Kevin Michael Birmingham, born on October 7, 1971, in Oak Lawn, Illinois, dedicated his life to serving the Roman Catholic Church. His journey from humble beginnings to becoming an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2020 is a testament to his deep faith and commitment to his community. Sadly, on October 2, 2023, just five days before his 52nd birthday, the Catholic Church mourned the loss of this devoted prelate.
Early Life and Education
Kevin Birmingham was the seventh of ten children, born into a large and loving family in Oak Lawn, Illinois. His early education took place in the Chicago Ridge School District in Chicago Ridge, Illinois, where he attended public primary school. Birmingham’s determination to pursue his calling led him to Quigley Preparatory Seminary South in Chicago. To support his journey to Quigley, he worked a paper route and took on odd jobs, demonstrating his dedication from a young age.
In 1987, Birmingham embarked on a new chapter by enrolling at Loyola University Chicago. While initially considering a major in computer science, his calling to the priesthood soon became evident. In 1989, he transferred to Niles College Seminary at Loyola, ultimately graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree. Birmingham’s educational journey continued as he pursued studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, earning his degree in 1997.
Priesthood and Ministry
On May 24, 1997, Cardinal Francis George ordained Kevin Birmingham to the priesthood, marking the beginning of his spiritual journey within the Roman Catholic Church. Following his ordination, he traveled to Mexico City, where he celebrated his second mass as a priest at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe—a significant moment in his early ministry.
Returning to Illinois, Birmingham served as an associate pastor at various parishes, including St. Peter Claver Mission Parish in Robbins, Illinois, St. Benedict Parish in Blue Island, Illinois, and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orland Park, Illinois. In 2005, he became the pastor of St. Anne Parish in Hazel Crest, Illinois, where he remained until 2011. During this time, he also contributed to the archdiocese by serving on the Priests’ Placement Board and joining the Presbyteral Council.
In 2011, Birmingham’s pastoral responsibilities led him to Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Chicago, and in 2013, he assumed the role of dean of Deanery III-A, further enriching his ministry.
Kevin Michael Birmingham’s dedication to the Church and his exemplary service did not go unnoticed. In 2020, Pope Francis appointed him as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago, with the titular bishopric of Dolia. On November 13, 2020, his consecration took place at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, marking a significant milestone in his religious journey.
Birmingham’s ministry extended to celebrating Mass in Spanish at St. John Berchmans Parish in Chicago on weekends, reflecting his commitment to a diverse and inclusive congregation. He also assumed the role of episcopal vicar of Vicariate IV in Chicago.
When Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry retired in September 2023, Archbishop Blase Cardinal Cupich appointed Birmingham as his successor, entrusting him with the responsibilities of episcopal vicar of Vicariate VI.
A Life Remembered
Kevin Michael Birmingham’s unexpected passing in his sleep on October 2, 2023, was a moment of deep sorrow for the Roman Catholic Church and the community he served. His life of dedication, service, and faith continues to inspire those who were touched by his ministry. As the Church remembers him, his legacy of devotion to God and his community lives on, serving as a beacon of faith for future generations.