Bishop Thomas John Paprocki was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978. After ordination, he studied law at DePaul University College of Law and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1981. Working as a parish priest at St. Michael Church in South Chicago, a neighborhood with high unemployment due to shutdowns of the local steel mills, Fr. Paprocki co-founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to help answer the need for legal services for the poor. He still serves in a volunteer capacity as President of the organization, now called the Chicago Legal Clinic.
In November, 1985, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin appointed Fr. Paprocki Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago and in 1987 sent him to do post-graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He completed his doctoral degree in 1991. Father Paprocki then returned to his previous position in Chicago as Vice-Chancellor and was appointed Chancellor in March, 1992, serving in that capacity under Cardinal Bernardin and then under Cardinal Francis George, following Cardinal Bernardin’s death in 1996.
Concluding his service as Chancellor after two terms in office in June, 2000, Father Paprocki studied Polish language and culture at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. In January 2001, he was appointed Pastor of St. Constance Parish, serving primarily a large immigrant community from Poland on the northwest side of Chicago. Pope John Paul II appointed him to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on January 24, 2003. Cardinal George named him Liaison for Health and Hospital Affairs in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bishop Paprocki was elected Vice-President of the Illinois Catholic Health Association and Vice-Chairman of the John Paul II Foundation in Rome. Bishop Paprocki is Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance as well as the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. In addition to English, he speaks Polish, Spanish and Italian, and he reads Latin. On June 22, 2010, Bishop Paprocki was installed the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. In May 2013 he received his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the University of Notre Dame.