Archives for September 2016
Wednesday, September 29, 2016
Hello, I am Tony Markiewicz and I am running my sixth marathon with The Crossroads Runners.
My wife Elizabeth and I are relative newcomers to Old St. Pat’s. We actually live in Mundelein, so Old St. Pat’s is not the most convenient choice for us each Sunday. I won’t bore you with how we became members of the community, but Old St. Pat’s has become our spiritual home.
In February 2012, at the end of a Mass, Fr. Hurley made a recruiting pitch for the Crossroads Runners. You see, there are four ministries that rely on funds raised by the Crossroads Team to continue their great work. Our Charity Partners (Harmony, Hope and Healing; Horizons for Youth; Career Transitions Center; and the Kinship Initiative) all benefit from money raised by the Crossroads Team. I was looking for a way to get involved in the Parish, so I signed up to run the marathon. I guess I liked it. Here I am ready to run my sixth marathon.
Three years ago I recruited my son David to run with us. The marathon seems to be a hard habit to break; David will be running his third Chicago Marathon this year. He will be joined by his girlfriend Erica Massarelli. Erica is running her first marathon. She says she has never been a runner, but I suspect she will run a faster time than me!
This year, we convinced my daughter Michelle and my son Joseph to join us. They have been training hard to run their first Chicago Marathon. I am so proud of their commitment to raising at least $1250.00 each for our Charity Partners.
The Crossroads team is a wonderful group of individuals of all ages and athletic abilities who support each other while training under the watchful eye of our own Coach Brendan Cournane. Brendan is a very experienced coach who safely guides both beginner and experienced runners as we prepare for the marathon. If you are interested in running a marathon, Brendan knows how to help you get it done. Stay tuned, Chicago Marathon 2017 registration will begin in February! I hope to see a few of you join us.
Coach Brendan sponsors long training runs on Saturday mornings. I am happy when I get to run with one of my children. My more memorable Saturday mornings are really nothing but long conversations which just so happen to take place while we are running. You see, we solve all our own personal problems and most of the world’s problems before the run is completed. We may not always run together, but I enjoy seeing my children at 6 am all fresh and ready to run. It means they didn’t stay out too late Friday night!
Last year, the Crossroads team took a group to Dublin to run the Dublin Marathon. Elizabeth and I joined them. Many of us ran the Chicago Marathon and then a few weeks later, ran the marathon in Dublin. It was a wonderful trip. After the marathon, the group spent a week touring Ireland, allowing many of us the opportunity to recover and rehydrate with Guinness, Smithwicks, and Irish whiskey. The best part of the trip though, was making many new friendships.
If you want to support our marathon team, consider cheering us on. The Chicago Marathon is one of the five major international marathons. If you have never experienced the atmosphere of marathon day, consider being one of more than 2 million spectators who cheer on the runners. Old St. Pat’s is the halfway point and a great place to cheer. Also, consider supporting a runner. You can contribute at http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1153598. Remember, the funds help our Charity Partners.
I would like to thank Fr. Hurley, Coach Brendan, and Joe Brandt for organizing and supporting the Crossroads Runners. I would also like to thank all the members of Old St. Patrick’s for your cheers and support.
Tony and David 2014
Crossroads Ireland Trip 2015
Wedding Ministry Volunteer
Contributed by Mary Jo Graf
Our community is blessed to have volunteers dedicated to extending Old St. Pat’s commitment of hospitality to brides, grooms, their families and guests at each sacred sacrament of marriage.
Now in its 28th year, the Wedding Volunteer Ministry coordinates with OSP’s wedding coordinator JoAnn O’Brien, the Priest, musicians, sacristan and maintenance staff to ensure that the church is arranged appropriately for each wedding, attend to the bridal couple, greet guests, handle any emergencies and start each wedding on time.
Volunteers’ experiences are reflected by the following comments:
“As a wedding volunteer, I get to experience joyful, spiritual moments, wonderful people, and beautiful liturgy and music. Having the opportunity to share what Old St. Pat’s has to offer in terms of community and connection with others enriches my life! Our volunteers are a wonderful example of what makes OSP so special.”
“It is magical to share in a couple’s marriage. When families come together to celebrate a wedding, there is a merger of hopes and dreams. Joy and excitement abound at weddings. It is an honor and privilege to help couples and their families have a positive, memorable experience at OSP as they write the next chapter of their lives.”
“I love being part of one of the most memorable days in people’s lives. I’ve calmed brides—and grooms—pinned dresses, affixed boutonnières, held a (baby) ring bearer while his bridal party parents processed up the aisle, and cried at vows. Every. Single. Time. Every wedding is an adventure, and I love being a part.”
“My favorite things about being a Wedding Volunteer: a way to be involved at Old St. Pat’s; making the event a little less stressful for the priests, the wedding party, the guests; being a small part of a joyous occasion at a special place, with a wonderful group of people.”
“I enjoy being a wedding volunteer at Old St. Pats. Each wedding brings much joy to my life. It is fun helping the wedding party get ready for the ceremony, reassuring the bride she looks fabulous and listening to the beautiful church music picked out. I look forward to helping with each wedding when I am assigned to them!”
For more information on our Wedding Ministry or volunteer opportunities, please visit www.oldstpats.org/ sacraments/marriage/.
The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
By: Katie Kearns
In today’s Gospel, Lazarus, the suffering poor man dies and goes to the comfort of heaven, but the rich man is not that lucky. The rich man thought he had time to change things, but life doesn’t work out the way he wants.
It seems to me, that most people feel like life doesn’t work out the way they want and they are surprised by what happens. As the first reading states, “Woe to the complacent.”
My father started having issues with his memory when I was twenty years old. He had been hiding the fact that he had been having problems for a while. Like Lazarus, he suffered. He once asked me, “What street do I turn on to get home?”
He needed to turn on Garfield. We had lived on Garfield for almost twenty years. Dad lost his ability to remember that he had children. He even lost his name. He couldn’t remember it. However, one thing he did not lose was the Our Father. When he lost his name and our church’s deacon asked him to recite the Our Father, he could do it. It was such an integral part of his brain, Alzheimer’s could not take it away. Hence, while he suffered, he still had faith so I know he was ‘carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.’
Many people think Alzheimer’s and dementia patients don’t know they are losing their memories. This isn’t true. The day after my father entered a nursing home we were watching TV when an ad for a nursing home came on. My father told me, “I am going to have to go to one of those places soon. I am not right.”
Alzheimer’s steals memories. However, like the rich man in the Gospel, people think they will have enough time to do what they want, tell everyone what needs to be said, but Dementia and Alzheimer’s can take all this away. Then, like the rich man you are suffering in torment.
Why should we all care about this disease? Well, one in nine currently have it. By 2050 experts predict the number of people with the disease will nearly triple. Yes, triple. That means as many as 16 million people will lose their memories.
My consolation is that like Lazarus, my father is no longer suffering. He is at Abraham’s side and he remembers. He remembers his name, his children, and Our Father.
Katie Kearns is the Coordinator of Liturgy ay Old Saint Patrick’s Church. She is not in church today as she is participating in the Alzheimer’s fundraising walk. She has been participating in the walk since 1991. For more information on Alzheimer’s and Dementia contact The Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
B-Ball on the Block with the Kinship Initiative
Contributed by Tameeka Christian
On Thursday evenings during the summer, a designated street in the North Lawndale neighborhood gets blocked off for children to enjoy an outdoor basketball tournament called B-Ball on the Block. Saint Anthony Hospital and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) sponsored this year’s event in cooperation with the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative of Old St. Pat’s Church. Other community organizations that serve the North Lawndale neighborhood also pitched in, including State Farm, Chicago Youth Centers, Lawndale Amachi Mentoring Program (LAMP), I AM Able, UCAN, MADD Men and the 10th District of the Chicago Police Department. These groups and many individuals contributed funds and assured that the games ran smoothly, that the youth were safe and that all who attended had a great time. Suffice to say, B-Ball on the Block was a success despite two of the Thursdays getting totally rained out.
The tournament is primarily for youth ages 8 to 19, but there were also activities for younger children. The 7 and under crowd enjoyed a bouncy house, face painting, dancing to the DJ’s music, arts and crafts and playing games. Tasty refreshments and cool drinks were available as well for the entire multi-generational crowd that came from inside and outside of the neighborhood to enjoy the action.
To assure the youth are supported across all ages, a separate tournament was held for youth ages 15 to 19 years old. Coach Andre Bryant, a retired professional basketball player who lives in North Lawndale and has a passion for those lacking opportunity and most vulnerable to violence, coordinated additional games. Monday and Tuesday evenings were reserved for older teens and young adults to play in the tournament via local and city-wide local competitions. Winners then advanced to a cross city tournament at Quest Sports Center in late August. For many of the competitors, this annual tournament was the highlight of their summer since opportunities are so lacking in many of their neighborhoods.
North Lawndale appreciates the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative and the people of Old St. Pat’s who supported B-Ball on the Block. The time and resources you invested meant so much to the young participants, their families, friends and coaches and the event organizers. We are especially grateful to Jim Power, Kate Ronan, Michelle Bella, RJ McMahon, Bill Cowhey, Kathy Powers, Lauren Kezon, Kim, John and Justin Enoch and Vince Guider for organizing the Old St. Pat’s volunteers, spreading the word, gathering resources and helping assure the event was a success.
If one wants to know how we begin to prevent violence and build kinship between diverse urban communities, one needs to only look at Old St. Pat’s, the Kinship Initiative, North Lawndale and B-Ball on the Block 2016. The many ways Old St. Pat’s Church engages with the North Lawndale community are making a huge difference on Chicago’s West Side and we thank you ever so much!
Tameeka Christian is a staff member of St. Anthony Hospital, the 2016 Coordinator for B-Ball on the Block and a North Lawndale neighborhood resident. If you’re interested in becoming involved in the Kinship Initiative at Old St. Pat’s, contact Vincent Guider at VincentG@oldstpats.org.
Serving The Learning Center, our North Lawndale Kinship Partner
By: Marybeth Coleman
I have to admit there are many Wednesday mornings when I’d rather stay in bed. The reality of getting up at 6am and fighting the morning traffic to arrive at The Learning Center (TLC) before the students is sometimes unappealing, however I’m always glad I did it in the end. Tutoring there has been one of the most rewarding things I have done since I’ve retired. I am energized by adults who balance work, families and school. I am inspired by students who want to learn to read so they can help their children with homework. I have been encouraged by young adult students who returned to school to set an example for younger siblings regarding the importance of education. I have found joy in a well written paragraph and improved reading scores.
I first learned about The Learning Center from Vince Guider, Director of the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative. The Learning Center, located in the North Lawndale neighborhood, is one of our Kinship Initiative partner organizations. This small not-for-profit offers free adult basic education, GED prep, ESL, and computer classes with assistance from Malcolm X College instructors. Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays are devoted to Reading, Writing and Social Studies, while the focus on Tuesdays and Thursdays is on Math, Science and Workplace Skills. The center equips adults with skills to live effective personal lives, gain sustainable employment and make positive contributions to their families and community.
Do you want to be energized, inspired, encouraged and find joy serving others? Come join with The Learning Center’s students, staff and volunteers and experience the difference we can make in one another’s lives. Volunteer opportunities include:
Tutors for basic Reading, Writing and Math – 9:00am – Noon one day a week
Basic literacy skills (Mon. & Wed.) or basic Math (Tues. & Thurs), 9am – Noon
Would you also consider being a board member? Currently, TLC’s board of directors is searching for membership candidates. The board meets quarterly on Saturday mornings at The Learning Center. The members serve on one or more committees which meet separately to assist with marketing and fundraising efforts that are guided by a strategic plan which is updated annually. A packet of information for prospective members is available.
If you are attracted by TLC’s mission, believe that you have time and leadership abilities and are willing to serve, please contact Gay McDonald, executive committee member of TLC’s board at firstname.lastname@example.org or 708 341-9571. You may also contact Marybeth Coleman, the Old St. Pat’s Liaison for the Kinship Initiative at, email@example.com
Marybeth Coleman is a longtime, active member of Old St. Pat’s Church and the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative.
Often times, people will ask how we as preachers put together a homily for mass, especially for Sunday. I know that all of us have our own styles and approaches, so answering that question will be different coming from all who are entrusted with that significant part of our ministry. In getting ready for today, I have to confess I was admittedly puzzled as to why Luke’s very long text of 15:1- 32 (which includes Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son) was being inserted into the Lectionary (our liturgical book of the readings) at this odd time of the year. I know that we are in the C cycle of readings which primarily covers the gospel of Luke, but with a text as significant as the Prodigal Son, why does it pop up on the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time? It was proclaimed on the 4th Sunday of Lent this year, so why are reading it again? I can’t say that I have the educated answer. Honestly, I just don’t know.
And while I didn’t spend the entire week contemplating the timing and the insertion of Luke’s gospel text of the Prodigal Son, I would offer a simple observation on a possible message and this time of the year. The other night I attended the Frances Xavier Warde “Back to school” night for the parents of our students. As the moms and dads were making their way into the auditorium at Holy Name Cathedral campus for this informational session, I found myself greeting everyone as if it were January 1t, “Happy New Year!” Though I received with a few strange stares and some jovial laughter, I think the greeting is still appropriate, Let’s make it a happy new year. Maybe this is one possible reason why the text of Luke 15-1-32 is considered at this interesting time of year; it’s all about new beginnings! While I concur with theologians and scholars that our biblical texts for this 24th Sunday in Ordinary speak clearly of the unconditional mercy of God (the one whose desire is to find the lost), I also believe that God’s mercy and forgiveness is acknowledging that for every one of us, from the Prodigal Son to the lost sheep, it is time to start over again! The beautiful Father in that incredible parable didn’t ask his son about where he had been, what he had done, or why he did what he did. Rather, he ordered for new clothing, new life, and a celebration of a new beginning. It’s time to start all over again.
The school year calendar of September through May seems to articulate so much of our activities, no matter who you are. Regardless of January 1 (or for Roman Catholics, the first Sunday of Advent that begins our new liturgical year – which most people don’t understand), our secular rhythm of time puts the school year as the “beginning” of a long journey. And so here we are.
Welcome to the new year! It is an honor to welcome all the new students in our midst. So many college students, graduate students, law students from Kent, culinary students from Kendall, medical students from Rush, Northwestern, UIC and Loyola make their way to Old St. Pat’s. Welcome to our newest members of Old St. Pat’s, especially those who re-located to Chicago over the summer. Welcome to our newest families in Partners, Foundations, and the Mother Frances Xavier Warde School. Welcome to Fr. Greg Sakowicz as the new rector of Holy Name Cathedral, a great priest indeed! Welcome to all of you who were traveling during the summer months and those who were spending time in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin at summer homes and lakes. Welcome back to those who may have just taken some time off on Sundays. We are thrilled and grateful for your return.
Join me in welcoming Michael Brennan, a member of the Norbertine Order who will be with us during this school year. Mike was just ordained to the transitional diaconate, which means he will be ordained the priesthood in May 2017. During this time, Mike will finish his studies in theology at Catholic Theological Union and likewise be serving his deacon assignment here with us at Old St. Pat’s. We are thankful for his presence among us during this school year.
As we enter this new “school” year, I hope and pray that we will all welcome the various invitations that will be made throughout the coming months with all the programs and ministries gearing up again. Could I invite you to try some things this new year, like our outreach efforts, talks and presentations, concerts, retreats, and the Emerald Ball in early November. Please keep in touch with Old St. Pat’s via this publication, the website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. My point is not to simply burden you with lots of activities and filling your calendars, but more importantly to invite us all to a sense of renewal in our lives of faith and our commitment to the community of Old St. Pat’s. May this symbolic time of the year, with so many expressions of “new” and “beginning,” help us to welcome a renewed Spirit and like the Prodigal Son, to start over again.
On this September 11, let’s pray for our world, that it may experience an abiding peace and an end to violence.
Let’s make this a great year for each other and for Old St. Pat’s.
Thanks for being here today.
Father Tom Hurley, Pastor
Stay in touch with @TomHurleyOSP on Twitter and Instagram.
By: Sarah Thompson
Today marks the end of National Suicide Prevention Week. I asked for this platform to bring consciousness to this painful, but important topic. It was requested I try to meld this subject with a reflection of today’s Gospel which causes a bit of a challenge as in Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus’ three parables are more about rejoicing about finding that which was lost. Unfortunately, suicide is more often about not being understood, staying lost, and not being able to return to a life worth living. What today’s Gospel does teach us is compassion. As Christians, whether we go to church weekly or once a month, how we live our lives in between that time is what matters. Showing compassion through our actions is what Jesus has asked of us.
One of the biggest challenges we face as a society is the stigma attached to mental illness. We have to talk about it. We have to be able to openly address the tough issues. If we continue to sweep emotional problems under the rug, those who need help won’t get it. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.
There has been much debate over the Christian view on suicide, with early Christians (the Catholic Church included), preaching in the past that suicide is sinful and an act of blasphemy. Most Christian churches have changed their position. The Catholic Church now emphasizes that the person who dies by suicide often suffers from mental health issues; and is thus not morally culpable (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. 2012). No one can appreciate the unimaginable pain that is the ultimate explanation for such a tragic action. No one, therefore, can judge a person whose choice we cannot fathom, whose life we can remember, but cannot restore, and whose pain we cannot understand. This is how the Church looks upon suicide today. We now emphasize praying for individuals who have died by suicide, knowing that God shall judge the deceased fairly and justly. We focus on those close to the deceased, knowing our loving and healing God will comfort those torn apart by the impact of the loss.
Death by suicide is at an all time high and has increased by 24% between 1999 and 2014. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S with each year over 42,700 Americans dying by suicide. For every suicide, there are 25 attempts. Men die by suicide 3.4 times more often than women. White males account for 7 of 10 suicides with the biggest rate increases among males being in the middle age group between 45 to 64 years old. Alarmingly for females, the fastest growing suicide rates during this fifteen year period occurred in 10 to 14 year-old girls.
One of the most important ways we can reduce the incidence of suicide is to become more willing to talk about mental illness. With early identification, most successfully respond to treatment. Many people who are suicidal don’t really want their lives to end – they just want the pain to end. The understanding, support, and hope that we can offer can be their most important lifeline. Research tells us that discussing suicide, in an appropriate way, does not cause someone to consider it or make things worse. Most suicidal people are truthful and relieved when questioned about their feelings and intentions. Doing so can be the first step in helping them to choose to live. We need our communities to become places where it is considered normal to ask questions like: How are you feeling? How’s your mood been recently? What has been on your mind lately? Are you sleeping OK? How are your stress levels? Are you able to get things done, or is it all getting a bit much? Are you hopeful about the future?
Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Warning signs that a person may be suicidal includes change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors, especially if related to a painful event, loss, or a life change. We can all play our part in looking for signs that a loved one may need professional help, encourage them to seek it out, and then check that they follow through.
The research, knowledge, and understanding about suicide continues to grow and evolve. As children of God, let us educate ourselves, become familiar with what the signs are, learn what we can do to help, and support the cause of prevention locally or nationally and be His disciples every day of the week. Let us not be like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel and ignore or turn away those who are suffering. When there is a lost sheep among our flock, let us keep searching for them and help them return to a life worth living.
To learn more, find support, or take action, go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at www. afsp.org.
Sarah Thompson is Old St. Pat’s parish therapist and available for counseling. She has an office at 711 W. Monroe with day and evening hours and offersa sliding scale. Contact Sarah at 773.234.9630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Bernadette Moore-Gibson
“A life transition, like any effort to follow Jesus is about refocusing from one set of commitments to a new future.”
This week’s Gospel is challenging to digest. Jesus is warning the crowds that following him means that they must turn away from the people they love and detach themselves from the life they have known. Jesus is trying to shock the crowds into some sort of understanding of what’s to come. Jesus knows that most of the crowds will not be able to follow him to the cross. Jesus’ words are designed to shock the crowds into an understanding of the cost of following him. And now, these provocative words provoke us. These shocking words shock us. We all want desperately to justify our existence. We want desperately to know that our creation was not in vain. And like those who went before us, almost without fail, we turn to our parents and families to provide justification and the confidence we need to move forward. Luke’s Jesus calls people to a kind of discipleship that is not cheap, not easy, and not to be entered into without deep consideration of the consequences and costs. This passage speaks to the importance of loyalty and allegiance to Jesus over all other competing loyalties, including family, self-interest, and possessions. Salvation in Jesus is not merely a transaction. It is, at heart, a covenantal relationship. Because the one who redeems us also calls us into costly discipleship, Jesus’ command to “Follow Me” is both gift and demand.
This September, my transition from the hazy days of summer’s more casual pace back into our program year is tougher than usual. Most roads “back-to-school” are paved with lines of procedures, rules and formalized rituals. But I find the foundation of learning as I grow older, is far less formalized or predictable – it’s more relational, like a disciple and master, or a protégé and a mentor. A love of learning is sparked by an intellectual curiosity that comes not only from information, but from giving up one’s own privileges and pleasures in order to commit to a course of new loves, of formation, guided in relationship by the hands of a one who gently shapes others, like clay in the potter’s hand. The invitation of Jesus “to carry the cross” comes in a Greek verbal form which suggests it is not a short-term, a one-time hoisting up of temporary troubles, but a recurrent, lifelong, carrying of one’s cross. A life transition, like any effort to follow Jesus is stressful: packing and unpacking, bidding farewells, refocusing from one set of commitments to a new future.
My family is in the midst of a move to Indiana. We have one foot in our new home and another in the home we have filled with 25 years of memories, a home which we are trying to sell. Ours is a time of transition and maybe even a little metaphor to today’s Gospel. There are days when feel our foundation is shaken and we question where we belong. Luke’s message may be telling us that accepting the call of discipleship is one in which we are asked to be new creations in Christ’s image, with all the potential to be all that we can be. It is as if, God scoops us out of the waters of baptism and says, “Yes! This is exactly what I had in mind when I created you”. Turning away from and detaching ourselves from people, possessions and work so that we can follow Jesus means that: suddenly we no longer work to justify our own existence, we work simply because there is work that needs doing. We work because God has given us work that no one else can do, and because if we don’t do it, it simply won’t get done. On a deeper level, Jesus is asking us to give some thought as to how we want to spend the treasure that is our life. I would like to think the heart of Jesus message this week suggests that the goal of life is to find our way back to a relationship with God and then to align our hearts and minds with that of God, and if you are confused or lost that is the good news too! It is good news, because the very next three stories in Luke’s gospel are about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. It turns out that the God who wants us to follow him is very good at finding what is lost, rejoicing over it and bringing us home.
Bernadette Moore Gibson is the Director of Pastoral Care at Old St. Patrick’s Church.