Msgr. Albert Hallin, 90, dies; funeral Mass is Friday at Holy Cross in Champaign

Msgr. Albert Hallin stands in front of the small altar in his apartment at Inman Place in Champaign in this 2013 file photo. The former educator, pastor and holder of diocesan leadership positions died Aug. 26 at the age of 90. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

CHAMPAIGN — A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, at Holy Cross Church here for Msgr. Albert W. Hallin, P.A., whose 58 years in the priesthood was marked by leadership in education, parishes and diocesan positions.

Msgr. Hallin, who in 2007 was named by Pope Benedict XVI to the highest rank of monsignor (protonotary apostolic), died on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, at St. Joseph Nursing Home in Lacon. He was 90.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, is scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass. The homilist will be Msgr. Doug Hennessy.

Visitation is planned from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, also at Holy Cross Church, 405 W. Clark St., concluding with a Scriptural Wake Service. Additional visitation will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday prior to the funeral Mass.

Burial will be at St. Boniface Cemetery in Seymour.

FROM NAVY TO PRIESTHOOD

Born Feb. 3, 1929, in Chicago to Albert W. Hallin Sr. and Clara Rose (Tomaszewski) Hallin, he originally intended to join the Priests of the Sacred Heart in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He attended the community’s high school seminary in Donaldson, Indiana, and college in Wisconsin for two years, and professed vows for three years.

Realizing life in a religious community wasn’t a good fit for him, he entered the U.S. Navy in 1951 and served as a hospital corpsman in Korea for four years. It was during this time that two chaplains from the Diocese of Peoria — Father John Wissing and Father Francis Cahill — recognized his priestly vocation and offered guidance.

Accepted by the Diocese of Peoria, he completed studies for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was ordained on May 28, 1961, at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Bishop John B. Franz.

EDUCATOR, PASTOR. LEADER

Msgr. Hallin discovered his love for teaching as a seminarian and had opportunities to hone his skills early in his priesthood. While serving as parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish, Peoria, he was named to the faculty of the Academy of Our Lady and, in 1964, began teaching at the new Bergan High School, also in Peoria. He was named its full-time chaplain in 1967 and served there for 11 more years.

His first assignment to Champaign came in 1978 as co-pastor of St. Matthew Parish. His other pastorates and starting years included St. Anne, East Moline (1983); St. Mary and Sts. Peter and Paul, Westville (1988); St. Columba, Ottawa (1990); Holy Cross in Champaign (1997), St. Boniface, Seymour (2005), adding St. Joseph, Ivesdale (2007).

He was granted senior status and named pastor emeritus of St. Boniface, Seymour, in 2012.

Msgr. Hallin also served briefly at Sts. Peter and Paul in Chatsworth and St. Mark in Peoria, and was a resident chaplain at the motherhouse of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in East Peoria.

He served periods as vicar of the Danville, Ottawa and Champaign vicariates, and for many years was the Diocese of Peoria’s Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenical Affairs. He was a former director of the diocese’s Pre-Cana program, and during his time at Holy Cross in Champaign was instrumental in the founding of The High School of Saint Thomas More.

Msgr. Hallin, who was named a prelate of honor with the title of monsignor in 1993, was a frequent lecturer on Sacred Scripture and the Catholic faith at parishes throughout the Diocese of Peoria.

In a 2011 interview with The Catholic Post in advance of the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Msgr. Hallin spoke of his love for the church and the priesthood and gave credit to his mentors, saying “every milestone in my journey has the name of a priest on it.” While acknowledging there is no commitment to Jesus Christ where there are “365 days of sunshine” every year, he added “it’s been a good life — a life worth living.”

Msgr. Hallin was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Leonard, and a sister-in-law, Ann.

Memorials may be made to the Scholarship Fund of The High School of Saint Thomas More or to Holy Cross School, both in Champaign, or to St. Joseph Nursing Home in Lacon.

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