Msgr. Peter Bolerasky dies; funeral Mass in Streator Nov. 16

STREATOR — A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Msgr. Peter E. Bolerasky at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, at the church where he served for 45 of his 47 active years of priesthood, St. Stephen’s in Streator.

Msgr. Bolerasky died on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints Hospital in Racine, Wis. He was 82.

Visitation is scheduled from 2 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 15, at St. Stephen’s. Father Jeffrey Small will celebrate the funeral Mass the following morning. Burial will be in St. Stephen Parish Cemetery.

BORN OCT. 26, 1927, in Moquah, Wis., to Peter and Jennie Beil Bolerasky, he moved with his family to Streator and St. Stephen’s Parish when he was 15. A graduate of Streator Township High School, he studied for two years at Our Lady of the Ozarks College in Carthage, Mo., and completed preparation for the priesthood at St. Meinrad Major Seminary in St. Meinrad, Ind.

Msgr. Bolerasky was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria on May 29, 1955. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Parish, Peoria.

Two years later, the son of Slovakian immigrants returned to Streator to assist his former pastor, Msgr. George Dzuryo, at St. Stephen’s — the oldest Catholic parish in the United States organized by Slovaks.
He would serve the parish for the next 45 years, including as co-pastor with Msgr. Dzuryo from 1974 to 1992 and then as pastor until he was granted senior status with the title of pastor emeritus in 2002.

A former vicar of the Ottawa vicariate, he was named a prelate of honor with the title of monsignor in 1993.

During his years at St. Stephen’s, the parish built a new hall, school cafeteria and gymnasium and redecorated the church for its centennial celebration in 1983. Msgr. Bolerasky was instrumental in acquiring property for expansion purposes and directed the building of St. Stephen’s Cemetery Chapel, dedicated in 1984.

He served as chaplain of the local Knights of Columbus council as well as St. Clement’s Society of the First Catholic Slovak Union Branch 40.

Editor’s note — Survivor information was not available to The Catholic Post at press time.

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