Sunday, May 20, 2018
|7:00 am||Fr. Tom Hurley|
|8:00 am||Msgr. Ken Velo|
|9:30 am||Fr. John Cusick|
|11:15 am||Fr. Tom Hurley|
|12:00 pm (café)||Fr. Paul Novak|
|5:00 pm||Fr. Tom Hurley|
|5:00 pm||Fr. Bill O’Shea|
Please click here to join us for our 5:00 pm Mass online!
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Chicago Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline
National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-SAFE (7233)
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence (also known as spouse abuse, partner violence, intimate-partner violence, and battering) is a pattern of coercion used by one person to exert power and control over another person in the context of a dating, family, or household relationship. The spectrum of domestic violence includes much more than physical assault. Behaviors include:
- Actual or threatened physical harm, psychological abuse, and forced sexual contact;
- Economic control;
- Social isolation;
- Destruction of a victim’s property, keepsakes, or personal possessions;
- Abuse of animals/pets;
- Misuse of divine beings or religious beliefs, practices, teachings and traditions as well as asserting gender superiority and attributing abusive behavior to cultural traditions.
Who Are the Victims of Domestic Violence?
- In the United States, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked. Stalking causes the target to fear she/he or someone close to her/him will be harmed or killed.
- On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.
Domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. Children are very often witnesses and victims themselves. These statistics do not include the vast number of unreported incidents of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence – Why?
Why Partners Abuse
Those who abuse generally learn to do so through observation, experience, and reinforcement. They may have been abused themselves. They seek power and control, and believe they have a right to use violence. Alcohol and drugs are often associated with the abuse, but they do not cause it. Those who abuse often blame their behavior on someone else, including their partners. Those who abuse may say things like “you made me do this.”
Why the Partner Who Experiences Abuse Stays
FEAR: for themselves, their children, that they cannot support themselves.
DISBELIEF: Those who are abused are often incredulous that it happened and believe it will not happen again, even when it does. Many partners who are abused think that they can stop the abuse if they just act differently.
SHAME: The partner who is abused may be ashamed to admit the person they love is terrorizing them. Some cannot admit or do not realize that they are abused.
They may mistakenly think that they have caused the abuse. But they are mistaken. No one ever ‘deserves’ or ’causes themselves’ to be abused.
What Are the Causes of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is learned, purposeful behavior. It reflects a need to achieve and maintain power and control over his or her partner. The single most influential factor of domestic violence in adulthood is domestic violence in the household in which the person was reared. Children who grow up in an environment where control is maintained through verbal threats and intimidation and where conflicts escalate into physical violence, are more likely to resort to the same methods of abuse as adults. Name-calling and other forms of abusive language are often triggers that escalate the violence.
Domestic violence is not caused by stress, anger, or excessive alcohol use, but they are often contributing factors. It is not caused by the behavior or actions of the person being abused.
Excerpts from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Domestic Violence
“As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form — physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal — is sinful; often, it is a crime as well. …
“[W]e emphasize that no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage. … Violence and abuse, not divorce, break up a marriage. We encourage abused persons who have divorced to investigate the possibility of seeking an annulment.”
prepared by the Old St. Mary’s and Old St. Pat’s Domestic Violence Ministry, October, 2017
Find resources online: [insert link here]
There Is Help
Help For Those Who Are Abused
- Begin to believe that you are not alone and that help is available for you and others in your household.
- Talk in confidence to someone you trust: a relative, friend, parish priest, deacon, religious sister or brother, or lay minister.
- If you choose to stay in the situation, at least for now, set up a plan of action to ensure your safety. This includes hiding a car key, personal documents, and some money in a safe place and locating somewhere to go in an emergency.
- Find out about resources in your area that offer help to those who experience abuse and their children. The phone book lists numbers to call in your local area. Your diocesan Catholic Charities office or family life office can help. Catholic Charities often has qualified counselors on staff and can provide emergency assistance and other kinds of help.
- Chicago Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline – Phone: 1-877-863-6338; TTY: 1.877.863.6339
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis intervention and referrals to local service providers. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY). E-mail assistance is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help for Those Who Have Abused
- Be ready to own your behavior. Know that you have the power to express yourself in safe, healthy ways.
- Be willing to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust who can help you evaluate the situation. Contact Catholic Charities or other church or community agencies for the name of a program for those who have abused.
- Keep in mind that the Church is available to help you. Part of the mission Jesus entrusted to us is to offer healing when it is needed.
- Find alternative ways to act when you become frustrated or angry. Talk to other people who have overcome abusive behavior. Find out what they did and how they did it.
- The web site www.psychologytoday.com has an online directory of therapists, support groups, anger management classes/groups and other resources.
- The National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline is also available to assist those who have abused: 1-800-799-7233.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
by Rachel Lyons
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew 25:35
OSP Immigration and Refugee Team
Sorting through all the confusing and contradictory claims about immigrants and immigration is a challenge. Two reliable sources of information are the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and their Campaign for Immigration Reform and the Anti-Defamation League, the sources for the information here.
Myth: Terrorists are infiltrating the U.S. by coming across the border with Mexico.
There is no evidence that terrorists are entering the U.S. through the border with Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security has said that “the suggestion that individuals that have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or facts on the ground.” According to a 2015 report by the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism, “there are no known international terrorist organizations operating in Mexico, despite several erroneous reports to the contrary during 2014.” In fact, the vast majority of U.S. residents linked to terror since 2002 are U.S. citizens.
Myth: We can stop undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. by building a wall along the border with Mexico.
A wall or a fence along the entire border with Mexico would be impractical and very likely ineffective. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell. From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, history shows us that people find ways to cross walls. Experts predict that a wall along the entire length of the border would lead coyotes—human smugglers who charge migrants high rates to cross the border—to dig tunnels and create breaches. This would increase smuggling prices, making the process simply more lucrative for those exploiting migrants. As long as there is poverty and suffering in other parts of the world, people will continue to come to the U.S. to seek a better life, no matter how big a wall we build. The U.S. prides itself on being a “nation of immigrants,” and on the values of fairness and equality. It is possible to create a process for addressing immigration that treats immigrants with dignity and respect instead of as criminals. The US Bishops Conference has been advocating for reasonable immigration reform for many years, and the church continues to do so today.
THANK YOU to everyone who signed postcards on Sunday, July 23rd, to Gov. Rauner in support of the TRUST Act! We sent almost 200 postcards from Old St. Pat’s to the coalition of faith communities behind this effort. And we need to keep the pressure on. CALL TODAY to support the Illinois TRUST Act!
The TRUST Act’s main provisions will:
- Bar local law enforcement from engaging in immigration enforcement without a court-issued warrant
- Assist immigrant crime victims seeking legal protection
- Bar federal agents from making arrests in schools and health facilities
- Bar local participation in a federal registry based on country of origin or religion
Call Gov Rauner’s Springfield (217-782-0244) and Chicago (312-814-2121) office. “Hello, my name is ____. I am an Illinois resident, and I am calling to ask that Governor Rauner sign the Illinois TRUST Act, SB-31. This will protect our 4th amendment rights, and will make me, my family and people I care about more secure in Illinois. Can you pass this message along to the Governor? Thank you.”
For more information on our Immigration and Refugee Team, contact Rachel Lyons – 312-798-2399.
Friday, July 28, 2017
by Thomas Weinheimer
There are an endless amount of things that make Worktour what it is. Yes, Worktour is ultimately about serving people, but it is so much more. Over the past ten or so years, Foundations has travelled to dozens of different places, worked with over fifty organizations, and impacted thousands of lives. Any youth group can do a service trip, take van rides across the country, and give a week of their lives to public service. What makes Worktour Worktour is the powerful bonds it creates and messages it conveys.
Within the first hours of the Worktour van rides, tired teenagers who had no idea that some of their peers existed last night, are dancing and laughing together like life-long friends. By the end of the first night, they can open up about their faith and personal experiences with leaders who end up learning just as much as we do by the end of the week. Every participant on Worktour is guaranteed to walk out with friendships and connections with people they otherwise would have never met. Upon seeing Chicago skyline come into view on the final van ride, a melancholy air fills the vans as everyone realizes that their time with their neo-family is coming to a bittersweet close, and we are soon welcomed back to our original ones. Teenagers experience Worktour withdrawal not because of one moment or person, but every moment with every person.
Each Worktour will naturally convey its own message. Don’t be deceived, despite sharing a name, each and every Worktour is starkly and vastly different from each before or after it. I’ve been on three Worktours, to New Orleans, Cincinnati, and finally Springfield. Once you go on a Worktour, you find out how truly broad the, “serve people” mantra is. You may be building homes, refurbishing, tearing down, or cleaning structures, picking produce, or building a community garden. Or you may be guiding a homeless person through a food pantry, passing out rolls at a soup kitchen, or packing meals for school kids. Everyday you serve people on varying levels, be it in person or setting the foundation for their future home, and through both levels we’ve all seen the powerful effects of it all. Worktour not only gets us to do service but teaches us that service is an essential part of life and our faith.
After three Worktours and subsequent withdrawals/returns to normal life, I’ve found service to be a rare concept and even rarer practice. It’s incredibly hard for people today to follow Jesus’ example 2,000 year later, and because of that difficulty, so many people have lost touch with the necessity of service. Yet loving our neighbor was at the core of Jesus’ teachings and as disciples we are asked to live out that message. It is all great to attend church weekly, go to all of the gatherings and events, and keep faith present at the dinner table, but that is only the first step. I implore any and all of those who are reading this to take it out of the pews and to seek out service. Serve others, like Jesus taught us to, and become someone else’s example for the modern day.
“This year in Springfield, Missouri, Foundations and its members collectively enjoyed new experiences, crossed new boundaries, and assisted communities in ways that others would not be capable of. We traveled 8 hours across the US and renovated a house associated with negativity and gave it a positive spin. Along with that, we engaged with community members, revitalized a school garden, and shared great memories with one another.”
Thomas Weinheimer is a rising senior at OPRF and is an active Foundations teen.
Charlie Corrigan, Junior at Lyons Township
“My Worktour touched me this year at our last worksite where we put siding on a woman’s house. She told us that she was trying to get her granddaughter out of foster care, but her house couldn’t pass inspection. She had $40,000 worth of repairs needed that she couldn’t afford, so Habitat stepped in with other organizations. She teared up and told us how truly grateful she was for our work. Her story made me appreciate and be grateful for all that I have been blessed with.”
Michaela Ryan, Junior at Jones Prep
“On Worktour, I bonded with the best group of teens and adults I could’ve asked for. We had so much fun while we finished a large chunk of work. I adored my final worktour as a teen, but hopefully I am back in 5ish years to help lead a group.”
Mark Lorden, Senior at Jones Prep
“This experience on the 2017 Worktour in Springfield, Missouri has been nothing short of amazing. Working with Habitat for Humanity has taught me amazing life skills, made unbreakable bonds, and showed me how amazing groups like Habitat can transform people’s lives, by volunteers like us.”
Isabella Dagres, Junior at York
“For me, Worktour was all about the teens. I loved building relationships with them, singing insanely loud, working and sweating. I loved watching their transformation over the week from individuals to family.”
Colleen Mary Kelley, Leader
“This trip has been amazing. There is two great things about Worktour. One is that I made unforgettable friends and built awesome relationships. The second thing is that I got to help a great cause that goes a long way for people in need.”
Jack Mills, Sophomore at Whitney Young
“Our journey to Springfield was truly an eye-opening experience for me. Before Worktour I never understood what it was like to struggle with housing and safety. After working with Habitat for Humanity, I not only have a great appreciation for my own house but I also want to help combat homelessness in Chicago too. I am so grateful for my week in Missouri and all of the amazing friends and memories I made.”
Meg Quinn, Senior at York High School
“This was my 6th worktour. My family moved to Minn., MN. Last year it was hard to say goodbye to our Foundations and OSP community. I choose to lead these teens, leave my family back in MN., and use 8 days of vacation because of the lives that are changed forever by these teens. Their lives are transformed, the lives of the locals helped were changed forever, and my life is rejuvenated. Thanks for your gifts, support, and love.”
Nick Byrne, Leader
“Worktour was such a great experience and very, very fun! Coming into my first Worktour this year, I was really nervous, but everyone welcomed me with open arms to the Worktour family. You meet the best people that you get so close to. Missouri was especially great because we were working with Habitat for Humanity building houses and really helping people.”
Ali Burns, Sophomore at St. Ignatius
“Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to serve others, and to take a break from our daily lives. This trip made me realize how important service is, and I know I will continue to do service with Foundations in the future.”
Kendall Pollard, Sophomore at Latin School of Chicago
“Worktour is and always has been an indescribable experience. No two Worktours are the same, yet all of them change each participant in phenomenal ways. Springfield gave us the chance to connect with each other and an entire community through our service, impacting families and improving their lives.”
Thomas Weinheimer, Senior at OPRF
“I loved Worktour because of the feeling you got at the end of each day. I reflected on each day about everything and I noticed that every person on this trip touched my heart in some way. The feeling I get after leaving the worksite, that feeling of accomplishment, that’s why I love Worktour. To get that sense of accomplishment and how it was all for God touches my heart.”
Kevin Thursby, Sophomore at Northridge Prep
“This Missouri Worktour for me was so fun and gave me a new sense of humbleness. Not only did we paint a house, but we put up all the siding on half of another house and helped clean up a community garden. I learned all the ways Habitat for Humanity helps people, and I was lucky to be a part of it!”
Shane McCarthy, Junior at Fenwick
“To the Old St. Pats Community – Thank you for your support. This service opportunity has given me a stronger sense of community. Working, socializing, and meeting with the Habitat community and greater Springfield, MO area touched my soul. I will continue to build upon my foundation with the skills I have learned on Worktour.”
Mackenzie Rotherham, OSP Youth Ministry Assistant
“Worktour was an amazing experience for me because I was able to serve God and others, and I got to do it with some of the best people I’ve ever met. I can’t wait for my next Worktour!”
Bella Shydlowski, Sophomore at St. Ignatius
“Worktour means to me: helping others and getting to know everyone in Foundations more. It has been great to experience helping people first-hand and knowing that you made a difference.”
Cece Carl , Sophomore at Fenwick
“This Worktour was such a great experience for so many reasons. We were able to help so many people and have an important spiritual impact. Worktour is such a unique week that we are lucky to have.”
Eoin Murphy, Sophomore at St. Pats
“Worktour has helped me find a passion in doing service for others who could really use it most. We went to an ice cream social that we were invited to by the community whose garden we worked on. It was amazing to see so many people in one small room that brought us closer and we were meeting so many people that we seved. They were all so thankful.”
Olwen Healy , Senior at DePaul College Prep
“This whole Worktour experience was something extremely positive. Making a real difference in people’s lives is something you don’t get to do that often, but Worktour gave us that opportunity. I hope to have it again next year, and have fun while making a difference.”
John Lehrer, Junior at St. Ignatius
“Worktour means a lot to me. As my 7th one comes to a close, I’m reminded that Worktour means love, family, acceptance, community and so much more. I am so thankful to have been part of this wonderful group that came to Springfield to lend a helping hand and a smile to Habitat and their communities in need.”
Riley Kinsella, Leader
“This service trip to Missouri was a wonderful experience. It is great to come back as a leader having gone on these trips as a teen and see that very little has changed. It is great seeing the teens get so much from doing service and helping others.”
Jim Harney, Leader
“Worktour was a blast from the van ride to Springfield to helping rebuild a house to the ‘see-ya-laters” given to all my new friends. We worked, played, and talked – having the time of my life throughout.”
Liam Warren, Junior at York High School
“As my second Worktour, our trip to Springfield, MO, was an experience unlike any in my life. The opportunity to transform as house from an assortment of randomly-colored rooms to a house with uniform off-white walls and eggshell-colored ceilings in just two days was remarkable. I’ve never felt more excited to be sweating. Thank you, Foundations, for allowing me to find God in Springfield.
Katie Moynihan, Junior at Whitney Young
A Welcome Surprise: Kentucky Worktour 2017
By Florence Almeda
The week was already over, and I could hardly believe it. Against the backdrop of the fog covered mountains, I looked around at the eighteen other teens and six leaders that now felt like family as we gathered for our final moments in David, Kentucky. Over the course of several days, we were brought together by a series of surprises; from realizing the reality of poverty in rural America, to experiencing kindness from the locals and each other. It was a week that was not only memorable, but incredibly meaningful.
Honestly, at the beginning of the trip, I felt like I knew exactly how the week would play out; after two amazing service trips in Missouri and Pittsburgh, it was hard to not compare. However, by the end of the week I realized how wrong I was. On this trip, I learned so much by simply talking to the people around me, making it such a unique experience. By driving through the winding roads of Eastern Kentucky, one would never expect that such a beautiful place would be ridden with so much hardship. It took a closer look to understand that only 9% of adults had college degrees, and over 30% live below the poverty line — a percentage that is nearly double the national average.
We worked with St. Vincent Mission, an organization whose goal is to help low income families with home repairs. Our work varied from repairing a roof to guttering an entire house, to weeding, mowing, and cleaning up an old playground. Each small group was assigned a supervisor, and my group had the opportunity to work with a man named Jim. With a Southern drawl, American flag bandana and cut-off shirt, I hate to admit that I made assumptions about him before we even spoke. However, after a few conversations, I discovered he was probably one of the most interesting people I’d ever met; not only a survivor of two major spinal injuries, but a proud grandfather and an extremely faith-filled individual.
On Thursday night we attended a Pickin’ Party — a typically Southern gathering where people bring their instruments,
play music, and dance. As we shuffled into the room, we were greeted by the sound of several guitars and a man singing country music. Elderly couples danced on the floor while we sat around the perimeter, trying to understand what exactly to do with our feet. Eventually, a woman must have seen us struggling, and showed me and a few other friends a few basic dance moves. It was obvious we were outsiders, yet this woman took the time to welcome us into a part of their lives.
Within the Worktour group, we also learned how to surprise ourselves. From shaving parts of our heads (myself included), to jumping into a lake, to singing music at the top of our lungs with people we’d just met, we took these risks and ultimately felt rewarded. While my final Worktour flew by, I feel so thankful to be a part of the Foundations community. It does break my heart that this is my last year, but I think this trip helped me to realize that there are ways to experience Foundations outside of Chicago, simply by keeping an open mind, and letting myself be surprised by both the little and big things in life in the years to come.
Florence Almeda is a rising senior at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and has been a member of Foundations since her freshman year.
Going on Worktour was an amazing experience, not only because I got to make a ton of new friends, but I learned so much about the community in David, Kentucky. The kindness of the locals on the worksite, at restaurants, and at the Pickin’ Party taught me how to show compassion towards people who are from different backgrounds than myself.
The relationships I made on Kentucky ’17 are the most remarkable thing to come out of my Worktour. By being in an isolated area with no phone or distraction, I have been able to connect to people in just a matter of days. The people I met here have changed me forever and for the better.
Worktour was awesome because as a group, I got to help others in need and actually take action and get hands on. Being able to work with other teens who are passionate about the same things just makes Worktour fun, but what makes it awesome is that while doing this and helping others, I had the chance to make new friends and just enjoy my faith.
Worktour this year helped me come to understand that poverty in this country is different depending on where the impoverished are.
Worktour was amazing because I learned so much about poverty in Appalachia, in our own country, and it was so great to be a part of helping people in need. I also got to build some great friendships with kids I didn’t know before the Worktour week.
Worktour was an amazing experience. I really learned new things with the people I worked with and about Kentucky. I got to see how the people lived their everyday lives and their culture. We got to do so many fun things, go to a Pickin’ Party, swim in a lake, and build and construct different things.
Worktour is an experience in which you truly find yourself. You are given the opportunity to help those who need it the most in our country with hands-on work. The people I met and the connections I made will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The mountains and people [in Kentucky] really made me feel that God surrounds us all, and there’s a place for everything. The friendships I made on this trip I already know will last a lifetime. No other time am I surrounded by such a great community of people the same age as me.
The Worktour to Kentucky was so amazing because I got to get to know some great people. I came out of Worktour with not only new relationships with the friends that I went with, but with the people we met in the community. Without the great people of OSP this would not be possible, and I want to thank you for supporting us.
During Worktour, I found a new energy in service, and I think I have a strengthened desire to serve others and do good work in the world. Also, I bonded with so many incredible people, and Foundations is going to be exponentially more enjoyable with the new relationships.
I believe that every person has a piece of God in them, no matter if it is found easily or it takes a bit more searching. Here, I was able to find the humanity and love in not only my fellow Worktour participants, but I found God in the people of Appalachia that had completely different lifestyles from myself. I never expected this experience.
Wilke Daniel Macariola
visit us at oldstpats.org
This Worktour taught me a multitude of life skills, from gutter installation to the importance of empathy when volunteering. This experience also allowed me to see the world from a new perspective, and more deeply understand an overlooked type of poverty: rural poverty.
Worktour was great because we were able to help a somewhat ‘forgotten’ community (Appalachia). We were able to connect with the locals and be able to help the areas and houses around us. Also, it was a great experience because I was able to gain relationships with other teens and make new friends.
This Worktour touched everyone here in parts of our hearts that we didn’t even know were there. Any Worktour for that matter makes such great connections with us and our friends. Not to mention all the service we did. Without this I don’t know where I would be!
Stuart Patton-Van Buskirk
Worktour was amazing because you come back with a new understanding of different communities, different people, and a whole bunch of new friends to go along with that. It’s a life-changing week that I’ll never forget about.
On Worktour you make so many genuine relationships with people who you probably wouldn’t have talked to if it weren’t for Worktour. You really become a family over the week while working together to help the community, whether it’s weeding, painting roofs, or replacing gutters. Worktour is truly an amazing experience.
This Worktour was incredible because it was shocking to see the levels of poverty in this area, and it is so fulfilling to come and try to help the people here. The people around [Appalachia] are all so welcoming to people they don’t know which is awesome to see, and they are always so positive.
Worktour was one of the best weeks of my life and I know I will be forever changed after this amazing experience. Helping such amazing people who face such incredibly unfair adversity helped me to really act in Christ’s name to the best of my ability. Thank you.
During Worktour, I saw a different world and saw truly reality. What I saw was painful but seeing the smiles on people’s faces throughout the work process was priceless. It was definitely a life-changing experience for me.
A WORD FROM THE LEADERS…
Kentucky Worktour was a unique experience during which we witnessed hardships many residents endured despite the natural beauty of the surroundings. I cherished the opportunity to spend a week with deep, insightful teens who push themselves to the limits to serve those in need.
My favorite part of Worktour is watching a group of teens who barely know each other come together as a true community by the end of the week. It’s a community that has a lot of fun and dance parties but also a glimpse into the kind of Christian community that we are all called to.
As an adult leader on Worktour, it was powerful to see teens experience a place so unlike their homes, and to so quickly adapt and grow because of it. I am constantly amazed by the ability of the group to build a community so quickly and so completely. Service work forges strong bonds and it was great to see Foundations teens embrace every aspect of the Kentucky Worktour.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
By Patti Dougherty
Whom among us doesn’t desire to feel welcomed? As a new parishioner at Old St Pat’s nearly ten years ago, I attended a New Member Dinner where I was formally welcomed to OSP. Besides learning the rich history of the church and the mission of the parish, I met about 25 other new members. Like undoubtedly so many before me, I already felt that radical hospitality that is synonymous with OSP before attending the dinner, but was eager to learn more about “my” new church. As a life-long Catholic, in the five parishes that I had attended as an adult, this was the first new member dinner for which I had been extended an invitation. So how could I possibly say “No” to being wined and dined?!!
At the time I attended, the dinner was catered, served by OSP volunteers, and held in Hughes Hall. It was a lovely occasion, with a tour of the church, cocktail gathering, dinner, a welcome by Father Hurley, and an opportunity to introduce oneself and how each of us made our way to OSP. As a result of attending the dinner, I wanted to extend the hospitality that had been shown to me by volunteering my time to help serve the monthly dinners.
At the time I served my first dinner, the venue had moved to the church rectory and was now being planned and prepared by OSP member, Joe Schroeder, a personal chef who volunteered his time and incredible talent. In 2014 Joe had an opportunity to move to North Carolina with his partner, all involved with the dinners were saddened by the news. But as fate (or the Holy Spirit) would have it, at the last dinner he prepared, Zahra Kasza was in attendance with her husband, Tom. In learning that it would be Joe’s last dinner, Zahra, a nutritionist and former restaurant owner in Nantucket, stepped up to replace him. Aided by her mother, Shirin, at her side, she seamlessly filled Joe’s big shoes, continuing the tradition of preparing feasts fit for kings. Because of the Journey Forward Campaign which included remodeling of the rectory, last year the dinners moved from the rectory to either a restaurant or the 711 building. As we edge closer to coming full circle, we are all eager to return to the beautifully renovated new rectory which will hopefully take place in late summer.
If you or someone you know is new to Old St. Pat’s and has not yet been extended an invitation to attend a New Member Dinner, feel free to contact Lauren McCallick, Director of Development, at 312-831-9355 or at laurenm@ oldstpats.org. New members are also offered an invitation to meet with a new member ambassador to help them navigate the many ministries, services, and activities of interest to them at OSP
As I look back, little did I know at that first dinner how something as simple as the call to volunteer would change my life. How was I to know that the other volunteers would become close personal friends with whom we would share the special occasions of our lives, the joys and heartaches of life, and impromptu “Just Pizza” nights with lively discussions about spirituality and religion. How was I to know that at an age that is considered beyond middle age, I would make new friends that I felt I had known my entire life, and that I know will forever be an integral part of my life. How was I to know that OSP which draws from 200+ zip codes would be my adult spiritual home comparable only to the 30-family St. Isidore Catholic Church, my childhood spiritual home nestled among the corn and bean fields in Central Illinois.
The New Member Dinner Volunteers and the New Member Ambassadors are two ministry groups at Old St. Pat’s. Our dinner volunteers host new members for a special meal once per month. Our New Member Ambassadors are responsible for reaching out to recent additions to the Old St. Pat’s community. They welcome new members with a phone call or email and work to set up one-on-one conversations for further discussion and sharing. We are so blessed to have volunteers like Pat Dougherty who really are the face of hospitality to new Old St. Pat’s members. If you might be interested in either (or both!) of these ministries, please reach out to Lauren McCallick (email@example.com, 312-831-9355) for more information.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
By Lauren Gaffey
One of the things I love about spring and summer is spending time in my garden. I love waiting for daffodils to emerge in the spring and feeling the relief that winter is finally on its way out. I love planting annuals and adding an instant burst of color to the yard. I love that my kids will join me on a “garden walk,” where we go look to see what is blooming today. I love the way the garden looks different every week as some plants bloom just as others fade a bit.
In the Gospels for the next two weeks, Jesus tells his disciples parables in which he likens the Kingdom of God to a field. In the first parable, on July 16, the seed is the word of God and we are the soil in which it is sown. We can choose how we receive it, and how we live it out in the world. The parable on July 23 talks about a good sower and an evil sower who each plant seeds in a field. The good seeds are those who live as true disciples and bear good fruit through our lives.
When we hear the parable of the sower, we know we want to be the good, rich soil. We want to be the person who “hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” But we also know that there are times in life when we may be more like the other types of soil. Perhaps we are the seed sown on the path “who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it” if we hear Jesus tell us to serve the “least of our brothers and sisters,” but we don’t live this out. We might be the seed sown among thorns when we allow our desire for more money, or prestige, or power, to become more important than our desire to follow Christ. But the good news is that God is always giving the seeds of our faith more opportunities to grow.
I have learned that most plants have a certain resiliency and determination to grow. Several years ago I asked my aunt (a master gardener) how to tell which direction to plant a tulip bulb. She showed me the top and bottom, but then said “but even if you plant it the wrong direction, it will figure out which way is up and grow anyway.” I loved this! Not only did it mean I didn’t have to worry about being perfect in my planting, but I loved the idea of my beloved little tulip stem beginning its growth heading straight down, only to do a U-turn and head back to the surface.
This image of plant starting out heading in the wrong direction until it finally figures out which way it should go fits perfectly with my faith life. Sometimes I strike out, confident of what I am doing, only to hear a quiet whisper, or a gentle nudging from God to change direction. That whisper may be in the form of my husband challenging me to look at a situation from someone else’s perspective. The nudge may come from a feeling of restlessness when I haven’t spent much quiet time allowing God to creep in amidst the busyness.
My hope is that I can be like that tulip in the garden in that, even if I start out in the wrong direction, I can eventually make my way toward the fullness of a deep relationship with God that lets me bear fruit in the world “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
Sunday, July 16, 2017
by Fr. Tom Hurley
Last Sunday at the 9:30 and 11:15 am masses, I spoke about my experience of being away over the 4th of July on a summer Worktour with nineteen of our Foundations Teens and five young adult leaders. Over the past eight years, I’ve gone on six Worktours with our teenagers and each trip has been uniquely enriching and equally exhausting! This summer’s mission experience to eastern Kentucky was no different. We worked hard; we sweated a lot; I took a board of nails in the back; I was stung by a wasp between my eyes; I ate unhealthy foods; I was sleep deprived; and, at times, I was frustrated by my young friends for their lack of skills on the work site….and yet, I would do it all over again. In this day and age, I don’t think there are too many of my colleagues who are packing a bag and going off on mission trips with high school kids, unfortunately. Though as it happens every summer upon my return, I become enthusiastic and excited again for the opportunities we have with these extraordinary members of the next generation of the church.
Beyond the wild music, the loud van rides, and the occasional inability to focus on work that may not be appealing, I continue to walk away from these experiences inspired by these outrageously thoughtful young people of the 21st century. Even though it often goes late into the evening, one of my favorite parts of the Worktours is the conversations we have at the end of each day, commonly referred to as “Devotions.” After a time of journaling, a teaching exercise, and some group prayer, the teens and the leaders spend some time reflecting on a moment of grace (ie. a moment during the day when they felt the presence of God). It is absolutely inspiring stuff to hear the incredible insights they walk away with from their day. Some of it is very funny and other observations are richly imaginative of how they made some connection of their experience to the deeper mysteries of God.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m a big fan of Worktour. Until 2010 with my first trip to New Orleans, I never envisioned myself going on one of these. They are, in my mind, great opportunities for growth and spiritual enrichment, let alone wonderful opportunities for new friendships to be formed among our teens. Likewise, I stand utterly grateful to our fearless leader Courtney Nichols who directs our Foundations Youth Ministry, for her tireless work in not just coordinating these time intensive, detail overloaded trips, but more importantly for her own
great spirit and the insightful theological connections she helps our teens to make while on their journey.
I’m mindful therefore of Matthew’s text for today, this 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Jesus talks in parables and uses the example of the seeds that are sown. Some of it falls on rocky ground, others fall among the weeds, and much of it falls on good rich soil where it grows abundantly. The Kingdom of God and the faith formation of the next generation is only going to produce disciples if we give them opportunities for growth. I’m not saying that a summer work tour is the only opportunity, but it’s certainly one among many possibilities. More importantly has to be our commitment to inviting and encouraging our children and teens on their journey of faith. We are at a critical moment in history when so much of the cultural messages the next generation is receiving says that faith and church life doesn’t matter. We need to say otherwise. I hope you will join me in making sure that we provide good, enriching moments for the gospel message of Jesus Christ to come alive in the hearts of our teens and young adults. Thank you for all of your support of our mission at Old St. Pat’s, especially the annual Pancake Breakfast, Workday in May, and other forms of fundraising the kids do in order to make the Summer Worktours possible. I am very grateful and so are they!
Enjoy these summer days!
Father Tom Hurley
Sunday, July 2, 2017
By Kathleen Hynan
Last week, I had the indescribable pleasure of embarking on a service trip with eighteen of my peers to Minnesota for a week. This was the third and last Worktour I participated in as a member of Foundations, and it was certainly one for the books. We mainly worked with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities doing home repairs and upkeep for elderly neighbors and people with disabilities. While we spent many grueling hours working, and just as many hours laughing, I’d say what made Worktour most memorable was the presence of Terry Nelson-Johnson, who helped to create an emotional experience for both the teens and leaders. Although I could delve deep into the story of how he caused first time Worktour tears for some of our most proudly self-proclaimed non-criers, I choose to focus instead on one particular night when he was leading devotions.
As a bit of background, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say one thing I love about Foundations and Old St. Pat’s is that we keep our focus on the positive aspects of faith and religion. Our discussions promote love, acceptance, service, etc., rather than warning off sin with threats of Hell and eternal damnation. That is something that I will always consider to be a beautiful thing about this church, and one of the main reasons my faith has survived through my years of teen angst and cynicism, in which most people I know have rejected the idea of God altogether for one reason or another.
That being said, the concept of Hell has always been a sort of elephant in the room for me in the journey to fully understand my faith. On the first evening that Terry led devotions, he chose to address this elephant in the room in quite a beautiful way. He laid on the ground a pink hula hoop at one end of the room and a ring of Hawaiian shirts at the other end. He explained that for the purposes of this exercise, the hula hoop would represent sin and Hell and the Hawaiian shirts would represent Heaven and grace. He then went on to explain that to him, Hell wasn’t a place of divine punishment or even a place for “bad people.” Instead, he described Hell as essentially being a poor emotional state, the feeling that you are not enough or that you are not worth it; aversely, Heaven represented happiness and emotional security.
Then the activity began. Terry invited everyone to get up one by one to stand in the middle of the pink hula hoop and explain if they were in a state of Hell as he had described it before they came on Worktour. They were then to name one person in the room who had helped them reach a Heavenly state over the course of the four days that we had been there, and to explain how this person had used their personal gifts to do so. Then, that second person would get up and take the first person’s arm, and together they would
walk from the pink hula hoop of Hell to the Hawaiian shirts of Heaven in a symbolic act of companionship and love. What followed was an incredible experience, the details of which are best left to the memories of those of us who were there to witness it.
This, along with many other experiences and moments, made my last Worktour a truly unforgettable week. This exercise was unique in that it provided space for sadness and struggles along with the usual enthusiasm and positivity of Worktour, and because of this the bonds we made were even stronger and deeper than they would have otherwise been. I made unbreakable friendships with both my fellow teens and the adult leaders, and can confidently say that this Worktour was an experience I will never forget.
Kathleen Hynan is a rising senior at Hinsdale Central High School. She has been a participant on Baltimore, Birmingham, and Minnesota Worktour.
My experience on Worktour was the best. I did not expect things to go as they did. I had so many interesting and fun things happen throughout the week.
What does Worktour mean to me? To me, it’s something you can just be yourself at. Somewhere where you learn to love, laugh, and enjoy life.
What makes Worktour special is the people. This is special because during Worktour people really act however they want, like their true selves. Also, during Worktour there are no phones so the connection is almost forced together, making you make new friendships.
Minnesota Worktour gave me perspective about how life continues even in the midst of loss and challenges. It also helped us to gain a newfound appreciation for our abilities and our mission as servants to God.
visit us at oldstpats.org
On Worktour you have this sense of community with everyone else who comes because we all experience short lines, van dances, and the friendships we make.
Worktour is a place where I can be myself, even if that involves singing and dancing really silly to Hamilton. After Worktour, I hope to challenge others to be themselves more often.
What Worktour means to me. Worktour means emotional liberation. You suddenly aren’t locked in a cage of emotions anymore.
Worktour means so much to me because I feel content and full of pure joy during it. It’s the place I feel closest to God.
Worktour for me is a beautiful annual collection of faith, friendship, service, and theology all wrapped into one incredible, life changing week.
It’s a place like no other in this world where all walls come down, and an openness to growth is nurtured.
I felt more peace, love, joy, and community this week then I ever thought possible. I learned to see positives and negatives in everything. I can now embrace and identify the positives and change the negatives. This is a week I will never forget.
To me Worktour means having freedom to let go of everything I don’t like about myself and working on my spirituality and building new friendships.
Worktour is not only a place where we participate in profound service and reflection, but a space of vulnerability. During Worktour our insecurities and imperfections are embraced, welcomed, and accepted. There is nothing like Worktour, it is pure bliss.
Worktour to me is very amazing and special. Working at a homeless shelter that does so much for the people was so cool. I liked helping and feeling more connected within the communities we visited.
Worktour means togetherness. We are all just a bunch of Jesus-loving teens from all corners of Chicago, who somehow unite as one life-changing group.
For me, Worktour has been a chance to experience church in the “walk” of “walk the talk”. Us teens have now experienced these life changing moments together with our church in a very hands-on way.
Worktour was such an amazing experience and I felt blessed the whole time. One specific time was when we went to our first worksite. We moved junk from a man’s backyard to a dumpster; I never knew I could bond with people while breaking apart an old hot tub.
This Worktour has been really enjoyable, and we all have learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and the people that we served. I will never forget this Worktour.
What makes Worktour such a great experience is the people. I’ve never felt so connected to a group of individuals in my life.
Thank you to the adult leaders,
Annie Kielian, Ania Martens, Terry Nelson-Johnson, Sophie Ramatici and John Weinheimer for their incredible generosity of time, energy, and Spirit! 9
Sunday, July 2, 2107
by OSP Immigration & Refugee Team
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” -Matthew 25:35
This month we focus on immigration myths. Sorting through the confusing and contradictory claims about immigrants and immigration is a challenge. Two reliable sources of info are the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and their Campaign for Immigration Reform and the Anti- Defamation League, the sources for the information here.
MYTH: Immigrants are overrunning our country, and most are here illegally.
The Facts: Although it is true that there are more immigrants living in the U.S. than ever before the percentage of immigrants in the overall population is not much different than many other times throughout our history. Today immigrants make up approximately 13% of the total U.S. population. From 1900 to 1930, immigrants made up between 12% and 15% of the population, and there were similar percentages in the 1850s and 1880s. During those periods immigrants successfully became part of American society, helping to build the thriving and diverse country we have now, and there is no reason to believe today’s immigrants will be different.
In 2014 there were approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S., which is actually a significant decrease from the 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2007. Today, in fact, the net migration from Mexico (the number of people entering the U.S. from Mexico minus the number of people leaving the U.S. to go to Mexico) is around zero.
Myth: Immigrants bring crime and violence to our cities and towns.
The Facts: Many studies have shown that immigrants, regardless of where they are from, what immigration status they hold, or how much education they have completed, are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes or become incarcerated. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while the overall percentage of immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. both increased sharply between 1990 and 2010, the violent crime rate in the U.S. during that time plummeted 45 percent and the property crime rate dropped by 42 percent. Studies have consistently found that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans, and that there was no correlation between crime rates and levels of immigration.
Want to take local action? CALL TODAY to support the Illinois TRUST Act!
The TRUST Act’s main provisions will:
Bar local law enforcement from engaging in immigration enforcement without a court-issued warrant
Assist immigrant crime victims seeking legal protection
Bar federal agents from making arrests in schools and health facilities
Bar local participation in a federal registry based on country of origin or religion
Call Gov Rauner’s Springfield (217-782-0244) and Chicago (312-814-2121) office.
“Hello, my name is ____. I am an Illinois resident, and I am calling to ask that Governor Rauner sign the Illinois TRUST Act, SB-31. This will protect our 4th amendment rights, and will make me, my family and people I care about more secure in Illinois. Can you pass this message along to the Governor? Thank you.”
Sunday, July 2, 2017
by Rachel Lyons
I grew up loving the Fourth of July from my driveway in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We lived near the fairgrounds where they would shoot off all kinds of fireworks in a bright and colorful display of deafening BOOMs and POPs. I would sit in front of the garage with my siblings and look over our neighbors’ houses at the sky above us, filled with lights and dazzling sparkles. After the wonder of the fireworks, the last clouds of smoke would float away, the kids would get ready for bed, and I’d easily fall asleep with the magic of this summer holiday on my mind.
Now, things are different. By things, I mean my own mind, my heart, my dreams. I am in relationship with different places, different people, different images of God. Chicago’s booms and pops are sometimes fireworks, sometimes gunshots. I meet refugees and immigrants who have had horrible experiences fleeing conflict and war, so a celebration with explosions is pretty problematic. And my childhood image of God as a dominant (usually fairly scary) ruler over all has also evolved. I see God in the amazing interconnected ecosystems of creation, in dedicated friendships and people who keep showing up for me, and in persistent prophets and activists who spend their energy working for justice day in and day out. God seems to show up less in concentrated power, more in infinite access for all. Less in domination, more in liberation. Less in rules, more in healing and giving to each according to their need.
And yet here we are, in a country and a time when we are told to glorify our nation above other nations. To celebrate a history that usually focuses on white people and excludes the narratives of People of Color, people in slavery, poverty, mass incarceration, and struggle. To honor certain lives over others. And I am a part of this history, this culture, this process. I didn’t realize all of this sitting on my driveway in Sioux Falls. But now I know a little more of the full story. And I can’t un-know it. Sometimes I think I want to forget, but God knows better. God continues to reveal the truth unapologetically because God knows we can handle it. God looks to us with the creative joy and hope of possibility, the dream of what we can do if we let ourselves accept the continually revealed truths of our nation, our history, and our own selves. And I am looking around, trying to figure out how we glorify God, celebrate Jesus, and honor the Holy Spirit at this moment. I listen to Psalm 145 which we hear on July 9, and it reminds me that, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. The Lord is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” What does the Fourth of July mean to a Christian people? To people who follow a God of mercy, gratitude, kindness, compassion, faithfulness, and resurrection? Let these questions guide your heart this week. Ask each other for an answer at a BBQ, or see how your children respond. Let us be united not just as states but as people truly striving for the common good in our communities.
Rachel Lyons is the Director of Social Action at Old St. Patrick’s Church.
Sunday, July 2, 2017
by Fr. Tom Hurley
It seems like everyone has been curious to see how the World’s Largest Block Party worked out for us last weekend since we brought it back to the block. In a word, I would say that the 33rd WLBP was GREAT! First of all, a big huge THANKS to everyone who had something to do with making it GREAT! From the many volunteers and committee members who put in long hours of planning, serving, and hosting this awesome summer time party to all the staff folks here at Old St. Pat’s who worked so very hard on every aspect of the party of setting up, tearing down, and advertising, and of course, ALL the many people who generously supported us by their presence.
Many people asked me about the changes to the Block Party and why we made them. First of all, as I’ve explained a few different times publicly, the Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party carries a notable, recognizable name for people around the Chicago area, including the media. We were on every major network this year. People know about this party and they like the tame, friendly environment we foster for this event. For many years, as the party was growing, OSP didn’t have much competition when it came to summer festivals. Now, in 2017, there are multiple fests, street fairs, and concerts happening in almost every neighborhood of Chicago and out in the suburbs. As we kept chasing after big name bands to be our headliner for the event, it became apparent to us financially that we could no longer keep up with the major concert venues such as Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and Lake Shake, to name just a few. This year, we made a strategic decision to bring the WLBP back here and make it what it was originally meant to be, a block party. Using local musical artists and therefore decreasing our expenses (and risk, with an outdoor event), we appealed to a crowd that just basically likes Old St. Pat’s and enjoys a summer street fair on a city street in the shadows of our beautiful downtown. In addition, mindful that the West Loop neighborhood has grown tremendously these past several years and with the large number of families both in the neighborhood and within our membership, we decided to create a more “family friendly” event beginning earlier in the day on Saturday. Thankfully, it worked! Families came out in great numbers and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the park at the Block Party KidZone. It was a steady flow all afternoon. So, overall, Old St. Pat’s did very well. We believe we hit the budgeted number that was planned and likewise we created a fantastic buzz about the fun and enjoyment of this signature summer event. Again, thank you for your support and encouragement.
After the 8 am mass today, I will tkae off with our Foundations Teens and young adults on a summer Worktour to eastern Kentucky. I’m honestly not sure where I’m going or the details. I’ll find out when Courtney tells me in the van. Please say a prayer for a safe and enriching experience for these delightful, hardworking, and faith-filled young members of Old St. Pat’s. It is always a great time for me to be inspired by this “next generation” by their fun, conversation, music, and wild antics on these trips.
Enjoy the 4th of July. As I write this, I’m not sure where our state lawmakers are with the budget or where the federal government is going with the health care bill, but let’s pray for wisdom and courage to do the right thing for all people, especially those who are poor and most at risk by these critical decisions.
Prayerful best for a restful, renewing summer. See you next weekend!
Father Tom Hurley
Sunday, June 25, 2017
by Sarah Thompson
Why Volunteering is Good for your Health
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”, (1 Peter 4:10). The power of volunteering has been documented since the days of time; however a slew of recent research is shedding even more light onto its surprising benefits.
1. Volunteering time makes you feel you have more time.
UPenn Wharton professor Cassie Mogilners research found those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. “The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.”
2. Volunteering can help with depression.
Depression causes increasingly negative thoughts known as “thinking errors” or cognitive distortions. These thoughts can be debilitating and can set off a cycle. Thoughts create feelings and bodily sensations which trigger actions, and if you are depressed, this action might be to sit on the couch feeling you have no energy to do anything. Volunteering gets you up and out the door and taking a positive action. Pushing ourselves into more positive action is one way to break the cycle of negative thoughts and low moods. Volunteering also can change your focus; even it’s just for an hour or so. This gives your mind a much needed break from your negative thoughts and can help move you to experiencing more positive ones.
3. Volunteering involves the power of social connection.
Despite our modern lives that push us inward, we are social animals who need interaction to flourish. Without it, we risk feeling misunderstood, isolated, and our self-confidence can be impacted. Volunteering has us interacting with others in valuable ways and being appreciated.
4. Volunteering changes your perspective.
It can show you different viewpoints on life by interacting with people you might not encounter otherwise and learning about the way they see and live their lives. This can cause a natural shift in the way you see and live yours.
5. Volunteering helps you have a healthier body.
Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health for those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression than those who do not volunteer.
6. Volunteering your experience helps build your experience.
Volunteering in a new industry can give you knowledge to help you switch fields should you want to move from the corporate world to the nonprofit sector, volunteering first can help prove your commitment.
7. Volunteering your love makes you feel more love.
When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile which are all factors that increase the feeling of love. Check out the numerous volunteer opportunities available through Old St. Pat’s on our website at www.oldstpats.org.
Sarah Thompson, LPC, Old St. Pat’s parish counselor, can bring healing, hope, and wholeness through psychologically informed counseling, integrating your values and religious beliefs into the therapeutic process. She has an office at 711 W. Monroe with day and evening hours and offers a sliding scale. Contact Sarah at 773.234.9630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
by Fr. Tom Hurley
For all that you did to make the World’s Largest Block Party a wonderful success, a big hearty thanks to all of you. The people of Old St. Pat’s are an amazing bunch! Your generosity of spirit and treasure, your witness of hospitality, and your willingness to jump in and make this party happen is truly amazing. On this day, after the WLBP, I also want to extend a big word of welcome to all those who came to Chicago just for this party! Each year, we have people who travel back to Old St. Pat’s just to attend the Block Party because of its great atmosphere, fun spirit, and long history as one of the greatest summer time festivals in the city of Chicago. Welcome to all of our friends and visitors today! Also, thank you to the many many volunteers who made the Block Party happen! Thank you to the great staff of Old St. Pat’s especially our fearless leader Sheila Greifhahn, thank you, thank you, thank you! Sheila has a kindness, a calmness, a persistence, and a joy that is second to none! We couldn’t do these wonderful events at Old St. Pat’s without her and her dedicated leadership.
For many of you this might be a reprise to what I announced last week, but I just want to share an update with respect to our music ministry here at Old St. Pat’s. After long, careful discernment Jennifer Budziak our music director has decided to step down. One of the great liturgical music publishing company’s called GIA approached Jennifer and offered an editorial job that she feels is right up her alley as a teacher and musician. Also mindful of the demanding schedule and responsibilities of being music director at a place like Old St. Pat’s, along with her commute from the western suburbs, and being a full time mom, this shift seems to be a better fit at this time in her professional journey. I am grateful to Jennifer for her great work here at Old St. Pat’s! Because of her great strides with our children’s choir and teens, Jennifer will continue to be with us on a part time basis during the school year to assist with our young people.
Likewise, I announced last week that Mr. Mark Scozzafave will be assuming the new role as Director of Liturgical Music. Mark, and his wife Aimee, have been around Old St. Pat’s, deeply involved in our Sunday music, for the past ten years. Many of you who often attend the 5 pm Sunday mass know Mark as the faithful piano player. Mark is passionate about music. While working in consulting, he put himself through a Masters program in music at Northwestern University. He is bright, creative, unassuming, organized, and has a great ear for music. Mark has been around Old St. Pat’s long enough to know and to share in our commitment to excellence when it comes to music.
In addition to Mark, we are being blessed with the part time presence of Mr. Dominic Trumfio, our Music Director just before Jennifer. Dominic is an awesome musician whose energy and skills will be an added bonus to our music program.
With all of these shifts in the music ministry, the one person who continues to be a great presence and a wonderful blessing to all of us musically and otherwise at Old St. Pat’s is Laura Higgins. Laura has been with Old St. Pat’s for a long time, well over twenty years. Her dedication to this church and our music ministry has been, and continues to be, a tremendous gift. In addition to Music, Laura will also be doing more in the area of Pastoral Care and helping our members and friends plan funerals, weddings, etc.
Last week when I shared this news, the people of God at the 11:15 am mass lovingly and deservedly gave Jennifer a standing ovation. Rightfully so, as we are grateful for her three years of ministry to us. But I also mentioned that the standing ovation was not only a gift for Jennifer, but a wonderful sign of the importance we devote to our music. It cannot and will not be mediocre. When we come together in this holy place, we give God our very best praise. I am grateful to both our talented staff and to all of you for helping us keep the bar high.
Another way we keep the bar high at Old St. Pat’s is through the deep, abiding value of hospitality. Please help us never waiver when it comes to welcoming the stranger, the new comer, and the seekers. We were all there at one point in time. Keep inviting others to come join you at Old St. Pat’s on a Sunday. We have to keep sharing this gift of Faith with the next generations.
A blessed, holy, and renewing summer for all of us!
Father Tom Hurley
Thursday, June 22,2017
from OSP Creation Care Team
“I believe that climate change is the most pressing issue my generation will ever face, indeed that the world has ever faced. It is an environmental issue, and it is also a human rights issue.”
Kelsey Rose Cascadia Juliana, plaintiff in the Juliana v. United States lawsuit
“Exercising my ‘reason judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.”
U. S. District Judge Ann Aiken, 9th District
Juliana v United States: the Landmark Climate Lawsuit Brought by Children
On August 12, 2015, 21 young people from 10 states across the United States, now ages 9-21, filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Dr. James E. Hansen, a well-known climate scientist, is also one of the plaintiffs in this case. He joins the case as guardian for his granddaughter and for future generations. The plaintiffs assert that the government’s actions in causing climate change have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and have failed to protect essential public trust resources, such as air and water resources. Kelsey Rose Cascadia Juliana, age 21 and resident of Eugene, Oregon, is the lead plaintiff in this case. The plaintiffs seek a court order requiring the federal government to implement a nation-wide plan to bring carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere to a level considered “safe” by climate scientists, less than 350 parts per million (ppm) by 2100.
In November 2015, major fossil fuel and manufacturing industry groups asked to join with the federal government as defendants in the suit. These groups argued that reducing CO2 levels below 350 ppm would not be appropriate because benefits from an improved climate would be outweighed by “enormous losses in productivity and economic development” for the industries they represent. This request was granted by the court. In January 2016, the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the Leadership Council of Women Religious filed friend of the court briefs in support of the children’s case. These groups argued that the children’s call for climate justice and protection of the environment for future generations is consistent with Catholic teaching about our sacred duty to protect children and our planet, and with Pope Francis’ message in his encyclical on caring for our common home, Laudato Si.
The lawsuit has proceeded slowly, with a number of motions and responses by both sides, including several petitions by the government arguing against the children’s right to a trial, all of which have been denied by the court. The case is now in the discovery phase, which establishes relevant issues and expert testimony by both sides. The court believes that a trial date in the early part of 2018 is realistic.
The children all bring their own eloquence and unique stories to the case. Miko Vergun, age 16 and originally from the Marshall Islands, fears that sea level rise fueled by climate change will inundate her birth place. Levi Draheim from Florida, at age 9 the youngest plaintiff, says: “I work hard to protect the environment and animals near my home. I want the government to work hard to protect my future and the future of the animals and ecosystems in our country.” Alex Loznak, age 20, is majoring in Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York City. His home in Oregon is a farm that has been in his family for seven generations, which is now threatened by drought and large wildfires nearby. 11 year old Avery McRae started caring for the earth when she was 5 and heard about threats to salmon in her local creek. She says: “I want my government to understand that climate change is real, changes are happening right now, and things aren’t going to get better on their own.” Journey Zephier, age 17, is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux tribe; he now lives in a small town on the island of Kauai, part of the Hawaiian island chain. In his new home, he witnesses the impact of dying coral reefs, drought, and shrinking beaches due to climate change.
Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein of 350.org calls this “the most important lawsuit on the planet right now.” It has the potential to establish whether our children have a legally enforceable right to a future that includes a stable climate and a livable planet, and whether the government has the duty to take steps to ensure that type of future for our kids and our kids’ kids. This lawsuit also shows the impact that committed young people can have on our future. If Juliana v. United States succeeds, it will make the world a better and more just place for all of us.
The children are presented by pro bono lawyers, and supported by the non-profits Our Children’s Trust and Earth Watch. For more information about this landmark lawsuit, or to make a donation to support the work of Our Children’s Trust, visit www.ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit/
OSP Creation Care Team Welcomes You!
Are you energized by Pope Francis’ message in Laudato Si? Want to be a faithful steward of our common home? OSP Creation Care Team welcomes your ideas and your commitment. Contact Rachel Lyons at 312-798-2399 or email@example.com.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
by David Philippart
So where were we? Now that we have successfully concluded the Easter Season, and celebrated the two solemnities (Holy Trinity Sunday and Body and Blood of Christ Sunday), Father Bill O’Shea last week observed, follow as if the Easter Season doesn’t want to end. What’s our plan for Sunday scriptures?
Since May 7, with one exception (May 28), our Sundays have had us proclaiming and listening to the passages from the Gospel of John, as we do each Easter Season. Today, we dive back into Matthew, our gospel for this year. Some scholars see the Gospel of Matthew, the most Jewish of the gospels, as being built of five major sections, to evoke the five books of Torah. After the introductory chapters revealing Jesus’ birth and baptism, (chapters 1-4) Matthew’s five “books” are the Teaching on Discipleship (chapters 5-7), the Teaching on Mission (chapter 10), the Teaching with Parables (chapter 13), the Teaching on Community (chapter 18) and the Teaching on the End of Time (chapters 23-25). Matthew ends by proclaiming the suffering, dying, and rising of Christ (chapters 26-28). This is probably the oldest, original section of the gospel.
We heard the portions of Matthew having to do with the promised coming of Christ in history and at the end of history back in Advent. Then we heard Matthew’s wonderful infancy narratives during the Season of Christmas with Matthew and Luke being the only two gospels that address Jesus’ birth and childhood. In Lent, we skipped ahead to the parts of Matthew about conversion, temptation, and transfiguration. We heard Matthew’s stirring account of Christ’s passion on Palm Sunday, his wondrous account of Christ’s rising on Easter Sunday, and his version of events on Ascension Sunday, May 28. Having skipped around in this gospel then, what page are we on?
Between Christmas and Lent, in the period of Ordinary Time comprised of seven Sundays, we heard and broke open Matthew, chapters 4 through 7. So as the opening of TV serials would say, “previously [in] the Gospel of Matthew” we heard Jesus call us to discipleship and explain what that entails. Now, we return to a somewhat systematic exploring of Matthew chapters 10 through 24, and the beginning of chapter 25. In others words, from now until October we break open the Teaching on Mission, the Teaching with Parables, the Teaching on Community, and begin the Teaching on the End of Time. Schwew! That is ambitious summer reading! But we can do it! Sunday by Sunday. Together.
Some of the most poignant and beloved parts of Matthew are the parables unique to this gospel: The Weeds among the Wheat (13:24-30–July 23 this year); The Buried Treasure (13:44), The Fine Pearl (13:45-46) and The Cast Net (13:47-48—all on July 30 this year); and The Unforgiving Servant (18:23-25—September 17 this year). The parables turn the world-as-we-know-it-and-think-it-has-to-be upside down and inside out. They give us a new, startling insight into how things can be, and call us to work with Christ to change the world-as-is to the world-that-can-be-if-we-let-it: A world in which all are welcome, loved, fed, clothed, sheltered, cared for, valued. Dream about that relaxing on the beach!
And let’s not miss each other this summer! Whenever you’re in town, do come on Sunday! Remember we have Mass early (7 am) and late (5 pm and 8 pm). See you in church? See you in church! (I’m away this weekend myself, but holding you in prayer as always!)
Matthew at the Movies
The Gospel of Matthew is adapted in two notable film versions. In 1964, Pier Pasolini released Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Saint Matthew). In 2015, the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, named it the best movie about Christ ever made. Roger Ebert loved it, too, putting it on his Great Movies list. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of 94 on the Tomatometer. In 1971, Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak debuted their adaption of the Gospel of Matthew, Godspell, on Broadway. It was revived on Broadway in 2011. Both versions are available on DVD –treat yourself!
David Philippart serves you as liturgy director. Catch him after Mass, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 312-831-9367.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
by Laura Field
When I was a kid in school, we’d take big yellow buses to school every day and on special days, we’d go by bus on a field trip to learn something, to share an experience.
Sunday I felt like a kid again, and it wasn’t just because of the bus. It was the not knowing what to expect. It was the greeting we got when we pulled up, and the brown paper bag of goodies we got for our ride home.
It was the energy of the church and the people, for they personify Greater Love. That Margaret Peel, she’s the real deal. We just kept smiling at one another throughout the oil blessing. At one point, I thought I couldn’t smile any wider, and then boom, she did so I did too. I’m smiling just thinking about that moment.
This past Good Friday, we walked the stations of the cross in Englewood, and some 50 days later at Pentecost we got to experience the Holy Spirit in North Lawndale. For this city girl who lives two miles from Wrigley, it’s been amazing. The opportunities to get to know my “neighbors” through the eyes of the heart – theirs and mine – have been nothing less than a privilege.
I’ve always believed that a core part of spirituality is showing up, and this Sunday that belief dropped deeper in me. Thank yous are not enough, but they are a good place to start.
Thank you Peg Roth for being the pied piper and always inviting us to join you. Thank you Vince Guider and Rachel Lyons for committing yourselves to this ministry. Thank you Michelle Bella and Kate Ronan Sizemore for the invite last year to play at the North Lawndale block party. Thank you Kathy Powers for greeting students every Friday morning at the crack of dawn. Thank you The Greater Love Church of God in Christ, you are gracious, musical and filled with spirit. God’s goodness is pouring through you. Thank you for inviting us to witness and participate in it.
You are the ones who have put flesh on this idea of kinship for me, and I’m grateful because your “yeses” have paved the way for my own. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for stepping up and into the dream God has for you. It matters more than you know.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
By Josh Goralski
It’s hard to believe the World’s Largest Block Party is less than six days away. My name is Josh Goralski, and I have been blessed to have been a part of the Old St. Pat’s family for nearly two years. Without the Block Party, I would not be as involved with OSP as I am. Working in the city and commuting from Naperville, I started attending weekday Mass. As I began to find a home at OSP, I started driving down for the 5 pm mass on Sunday and have since become more actively involved now that I live in the city.
Last year’s World’s Largest Block Party was the first OSP event I volunteered at, and from there have launched into being involved with OSPnext and Social Action programs over the last year. Volunteering at the Block Party was a great way to meet a lot of OSP members (It’s not too late to sign-up to volunteer if you haven’t already). A few months before last year’s block party I learned about it while visiting with my Dad in the hospital and a staff member on the floor happened to be on the Block Party planning committee and was already recruiting volunteers.
One of the many things I love about OSP is the commitment to the community, outreach and social justice initiatives. Growing up in a parish that had an active community outreach, I felt right at home coming to OSP. The Cara Program, one of the community outreach partners, is one of the first organizations I started to financial support before attending OSP. They work to empower people with job skills and end the cycle of poverty. Working in the nonprofit sector, I know an impactful organization when I see one. When I heard that OSP had supported the Cara Program (and 12 other fantastic organizations) for years through the Block Party, it was yet another sign that I had found my church home. Equally as important as the support raised, the Block Party offers a way to “Be Church” to those who might have fallen away from the church and show them what OSP is all about. Knowing countless friends who have fallen away from the church, the Block Party is the type of event that would speak to some of them.
As you might know, “Bringing it Back to the Block” is the theme this year and to me that symbolizes another cornerstone of OSP, inclusion. Having it on the block with the church in the backdrop, and creating fun for all ages ensures that this fundraiser is as much about a community builder as it is a fundraiser.
Certainly, there are people who have attended more Block Parties than I have, and people who have worked for years to make them possible. I would like to acknowledge in a special way the Co-Chairs (Brian, Donna, and Eugene) and the Special Events team (Sheila and Kathleen) for the countless hours they have given for this years event.
Whether you are volunteering, attending the block party, spreading the word about the Block Party and/or bought a raffle ticket, thank you for your support, and I would love to meet you! I will be at OSPnext Grill Saturday afternoon and will float around the rest of the weekend. Make sure to stop over and say hi!
Sunday, June 18, 2017
by Fr. Tom Hurley
Not to bore you with a lot of historical detail, but did you ever wonder why the Church marks and celebrates this Sunday as “Corpus Christi,” or what is formally known today as The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ? Introduced centuries ago by St. Juliana during the 12th century and subsequently reinforced and enhanced by others throughout the years, this special feast that highlights the importance of the Eucharist came as a result of some folks not wanting to forget. Complete with processions and other acts of devotion, the feast of Corpus Christi essentially came about because many thought the Holy Thursday liturgy focused so much on the great command to Wash Feet, the institution of the priesthood, and the agony in the garden, that the importance of the Eucharist was somehow being diminished. So, through her own vision Juliana and the popes of her time set aside a special Sunday in order to call everyone’s attention to the sacredness of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Thus, every year the Sunday following Trinity Sunday is now known as the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Again, while I don’t mean to just offer some quick, simple facts as “filler” about a Catholic feast day, I do think today’s liturgical focus (aside from also being Father’s Day which really has no liturgical relevance per se) is a good reminder for us in terms of the centerpiece of our Tradition. Maybe the situation in the culture of Juliana during the 12th century is not so far off from what’s happening today in our own. With more and more people not participating in the Sunday Eucharist, perhaps maybe this is our moment to remind ourselves of what the Eucharist is all about for us. Such a reflection probably deserves a lot more time and space than this short column can offer, but I would suggest if we believe that at the heart of our Catholic identity is gathering at the Eucharistic table to break open the Word and break the Bread, and hopefully this gives us a renewed sense of our life as disciples in the world, perhaps this is our moment to keep inviting and reminding our sisters and brothers of the importance of why we come together. Maybe it’s days like today being the Feast of the Body of Christ that we are reminded again that the Risen Christ is truly present to us and calls us to be the Body of Christ for one another and for the world. May the One who nourishes us help us to be on mission to find ways to nourish others and to invite them to join us at the Table of Mercy. Like I said, such a reflection deserves more
time and energy that this short column is offering, but I would really invite us all to consider how we as the Body of Christ can become a more “Inviting” Body of Christ.
Likewise, it’s Father’s Day in our country! A special blessing and prayer of thanksgiving for all of those who are called to this special vocation of being Father! And to all those men and women who raise children on your own, we are with you in prayerful solidarity today. Thank you to all who are great examples and wisdom figures, “fatherly” in so many ways! We are lucky to have you in our lives and to our God on this special day, we give thanks!
I do hope you’ll join us this week for the World’s Largest Block Party! We need you! We need your prayers for a successful two day event which benefits the overall mission of Old St. Pat’s! Thanks to all who are stepping up as volunteers and hosting this signature summer event for our many guests!
A blessed Summer,
Father Tom Hurley
Sunday, June 18, 2017
by Katie Kearns
I am hungry! It is a common phrase — we say it all the time. But, do we mean it? Are we physically hungry for nourishment from food? Or, are we hungry for something more? I believe most people are truly hungry for something more.
Balise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
When most people say they are hungry, I believe they are hungry for something more….something to end their loneliness, to end their suffering, to end whatever is bothering them at that moment. People want to feel better right away. Food is an easy way to feel better as soon as possible.
How do I know this? The obesity rate in America. Two out of every three Americans are considered to be overweight or obese. (World Health Organization) People are feeding themselves for many reasons including the spiritual. People are spiritually hungry; but, don’t know how to feed themselves. People think losing weight or being at a healthy weight is about magic happening or certain foods..but it is bigger than all of that..it is finding out why you are really eating? Why are you hungry?
People are even trying to feed themselves with technology — and it isn’t working. Injury Facts says, ” distracted walking incidents involving cell phones accounted for more than 11,100 injuries between 2000 and 2011. “ People can also feed their hunger with purchasing things they don’t need, or drinking too much alcohol…there are millions of ways we can feed our hunger. But, will it fill us up?
I have been one of those people looking at my phone and walking into things. I admit it.
I have also been one of those people who eats when I am bored or lonely. Why?
Well, my humanity, my hubris, makes me disregard today’s readings. ” I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you do not have life within you.” Our hunger is something far greater than anything that can be filled with food or technology. But it can be filled with community, our self love and our mutual humanity…all of which we can find at the altar. I believe it means participating in the Eucharist on Sundays; but, it is also something so much more. I believe the hunger also needs to be filled in becoming part of a community and participating in the larger world around us. It means acknowledging and accepting all hungry people, whether or not they come to Old St Pat’s or even believe in God. We can fill our hunger in so many ways; but, only if we are open to considering the idea of why we are hungry?
I believe we reach for food or technology because it is easy. It is not easy to sit and ponder why am I hungry? It is hard. It is a Gethsemane. It is a cross.
It is a question with millions of answers: Why am I hungry?
by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I.
Sunday, June 11
You don’t expect to see an icon of the trinity on an airplane, at least not on a really small commuter plane at 6:30 in the morning when it is still dark outside and the temperature is near minus 30 degrees Celsius and you are waiting on the airport runway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. But God is a God of the unexpected, and so these things happen.
I had boarded a very tiny airplane on a particularly frigid morning, during an especially awful winter to fly to Calgary so I could board a bigger plane which would take me to Los Angeles where I was scheduled to speak at a conference that, to my good fortune, had the convention center at Disneyland as its venue. God can be good, at times.
I took my seat across the aisle from a young mother and her preschool-aged daughter. They were silent, as we all were, waiting for everyone to board the plane so we could take off.
Then, just as the captain was announcing the particulars about our flight, the mother and the daughter turned to each other and I am not sure I can describe what exactly transpired between them, but it was a mystical moment: The child looked at her mother, smiled briefly, and moved her whole body in a way that said: “We are really doing this! It’s finally here! We’ve talked about this for a long time and now it’s finally happening!” Her body literally quivered with delight.
Later, since we were on the same planes all the way to Disneyland, I learned the cause of her joy. They were off to Disneyland, she and her whole family. For her, it was a day of firsts: The first time on an airplane, the first time on a long trip, and the first time on a journey big enough to match the fantasies of a fertile young mind. She was happy and her body might well have been a musical instrument.
But it wasn’t just her delight that I noticed and palpably felt. It was also the delight of her mother. If the daughter was overjoyed and basking in a special moment, even more so was the mother. Her body too quivered with delight – delight in her daughter’s joy, delight in a child’s anticipation, and delight in being able, as a mother, to provide this for her daughter. Her joy not only matched her child’s, it surpassed it. It was deeper, far deeper. Hers was the delight of being able to give delight, the joy of giving joy, the unique gladness of providing, of being source. To do these things is to do what God does and so to feel what God feels. That is what she must have felt.
And their exchange, that glance towards each other that made them both quiver with delight, is an icon of the trinity, as surely as is Andrei Rublev’s masterpiece. Like Rublev’s icon, it too captures a little of the river of life and love and gratitude that flows between the Father and the Son and creates a fire, an energy, called the Holy Spirit.
To have that flow go through you is to know God….
– Fr. Ronald Rohlheiser, O.M.I.
A Mother Quivering With Delight (April 17, 1997)
by Jon Nilson
Sunday, June 11, 2017
“We are really well taught only by the words which God addresses especially to us,” says the classic spiritual writer, J.-P. de Caussade. The Church tells us that we find the words of God in the Bible and, of course, we do. Yet, sometimes, doesn’t it feel like the Scriptures are like our family’s stories and sayings? We’ve heard them over and over since we were children. We think we know them so well. We might even think that they have little to teach us now. Reading or hearing them, we shrug. “Oh, yeah, that one again . . .”
At these moments we may need words clearly and unmistakably addressed “especially to us” – and often we can find them in poetry.
Some poetry can be off-putting: confusing, intimidating, or downright unintelligible. Books like Kim Rosen’s Saved by a Poem. The Transformative Power of Words or Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry point us to the kind of poems we need. Then we don’t need a library or a bookstore to find more of them. One of the best “places” to look is www.poetryfoundation.org. Not only can you access a wealth of poems and poets here, but the site also enables you to search for poems that might fit your moment’s mood and needs.
A poem demands, first, that we put our own agenda and anxieties on hold during the time we spend with it. Then it demands that we slow down (no speed reading or skimming!) and read it at least three or four times, letting the sound and sense of the words have their way with us. This is how a poem makes us receptive and prepares us to recognize the words addressed “especially to us” at this point in our life’s journey.
There’s no predicting what God might say to us in poetry. There are challenges, like “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver). We also find invitations to praise: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins) or to give thanks: “I mean, / though often forget, / to give thanks, / to faint down by the kitchen table / in a prayer of rejoicing” (Anne Sexton). Testimonies like Jane Kenyon’s “God does not leave us comfortless, / so let evening come” can fortify our faith. When our priorities get mixed up, D.H. Lawrence reminds us, “All that matters is to be at one with the living God.”
And then, as God speaks to us, we may find ourselves speaking back to God, just as John Berryman did: “May I stand until death forever at attention / for any your least instruction or enlightenment.
Jon Nilson is Professor Emeritus of Theology at Loyola University Chicago and a good friend of Old St. Pat’s.
By Grace Brick
Tuesday, June 6
When reflecting on my time at My Brother’s Kitchen, an outreach of YMEN in North Lawndale, the word that comes to mind is, “mercy.” In my opinion mercy can have a negative connotation, for example when one’s sports team is beating the other by a lot or like when the Cardinals were beating the Cubs a lot in Game 7 of the World Series. On the other hand, mercy for me is so much more than forgiveness, another common synonym. Mercy, rather, is as simple as being there for someone whether they are in need of something physical such as food like those who come into My Brother’s Kitchen are. I would like to share two stories where I have seen mercy in action while serving at My Brother’s Kitchen.
The first is Trey. He is a volunteer around the same age as me and another volunteer with whom we shared time serving. Trey was there the first week that I volunteered, and he was so very open and outgoing. I am not a morning person whatsoever, yet that did not stop Trey from welcoming me and showing me the ropes of the place when I first arrived. Once the clients started to come in, he was not afraid to joke around with them. He really enjoyed being there, which I believe, made the other volunteers and the clients enjoy being there as well. Before I knew it, I was there joking around with those who came in just like he did. Trey shows mercy by making everyone feel welcomed.
The second story I would like to share is about a guest at the kitchen. Let’s call him, “Walter.” Walter has been at My Brother’s Kitchen every one of the many weeks that I have been there. I don’t really know much about him personally, other than the fact that he likes to pray with others. Each week, before we start to serve, we pray. Last week, Walter prayed for all of us. His prayer was simple, yet very meaningful. He simply prayed in wishing everyone a good rest of the day, and in addition he blessed the food, and thanked God for the volunteers there. I have also had several conversations with Walter. At the end of every conversation, whether it be about the weather or my future endeavors, he always ended the conversation with, “I’ll pray for you”. Walter shows mercy in that he is genuinely happy to be able to have the human connection of talking to other people and being around anyone who actually wants to get to know him.
Working at My Brother’s Kitchen has not always been easy, but it definitely has been rewarding in the sense of mercy. Those who come in experience mercy whether they are volunteering, laughing along, or serving those who come in. Pope Francis says that “a little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” I could not agree more with that after my experiences at My Brother’s Kitchen.
To learn more about YMEN and My Brother’s Kitchen, visit ymenchicago.org
Grace Brick is a 17 year old graduating senior at Trinity High School in River Forest, Illinois and an active OSP Member. Next year she will be studying Education and Theology at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.