PERU — The Rev. Henry Fritz, O.S.B., monk and priest of St. Bede Abbey in Peru, died Sunday, July 6, 2014, at St. Margaret’s Hospital, Spring Valley, several days after suffering a severe stroke.
Henry Harold Fritz was born April 3, 1925, the son of Henry E. and Marie (Nilles) Fritz, in Chicago. The family moved to Pontiac in 1926, where Henry entered St. Mary’s Grade School and worked a variety of farm jobs. After attending high school and college at Saint Bede, where he was very much involved in religious activities and athletics, he entered the novitiate at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn., in 1945. He received a Bachelor of Arts from St. John’s University and a master’s in economics from Notre Dame. He made his first profession of vows on July 11, 1946, took his solemn vows on July 11, 1949, and was ordained a priest May 22, 1952.
Fr. Henry taught history, political science and economics at Saint Bede Academy from 1952 until 1977, when he was appointed principal. He also served as guidance counselor, yearbook moderator and softball coach. During his tenure as principal, he instituted the annual dinner auction in support of the Academy. In 1985 he began a series of parish assignments throughout the Peoria diocese, including assistant, St. Mary, Pontiac, 1985; pastor, St. Peter, Peoria, 1986; St. Francis, Kewanee, and St. John, Cambridge, 1987 and again in 2010-2012; St. Joseph, Peru, 1994; pastor, St. Joseph, Peru; administrator, St. Mary, Peru, 2001; and pastor, St. Benedict, Ladd, 2005. He retired to the abbey in 2012.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Mary Lenore Braddy. He is survived by two sisters, Dolores Coughlin of Chicago and Marilyn Weber of Pontiac; and by his monastic brethren.
His body will be received at the St. Bede Abbey Church on Tuesday, July 8, at 4 p.m. and visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m., with a prayer vigil at 5:15 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, July 9, at 4 p.m. at the church, with interment in the abbey cemetery.
Memorials may be directed to Saint Bede.
The Ptak Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.