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St. Charles Borromeo

Employment History


  • Quigley Seminary
Web References
Demon News [cached]
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 after his 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 chose Muldoon -- 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 by Muldoon 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 believes Muldoon made his 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 beloved church.
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 and his family and tuned into the spirit of Muldoon."
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