Milwaukee Magazine: What are your earliest memories of Chicago?continue at Milwaukee Magazine
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki: I was born on the southeast side, in a heavily industrial area with a mix of Polish, Spanish and Hispanic neighborhoods. Very much a Catholic community in the sense that the Catholic parish dominated the area, about 3,800 families, a beautiful church, altar boy growing up, played sports and went over to Quigley [Preparatory Seminary South]. We went to school on Saturdays, and they did that so our relationships would be primarily with the individuals we were going to school with.
And what did you do in the military?
In ’81, I took my oath of office to the military in the Rome embassy, where I traveled back and forth to Schweinfurt, Germany. There was a great need for Catholic chaplains. I was activated for Desert Storm but never got off the ground as the land war was so short.
Tell me about the “postmodern condition.” You referred to it in the call for the recent synod.
There’s a disintegration between individuals and the sacred. The church in the postmodern period has to be the vehicle that connects the individual to the mystery of their own life and to the “more.” Rather than thinking everything can be figured out, or is at one’s fingertips, it’s understanding that individuals are guided by a much stronger and higher power.