Parish News & Information

Parish News & Information

Remembering Deacon Al

Rest in Peace, Deacon Aloysius J. Memmel

December 14, 1928 - September 18, 2022


The St. Paul of the Cross family is mourning the loss of Deacon Al. Below is some information about his life and the tremendous imprint he has left upon our community. You may view his official obituary here. The funeral Mass will be at 10am on Saturday, September 24th at St. Paul of the Cross Church.


Deacon Al was born on December 14, 1928. His birth name was “Joseph Murphy” and he was put up for adoption immediately following his birth. He lived in the St Anne’s Orphanage which was run by the Daughters of Charity. He was baptized on September 29, 1929 and adopted by the Memmel family when he was 1-½ years old. His name was formally changed to Aloysius Joseph Memmel by his adoptive parents.

Deacon Al grew up in St Louis Missouri where his father, who was a pharmacist, ran a drug store. Al and his parents lived above the drug store and Al worked in the store delivering prescriptions and washing windows among other chores. Deacon Al was an only child with his adoptive parents and he had no knowledge of his biological family. Deacon Al’s father died in 1946, the same year Al graduated from high school. His mother died in 1964.

Deacon Al met his wife Bette when she was studying physical therapy at St Louis University. They were married in December 1952.

Immediately after getting married, Al went into the Army, during the Korean war. Deacon Al was assigned as a chaplain’s assistant to a Catholic priest. When he returned home from the army, he registered at St Louis University on the G.I bill. He earned a Bachelors in Commerce degree and graduated in 1958.

He and Bette moved to Chicago after accepting a job as an underwriter for Kemper Insurance. He later enrolled at Loyola University and was awarded a Master of Science in Industrial Relations in 1965. Deacon Al worked his entire career as an insurance underwriter and over the years worked for Kemper Insurance, Allstate, and finally, General Accident Insurance Company.

Deacon Al and Bette moved to Park Ridge in 1964. That same year, 1964, the Memmels registered at St Paul of the Cross parish. The Pastor was Monsignor Duffin. Deacon Al had a great dedication to the Boy Scouts. He joined the Boy Scouts in 1940. His one regret was that he never made Eagle Scout for only one reason: he could not swim. He became involved with the scouts at St Paul of the Cross in 1964 and served as Scout Master from 1966 to 1997. From 1970 to the present, he has served as a member of the Catholic Committee on Scouting.

In 1975, under Pastor Monsignor Donald Masterson, Al was invited to consider the Diaconate Formation Program. Al answered that call to ministry and was ordained in 1977. He was one of 54 men who were ordained that year (the class began with 104 candidates). At that time, the training was a two year program. However, Deacon Al voluntarily took a third year to obtain faculties to preside at weddings. He then took a fourth year of studies to obtain faculties for “advanced preaching for social services ministries.” Ironically, Deacon Al studied in formation under the direction of Reverend Joseph Kinane, who would later become the Pastor at St. Paul of the Cross.

In 1979, Deacon Al received training to serve as a Field Advocate for Annulment Petitioners, a ministry he only relinquished in 2015 due to his cancer surgery. While serving under Monsignor Masterson, Deacon Al could assist at Mass and preach. When Deacon Al inquired about being able to preside at Baptisms, Monsignor Masterson insisted that Al create and run a Baptism Preparation program. That program, which he began in 1977 continues to this day.

The long time parishioners of St. Paul of the Cross might be interested to learn that when Deacon Al began celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism, the font was at the entrance to the church (the “narthex”) in what is now a reconciliation room. It was then moved to the sanctuary in front of the St Joseph Altar and later still moved to its present location in the center of the Church on the blessed Mother side.

After Deacon Al retired from the insurance industry in 1994, he took on the voluntary position as the Head of Maintenance a St Paul of the Cross. Based on his knowledge of risk from the insurance industry, Al instituted many policies and procedures for the maintenance of the church buildings and campus.

A continuous learner, Deacon Al began taking on-line religion and theology extension courses from Notre Dame University. By now he has taken every course that has been offered and has been awareed a certificate of recognition for his academic accomplishments. As part of that curriculum, Deacon Al wrote a lengthy paper on the history of the Diaconate ministry.

After 41 years of Diaconate ministry, Deacon Al was asked whether his preaching had changed or evolved over the years. He readily admitted that his preaching became more social and pastoral. In his homilies he emphasized the loving relationship between God and His people. We relate to a loving God, not a vengeful warrior as often portrayed in the Old Testament and some aspects of Catholicism.

When asked what his favorite ministries were over his diaconate career, Deacon Al responded with preaching, celebrating Baptisms and working as Field Advocate for the Annulments cases. In that last ministry, Al stated that he encountered a lot of “hurt” against the Church and felt that he was able to help the healing process in some way. Deacon Al had the blessing to serve St Paul of the Cross under the leadership of six different Pastors: Monsignor James Duffin, Monsignor Donald Masterson, Reverend Joseph Kinane, Reverend Carl Morello, Reverend Britto Berchmans, and Reverend James Wallace. It can be said without reservation that Deacon Al has left a permanent imprint on this parish through all his ministries.


A very special thanks to Deacon Bob for the detailed biography and photos. Thank you also, Mark Miller, for additional photos from the archives.


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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

UC = Upper Church

HFC = Holy Family Chapel

Monday - Friday

6:25 am (UC)

8:30 am (UC)


8:30 am (UC) - weekday Mass

4:30 pm (UC) - vigil


7:30 am (UC)

9:00 am (UC)

10:30 am (UC)

12:00 pm (HFC)