Rev. Francis C. Jenks, 64, a resident at Mary Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge and longtime pastor of Ascension Church, died on July 16, 2009, of heart failure at Lutheran General Hospital.
Born in Visitation Parish on the South Side of Chicago, he was ordained in 1970 and served as assistant pastor of Our Lady of the Wayside in Arlington Heights, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview and St. Mary of Vernon in Vernon Hills before becoming pastor of Ascension in 1988.
He is remembered at Ascension as a sensitive homilist who loved liturgical music, was committed to youth and young adult ministry and encouraged lay involvement in parish governance. That involvement had its downside when a parishioner to whom parish funds had been entrusted for investment purposes, was accused of embezzling. Jenks, however, upgraded overall business practices by hiring the parish’s first business manager and leading a capital improvement campaign.
He remained at Ascension for more than 14 years, leaving in 2003 for St. Alphonsus Parish in Lemont, where he served as pastor until 2008. He received training in addiction counseling and planned to serve the Chicago Archdiocese in that capacity, but his health took a downturn.
Jenks loved golf and traveling, and thoroughly enjoyed his role as “Uncle Frank” to the children of his brother, Ed.
Visitation for Father Frank Jenks will take place Monday, July 20, from 2 to 9 p.m. at Ascension Church, 801 S. East Ave. in Oak Park. Bishop John Gorman will be the main celebrant at the funeral Mass at 11 a.m., July 21, at Ascension, followed by interment at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery in Alsip.
See this Wednesday’s paper for a fuller summary of the life of Rev. Frank Jenks.