Parishioners plead for Fr. Pfleger to stay

March 17, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The Chicago Roman Catholic archdiocese has asked Father Pfleger about taking over the struggling Leo Catholic High School.

And while neither Pfleger nor the archdiocese will say what's going to happen, the parishioners of St. Sabina were speaking out as one Thursday morning, hoping to keep their beloved pastor.

St. Sabina leaders released a statement Thursday morning, saying, "We realize that Father Pfleger will not serve as Pastor of Saint Sabina forever. However, considering the current state of the economy, we believe that removing him at this time would be devastating to both our parish and the Auburn Gresham community."

Sources close to the situation tell ABC7 that Father Pfleger met with Cardinal Francis George on Friday and was asked to oversee Leo Catholic High School. He is not opposed to helping, but sources say Father Pfleger does not want to work at Leo full time and he's not trained in that arena.

St. Sabina Church leaders say that Pfleger wants to stay where he has been for 30 years. He has been a tentpole of the community.

As for the school, the principal of Leo said he would welcome Father Pfleger if Pfleger is moved there.

"Father Pfleger has always been a beacon in this community," said Leo High School Principal Philip Mesina. "And wherever he goes he's going to be successful. But as far as the conversation between Father Pfleger and the archdiocese, I know nothing about that. But I do know that he's been wonderful in the community. Just like here at Leo. We try to do the best things here at Leo."

So far, the only archdiocese's only official comment is that this is a private matter.

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