CHICAGO (CBS) — Beginning this weekend, Father Michael Pfleger will assume some new roles.
He’ll no longer be the sole pastor at his longtime parish, St. Sabina’s on the South Side. But he will be co-pastor, as previously announced.
And Pfleger will also be the citywide point-person for the Archdiocese of Chicago on issues involving guns, gangs and violence.
Pfleger talked with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine Friday about the changes.
He’ll continue to celebrate Mass at St. Sabina, where he’s been for more than three decades. But he said he intends to take an even more proactive approach to a battle he’s waged for decades against street violence.
“This crime thing is not gonna be solved by police or cease fire, it’s gonna be solved by communities,” Pfleger said.
He has been to funerals like the one Mayor Emanuel attended Friday morning for a 13-year-old boy. He has reached out to grieving parents like the mother of a 7 year-old as the mayor did earlier this week.
“Do I cry sometimes? Man, I cry about once every other day. It hurts. when I stop hurting i need to quit,” Pfleger says.
So, he understands the mayor’s frustration.
“I see and I hear the anger and the passion. That’s good and that’s important, because we got to be angry at this, but now we gotta say what do we do to solve it?” Pfleger says.
Starting this Sunday — while still adding new pictures of young victims of violence to the display outside St. Sabina -– Father Pfleger will use his new position to take community involvement a giant step further.
“What I really want to do in the next one to two years, I really want to build a coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques,” he says. “We have an opportunity to train the people in our pews to become the army out there in the street.”
Pfleger is 63 and has two years until he can retire. But don’t bet on that happening. He says he plans dying with his boots on.