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October 25, 2009

Apostles left their boats, today it’s real estate

By Dolores Madlener



Father Edward Pelrine, pastor, stands with his bike in the garden of Queen of the Rosary Parish, Elk Grove Village. Catholic New World/Julie Jaidinger

He is: Father Edward Pelrine, pastor of Queen of the Rosary Parish, Elk Grove Village. Went through the archdiocesan seminary system. Ordained at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in 2001.

Edgewater: “I grew up in St. Gertrude’s Parish in Edgewater with three brothers and three sisters. It was a close-knit neighborhood with many big families. We spent lots of time playing outside and on the lake front, riding our bikes downtown on the bicycle path. I had an unusual job in eighth grade and into high school. I was the parking lot attendant at Barr Funeral Home on Broadway and Granville, and vacuumed the chapels after wakes.”

Parents: “Dad was supervisor of disbursements for the Chicago Housing Authority. Mom started college when my youngest brother was in first grade.” She got her master’s degree in counseling at Northeastern and went to work in the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life.”

Quigley: “I had an interest in priesthood. My brother John, two years older than I, went to Quigley and I followed. The BVM sisters at St. Gertrude’s were very supportive and my mother’s brother, a Sacred Heart Father, was a big influence on me.”

Second thoughts: He got a degree in English from Niles College Seminary, and went to Mundelein for a year. “I wasn’t sure at the time.” He left, and for the next 10 years, ran the Chicago office of an employment and vocational testing company. He went to night school at Loyola and earned an MBA, living in Norwood Park.

“I never gave up on the idea of priesthood, but it was way in the back of my mind for a while. Then I began looking at life more seriously and wondering if that was what God was calling me to do. I began to pray more and came to the conclusion God was calling me to the priesthood and it was time to answer.”

Transition: He sold his home and approached the priests at the seminary. “I got a very positive reception. The transition was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The worst part was not having a paycheck. I remember the first payday that came around and I realized, ‘My gosh, what have I done?’”

Prayer life? “Primarily in the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours. I belong to a monthly priests’ prayer group — a big support. I also have a group of priest friends from the seminary who are not in Chicago. Nothing against my Chicago brothers, but we were all the same age, so we’ve remained good friends and stay in touch. We go away each January to a cabin on Lake Huron for a pseudo-retreat to rejuvenate and talk about what’s going on in our lives, our parishes and our work.

I also go on retreat every year myself. Last year I went to the Poor Clare Monastery near Phoenix, Ariz. And I get great support from my parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. We have a very strong family, which is a blessing.”

Relaxing: “Sometimes I do nothing, or spend time with my parents or go to dinner with friends.”

Reading? “Right now I’m reading ‘The Shack,’ out of curiosity. I like fiction, history, biography. I’m an avid reader.”

Favorite saint? “St. Peter. I’ve developed a real admiration for him. He’s a great role model because he never let his failings keep him down. In the end he was faithful. We can all identify with his human weaknesses.”