Retiring St Cornelius pastor Fallon to be honored as parish to close after 95 years in Jefferson Park
by BRIAN NADIG
The Reverend Dan Fallon is retiring June 30 after 44 years of service to the Archdiocese of Chicago, including the last 12 as pastor of the Saint Cornelius Parish.
The 70-year-old Fallon said that he grew up in a family where one went church every Sunday and realized as a child he wanted to become a priest while attending the former Divne Savior School in Norridge. “I felt a calling from the Lord,” he said.
Fallon’s last day as pastor also will be the last official day for Saint Cornelius, 5430 W. Foster Ave., which is being consolidated with Saint Tarcissus and Saint Thecla parishes into the new Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish, 6020 W. Ardmore Ave. The new parish starts Wednesday, July 1.
Parishioners are planing to honor Fallon with a “walk by” celebration from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, in front of the Saint Cornelius Rectory, 5205 N. Lieb Ave.
The last few years have been “painful” at times for parishioners with the closing of the school in 2016 and now the parish itself, Fallon said. Neither closing was “by choice” for the parishioners, but financial constraints and a “more secular” society in which fewer people attend church necessitated changes, he said.
“We lost our identity as Saint Cornelius, (but) you just have to move forward,” said Fallon, who in the past year also served as the administrator at the Saint Mary of the Woods Parish, 7033 N. Moselle Ave.
Complicating the situation was the pandemic, which resulted in the shut down of parish facilities for three months and prevented some events from being held before the closing. “A lot of activities had to be (canceled) because of COVID-19,” Fallon said.
Despite the consolidation on July 1, Mass is scheduled to be held at Saint Cornelius on Sundays through Aug. 16. Due to social distancing requirements, services (in English at 9 and 11 a.m. and Spanish at 1 p.m.) are restricted to 150 attendees and reservations must be made in advance by calling or e-mailing the church.
Fallon said that he will be volunteering at the church for the next few months until it is completely shut down and that he expects the archdiocese will be putting the property up for sale. He said that for several years the Chicago Public Schools has been looking at leasing the school building for an early education center but has yet to sign a lease despite numerous visits to inspect the building.
Fallon’s other positions in the archdiocese have included pastor at Our Lady Mother of the Church, 8747 W. Lawrence Ave., and associate pastor at Saint Isaac Jogues in Niles. He also has served as dean of the regional Deanery II-F, which includes other Northwest Side pastors.