Rev. Harold W. Essling, C.S.C. | October 4, 1931 – August 9, 2023

Rev. Harold William Essling, C.S.C., 91, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. on August 9, 2023.

Fr. Essling was born on October 4, 1931, in Elmhurst, Illinois, to Albert and Ann Essling (Henning) and is the second oldest of three children.

Fr. Essling attended elementary school at St. John Baptist in Winfield, Illinois, and secondary education at Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst, Illinois. After graduation in 1950, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After four months of training, he was sent to Korea as a combat construction engineer. Returning to the United States shortly after the war, he owned and operated a motel and service station from 1954-1958 before becoming a highway patrolman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol until 1961. He entered the Holy Cross Brothers of the South-West Province in 1961 and made his final profession of vows in 1967. He attended college at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1967. In November of 1976, he transferred to the Holy Cross Southern Province and studied for the priesthood. He was ordained on June 8, 1978, at St. Ignatius Martyr Church in Austin, TX.

After ordination in 1978, Fr. Essling was assigned as associate pastor at St. Jude Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he served for one year. From 1979 to 1995, he was pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in New Orleans, Lousiana. In 1995, he returned to St. Ignatius Martyr in Austin, Texas, where he served as an associate pastor until 2004. For the next seventeen years, he served as chaplain for the Holy Cross Brothers in Austin, Texas, before residing at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Indiana beginning in 2021.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Ann Essling, and siblings Joan Cutts and Donald Essling. Numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews survive him.

The Funeral Mass will be at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, August 14, 2023, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind. You may also join us online at

Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Advancement, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at


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