Retired pastor of Rolling Meadow parish dies at 82

The Rev. Michael P. Ahlstrom, who served more than a decade as pastor of St. Colette Parish in Rolling Meadows, died Friday at the age of 82, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday.

Ordained in 1969, the Indianapolis native first served as a faculty member at Niles College of Loyola University and assistant pastor at St. Bernadette Parish in Evergreen Park, according to the archdiocese.

He then served as associate pastor at parishes in Franklin Park, Park Ridge and Chicago, before being appointed pastor of St. Colette in 1989. Ahlstrom remained at St. Colette until 2003.

In 2004, he was named vicar for deacons, a role in which he would serve until 2013.

“It was clear that he valued and loved the diaconate community: deacons, their wives and families,” said Deacon James Norman, the current vicar for deacons. “He was always there when needed to celebrate a Mass, lead a prayer, coach and mentor. He left us a legacy of love and support.”

Deacon David Brencic, assistant director of the Office of the Diaconate and a friend of Ahlstrom, said he was loved by the deacons and wives, “and it was mutual.”

“I remember him saying at several gatherings of deacons and wives, ‘My main job is to love you.’ He was a true shepherd and generous servant,” Brencic added.

The Rev. Robert Heidenreich, a retired priest and one of Ahlstrom’s closest friends, remembered him as an incredible person who always cared about others.

“He was a real guy and people loved him,” he added.

Funeral services will take place at St. Barbara Church of Holy Guardian Angels Parish, 4000 Prairie Ave. in Brookfield. Lying in State will take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, with a vigil prayer service at 7 p.m.; and 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 14.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 15. Interment will occur at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 16, Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Evanston.

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