Monday, March 20, 2006

The Enchanted Forest Gets A New Lord


OK, so I finally found time -- at 4 in the afternoon, mind you -- to shed my morning sweatclothes and get cleaned up. And, as is always the case whenever I step away from the machine for more than ten minutes, something happened while I was away.

In the last half-hour, the dispatch boxes have been arriving fast and furious from St. Mary of the Lake at Mundelein, the seminary of the archdiocese of Chicago and umpteen other local churches, not to mention the US' largest house of formation.

Last month, after a year which kept the house at the forefront of good and bad news far beyond its usual sphere of influence, Mundelein's veteran rector, Fr John Canary, was named vicar-general of the archdiocese of Chicago -- the top administrative post of America's second-largest diocese, which he's said to have refused on two previous occasions.

Canary recently moved into the legendary Chicago Cardinal's Residence, famous for its 19 chimneys. At the time of Canary's appointment to the archdiocesan curia, Mundelein Vice-President and Provost Fr Thomas Baima was named to fill the rector's slot on an interim basis.

Apparently, that didn't last long.

Within the hour, I'm told, it's been announced that Fr Dennis Lyle, a moral theologian at Mundelein and chair of its Department of Christian Life, has been named the permanent Rector/President of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, as the combined ecclesiastical institutions based at Mundelein are known.

Lyle was ordained for the archdiocese of Chicago in 1991 and has served the bulk of his priesthood in the academy, both as a student at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome, where he earned his doctorate in theology, and as a professor at the Chicago seminary.