UPDATED 12/12/11 5:43 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Five days after he suffered a vicious beating, Father Daniel Mallette welcomed a get-well visitor from City Hall on Sunday: Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, it was a sign of solidarity and support for the South Side priest and his parish.
At St. Margaret of Scotland Church, 9849 S. Throop St., parishioners praying for the recovery of their battered pastor, Rev. Daniel Mallette, were joined by the mayor.
“I wanted to express to the congregation, as well as to the father, that all the city is with him and all of them are with the parish as they recuperate; because it’s not just an incident with one person,” Emanuel said.
Mallette, who has been pastor at St. Margaret for 34 years, was brutally beaten by robbers early Tuesday in his bedroom on the rectory’s second floor. He suffered cuts, bruises and two broken ribs.
The mayor visited him Sunday and said Mallette is recovering slowly.
“He’s got his fighting spirit intact. That has not been affected and if anything, it’s been strengthened,” Emanuel said.
The robbers made off with $600 and had the nerve to ask a favor.
“While the guy is kicking him, he said, ‘Now this may sound inappropriate, but I was wondering if you’d pray for me,’” said Father William Kenneally, a friend of Mallette.
The beating touched off an outpouring of emotion. Students at the parish school made a get well card.
“It has to be somebody who has no heart or no soul. They don’t believe in Jesus, because this shoudn’t have happened,” said student Anfernee Kelly.
Parishioners were grappling with why someone who’s done so much good would have to suffer this fate.
“He’s so giving and he’s so involved in the community and helping people. No matter what, he’s always there to help you. So, I couldn’t understand it,” Barbara Massey said.
Maureen O’Connor said, “He’s a great priest. You can’t find a better priest.”
St. Sabina Parish, and its pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, have offered a $7,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the attack.