Sunday, June 18, 2017
By Josh Goralski
It’s hard to believe the World’s Largest Block Party is less than six days away. My name is Josh Goralski, and I have been blessed to have been a part of the Old St. Pat’s family for nearly two years. Without the Block Party, I would not be as involved with OSP as I am. Working in the city and commuting from Naperville, I started attending weekday Mass. As I began to find a home at OSP, I started driving down for the 5 pm mass on Sunday and have since become more actively involved now that I live in the city.
Last year’s World’s Largest Block Party was the first OSP event I volunteered at, and from there have launched into being involved with OSPnext and Social Action programs over the last year. Volunteering at the Block Party was a great way to meet a lot of OSP members (It’s not too late to sign-up to volunteer if you haven’t already). A few months before last year’s block party I learned about it while visiting with my Dad in the hospital and a staff member on the floor happened to be on the Block Party planning committee and was already recruiting volunteers.
One of the many things I love about OSP is the commitment to the community, outreach and social justice initiatives. Growing up in a parish that had an active community outreach, I felt right at home coming to OSP. The Cara Program, one of the community outreach partners, is one of the first organizations I started to financial support before attending OSP. They work to empower people with job skills and end the cycle of poverty. Working in the nonprofit sector, I know an impactful organization when I see one. When I heard that OSP had supported the Cara Program (and 12 other fantastic organizations) for years through the Block Party, it was yet another sign that I had found my church home. Equally as important as the support raised, the Block Party offers a way to “Be Church” to those who might have fallen away from the church and show them what OSP is all about. Knowing countless friends who have fallen away from the church, the Block Party is the type of event that would speak to some of them.
As you might know, “Bringing it Back to the Block” is the theme this year and to me that symbolizes another cornerstone of OSP, inclusion. Having it on the block with the church in the backdrop, and creating fun for all ages ensures that this fundraiser is as much about a community builder as it is a fundraiser.
Certainly, there are people who have attended more Block Parties than I have, and people who have worked for years to make them possible. I would like to acknowledge in a special way the Co-Chairs (Brian, Donna, and Eugene) and the Special Events team (Sheila and Kathleen) for the countless hours they have given for this years event.
Whether you are volunteering, attending the block party, spreading the word about the Block Party and/or bought a raffle ticket, thank you for your support, and I would love to meet you! I will be at OSPnext Grill Saturday afternoon and will float around the rest of the weekend. Make sure to stop over and say hi!