Sunday, January 29
Welcome to Old St. Pat’s today! We are grateful and thrilled you are here with us to celebrate the Lord’s Day! The appealing smell that might be hitting your olfactory nerves is not a new brand of incense but rather it’s the rich smell of pancake batter! Today is our one-and-only annual Pancake Breakfast to help support the great work of our high school students involved in our Foundations Youth Ministry. Guided and directed by the good and gentle soul of Courtney Nichols, along with her many dedicated young adult leaders, Foundations is one of the best expressions of Catholic youth ministry going today! Though many great formational moments happen throughout the course of the given year, the highlight for many of our teens is the Summer Worktour experience. Traveling to various parts of the United States (mostly in the Midwest), the Worktours have become significant transformative moments for not only our teens, but our young adult leaders as well. Your support of the breakfast today is a great sign of encouragement for the next generation of the church.
Among some other things happening at Old St. Pat’s, I made a quick mention last week during the announcements that I wanted to bring you up-to-date with some projects and people around here.
Back in 2014, Old St. Pat’s launched a capital campaign for the purposes of accomplishing three goals; create housing for homeless high school students in North Lawndale, renovate the existing “rectory” into a community center, and build an endowment for the ongoing preservation of Old St. Patrick’s Church. I am happy to report that the project in North Lawndale should be completed by the end of May! Because of your generosity, the newly formed non-profit called “Empower to Succeed” (made up of primarily Old St. Pat’s members) was able to purchase (through the Old St. Pat’s campaign) an existing building at 19th & Avers. After all necessary zoning and permitting exercises were completed, the contractor has begun the work of reconfiguring the building for student-use. Remember that The Night Ministry, a longstanding and reputable organization in Chicago who work with our homeless sisters and brothers, will be running the program. There will be plenty of opportunities for Old St. Pat’s volunteers to help make this home successful, along with Night Ministry. It’s pretty exciting to know that we the people of Old St. Pat’s are going to start chipping away at the overwhelming problem of homelessness among our student population through this special place.
By the middle of May, the old rectory attached to the church will be completed. Since we have not yet settled on an exact name for this space, the fallback name has been “community center.” What is being created is a place for the entire community of Old St. Pat’s to use. Included in the new, energy efficient, accessible building will be a new chapel for daily mass and other small occasions, a new sacristy, a dining space for new member dinners and other such social functions, and a renewed residence for clergy. Making this last piece of the real estate on our campus safe, functional, and attractive is a great accomplishment, all because of you! Thank you so much! It’s a space we will be proud of.
We have put money aside to preserve the oldest church in Chicago, again thanks to you. When Father Wall “retired” from being the pastor of Old St. Pat’s, we were able to start an endowment fund for the church structure through some gifts that came in on behalf of Fr. Wall. Today, because of the campaign, we were able to grow that endowment significantly.
Other changes you should know about have to do with our staff personnel. Mr. Tim Liston left us and moved on to a new exciting career at Navy Pier. He served our team for the past four years and as our Business Manager for the past two. Tim was a burst of energy and helped us accomplish a lot in his short time with Old St. Pat’s. Starting in February, we have created a new model for how I’d like our team to work. Christine Cockman will be our Director of Operations, responsible for all the “business” items related to doing church at Old St. Pat’s. Christine and her husband Chris, along with their daughters Clare and Ellen, have been long time members of Old St. Pat’s and she brings a wealth of experience and a huge love for this place and our mission. Keara Ette has been with Old St. Pat’s for the past nine years, serving primarily in the role of Young Adult Ministry. She will transition to being our Director of Ministries, responsible for working with all the various ministerial expressions of Old St. Patrick’s Church. I will work closely with both of these fine people to ensure that we continue growing in our mission and our vitality as a Catholic community.
One last thing, please mark your calendars for February 11th to celebrate our annual Valentine’s Mass at 6 p.m. It’s one of the more beautiful liturgical gatherings we have each year. Also, mark your calendars for March 11th and 12th to celebrate our patron Saint Patrick. In addition, you won’t want to miss March 14th for our Siamsa na Ngael concert at Symphony Center to culminate our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Have a great week ahead!
Father Tom Hurley
(PS- Keep in touch on Twitter and Instagram! @TomHurleyOSP)