CHICAGO—Tears of happiness flowed and joy was in the atmosphere during Sunday mass at St. Sabina Church upon the return ofFather Michael Louis Pfleger. The activist priest was reinstated to his post as senior pastor after a four-month battle following accusations of child sexual abuse from over 40 years ago.
During his June 6 return Father Pfleger said, he is ready to fight even harder as an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. He also thanked his supporters.
“I thank my family and my friends who loved me and stood by me, who checked on me to make sure I was okay,” said Father Pfleger during Sunday mass on the city’s South Side. “I will continue to pray for my accusers, and I even pray for those who took joy in my accusations, who took joy in the pain they brought me.
And, I pray for those, some who are probably listening today who wished for my demise but as Muhammad Ali said, when he laid on the boxing ring floor ‘the ground is no place for a champion to be.’”
The three-hour service was viewed online by many including director Spike Lee and acting Chicago Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt.
The longtime activist against violence and police brutality in Black and Brown communities was reinstated May 24 by the Chicago Archdiocese.
In a letter sent to St. Sabina’s congregation the archdiocese wrote that there was “insufficient reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations.”
Many supporters of Father Pfleger warmly welcomed and praised him via social media.
“Watching and praising GOD that I am blessed to be part of this WELCOMING BACK SERVICE. TO GOD BE THE GLORY,” wrote Catherine Mathews on Facebook.
“Praise GOD, you are back to do GOD’s work! You don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk hand in hand with the people of GOD!!!” wrote Irene Jaso.
Maurine Woodson wrote, “Thank God for his love and mercy and grace for this God sent man may God continue to bless him. Congratulations.”—Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad, Staff Writer