Fr. Duane Jack, 82, longtime Cursillo director, dies; funeral Friday in Moline

Father Duane Jack

MOLINE — A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, at Christ the King Church here for Father Duane Jack, a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria who served in six parish communities and was spiritual director of Northwest Area Cursillo for 37 years.

Father Jack died on Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf, Iowa. He was 82.

Bishop Louis Tylka is the scheduled principal celebrant of the funeral Mass.

Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4, at Christ the King Church, 3205 60th St. in Moline, with a Scripture Wake Service at 7 p.m. There will also be visitation one hour prior to the funeral.

Burial will be in St. Mary Cemetery, East Moline.

Born Feb. 1, 1941, in Moline to Harris and Florence (Pierzchalski) Jack, he attended St. Anne Grade School in East Moline and was a 1959 graduate of Alleman High School in Rock Island.

Father Jack sensed an inclination to the priesthood late in grade school and — guided by Msgr. Bill Cleary at the parish and later by Father John Hunt at Alleman — decided to enter minor seminary at St. Bede in Peru. He continued his preparation for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in theology.

He was one of nine priests ordained on May 21, 1967, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria by Bishop John B. Franz.

Father Jack’s first assignments were as parochial vicar at Visitation Parish, Kewanee; Immaculate Conception Parish, Monmouth; and Holy Family Parish, Peoria.

While at Holy Family, he served on Marriage Encounter presenting teams for five years. He also became involved in Cursillo, which would become a major part of his priesthood and what he considered “an extraordinary experience and blessing.”

When he was named co-pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Moline in 1976, Father Jack also became the spiritual director of Northwest Area Cursillo. In the next 37 years, he would direct and form presenting teams for 235 Cursillo weekends of spiritual renewal. In addition, Father Jack was a driving force behind construction of the Believers Together Center at Christ the King in Moline, which has provided a home for Northwest Area Cursillo and Teens Encounter Christ since 2002.

“One of the great experiences of my priesthood has been in discovering how each person has an awareness of God that is unique. I find it a joy to discover this by careful listening.”

“I am so grateful to God for this because it has given me an opportunity to meet countless people seeking a closer relationship with God,” Father Jack told The Catholic Post of his Cursillo experiences. “One of the great experiences of my priesthood has been in discovering how each person has an awareness of God that is unique. I find it a joy to discover this by careful listening.”

From 1981 to 1991 he was pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Coal Valley and also vicar of the Rock Island Vicariate. At St. Maria Goretti, he guided that growing faith community’s plans for a new church and social hall, dedicated in 1984.

Father Jack served as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Kewanee from 1991 to 2002, including a period as vicar of the Kewanee Vicariate. He was then pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Colona from 2002 until being granted senior status in 2013.

In retirement, he continued to offer a weekly Mass at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island and help as needed at area parishes.

Reflecting on his priesthood in 2017 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Father Jack said parish life and Cursillo were sources of great joy as he shared in the lives of those God brought into his path.

“Priesthood is bringing the presence of the divine into everyday situations,” he said.

He is survived by a sister, Carol Harrison of Bettendorf, Iowa, and a brother, Richard (Marlo) Jack, of Ely, Iowa; nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother-in-law, C. Richard Harrison.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, memorials may be made to any local homeless shelter or to Catholic Relief Services.

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