New spiritual adviser to Council of Catholic Women finds right ‘outfit’
By Paul Thomas Moore
PEORIA HEIGHTS — On the last day of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February, Deacon Ed Mallow of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and the rest of the “Peoria pilgrims” rose at 4:30 a.m. and walked along the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem.
“It was still dark, and Jerusalem was still asleep, and so we pretty much had the streets to ourselves,” Deacon Ed said.
He had been asked shortly before the trip if he would become spiritual adviser to the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, following the retirement of Msgr. Dale L. Wellman after 48 years. Deacon Ed accepted, and now had added food for spiritual thought as he walked in the footsteps of Jesus over the cobblestones of the Via Dolorosa.
“Like all things new, God led me to it, but I had no idea what it was really going to entail,” he said.
Although his formal title is spiritual adviser to the PDCCW, Deacon Ed said the role is really more about being an advocate on behalf of the organization to the diocese — and vice versa — to listen, give advice when asked, and to attend council meetings as a resource.
DRAWN TO DIACONATE
Back in 2009, Deacon Ed’s wife, Cathy, was beside him at another memorable moment of spiritual discernment. He had been active in Cursillo for several years, and had come to know many of the permanent deacons in the Peoria area through that ministry. He found himself “drawn to their spirituality, and their simple life, like me, as a working man, married man, family, children, grandchildren . . . yet their love for the Lord.”
That evening, Cathy and Ed were in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria for the annual Diocesan Scout Mass in support of a nephew and godson who was receiving a Scouting medal. As the Knights of Columbus processed in, Cathy nudged him and said, “You’d look pretty good in one of those outfits,” referring to the ceremonial cape and plumed hats the Knights wore until 2019.
But then the permanent deacons walked in, and Deacon Ed nudged her back. “I think God wants me in that outfit,” he said.
Born in Peoria to Harriet and Edmund Mallow Sr., Edmund Mallow Jr. was baptized at Holy Family Church in Peoria, and attended the parish school and then Bergan High School. He and Cathy were married at St. Patrick Church in Washington on April 12, 1980, and they have two children and six grandchildren.
While he was in high school, and later at Illinois Central College, Deacon Ed worked for six years as a busboy and waiter at Chan’s Chop Suey restaurant on Main Street in Peoria. “You get to know and serve people,” he said.
He was hired by Caterpillar as a machinist apprentice in 1975, earned a bachelor’s degree at Bradley University along the way, and worked his way up to global purchasing before retiring after 35 years.
He was ordained to the permanent diaconate on May 20, 2017, by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Deacon Ed’s favorite short prayer is “Jesus, I trust in you,” and he says the rosary each day with his godchildren and “spiritual godchildren” in mind — he and Cathy help to support the education of children overseas.
As incoming spiritual adviser to the PDCCW, Deacon Ed will be on hand to help recognize the long service of his predecessor, Msgr. Wellman, at the council’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Mass and Luncheon on Wednesday, April 26.
“Msgr. Wellman was very dedicated to the PDCCW,” Deacon Ed said.
In addition to his ministry at St. Thomas the Apostle in Peoria Heights, he serves at the cathedral for pontifical liturgies from time to time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A report on the PDCCW’s Volunteer Mass and Luncheon, along with brief profiles of the honorees, will be published in the May 14 issue of The Catholic Post.