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St. Thomas More Parish has new pastor, associate

Msgr. Richard Zborowski, the new pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, is pleased with the well wishes he has received since arriving at the end of June.

ÒThis is a wonderful parish,” he said. ÒIt is like a small Catholic country parish, like in Central Illinois.”

Zborowski and the new associate pastor, the Rev. Matthew Compton, were greeted Sunday afternoon by parishioners and community members in the church garden at St. Thomas More Parish, 2825 W. 81st St., Chicago.

Snacking on cookies and drinking punch, Zborowski and Compton both said they are still in the process of learning names and getting to know the concerns of the parishioners since they arrived at the beginning of the month.{{more}}

ÒI don’t have a feel yet for the whole neighborhood,” said Zborowski. ÒFor instance, how many of the people in the neighborhood are actually Catholic? So, we have some work to do.”

Zborowski replaces the Rev. Charles Fanelli, who was the pastor at St. Thomas More the past 11 years. Fanelli retired in June. Compton replaces the Rev. Juan Carlos Gavancho, who has left and is no longer serving in the Chicago area.

Deacon George Borha remains at the parish and attended the church garden welcoming.

The late Cardinal Francis George named Zborowski a monsignor in 2010.

Zborowski last served as pastor of St. Theresa Parish in Palatine.

ÒWe are delighted to welcome the new pastor and associate pastor,” said longtime parishioner Trudy Maskin. ÒPeople are kind of excited. But it will take them awhile for them to bring in more changes.”

Some changes have occurred recently at St. Thomas More Church, including the elimination of the Spanish Mass. The noon Sunday Latin Mass continues.

Zborowski was the first priest to be recommended by George for the title as monsignor.

The two were not particularly close friends, Zborowski said. However, he was recommended to George by a Polish archbishop who singled out his effort to raise money for the seminary in Bialystock, Poland.

The seminary needed a new kitchen and retreat house, and Zborowski chose to raise money for it to thank the Polish priests who come to serve in Chicago.

While he has just been at St. Thomas More less than a month, Zborowski would like to make an effort to reach out to the community at large.

Zborowski said he would like to put Òdoor-hangers” on the doors of homes in the Wrightwood neighborhood to spread the word about the parish.

ÒThe numbers are down at the Masses than they have been in the past and we need to do something about that,” said Zborowski. ÒSo, we are going to be listening and talking to people.

ÒBut I think we are doing fine,” added Zborowski. ÒI plan to enjoy this.”

Longtime parishioner Ellen Hodges spoke for most of the visitors at the church garden greeting in stating that Zborowski seems to be a good fit.

ÒHe seems really nice,” said Hodges, who also takes photos for the parish. ÒI think he will work out fine.”

Compton most recently served at St. Gilbert Parish in Grayslake. The 38-year-old priest said he has been at several locations the past few years. It is hope that he will spend more time at St. Thomas More.

ÒIt’s been a privilege so far,” said Compton. ÒThey certainly have a great tradition here.”

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