The Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Pfleger is Senior Pastor, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina. 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.
Since 1968, Father Pfleger has lived and ministered in the African-American community on both the west and south sides of Chicago. He spent two Summers working in a Native American community in Oklahoma and did his seminary internship as a Chaplin at Cook County Jail and at Precious Blood Catholic Church, both in Chicago.
Father Pfleger has been recognized for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, drugs and racism in People, Time, Ebony, Newsweek and Jet magazines; The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, U.S.A. Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Reader and numerous other papers and journals. He has also been profiled on the following television shows: “Day One” ABC; “60 Minutes” (CBS); BBC in Great Britain, the Larry King Show and Nightline.
Father Pfleger was cited in the December 20, 2004, Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the best and entertaining preachers in Chicagoland. Also, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina was written up in the December 2004 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of the churches symbolizing the “New Black Spirituality.”
In the course of his extensive and active ministry, Father Pfleger has been recognized for his commitment to equality and passionate stance against injustice. 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, “I Am A Man Award” from the April 4th Foundation in Memphis, TN, “Rosa Parks Award” from the SCLC and the “Unsung Hero Award” from the Wade’s World Foundation.
Father Pfleger 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. He has developed a program called “Operation Empowerment” that trained Saint Sabina members to inspect neighborhood stores for poor conditions. He also developed a team of church members who, rather than have the prostitutes arrested, went out and paid prostitutes for their time so they could talk about how they could turn their lives around.
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.
In 1981, Father Pfleger became the proud adoptive father of an eight-year-old son, Lamar. In 1992, he also became the adoptive father of Beronti. In 1997, he became a foster father to Jarvis Franklin, who was tragically killed as a result of gang crossfire, May 30, 1998.
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.