President Emeritus, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos™ International
Father Phil with children (1985)
The second of seven children, Father Phil Cleary was raised in Chicago and received numerous educational awards. As a young seminarian, he worked as a counselor for a Chicago orphanage and as a dorm director at a home for delinquent and troubled youth. He graduated from Loyola University and the Archdiocesan seminary with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in theology.
Following his ordination in 1979, Father Phil served in two Chicago parishes. He was elected to serve as President of the Association of Priests, and later was on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils. It was while serving in this capacity that Father Phil learned of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos™, and the mission of Father William B. Wasson. He volunteered to work at the orphanage for one summer. However, upon completing his three month term, he solicited and received permission to continue serving NPH. That decision has grown into a lifetime commitment to serve the children of the NPH orphanages.
In recognition of his service to the children of NPH, he has been honored with the Mercy Mission Award given annually by Chicago priests for outstanding work with troubled youth, the Community Service Award from the mayor of the city of Cuernavaca, and the Corazón Award from Friends of the Orphans, Illinois Region.
After having served for many years as National Director of NPH Mexico, in 2004, Father Phil became the Executive Director of NPH International and in 2008 his role changed to President. In 2013, Father Phil was named President Emeritus of NPH International and will continue to serve as chaplin at NPH Mexico in addition to regular visits to the other NPH homes.