Longtime priest and seminary professor dies two weeks after 100th birthday

  • Charles R. Meyer

    Charles R. Meyer

By Emmagrace Sperle
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 10/19/2020 4:37 PM

Monsignor Charles R. Meyer, a senior professor emeritus at St. Mary of the Lake and Mundelein Seminary died Thursday, two weeks after his 100th birthday.

According to a news release issued Monday by the Archdiocese of Chicago, Meyer was born in Chicago Sept. 30, 1920, and grew up attending St. Andrew Parish, where he was encouraged to become a priest.


Meyer later studied philosophy and theology at Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary and Mundelein Seminary, the archdiocese said. He received his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology at the St. Mary of the Lake.

An avid traveler, Meyer studied in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University and in the Vatican Library for his postdoctoral studies.

Meyer was ordained on Feb. 24, 1945, and celebrated his first Mass the next day at St. Andrew Parish, according to the release.

In 1949, he served as an assistant librarian at Mundelein Seminary and later became the dean of discipline for the philosophy and theology department. He taught courses on church history, dogmatic theology, and liturgical rubrics.

Meyer was the academic dean of the University of St. Mary of the Lake and Mundelein Seminary from 1976 until 1981, when he returned to the classroom full time.

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He retired in 1991 and as a professor emeritus he continued to teach part time until 2013.

The Very Rev. Thomas Baima, provost of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, met Meyer in 1976 when he started Mundelein Seminary as a student.

"While everyone knows him as a brilliant scholar and a demanding teacher," said Baima, "what many people didn't know about him was how, through the years, he maintained a connection with parish life."

For many years, he served as an assisting priest on the weekends in St. Edna Parish in Arlington Heights, and he also led a women's theology group in Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named him Prelate of Honor of His Holiness for his long service to the seminary.

The Rev. Emery de Gaál, chairman and professor of dogmatic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, said he remembers Meyer as cheerful, witty and knowledgeable.

"He was always alert to God's calling him to new tasks and obligations," de Gaál said. "He responded with singular devotion and discipline. ... At every task he joyfully excelled, precisely because he was fulfilling God's will."

Visitation and a funeral Mass have not yet been scheduled.

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