News from CFD Chaplain Fr. Tom Mulcrone:

When Cardinal Bernardin in 1987 named me as the Chaplain of the Chicago Fire Department his letter of appointment stated that there was a term of office of 3 years for this position, renewable upon review. No one ever bothered to call regarding that review. So, thirty years later I look back proudly and happily at all that has happened in my years as your Chaplain, grateful that the good Cardinal forgot about that letter.
And it has been quite a ride!
There have been moments of incredible joy and satisfaction that have made these years a delight. Truly, I have been blessed beyond words. But there have also been those times of tragedy and great sadness, especially when one of our own had fallen. Yet through it all I knew I was loved and supported by so many who stood by my side, always encouraging me. And, of course, I knew and trusted in the unconditional love of God who always saw me through the good and the bad. How truly blessed I have been on this journey.
Over the past year I have taken a lot of time to consider this road I have been on and how I want so much to go forward living my life to the full. Through prayer and the wise counsel of trusted family and friends I have decided that the time has come for me to retire as the Chaplain of this great fire department. The decision has not been arrived at easily – in some ways it’s frightening beyond words. To let go of something you love to do – work that is both meaningful and exciting at the same time – is still difficult for me to comprehend. The most difficult part of all this is having to say goodbye to all of you – the members, the retirees, the families. I have counted the fires, the emergency responses and all the runs I responded to – but I cannot quantify the incredible moments and events I have shared with so many of you.
This decision, as I have noted, has been a difficult one but the right one. I have my health and my wits about me (some might debate that point) and I will be retiring on my terms. Also, it will be good for the CFD to experience the ministry of a new Chaplain who can bring a fresh perspective and greater energy to this important work. To that end I am working with the Archdiocese to ensure that my successor be the right person for this vital ministry.
I will continue as the Chaplain until June 30 of this year – my “last day.” After that, I will take a 3 month sabbatical out of state to allow myself time to renew and regenerate and also afford the new Chaplain the opportunity to get to know all of you without the likes of me getting in the way. Of course, I won’t be completely walking away. I have made too many deep and abiding friendships to just slam the door; I look forward to enjoying the blessings of your friendship in retirement.
What else can I say but THANK YOU for 30 incredible years. I have been and, God willing, will continue to be the luckiest priest in Chicago – all because of you.

Fr. Tom

thanks Scott