The ceremony will take place at St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Church, 5472 S. Kimbark Avenue, on Saturday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. A reception will be held immediately following the ceremony in the McGaw Common Room on the first floor of McCormick Theological Seminary, 5460 S. University Avenue, beginning at 3:30 p.m. President Frank Yamada said, “I commend the graduating class’ choice of this year’s commencement speaker, Father Michael Pfleger. Father Pfleger’s life consistently demonstrates the power of the gospel to transform individuals and communities through faith and activism. We are honored to be having him as this year’s commencement speaker.”
In the course of his extensive and active ministry, Father Pfleger has been recognized for his commitment to equality and passionate stance against injustice. He has been involved in many issues, such as, campaigns against the sale of drug paraphernalia, billboards that targeted children with alcohol and tobacco advertising and saturated communities of Color, negative music that glorified violence and degraded women, the violence and disrespect of women on The Jerry Springer Show and the easy access to guns and the violence that is snatching the lives of children across the country.
Some of the awards and honors he has received include: “Keeper of the Dream”, Rainbow/Push; Distinguished Service Award, Nation of Islam; “Thurgood Marshall Award”, National Black Prosecutors Association; “Monsignor Egan Social Justice Award”, DePaul University.
Father Pfleger 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!
He 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.
Father Pfleger was ordained a 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.
McCormick Theological Seminary will host its 187th graduation this year. As one of the nation's most respected seminaries, McCormick Theological Seminary celebrates and prepares women and men from all denominations and backgrounds for Christian ministry and service, advancing a model of education that is cross-cultural, urban, Reformed and ecumenical.