Meet Our Advent Content Series Guest: Bishop Paprocki

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Paprocki is the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois (installed on June 22, 2010). Growing up in Chicago, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Paprocki is the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois (installed on June 22, 2010). Growing up in Chicago, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978. After ordination, he studied law at DePaul University College of Law and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1981. Working as a parish priest at St. Michael Church in South Chicago, a neighborhood with high unemployment due to shutdowns of the local steel mills, then-Father Paprocki co‑founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to help answer the need for legal services for the poor. In 2014 Bishop Paprocki was named President Emeritus and Of Counsel of the organization, now called the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic.

In November, 1985, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin appointed Fr. Paprocki Vice‑Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago and in 1987 sent him to do post‑graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He completed his doctoral degree in 1991. Father Paprocki then returned to his previous position in Chicago as Vice‑Chancellor and was appointed Chancellor in March, 1992, serving in that capacity under Cardinal Bernardin and then under Cardinal Francis George, following Cardinal Bernardin’s death in 1996.

Concluding his service as Chancellor after two terms in office in June, 2000, Father Paprocki studied Polish language and culture at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. In January 2001, he was appointed Pastor of St. Constance Parish, serving primarily a large immigrant community from Poland on the northwest side of Chicago. Pope John Paul II appointed him to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on January 24, 2003. Cardinal George named him Liaison for Health and Hospital Affairs in the Archdiocese of Chicago. In May 2013, he received his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the University of Notre Dame. He taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University’s Chicago School of Law from 1999 to 2015. He also taught at Notre Dame Law School from 2016-2021. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law, Business, and Bioethics at Quincy University’s Oakley School of Business. Bishop Paprocki also serves on the Illinois Catholic Health Association Board and serves as the chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In addition to English, he speaks Polish, Spanish and Italian, and he reads Latin. Bishop Paprocki’s hobbies are reading, running, and playing hockey. He has run 24 marathons: Chicago (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2005), Columbus, Ohio (1998), Boston (1998), Rome (2000) Athens (2000), Washington, D.C. (2004 & 2007), Dayton, Ohio (2006), Dublin, Ireland (2008), Minneapolis-St. Paul (2009), Denver (2010), Kansas City (2011), St. Louis (2012), Springfield (2013 and 2015), Philadelphia (2016), Indianapolis (2017), Long Beach, CA (2018), and in the process raising more than $500,000 for charity.

He has made the connection between sports and faith a focus of his ministry. In this regard, he serves as the Chairman of the Episcopal Advisory Board of Catholic Athletes for Christ. His first book, Holy Goals for Body and Soul: Eight Steps to Connect Sports with God and Faith, was published by Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana), in 2013. His second book, Running for a Higher Purpose: Eight Steps to Spiritual and Physical Fitness, released in 2021, was also published by Ave Maria Press.

Bishop Paprocki lives in Springfield. You can read his bi-weekly columns which are published in Catholic Times.

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