Father Michael Louis Pfleger became an ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 14, 1975. In 1981, at the age of 31, he became the youngest full pastor in the diocese when he was appointed Pastor of Saint Sabina Church.
Since 1968, Father Pfleger has lived and ministered in the African-American community on both the west and south sides of Chicago. He spent two Summers working in a Native American community in Oklahoma, and did his seminary internship as a Chaplin at Cook County Jail and at Precious Blood Catholic Church, both in Chicago.
Father Pfleger has been recognized for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, drugs and racism in numerous magazines, papers and television shows; some of which include: People, Time, Ebony, and Newsweek magazines; The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune; profiled on 60 Minutes and the Larry King Show.
In the course of his extensive and active ministry, Father Pfleger has been recognized for his commitment to equality and passionate stance against injustice. Some of the awards and honors he has received include: "Keeper of the Dream", Rainbow/Push, Distinguished Service Award, Nation of Islam, and the "Thurgood Marshall Award."
Father Pfleger has been involved in many issues, such as, campaigns against the sale of drug paraphernalia, ads that target children with alcohol and tobacco, and negative music that glorifies violence and degrades women.
He is the founder of the Employment Resource Center, the Ark Youth Center, Saint Sabina Social Service Center, Thea Bowman Spiritual Advance Center, Samaritan House for the homeless, Saint Sabina 80-unit Elders Village and the Beloved Community, Inc.
As a minister, Father Pfleger has sought to break down the walls of racism and denominationalism by building unity among all people founded on truth and based on Jesus’ command to love one another. This holy calling has led him to be parent, a preacher, a teacher, a lecturer and an activist. However, he believes his most important role is an errand boy for Jesus!
- At the request of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Father Pfleger was the keynote speaker for the national Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service. This event was held on January 20, 2003, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
- At the request of the King Family, Father Pfleger was one of the speakers to eulogize Mrs. Coretta Scott King on February 8, 2006.
- Father Pfleger was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame on January 24, 2009, in Atlanta Georgia.
- Father Pfleger was honored by the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference on February 18, 2009, with the "Beautiful Are Their Feet" award.
- Father Pfleger was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Office of Racial Justice of the Archdiocese of Chicago on April 7, 2010
In 1981, Father Pfleger became the proud adoptive father of an eight-year-old son, Lamar and in 1992, adopted Beronti. In 1997, he became a foster father to Jarvis Franklin, who was tragically killed as a result of gang crossfire, May 30, 1998.
Father Pfleger received his B.A. in Theology from Loyola University, his Master of Divinity from the University of St. Mary of the Lake and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. He has also completed post-graduate studies at Mundelein College and the Catholic Theological Union.