Reverend Monsignor John E. Pollard, pastor
Reverend Monsignor John Pollard was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1974. He holds a Masters Degree in Supervision and Administration from Loyola University of Chicago and a Masters Degree in Divinity and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Mundelein Seminary. He is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Monsignor Pollard served as associate pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish (1974-80) and of St. Julian Eymard Parish (1980-1985). In 1982 the president of DePaul University appointed Monsignor Pollard the executive director of the university's Center for Church/State Studies. Five years later he was given the John Courtney Murray award for distinguished contributions to the field of religion and government.
In 1985 Cardinal Bernardin appointed Monsignor Pollard to the staff of the Office for Catechesis in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Two years later the Cardinal appointed him director of that office. In 1988 Bishop John Leibrecht (Springfield-Cape Girardeau) appointed Monsignor Pollard to serve on the Bishops’ Committee on Doctrinally Sound Catechetical Materials. In 1989 he served along with the Superintendent of Catholic Schools as co-chairman of the National Catholic Educational Association's Convention, Exposition and Religious Education Congress.
Five years later, at the conclusion of his service as director of catechesis, Monsignor Pollard received the Archdiocese of Chicago Award for Extraordinary Leadership and Service.
In 1992 Bishop Robert Lynch (St. Petersburg, FL) appointed Monsignor Pollard to the staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC. In this capacity he provided staff assistance for the Bishops' Committees on the Catechism, Education and Catechesis. Monsignor Pollard served as assistant coordinator for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United States in 1993 and director of catechesis for World Youth Day that same year.
In 1994 Pope John Paul II appointed Monsignor Pollard to be one of ten permanent members of the International Council on Catechesis. In 1995 Archbishop Dennis Schnurr (Cincinnati, OH) appointed him to be the founding director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office for the Catechism. Also that year Monsignor Pollard again served as assistant coordinator for the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States.
After seven years of service to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Francis Cardinal George (Chicago, IL) called Monsignor Pollard home to Chicago and appointed him director of the newly-created Department of Education. The Department of Education encompasses the Archdiocesan Catholic School Office, the Office for Catechesis, the Office for Special Religious Education and the Office for Ministry in Higher Education. In this capacity Monsignor Pollard served as a member of the Cardinal’s Cabinet and as the Cardinal’s liaison to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, and the presidents of the Catholic colleges and universities in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Also in 1998 Archbishop Daniel Buechlein (Indianapolis, IN), appointed Monsignor Pollard a consultant to the Bishops’ Committee on the Catechism.
In 2000 Archbishop Donald Wuerl, (Washington, DC) appointed Monsignor Pollard to serve as a member of the Bishops’ Committee on Education. Later that same year Francis Cardinal George expanded Monsignor Pollard’s responsibilities when he appointed him director of the newly-created Department of Evangelization and Catechesis. This Department includes the Office for Evangelization, the Office for Catechesis, the Office for Divine Worship, the Office for Special Religious Education, the Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs, the Office for Youth Ministry, the Office for Young Adult Ministry, the Office for Ministry in Higher Education and the Office for Family Ministry. In addition to organizing the new Department, Monsignor Pollard negotiated an historic accord with the Archdiocese of Mexico City which was signed by Francis Cardinal George and Norberto Cardinal Rivera during the Archdiocese of Chicago Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The accord spelled out the details of the mutual commitment of the sister Archdioceses to share their considerable catechetical and evangelical resources.
In 2001, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called Monsignor Pollard back to Washington, DC to work with the Episcopal Oversight Board on the development of the new National Directory for Catechesis. In 2003 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established a new standing Committee on Catechesis. Its chairman, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein (Indianapolis, IN), appointed Monsignor Pollard a consultant to the Committee.
Monsignor Pollard has also received several distinguished honors over the years. In 1996 he was cited for his leadership in adult catechesis by the National Advisory Committee for Adult Religious Education. In 1997 Francis Cardinal George conferred the Archdiocese of Chicago Medallion for Excellence in Catechesis on Monsignor Pollard. In addition Today’s Catholic Teacher named him one of the twenty-five most influential leaders in Catholic education over the past quarter century. Later that year he received the F. Sadlier Dinger Award for Leadership in Catechetics from William H. Sadlier, Inc. Citing Monsignor Pollard’s leadership, the Our Sunday Visitor Foundation awarded a $500,000 grant to the Office for the Catechism during his tenure as its director.
Throughout his life-long commitment to Catholic education in all its forms, Monsignor Pollard has been a catechist and teacher for pre-schoolers, children with disabilities, high school, college and graduate students, teachers, catechists, principals and priests. He has taught at the University of Illinois, St. Xavier University and DePaul University. He has been adjunct professor of catechetics at Mundelein Seminary. In addition he has served as religious education consultant for the National Catholic Educational Association and as theological consultant for several publishers of catechetical texts and materials.
Monsignor Pollard has frequently delivered papers and presented workshops at the meetings and conventions of the National Catholic Educational Association and the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership. He has given presentations, directed seminars and led workshops on the Catechism for bishops' staffs, diocesan educational/catechetical leaders, priests and parish leadership in over 100 dioceses in the United States. In addition he has spoken to audiences at the Vatican, in Spain, Italy, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain, Guam and several island nations in the Caribbean.
Monsignor Pollard wrote Exploring the Catholic Faith (Benziger, 1988), the leader's annotated edition of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's Growing in Wisdom, Age and Grace (Sadlier, 1990). His numerous articles have appeared in books and journals such as the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Thomist, the Living Light, the Journal of Religion and Law, Chicago Studies, the Josephinum Journal of Theology, the DePaul Law Review, Momentum, Catechetical Sunday, Proceedings of the International Eucharistic Congress and Proceedings of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He wrote the general introductory essay for Liturgy Training Publications’ The Catechetical Documents. His latest work, Know, Live and Love the Catholic Faith was published by Our Sunday Visitor Press in November, 2005.
Monsignor Pollard has served as a member of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Education and as a consultant for two Bishops’ Committees: the Committee on Catechesis and the Committee on the Catechism. He also served on the Boards of Directors of the National Catholic Catechists' Society, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and De Paul University's Center for Church/State Studies. He has been the chaplain of the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago for over twenty years. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Living Light, the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership and the Advisory Committee of National Catholic Educational Association’s National Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education. Francis Cardinal George appointed him a member of the Archdiocesan School Board in 2009.
Cardinal George appointed Monsignor Pollard pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Wilmette on March 15, 2003. Seven years later Cardinal George appointed him to be pastor of Queen of All Saints Basilica. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, named him a Chaplain of His Holiness with the title of Reverend Monsignor in September 2010.