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His priesthood ranges from desert to shore

By Dolores Madlener | Staff writer
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Father Tim Fairman, pastor at St. Bede Parish in Ingleside, is a landscape photographer and has won first place ribbons at the Lake County Fair. (Darrell Harmon / Catholic New World)

He is: Father Timothy Fairman, pastor since 2002 of St. Bede’s in Ingleside, Lake County. Attended Quigley North, Niles and Mundelein. Ordained in 1988.

Youth: “Grew up on the West Side at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, taught by BVM Sisters. I’m the fourth of five boys and we’re just a few years apart. It was a nice time to grow up in Chicago — there were kids everywhere. We mostly made up our own games and played them in the street, front yard or on the block.

“Dad was a graphic artist and worked in the key-lining part of advertising. He’s also a watercolor artist — I have a boatload of works by my dad — a little Bob Fairman gallery over here. Mom worked for the archdiocese for about 25 years. Chicago Marriage Encounter, Phoenix, for Family Ministries and then Personnel Services.”

Road to priesthood: “I always wanted to be a mechanic. My first car at Niles was an old beater, a ’74 Dodge Dart. We called it the Deathmobile. I spent a lot of time replacing things on it.

“We had good relationships with the parish and the priests. My parents were always super active. As kids we thought it was a big deal to go to the rectory on Saturday and stuff bulletins. We’d have the priests and deacons over for dinner on a regular basis. It was all part of a journey. Fathers Ventura and Phil Dressler were co-pastors and then Father Jack Hurley was a transitional deacon who we thought was the coolest guy in the world. We went to the same Mass as a family every Sunday, walking from home, sat in the same place in church the way people did in those days.”

Being pastor: He scrawls, “Love, Father Tim” at the end of his bulletin message each week. How does he see his relationship with parishioners? “I see it as a loving relationship. Being a pastor is an interesting thing. It’s a lot of responsibility. I always want to do the best I can to work with the people, journey with them and to lead them. I see that as a loving relationship. I also begin the message ‘Dear friends’ not ‘Dear parishioners.’ One of the charms and gifts of St. Bede’s is, it’s easy to have that kind of relationship here.”

Lake County living: “When someone passed away and left me money in their will to buy a fishing boat with a little motor. I’ve had it for about six years now and it’s only seen water once because everything’s always breaking down on it. Someone once told me a boat is a hole that people throw a lot of money into and I’m finding that out. People have been kind to let me go out with them on the lakes. I once caught a 10-pound bass at the seminary, which was a thrill of a lifetime.

“I have a three-year-old Springer spaniel, Molly. She gets spoiled by everyone else but me. She’s around people all the time.”

Spiritual refueling: “I was blessed to be able to go on a sabbatical this past year. I traveled out West for the vacation part and saw a lot of national parks. Then I was in a 10-week program at the Redemptorist Retreat House in Tucson, Ariz. It was a fantastic experience. The theme was: building on a spirituality of the desert. It was at the foothills of the Saguaro National Park. We’d go for long walks and the program was set up to benefit you in terms of encountering God in the desert. I appreciated that opportunity to spend a lot of time in prayer. It was nice.”

Day off: “Visiting with friends and seeing a movie. I cook for friends usually. The most recent dish I made was a braised short ribs recipe I found on the Food Network. It turned out very well.”

Reading: “I’m into biographies lately —they give you an insight into the person and the times they live in. I’m reading two at the moment, one on Wyatt Earp and the other on Teddy Roosevelt. I’ve read biographies on John Kennedy, George Washington, Babe Ruth, George Halas and about the famous racehorses Man o’ War and Secretariat.”

Favorite Scripture: “The last words Jesus speaks in Matthew’s Gospel before he ascends to heaven: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them everything I have commanded you. And know I am with you always until the end of the world.” It reminds me of our mission to spread the Good News and to know the Lord is with us in the process. I find that very comforting.”