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Oak Lawn priest is living his dream

Father Lawrence Malcolm St. Gerald Catholic Church Oak Lawn. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media

Father Lawrence Malcolm of St. Gerald Catholic Church in Oak Lawn. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 2, 2011 4:36AM



What does he do?

As a youngster, Lawrence Malcolm said he knew he wanted to be a priest so he pursued his dream, and since 2008, he has been the pastor of St. Gerald Catholic Church at 9310 S. 55th Court in Oak Lawn.

How did he get into his job?

Malcolm was born and raised in Norwood Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side and realized at a young age that he wanted to enter ministry.

“At the age of 14, I started at Quigley Seminary with 440 guys,” Malcolm said. “I finished 12 years later with 32 guys being ordained. Most of the guys found out (the priesthood) was not the life for them, but they gave it a shot. But I thought this was what God wanted me to do.”

So Malcolm graduated in 1962 and then enrolled at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, spending two years in Niles and six years in Mundelein. At the university, Malcolm earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1966 and his master’s in theology in 1968.

Then in 1970, Malcolm was ordained at St. Mary, with the late Cardinal John Cody presiding.

“When I decided (to enter the priesthood), my parents wished me luck,” Malcolm said. “At my ordination they were very proud of me.”

After his ordination, Malcolm served at a number of Chicago area parishes as an associate pastor, including St. Bede in the Scottsdale neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, until 1992 when he was named pastor of St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic Church in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood.

Malcolm served at St. Daniel until 2008 when he became the pastor of St. Gerald, the oldest Catholic Church in Oak Lawn, established in 1934, following the opening of the parish elementary school in 1929.

What’s the best part of the job?

“Meeting the people is the best part of the job. I have the privilege of meeting wonderful people day in and day out. I feel sorry for the policemen who get to meet the bad guys. I get to meet the good guys,” Malcolm said.

“As pastor, I’m here to serve, to serve the needs of the people. And it’s a great life,” he said.

What’s the worst part of the job?

“The worst part of the job is being transferred from parish to parish. You fall in love with the people, and then you have to leave. That’s difficult,” he said.

What does he do for fun?

“I like to read and travel. I’ve gone to Europe 30 years in a row and run the trips (there),” he said.

Malcolm lives in the parish rectory next to the church.



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