New Notre Dame priest coming with wife and children
The Rev. David Medow won't be coming alone when he transfers in June to Notre Dame Catholic Church from Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield.
Medow is one of an estimated 150 to 200 married Roman Catholic priests nationwide, he said. The 59-year-old Chicago native also has two grown children.
"My role is to be a priest, not a married priest," Medow said. "I'm moving into a new community, and people may have some questions. Some of my stories are different because I am married and have children, but it's not really different, in terms of my role."
He has been married to Jane for 38 years. The couple's two children are Nikolai, 29, and Hannah, 25.
Medow and the Rev. Patrick M. Mulcahy, the current pastor at Notre Dame, are switching parishes.
Mulcahy began serving Notre Dame in December 2010 as an administrator and was installed as pastor Sept. 1, 2012.
Medow began work at the Plainfield parish in July 1998 and became the pastor in June 2005.
Ed Reid, a Notre Dame parishioner for the past 18 years, said he is looking forward to Medow's June 21 arrival.
"It's interesting for the parish to be one of the very few in the country that will have a married priest, and I would expect overwhelming support for him," Reid said. "Everyone I've spoken with about this has been very supportive."
Reid said he doesn't expect the experience at Notre Dame to be markedly different once Medow is there.
"He may be able to relate a little better to everyday Catholic problems because he has a wife and children," Reid said.
He said he believes The Catholic Church should probably expand having married priests.
"Married priests, and women, too," Reid said. "The church needs to increase its vocation and its appeal."
Susan Kinsella, a Notre Dame parishioner since 2001, agreed.
"I didn't know it was allowed, but I think it's a great opportunity for the church," she said. "It's no secret there's a shortage of priests."
Kinsella said she believes Medow will be welcomed by parishioners.
"I'm very excited about it and can see no downside," she said.
Medow was raised a Lutheran in a family with a Jewish father and Lutheran mother.
He was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1985, serving for nearly 12 years, and was received into the Roman Catholic Church Nov. 1, 1996.
Medow's ordination was allowed because of a special process set up by the Vatican about 1980 for clergy who wanted to become Catholic priests.
Notre Dame Parish serves about 1,400 households, with parishioners from Clarendon Hills, Darien, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Westmont, Willowbrook and other nearby communities.