Young Muldoon arrived in Chicago shortly after his ordination in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1886, and served St. Pius V parish at Ashland and 19th before becoming Feehan's chancellor of the archdiocese in 1888.Feehan appointed Muldoon pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in 1895, where the new arrival oversaw construction of a massive church complex built of heavy Indiana limestone to accommodate 4,000 members and a parochial school with more than 800 students. Muldoon
paid particular attention to construction of the altar of St. Charles
, which he
adorned with white marble carved to resemble Irish lace.Behind the altar, he
had a mausoleum built for his
own burial, but Muldoon's corpse never made it back to St. Charles Borromeo
death in 1927.Instead, he was buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Rockford, where he had been named its first bishop in 1908 and served until his death.Facchini believes events that unfolded between the time Muldoon became St. Charles' pastor and his appointment as bishop of Rockford, and not the fact that his crypt at St. Charles went unused, caused his disquiet ghost to haunt the Chicago rectory.
But when McGavick soon became too ill to serve and Feehan
-- the Californian! -- as his successor, a full-fledged rebellion erupted
...The insurrection was led by Jeremiah Crowley, an Irish priest who launched a very public campaign against Muldoon, sending letters to Vatican officials claiming Muldoon was immoral and unfit to be a priest -- never mind a bishop, according to Facchini's book and John Treanor, archivist for the Chicago archdiocese.
Crowley, who fancied himself a reformer and called himself the "new Luther," eventually broadened his vitriolic assault from Muldoon
to the broader church hierarchy.
While Crowley's allegations against Muldoon
were never substantiated, Facchini
believes the public skirmish -- at one point Crowley interrupted a mass at Holy Name Cathedral
and had to be removed by police -- cost Muldoon his
chance to become archbishop of Chicago.
The first alleged "haunting" of St. Charles Borromeo
was reported in 1927, shortly after his
death.Facchini first heard about a bishop's ghost roaming the halls of an unspecified Chicago rectory when he was a teenage student at Quigley Seminary.
By the time Facchini moved into that same rectory in the late 1950s, St. Charles Borromeo
parish was in serious decline.Only a few dozen people attended services in the massive church sanctuary each week, and the sacramental life of the parish was almost nonexistent, Facchini says in Muldoon
The author places blame for the parish's slow death squarely on the shoulders of its pastor at the time."Father Kane," the pseudonym Facchini gives the real pastor, refused to adapt to the changing needs of the increasingly African-American, impoverished community that surrounded the church, taking interest only in the parish's thriving Bingo operation, over which he obsessively presided, according to the book.Facchini
spectral presence known at the rectory to show his
displeasure with Kane.
In 1968, St. Charles Borromeo
church and its grand rectory, which had been built to last for centuries, were razed less than 85 years after they were built.Today, a multilevel parking garage that serves nearby Cook County Juvenile Court stands on the location of Muldoon's
Since the church and its rectory were leveled by the wrecking ball, reportedly little has been heard from Muldoon's ghost.
"I feel that what he
was looking for was exoneration, and I think in writing the book, I feel he
may have been liberated," Facchini
said of Muldoon
Whatever the case, it's apparent to me that early on I must have joined Rocco Facchini
family and tuned into the spirit of Muldoon