Posts Tagged Chicago Fire Department chaplain

Chicago Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from

The Rev. Thomas Mulcrone plans to retire June 30 as chaplain for the Chicago Fire Department after three decades on the job.

Mulcrone, 65, said he didn’t know why he wasn’t asked to take another assignment by the Archdiocese of Chicago. After all, most associate pastors are reassigned every 5-7 years, and parish priests typically move after 12 years, he said.

“Nobody bothered to ever ask,” Mulcrone said about his prolonged tenure as chaplain — an assignment originally slated for just three years. His replacement has yet to be named.

Mulcrone will remain a priest and continue to minister at St. Mary of Providence. He resides on the grounds of the Catholic facility that serves women with developmental delays at 4200 N. Austin Ave. in Portage Park.

Hailing from law enforcement family, Mulcrone will soon give up being on call 24 hours a day for the fire department. He added that he’s seen 20 line-of-duty deaths in his time as fire department chaplain.

“Sadly, I’ve had to ring too many doorbells in the middle of the night,” he said. “A little piece of your heart and soul is ripped out when your brother falls.”

Among the many lessons he’s learned on the job is that there are no words to say when consoling a grieving family. Instead, it’s better to be a good listener than a good talker in such situations.

“I think Fr. Tom realized that a cup of coffee at the kitchen table at the firehouse was the most powerful tool in the box. He has been there for every member of the department that needed him,” said Bill Sullivan, a director of the widows’ and children’s fund.

Eileen Coglianese is president of the Chicago Fire Department’s Gold Badge Society. The group is comprised of the families of firefighters and paramedics who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. The group was founded Feb. 17, 1991, and Coglianese said it was Mulcrone who suggested it.

For his part, Mulcrone described his life’s work as catering the needs of a big parish on wheels. He said he’ll miss the men and women of the fire department and said the greatest lesson he learned over the years is embodied in their work.

“Giving of yourself is the greatest gift you have to give,” he said.

thanks Dan

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Chicago Fire Department news

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

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