Fr. Pfleger brings his message of social justice to Benedictine

Fr. Pfleger brings his message of social justice to Benedictine
November 9, 2011

Phil Brozynski
(630) 829-6094
pbrozynski@ben.edu

Pfleger photoLisle, Illinois ~ Poverty was once a forgone way of life in the area around St. Sabina Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side.

Recently, however, the parishioners of St. Sabina and their pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger, have been instrumental in transforming the neighborhood. New housing and storefronts are opening. One of the largest new single-family home developments in Chicago opened less than four years ago near 87th Street and Parnell Avenue.

Fr. Pfleger will speak about poverty and the way that citizens can become more involved in its eradication when the Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) at Benedictine University presents "Combating Poverty: A Moral and Civic Imperative" at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, on the second floor of the Krasa Student Center.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

"Fr. Mike Pfleger is a civil rights leader, inspirational preacher and passionate advocate for the poor," said Jim Ryan, Benedictine Fellow, founder of CCL and Political Science instructor at Benedictine. "I have great respect for his commitment to social justice. I have no doubt the community will be moved by his message."

Fr. Pfleger has lived and ministered in the African-American community on both the west and south sides of Chicago since 1968. In 1975, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and six years later, at the age of 31, became the youngest full pastor in the diocese when he was appointed pastor of St. Sabina.

Fr. Pfleger has been recognized in People, Time, Ebony, Newsweek and Jet magazines and countless newspapers for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, drugs and racism. He has also been profiled on ABC television's "Day One," CBS' "60 Minutes," the BBC in Great Britain, the "Larry King Show" and "Nightline."

As a minister, Fr. 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 calling has led him to be a parent, preacher, teacher, lecturer and activist. However, he believes his most important role is an errand boy for Jesus. 

Fr. Pfleger earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Loyola University, a 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.

Established in 2005 under the direction of former Illinois Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan, CCL seeks to shape a new generation of public leaders and responsible citizens. Each year, the Center invites prominent public figures to speak about the importance of active citizenship and public service.

In recent years, CCL has hosted President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, Washington Post columnists Bob Woodward and David Broder, CNN's Peter Bergen, Children's Defense Fund Director Marian Wright Edelman, University of Chicago legal scholar Cass Sustein, human rights advocate Paul Rusesabagina and former Illinois Governor James Edgar. 

As a vehicle for civic education and engagement, CCL has also placed many undergraduate students into public service and government internships, where they gain valuable firsthand experience working closely with some of Illinois' finest public servants and elected officials.

For more information, go to www.ben.edu/ccl or visit the Benedictine University Facebook event page.

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.