August 8, 2023 | Parish Update
Please find below the funeral arrangements and obituary for our dear former pastor, Fr. Don McLaughlin. Let us gather together as a community to celebrate his life and pray for the repose of his soul.
Rev. Don McLaughlin was born into eternal life Sunday, August 6, 2023 surrounded by his nephews and dear friends. He was many things to many people – pastor, brother, minister, uncle, friend. He spent his youth playing “priest” and preparing for a future dedicated to caring for others. It was no surprise to his loved ones when he was ordained on October 10, 1981 by Bishop Joseph L. Imesch at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet, IL. He served as a priest and pastor for over 40 years and recently retired as pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, Aurora, IL. He was a beloved servant of the following parish communities in the Diocese of Joliet: St. Margaret Mary, Naperville as transitional deacon and priest (1981-1982); St. Alexander, Villa Park (1982-1985); St. Philip the Apostle, Addison (1985-1989); St. Water, Roselle (1989-1990); St. Charles Borromeo, Bensenville where he received his first pastorate (1993-2001); St. Michael, Wheaton where he led the rebuilding project after a fire destroyed the church in 2002 (2001-2012); St. Thomas the Apostle, Naperville (2012-2017); and most recently Our Lady of Mercy, Aurora (2017-2022). Upon retirement in 2022, Fr. Don hoped to travel to Sonoma, California, but his plans were waylaid by the illness that eventually took his life. Throughout the decline of his health, Don was grateful to the many friends, parishioners, and family members who visited with him, called, prayed for him, and sent well wishes, and he prayed for them in return.
Aside from his pastoral duties, Fr. Don was volunteer chaplain for the Chicago Bears for the 1983-84 seasons and volunteer chaplain for the Wheaton Fire Department 2004-2012. He also served on various diocesan committees.
Those who knew Fr. Don witnessed his expansive love of wine, travel, and theater. Fr. Don appreciated the beauty in the world around us and the creativity of humanity. Fr. Don was funny, joyful, and generous. His impact is far reaching and he will be remembered for his passion, humor, and excellent homilies.
We will always be reminded of what Fr. Don said following the fire that destroyed St. Michael Church, “We did not lose the Church. We lost the building where the Church gathers. We are the Church.” The Church mourns the loss of this shepherd who guided so many flocks during his prosperous years of ministry.
Born February 16, 1952 and raised in Indianapolis, IN he is predeceased by his parents Thomas E. McLaughlin and Dorothy Birdwell; stepmother, Evelyn Calloway; stepmother, Sylvia Miller; Brother Thomas Joel McLaughlin. Survived by nephews Joel McLaughlin, Scott (Barb) McLaughlin; Daniel (Tayna) McLaughlin; niece Kathleen (Kevin) Walsh and many grandnieces and grandnephews and cousins.
A special word of thanks to the staff at St. Patrick’s Residence where Fr. Don lived, the Carmelite Sisters who’s care and love for him were unfailing, the nurses, doctors and staff at AccentCare Hospice, Naperville, IL and his oncology team at Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center, Warrenville, IL.
Visitation is on Thursday, August 10, 2023, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. followed by a Vigil Service at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 701 S. Eola Rd., Aurora, IL.
The 7:30 p.m. Vigil Service will be livestreamed on our website, Facebook and YouTube.
Additional Visitation from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Friday, August 11, 2023 followed by a Funeral Mass 11 a.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187. Livestream of the Funeral Mass will be at the following – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emwVxg_7sBw
Interment to follow at St. Michael Cemetery, Wheaton.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Hesed House, 659 S. River Rd, Aurora, IL, 60506 https://www.hesedhouse.org/ or the Diocese of Joliet Catholic Education Foundation, 16555 Weber Rd., Crest Hill, IL, 60403 https://schools.diojoliet.org