CHICAGO (CBS) — For the first time since the Rev. Daniel Mallette was brutally beaten by two robbers, the 80-year-old priest is appearing in public and giving out gifts to children at his parish school.
As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, Father Mallette was attacked around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 6 as he slept soundly in the rectory at St. Margaret of Scotland Church, 9849 S. Throop St. The robbers left him with broken ribs and facial lacerations, and made off with $600.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
On Tuesday, Father Mallette at last felt well enough to co-celebrate a morning mass and sing “Silent Night.”
The Rev. George Clements, a seminary classmate of Father Mallette’s who has known him since age 14, handled most of the duties during the mass. Students from the parish school were the primary attendees.
After the mass, Father Mallette took great joy in handing out Christmas presents and toys to the schoolchildren. It is an annual holiday tradition for him, and one he says he greatly enjoys.
“Just the looks on their faces, and the expectation that every day is a new day, and everything is a gift,” Father Mallette said.
Mallette was not able to go out and gather the gifts himself, so they were donated by the Cook County Sheriff’s office, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, and Walgreens drugstores.
Father Mallette would not talk about the attack he suffered, or the two men who beat him. But county Sheriff Tom Dart, who is a parishioner at St. Mary of Scotland, said police have been working the case hard and have received many leads.
Dart says he is confident that arrests will be made in the case.
St. Sabina Church, about two-and-a-half miles away, continues to offer a $5,000 reward for anyone who identifies the perpetrators.