Rev. Matthew O’Donnell, who is affectionately described by Chicago Catholics as being “on fire,” has been named the 2018 recipient of the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).
Following his 2012 ordination, Fr. Matt was assigned to St. Ailbe Catholic Church on Chicago’s South Side as an Associate Pastor under the guidance of the late Rev. Larry Duriss. He was only in that position for a year when Francis Cardinal George named him as the new Pastor for St. Columbanus Parish in Chicago’s Park Manor community. Fr. Matt assumed leadership of the Parish in 2013 at the tender age of 27 and “hit the ground running,” embracing his ministry to the African-American community.
Fr. Matt grew up in St. Fabian Parish in Bridgeview, a southwest suburb of Chicago. His parents, Anita and Kevin O’Donnell, set a strong example of dedication to the faith. Together they went through the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Diaconate Formation Program. Anita received her certificate as a Lay Minister in 2006 and is currently a Religious Education Administrator in Chicago. O’Donnell’s dad is a Permanent Deacon assigned to St. Bernadette Parish.
In a statement issued shortly after the announcement of the award, Chicago’s Archbishop, Cardinal Blase Cupich commented that the young priest is “a living example of Pope Francis’s vision of a field hospital church that exists to serve humankind and spread the Gospel of a loving God.” Olivia Silver, a volunteer at St. Columbanus nominated Fr. Matt for the award because she wanted to bring attention to the “good things that were happening in the parish.”
The CCHD is the U.S. Bishop’s domestic anti-poverty and social justice program. Fr. Matt will be presented with his award at a reception on June 13, 2018, during the spring assembly of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Please click here for full coverage of the award published by Chicago Catholic
To learn more about the transformative programs underway at Ft. Matt’s parish, please visit their website – http://www.stcolumbanuschicago.org/from-the-pastor/