Archives for August 2012
Karen Skalitzky is a church member and a spiritual director at Old St. Pat’s. A few years ago, she published a book titled, A Recipe for Hope: Stories of Transformation by People Struggling with Homelessness. The book is a collection of stories from men and women Karen met while volunteering at the Inspiration Cafe. If you are not familiar with the Inspiration Cafe, it is a cafe in Uptown offering “restaurant-style meals, case management, employment services, cultural events and subsidized housing units as a means for guests… to overcome homelessness and rebuild their lives.”
Beyond the much needed support services that are made available; the genius, beauty, and compassion behind the Inspiration Cafe is that people who often have no recourse other than to stand in line at a food pantry or soup kitchen are able to enjoy a meal in a sit down restaurant. They talk about it as dining with dignity.
While working as a volunteer cook and server, meals soon became meals and conversations for Karen. She began to ask the guests and other volunteers if they wanted to tell their stories. From those stories came this remarkable book.
Among all the poignant and inspiring stories, there is one passage that continues to stay with me. Karen is listening to a guest named Michael. At the end of their time, she is disappointed. The story was not really about Michael. Instead Michael spent all his time talking about a woman with whom he is in love. Karen invites Michael to talk more about himself. But always, the stories turn to the woman he loves. Karen is not sure this story will fit in the format for her book.
Karen concludes her reflections on this encounter with this passage.
“I take a break. Go for a walk. And it hits me, stops me cold. When have I ever looked at a man or woman on the street and thought about who they loved? Never. Michael’s story opened my eyes. We are all human. And we all love.”
If you have been around Old St. Pat’s for the last fifteen months or so, you have probably heard some of the talk about our North Lawndale Kinship Initiative. “We’re building connections with our neighbors to the west… This isn’t another service project… It’s about the way we want to do church… This is more like doing things with rather than for our neighbors…. We’ll build new relationships… We’ll better recognize the kinship we all share… Out of these new relationships may come a new vision… Together we can be a better city… It will be mutually transforming…” It’s all exciting stuff!
I found both inspiration and something of a gauntlet thrown down at one of our first Kinship Initiative events. My colleague on the staff of Old St. Pat’s, Keara Ette, was leading the group in a reflection on the meaning of kinship. In the course of her reflections she referenced the theologian, Gustavo Gutierrez. We Christians have a serious challenge, Gutierrez suggests. We say we care about the poor, but do we know their names? We say we love them, but can you tell me their names?
In her book, The Holy Intimacy of Strangers, Sarah York relates a story she heard from another author, David Rankin. It is about a time when he stopped at a restaurant for a quick meal.
It was one of those places that catered to what he calls “confused tourists and local residents who had pawned their taste buds.” I have been in many similar greasy spoon eateries, and I can imagine the scene that Rankin observed when a server took orders for a table where the customers appeared to be a mother, a father, and a young son. She wrote the orders for the parents and then turned to the child:
“What will you have?” she asked the boy.
“I want a hot dog! …” the boy began.
“No hot dog!” the mother interrupted. “Give him what we ordered!”
The waitress ignored her.
“Do you want anything on your hot dog?” she asked.
“Ketchup!” the boy replied with a happy smile.
“Coming up!” she said, as she walked to the kitchen.
There was silence at the table.
Then the youngster said to his mother: “Mom, she thinks I’m real!”
Catholic wisdom tells us our dignity as human persons comes from the fact we are made in the imago Dei. Imago Dei is Latin for the image of God.
The dignity of the human person is just Catholic Social Teaching “speak” for: I am real, I have a name, I am capable of loving. Maybe we begin to honor that dignity in ourselves and others when we believe that the other is a real person; when we take time to learn a name; and when we trust in the other’s capacity for love.
Bob Kolatorowicz serves on the staff of Old St. Patrick’s Church.
“Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #357
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The Justice Initiative was created to facilitate the efforts of Old St. Patrick’s Church to promote the work of social justice. We welcome new projects and your involvement! For more information about The Justice Initiative, please contact The Justice Initiative staff liaison, Bob Kolatorowicz, at email@example.com, or 312.831.9379.
Season for Social Justice
… a time to provoke thought,
dialogue, and action …
As we begin the 2012-13 program year at Old St. Patrick’s, The Justice Initiative invites your participation in our seventh annual Season for Social Justice. While we know that our vocation to work for justice never goes out of season, we also know the benefits of time dedicated to a purpose. The seasons of Advent and Lent, experiences like retreats and sabbaticals, even the sacred time we give ourselves at Sunday Mass; can all serve as tools for deepening our understanding of who we are and what we are called to do. Dedicated time can renew and “re-source” us for our work in the world.
This September, we invite you to join us in creating a dedicated time for deepening our understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and our vocation to create a more just and peaceful world. Our hopes are that the Season for Social Justice will:
- affirm and celebrate your good work on behalf of the social justice,
- invite you to intentionally anchor this good work in your Catholic identity,
- draw your attention to the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching and specifically to this year’s theme, the principle of the Dignity of the Human Person,
- support your efforts of building a better and more just world.
The Dignity of the Human Person
“The dignity of the human person originates from God and is of God because we are made in God’s own image and likeness (Gn 1:26-27).
Human beings have transcendent worth and value that comes from God; this dignity is not based on any human quality, legal mandate, or individual merit or accomplishment.
Human dignity is inalienable — it is an essential part of every human being and is an intrinsic quality that can never be separated from other essential aspects of the human person.
The principle of human dignity is the foundation of all the Catholic Social Teaching principles.”
Source: Education for Justice, The Center of Concern
The Season for Social Justice, Thoughts on the Theme
by Bob Kolatorowicz
Band of Sisters
World Premiere: Friday, September 14
Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 164 N. State Street, Chicago
Liturgical Ministry Needs You!
We’d be delighted if you would share your gifts with Old St. Pat’s Sunday Liturgies as a Hospitality Minister, Eucharistic Minister, or Lector.
Hospitality Ministers embody the mission of Old St. Pat’s by fostering a welcoming community that values each person. They greet the gathering assembly, assist with seating, take up the collection, distribute worship aids and bulletins, and straighten up the church for the next celebration.
Eucharistic Ministers assist the priest in distributing Communion, nourish the assembly with the gifts from the sacred table. This ministry is open to all Catholics who have been fully initiated with the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.
Lectors bring God’s Word to life at Mass, as they proclaim the Scriptures and lead the Prayers of the Faithful. They devote time to preparing and reflecting on the readings in advance, so they may be proclaimed with familiarity, reverence and love.
Training for Hospitality and Eucharistic Ministers, will be hosted during a light dinner, in the Old St. Pat’s Church Hall on:
We are now recruiting Lectors for the next Liturgical Year.
In order to serve as a Lector from December 2012 – November 2013, you are invited to attend an informational gathering in Room 25 of the
Fr. Jack Wall Mission Center at 711 W. Monroe on either of the following dates:
Sunday, September 9
2 – 3:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided.
Should you seek more information, please contact Director of Liturgy, Krista Kutz at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 312.798.2367.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The 7 a.m., 12:10 p.m., Masses on Wednesday, August 15 will celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For your convenience, we have added a Mass at 5:30 p.m. We invite you to celebrate with us.
A key component of the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative is to connect the talents and expertise from members of Old St. Pat’s to the North Lawndale community.
Two interesting opportunities have emerged with our sister parish, St .Agatha’s. St .Agatha’s School needs help developing a marketing plan to boost enrollment, fundraise, and upgrade curricular resources.
Volunteer professionals in Marketing, Resource Development and Fundraising are needed for a few hours per month during the 2012 – 2013 school year. This ministry can greatly benefit and advance St. Agatha’s School and the Kinship Initiative. If you have this expertise and would like to volunteer for these project, please contact Vincent L. Guider, Old St. Pat’s Kinship Initiative Director at email@example.com, or 312.798.2374.
Project: Providing Marketing Assistance to St. Agatha’s School
Leaders of St. Agatha’s School say they need to attract 15 new students per year. One way the Old St. Pat’s community could help in this effort is to work cooperatively with the St. Agatha School staff and leaders in developing a marketing plan designed to help the school reach their target audience. St. Agatha’s already has a brochure and a method for attracting students, but — like any effort — it would certainly benefit from new perspectives.
No doubt within the Old St. Pat’s community there are members who have knowledge and professional background in marketing and who are willing to share these skills to add value to St. Agatha’s efforts to reach more families. This is a great opportunity for Old St. Pat’s members to use their professional skills in service to our sister parish in North Lawndale.
The first step in this project will be a visit to St. Agatha’s School to gain a better understanding of how the school functions and the benefits it offers.
Number of volunteers needed: Two to three to work in partnership with the St. Agatha School staff and leaders in developing a marketing plan to attract more students
Duration of Project: Three to six months.
Project: Fundraising Assistance to St. Agatha’s School
St. Agatha’s School needs students. In order to attract students; however, there needs to be some kind of tuition subsidy, estimated by St. Agatha’s to be in the range of $1,500 per student per year. If we are to help St. Agatha’s School attract students, we also need to increase the subsidy pool.
The task is to develop a fundraising plan. We invite Old St. Pat’s members who have fundraising experience, either as professional fundraisers or as fundraising consultants, to utilize their skills and experience in partnership with our sister parish St. Agatha’s in North Lawndale.
The first step in this project will be to visit St. Agatha’s School to get a better understanding of how the school functions and the benefits it offers.
Number of volunteers needed: Three to five to work in partnership with the St. Agatha’s School staff and leaders to develop and implement a fundraising strategy.
Duration of Project: Three to six months.
Opportunity: North Lawndale College Prep Senior Project
“Compassion is always, at its most authentic, about a shift from the cramped world of self preoccupation into a more expansive place of fellowship, of true kinship.”
Gregory Boyle “Tattoos on the Heart”
There is nothing more beautiful than helping a young person discover she or he is smart, inquisitive and resilient. Adults who have assisted young people on this journey to academic mastery are forever touched for they have entered into true kinship.
Last year, more than 50 volunteers from Old St. Pat’s helped students from North Lawndale College Prep (NLCP) complete their Senior Project. Senior Project is NLCP’s high school version of a master’s thesis. During the Senior Project, students practice college-level work through an extended, self-directed deep-dive into a single driving question. As there are 200 seniors participating in this project, 200 volunteers are needed to serve as experts, mentors, and panelists.
Can you help? The commitment is modest:
- One meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 from 11 a.m – 1:30 p.m.;
- One meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 from 11 a.m – 1:30 p.m.;
- A one-hour meeting sometime during either March 25 – 29, 2013 or April 23 – 24, 2013.
Only six hours, but a chance to substantially improve a student’s chances of college success. For more information and to sign-up to volunteer, please go to www.nlcphs.org and click the Senior Project link.
NLCP will host a Senior Project information meeting at the NLCP Collins campus at1313 S. Sacramento, Chicago, on Thursday September 20, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. Please come and see examples of previous years’ Senior Projects as this is an excellent opportunity to have all your questions answered and meet the students. But be forewarned, to meet them is to begin true kinship.
Summer is the perfect time to sit on the beach (or at least in an air-conditioned coffee shop!) with a good book in tow. Maybe you are at that point in the summer in which you’ve read the book on the top of your reading list; so how about for your next selection you dig into a book that helps to foster your Spirit? We asked some inspirational people from the Old St. Pat’s community to share with us what is on their summer reading list.
“What are you reading this summer to foster your spiritual growth?”
Book: New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
Author: Czeslaw Milosz
“His poetry is, for me, deeply spiritual. I turn to his poems especially in the summer months but really anytime when I want to slow down the rat race in my head.”
Fr. James Martin, S.J., Jesuit priest, author, and culture editor of America, said:
Books: With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me
Author: Walter Ciszek, S.J.
Book: The Red Tent
Author: Anita Diamant
“I’m rereading The Red Tent because it is so beautifully written and brings to life several matriarchs of the Bible.”
Book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Author: Michelle Alexander
“Funny that you asked. I just ordered the book today. I’m reading it as a spiritual reawakening – a focal point for my prayers – a context around which to center some justice initiatives in North Lawndale.”
Sister Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B., a Benedictine nun, author and speaker, said:
Book: The World of Yesterday
Author: Stefan Zweig
Book: The Everlasting Man
Author: G.K. Chesterton
“I have always been captivated by excerpts and little bits of Chesterton’s work, so I thought it was about time I spent some good time with this theologian’s writing and see how I might learn and be formed by an exploration of humanity – our essence, our foibles, and our ultimate destination.”
Old St. Patrick’s Church Library
We invite you to borrow and enjoy the resources of the Old St. Patrick’s Church Library on the third floor of the Fr. Jack Wall Mission Center, 711 W. Monroe, Chicago.
The Library is open Monday – Friday, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, please contact Bob Kolatorowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.