As many of you know, back in June, in celebration of Pentecost Sunday—the day in our calendar when we highlight what being church is all about—I shared with the assembly gathered that we need to keep expanding our mission. If there is one thing that is true about the church of Old St. Patrick’s, the outreach component of our mission is nothing less that strong, vibrant, and exemplary. When I think of the incredible ways in which the people of Old St. Pat’s give of themselves and live out the meaning of the gospel, I am once again reminded of how fortunate we are to be associated with this style of church. On Pentecost Sunday, I announced that after a good deal of conversation and discernment, we felt that if there was one simple phrase that captured the essence of our mission it would be: Gathered and Sent. It may not be the kind of elaborate mission statement one would find in various organizations, but when you think about what we do well at Old St. Pat’s, gathering and forming hearts in the spirit of Jesus and sending ourselves out into the world to make a difference and build the Kingdom of God should stand at the center of our life together. And I believe it does.
Last March, during our Mission series, we were inspired by four All-Star preachers and we were blessed to have each of them. But many would agree that the challenging words of Fr. Gregory Boyle from HomeBoy Industries in California truly captured our imagination when he focused his reflections around the theme of Kinship. As a result, some of us started thinking about what that sense of kinship could possibly look like. Mindful of the many outreach efforts already in place, Old St. Pat’s started thinking about this sense of kinship and how we could build a relationship with one of the most challenged areas right here in the city of Chicago. And so on Pentecost, I announced Old St. Pat’s would begin pursuing some ideas about how we might start a long-term relationship with the community of North Lawndale, located less than two miles away from here. I honestly do not know what this is going to look like but what I do know is that many of you expressed a tremendous amount of interest in this possibility.
During the summer, we began meeting with some leaders in the North Lawndale area to find out more about the neighborhood and if building such a relationship was even feasible. We think it is. Members of Old St. Pat’s also felt that if we are going to enter something long-term, then perhaps we need someone who will get up each day and think about this relationship and keep the project moving forward. We think we found someone who will come on “part-time” and get us moving in the right direction.
I just wanted you to know we have not forgotten about our North Lawndale initiative and I would be grateful if you could hold the evening of Sunday, November 6 in your calendar. Following the 5 p.m. Mass, we would like to host our first Town Hall Meeting to discuss anything and everything about the North Lawndale Initiative.
Finally, just a word of thanks to all of you for supporting the Crossroads Runners for our Inaugural Chicago Marathon Charity Team. Please pray for the runners on this Sunday morning! They have worked hard, and doing a marathon is no small accomplishment.
Have a great week!
Fr. Tom Hurley