Happy Birthday to Monsignor Charlie Meyer, Mundelein Seminary class of 1945, who celebrates turning 100 years old on September 30, 2020!
Msgr. Meyer is the most senior priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the longest-serving Mundelein Seminary faculty member, with service from 1947-2014. He was a professor of Dogmatic/Systematic Theology and Church History, and his wealth of knowledge was evidenced by the variety of topics he taught, including: “Grace as Freedom,” “Christian Archaeology,” “Sin, Grace, and Predestination,” “Priesthood and Ministry: Yesterday and Today,” “Eschatology in the Light of Science,” “Rahner’s Foundations of Christian Faith,” “Thomas Aquinas and the Doctrine of God,” and several others.
University of Saint Mary of the Lake Provost Fr. Thomas Baima praises Msgr. Meyer for his keen awareness, often setting the tone for others to follow.
“Msgr. Meyer was one of the very first professors at any seminary to engage religion and science, and he published the book Religious Belief in a Scientific Age,” Fr. Baima said. ” In fact, all of his books showed that he was keeping pace with exactly what the critical topics of the moment were.”
On the occasion of Msgr. Meyer’s 60th Anniversary of his Ordination, a number of current and former Mundelein faculty members honored him with a special edition of Chicago Studies magazine titled Cor Sapien tis Quaerit Doctrinam (Vol 45, Spring 2006). This Latin phrase from Proverbs 15:14 is a favorite of Msgr. Meyer’s that he translates to “The Mind of the Wise Person Seeks Instruction,” a succinct insight into the life of this wise, scholarly priest. It is also the quotation Msgr. Meyer recommended as the inscription to be engraved on the William and Lois McEssy Theology Resource center which was dedicated in 2004.
The magazine featured a series of articles dealing with areas of theology and theological questions, as well as questions of priestly formation, about which Msgr. Meyer himself had researched, taught, preached, written, and published. In his introduction, then-Rector Msgr. John Canary recognized the widespread influence that a professor of several decades would have on the Church.
“He has been a great influence on the lives of thousands of priests. The seminary has been richly blessed by his presence. He has been a great model, an effective preacher, an exceptional teacher, an enlightened theologian, a wise spiritual guide, and a genuine pastor of souls. May God grant him the joy of knowing the fruits of his labor,” Msgr. Canary said.
Msgr. Meyer celebrated his 75th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination this past February at Presence St. Benedict Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Niles, Illinois. Several faculty members stayed in touch with him throughout the pandemic, and were able to finally visit with him in person recently.
We pray in gratitude for this humble priest, for his 75 years of ministry, and for his decades of dedication to forming priests who aspire to follow in his footsteps. Fr. Martin Smith ’15 wrote an article about Msgr. Meyer in 2015 for the Bridge magazine that can be found here and contains this statement on his impact:
“Indeed, Msgr. Meyer is as much a part of the Mundelein narrative as the bridges around campus because he has been, and continues to be, a bridge for so many, teaching generations of priests. From grace and Church history to systematic theology and the EPR Paradox, his lectures, work, and writings in theology will continue to benefit future students for years to come.”