In the world of marathon training: it is taper time! That is language which basically means it is time to cool down, “chill out” a bit, decrease the mileage you are running, and essentially let your body and your mind get “geared” up for the big race on Sunday, October 9, 2011! By now, most runners who are training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon have completed their last long run that usually is 20 miles. Taper time is now just running shorter distances and allowing the aches and pains to disappear so the body can be healed and ready for the next big distance of 26.2 miles! As you know by now, Old St. Pat’s has established its very first marathon charity team known as the Crossroads Runners, which is made up of a some incredible women and men who are running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to benefit the mission of Old St. Patrick’s Church. I cannot begin to tell you how utterly thrilled and grateful I am for each and every one of the runners who have been working tremendously hard all summer (and some since spring) in getting ready for this incredible experience in their lives. Many of our Crossroads Runners are running their very first marathon and so watching them on the path, running on many hot and humid Saturday mornings, was both humbling and encouraging. Many of them returned from the long run exhausted, but exhilarated and excited because they ran a distance they have never done before! As it was told to me the first time I ran a marathon, the runners are doing something that less than 1% of the world population has ever done! That is pretty wild when you think about it!
So why do we have a charity team benefitting Old St. Pat’s? Continuing to do great, not ho-hum, church these days requires as much resources as we can raise. We have said that one of the pieces of our mission that is near-and-dear to our heart is our social outreach mission. Doing God’s work in the world is our mission. It does not make much sense to do what we do at the Lord’s Table each Sunday if we are not going to live Christ’s Presence into the world. In addition to our hard-working staff at Old St. Pat’s who coordinate and help execute much of our programming, we are committed to assisting and providing resources for many of our partners whose missions are to educate, create jobs, and eliminate poverty in the world. A big piece of our annual budget goes toward supporting the good work of our Social Outreach enter at 703 W. Monroe Street. If Old St. Pat’s did not have that building, those organizations would not be able to transform the lives of so many each and every day. The other day I stopped in to see Anita Jenke, the Director of the Career Transitions Center. She was giving me an update on the sobering challenges so many of their clients are facing because of unemployment. This economic climate is rough and devastating many lives. She mentioned that most, if not all, of their almost 175 clients (as of today) are college-educated and post college individuals. Right now, they are helping unemployed bankers, consultants, lawyers, and even a dentist, to name just a few. They need us.
I hope you will consider the invitation to volunteer on race day, Sunday, October 9. We need help in Charity Village at Grant Park and here at Old St. Pat’s. Please support our runners who are running for our church. There will be a lot more “thanks” to come in the next few weeks.
Have a great week!
Fr. Tom Hurley