Why Father Pfleger Could Be Leaving St. Sabina - NBC Chicago
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Why Father Pfleger Could Be Leaving St. Sabina



    Why Father Pfleger Could Be Leaving St. Sabina
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    The evolving saga surrounding Father Michael Pfleger's possible move from St. Sabina parish has attracted political attention.  

    Ward Room has learned even Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel called Pfleger to offer support, should he need it. 

    Here's how it all began:

    One week ago, Cardinal Francis George and Father Michael Pfleger had one of their yearly get-togethers.

    In previous years George strongly suggested it was time for Pfleger to leave St. Sabina, the parish Pfleger has helmed for three decades. But Pfleger hasn't wanted to leave.

    Most priests stay a maximum of 12 years at a parish, though that rule has been broken in the past. This time, the conversation seems to have gained more traction.
    Cardinal George apparently offered Pfleger to take over at Leo High School, just blocks from Sabina. Some believe the Cardinal wants Pfleger to begin his new position by April 1. But those in charge at Leo High School had no idea the offer was made.  
    Now, Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, superintendent of Chicago Archdiocese Schools, tells Ward Room, "[Pfleger] brings a dynamism and knowledge of the community. It's a close neighbor to St. Sabina's, it could be a vibrant connection."

    McCaughey added, "I can't speak for the archdiocese, I can only speak for the schools. Personnel matters are between the Cardinal and his priests."
    McCaughey believes Pfleger would be a good fit at Leo, saying it would be "terrific to have a leadership community for that neighborhood," as she puts it, "focusing on anti-violence." 
    Cardinal George has been anxious to move the outspoken Pfleger for some time.   

    Who would the Cardinal transfer to St. Sabina to take Pfleger's place? The name most often mentioned is Father Matt Eyerman, currently the pastor at St. Columbanus.  

    Eyerman, however, has told those who have asked that he is not moving to Sabina's.

    "I have no intentions of going to St. Sabina's," he said by phone.

    Nevertheless, a source tells Ward Room one of the auxiliary bishops stopped at St. Columbanus on Thursday to talk to Eyerman. He apparently was unavailable.   

    Eyerman has been instrumental in running a food pantry out of St. Columbanus that attracted the attention of the Obama family. They were there distributing food just after the '08 election over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

    Sources also say while Cardinal George originally told Pfleger he'd like to hear back from him by Friday, Pfleger asked for two weeks to decide. So he may not be discussing this until next Friday. 

    Meanwhile, the Cardinal has an Administrative Council Meeting planned for this afternoon at the Quigley Center.