I apologize for having been “off the radar” with this column the past few Sundays! Although I try to write something each week to keep in touch with all of you, the friends and visitors to Old St. Pat’s, sometimes the creative juices just are not flowing or the deadline for submitting an article to my boss, Lauren, has come and gone! Today is one of those columns that includes a few random thoughts about life at Old St. Pat’s.
First, I am grateful for today’s opportunity to preach at all of our Sunday liturgies. Each year in October we choose a Sunday when I, as pastor, get to share a few things related to our life as a community of faith and perhaps our direction for the coming year. It’s also a time for me to offer a huge, heartfelt word of gratitude for all of your generous support to this gospel enterprise we call Old St. Patrick’s. There would be no church without all who gather together and likewise who contribute so generously to the life and vitality of our mission. For all of you and for all that you do, THANK YOU!
Though I’ve been running the Chicago Marathon for the past several years, I decided, in consultation with my hamstrings, that it would be a wise thing to sit this year out. I so enjoyed watching and cheering on the 40,000 runners who made their way through the streets and neighborhoods of Chicago, especially as they made it to the halfway point of the race here at Old St. Pat’s. How grateful I am to the 75 members and friends of Old St. Pat’s who ran as the “Crossroads Runners” for the benefit of our Outreach efforts. What a great celebration we had last week as we gathered at Buddy Guy’s Legends before and after the race and likewise at the 5pm Mass last Sunday for the annual “Blessing of the Blisters” (not literally!). For those of you who have ever entertained (even slightly) the possibility or dream of participating in the marathon, I would urge you to really think about it. Runners come in all shapes and sizes and all ages. The energy on marathon day is so much fun and running for a purpose doubles the enjoyment. Next year, the Chicago Marathon will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, so registration will actually begin at the end of this month! In addition to Chicago, another possibility for us is taking a group over to Germany for the Berlin Marathon in September. Plans are still being developed. Stay tuned!
There are many sacred moments that happen for people on marathon day. Among the many observations I made last week from the sidelines was watching people getting pumped up on the music provided by our own DJ Andre James. I was amused at seeing the t-shirts of two runners which read “Everything Hurts and I’m Dying” and “The funny thing is that I hate running!” Witnessing the faith of so many runners who made the sign of the cross as they approached Old St. Pat’s was so impressive. Seeing the presence of our Palestinian brothers and sisters running as the “Right to Movement” was nothing short of powerful. Perhaps the one aspect of the race I enjoy the most is watching the encounter of runners and spectators along the course. Their screams of joy and excitement at seeing one another would remind you of long lost friends who are embracing after years of separation. The power of seeing the ones we love in something like a marathon is a great spiritual metaphor. Discovering our inner spirit and being in touch with the Risen Jesus can only cause us to scream with delight! May our journey of life be filled with such holy encounters.
Two more things I call your attention to: The Emerald Ball on Friday evening November 4. If you’ve never been to the ball, please come! Get some people together and treat yourself to a most enjoyable evening in the Grabd Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago where we will celebrate the life of Old St. Patrick’s. For young adults, we have a reduced rate ticket. Among the many events we host each year, this is one of my favorites because there’s nothing complicated about it. Bringing good people together for some dinner and dancing is the only agenda item for the Emerald Ball.
Finally, as part of our Social Concerns Mission, Old St. Pat’s has enjoyed the partnership of many great organizations throughout the years. We have literally been the incubator for many of these small nonprofits to get started and do their amazing transformational work. Twenty Five years ago in 1991, Horizons for Youth began as one of the premier places in Chicago that offers scholarships, mentoring, and enrichment outings for students from low-resource neighborhoods. On Wednesday November 16, Old St. Pat’s will be honored with the Partnership Award for all that this community has done to help Horizons for Youth in pursuit of excellence. I hope you will join us to celebrate this great milestone for Horizons and for Old St. Pat’s!
Enjoy these beautiful days of Fall!
And yes, even coming from a Sox fan: Go Cubs!
visit us at oldstpats.org