office of the Dead and viewing at 10:00 a.m. Interment was at All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois.