Sunday, March 11th
By Father Tom Hurley
I know that I often joke around about “March Madness” which goes far beyond the NCAA basketball tournament. I talk about “Catholic March Madness” because it seems like so much is jammed in to this one month of March. And this year: it is! So once again, I’d like to highlight a few things happening in the “brackets” of our Old St. Pat’s March Madness in the hopes that you’ll start marking calendars and join us for these great moments. I know a lot of these items you’ll find in other parts of this publication but, as your pastor, I am feeling the need and urgency to make a more pointed invitation to everyone.
As you can see around the city, it’s turning Green these days in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. No one celebrates our patronal saint’s day better or longer than Old St. Pat’s. We’ve been honoring this great missionary here in our part of Chicago since 1846. Please help us keep this great tradition going by joining us next Sunday March 18 at 1:00 pm for our community celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Complete with the Sheila Tully Irish dancers, the Shannon Rovers, and our Irish traditional instruments, there’s no better place to pray in thanksgiving than in this magnificent house of prayer.
On Wednesday evening March 21 we welcome Sister Diane Bergant from Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park who will lead us in a Lenten evening and we’ll have the opportunity to celebration the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Diane is a leading biblical scholar and person of great energy and wisdom. I know you’ll enjoy her presentation.
Friday, March 23 at 5:30 we host our annual Fish Fry for Lent. Since it started a few years ago, it’s proven to be a great community builder. Come join us!
After we celebrate Palm Sunday together on March 25, we head in to the most significant week for us as a Christian people. I’ve never been in a church before that celebrates Holy Week like Old St. Pat’s. The intentionality and vibrancy with which we gather people and celebrate these sacred liturgies of the Paschal Triduum are a great life-giving experience.
Holy Thursday is March 29 and our Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins at 7:30 concluding with the Night Watch. Prior to gathering at the Lord’s Table, it has become customary at Old St. Pat’s to gather first at the dinner table together. This year, we welcome some of our young adults who will perform a few of their pieces from Broadway on Adams during the dinner.
Good Friday is a day of prayer and there are numerous opportunities. A few of us clergy persons will be available at 10:00 a.m. for those who would like to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion will be celebrated at 12:00 noon and again at 5:00 p.m. Terry Nelson-Johnson does a remarkable job at leading the Stations of the Cross at 3:00 p.m. And then, for the first time on Good Friday, we will host the Seven Last Words of Christ at 7:00 p.m. We will welcome the internationally acclaimed Rachel Barton who will perform in this moving experience of music and reflection on the Seven Last Words.
Holy Saturday Easter Vigil March 31st is an incredible experience when we formally welcome close to 45 adults into the Catholic experience. If you’ve never been to the Easter Vigil, you should consider coming this year. Witnessing these extraordinary adults say “yes” to the Lord in this moment of initiation is nothing short of inspirational.
Finally, a big big thanks to those who got March Madness started already this past Tuesday March 6th. Under the direction of Bill Fraher who conducts our concert choirs and the great coordination of Sheila Greifhahn who directs all of our special events, our 22nd annual Siamsa na nGael was just outstanding. Entitled “How does it feel to be free” this remarkable presentation on the life of Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell, highlighting the plight of slavery that continues to plague our world today, the writers, singers, players, narrators, and dancers were nothing short of excellent. Thank you again and again for all who supported this significant cultural event of Old St. Pat’s which truly is our gift to the city.
Thank you for being the Church and making it happen each and every day! Blessings to you in this time of March Madness as we pray for one another and for the world we are called to serve in the name of the Gospel.
Father Tom Hurley