Excitement reigns for installation of pastor at Notre Dame
Michael Keefe, minister of music leads the choir in practice on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 at Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills. The choir was practicing in preparation for the Sept. 1 installation of Rev. Patrick Mulcachy as pastor of the church. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:09AM
CLARENDON HILLS — There will be a sense of joy and security Sept. 1 at the official installation of the Rev. Patrick M. Mulcahy as pastor of Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills.
The installation is scheduled, along with a 5 p.m. Mass, at the church at 64 Norfolk Ave.
Mulcahy came to Notre Dame in December 2010 as an administrator after serving for about 18 months at St. Petronille in Glen Ellyn. Mulcahy, 48, grew up in Glen Ellyn.
The installation of Mulcahy at Notre Dame means he will be there for at least six more years, he said.
“I’m very excited about it,” Mulcahy said. “I think this does give everyone a little more sense of security, and that helps all of us.
“I love this community,” he said. “When I first came here I thought it was a beautiful place to worship with a very dynamic congregation. They really love the place; people here are very passionate about it.”
Chris Lankford, a 22-year-old Clarendon Hills resident, was baptized at Notre Dame and attended elementary school there before moving on to Hinsdale Central. He remains a parishioner of the church and has completed four years of seminary; he plans to become a priest after another four years of seminary.
“This is a very exciting time because the installation means it’s official,” Lankford said. “Father Pat has been a great inspiration to me. He has a vision. He is very loving, tender and kind. He’s also very open-minded and shows a genuine care for his flock. He really listens when anyone talks to him.”
Clarendon Hills resident Kris Nechvatal has been a parishioner at Notre Dame for the past 30 years and has worked as a secretary at the church for the past seven years.
“Father Pat is my pastor, my boss and my friend,” Nechvatal said. “He’s very approachable, very kind and genuine, and very spiritual.”
As he looks ahead to what now is a more secure future at Notre Dame, Mulcahy said the biggest challenge for the church is to keep people coming.
“We need to keep them coming and get others to come back,” he said. “I want people to feel comfortable when they come here. There’s a lot to work with here. We’re going to pick up the reigns and go.”
The origins of what would become Notre Dame Parish came in 1936 when the Rev. Thomas Tormey, then pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Hinsdale, rented a storefront in downtown Clarendon Hills to establish a mission-chapel that served 33 families in the community, according to information from Notre Dame Parish. The first Mass was celebrated Sept. 6, 1939.
In 1953, the church purchased the Middaugh property belonging to the Sisters of Christian Charity for $50,000. The dedication of the new church, officially named Notre Dame, took place June 12, 1955.
The opening of a parish school followed in September 1956. A new church building was opened in 2003; the area previously used for worship was turned into a gymnasium.
Notre Dame Parish currently serves about 2,000 households, with parishioners from Clarendon Hills, Darien, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Westmont, Willowbrook and other nearby communities.