Father Henry F. Hildebrandt, 61, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Ness City and St. Aloysius Parish, Ransom, died Saturday, March 26, 2016.

He was born March 26, 1955, in Grove City, Pa., to Henry Ford Hildebrandt, Sr., and Dolores Dorothy Buehler.

Before studying for the priesthood, he served as pastoral minister at Sacred Heart Parish, Pratt, from 1976 to 1983. He took seminary studies at the University of Dallas (Holy Trinity Seminary) in Irving, Texas, and Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1987, by Bishop Stanley G. Schlarman at Sacred Heart Church, Pratt. He served as an associate pastor at St. Rose of Lima, Great Bend, from 1987 to 1990, before receiving his first pastorate at St. Anthony of Padua, Liberal, from 1990 to 2001.

During this assignment he also served in the following diocesan positions, Director of Vocations and Director of Seminarians, Director of Pastoral Ministry Formation and the ITV Network and Chair of the Building Commission. His pastoral assignments following his tenure at Liberal included St. Lawrence, Jetmore, with St. Anthony, Hanston, from 2001 to 2004 with additional responsibility for St. John the Baptist, Spearville, from 2003 to 2004. He had served as pastor of the parishes at Ness City and Ransom since July 1, 2004. He was a strong advocate of Catholic education and made known his desire for assignments in parishes with schools. He received a Papal mandate by Pope Francis in 2016 designating him a Missionary of Mercy during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. In this capacity he was to be a visible symbol of the Fatherís mercy and a living sign of the Fatherís loving kindness.

Survivors include several aunts and numerous cousins in the western Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. areas.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Church, Ness City; burial in the Sacred Heart Cemetery.

A rosary will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the church.

A vigil will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the church.

Memorials are suggested to Dechant Foundation and Sacred Heart School, Ness City, in care of Fitzgerald Funeral Home, Ness City.

Condolences can be sent to the family at www.fitzgeraldfuneral.com.