Archives for May 2012
During the past several years, the people of Old St. Patrick’s Church have begun to re-member (to put back together) and re-assert the greatness of the feast of Pentecost and, in a way, reclaim it as the feast of our mission. We have decided that if Pentecost truly is a celebration of Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the people of God, then we are not only the recipients of this gift, but we must also be ambassadors for it.
Today, it is a bold thing to claim that the Spirit is alive and working in the midst of a community and institution whose brokenness cannot (and should not) be hidden or covered up. And yet, this is precisely why, beginning on this Feast of Pentecost 2012 and continuing toward the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, we launch The Spirit Project: an exciting way that we as a community can heighten our awareness of where the Holy Spirit is working in our midst and then proclaim it to each other and to the world — all to participate in the work of being ambassadors of hope rather than “prophets of doom.”
And so we are invited to linger with this thought:
We believe that the Spirit is at work in our lives.
What does it look like in yours?
Whether through the RCIA process or the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative…whether through artistic expression or a pilgrimage of prayer….whether through a battle with cancer or unemployment, or a victory of healing and reconciliation in relationship…we believe everyone can name an encounter with the Divine. Sometimes, all it takes is an occasion to pause and remember.
Throughout our Llturgies today and our future ministries, presentations, prayer, and Crossroads bulletins in the months to come, we will explore and proclaim the responses you — the People of God and community of Old St. Patrick’s Church — share with us.
Stop by the Church Hall today after Mass, go to our website or mail us your responses, and tell us through prose, poetry, art, music, or any other medium you might be inspired to use: What does the Spirit at work look like in your life?
More than ever, our church and its people desperately need to hear how the Holy Spirit is alive and working. As we conclude this 50-day celebration of the Easter Season, let us be formed in the Spirit of the Resurrection and help to bring new life and hope into a world thirsting for life-giving SPIRIT.
I have been blessed in my life, but as I grew up, I realized there are many people who are not as fortunate. I wanted to use my talents to help others through service. My mother and I, along with Korynn Frantz and her mom, founded Manicure Ministry, the summer before I started school at Trinity High School. Manicure Ministry focuses on raising self-esteem by giving manicures to women in homeless shelters. For the last four years, we have been giving manicures to women in shelters on a monthly basis.
We initially began the Manicure Ministry at the House of Mary and Joseph on the west side of Chicago where many of the women suffered from abusive relationships. In the beginning, we simply painted their nails; however, as months passed, we started giving them goody bags, hand massages, and more elaborate nail care, such as filing and cuticle work. We have had Christmas parties for the women with dinner and gifts, and we continually try to bring decorated cookies to celebrate the closest holiday (i.e., Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, etc.). As the Manicure Ministry evolved, so has our experience and relationship with these women because some women have been coming every month since we started.
After four years of doing Manicure Ministry, giving the manicures has become secondary to the relationships we built. Through the relationships, I learned how much I had in common with the women in the shelter. We all enjoy being pampered, laughing, and feeling good about ourselves. Not only does Manicure Ministry make the women feel beautiful and raise their self-confidence, but it also helps them look polished when they go on job interviews. The women come every month with a huge smile on their faces, and they tell us countless times how happy they are to spend time with us. Impacting a woman’s life can be so heartwarming and gratifying, and I am amazed at how much this experience has broadened my mind regarding different lifestyles. By participating in Manicure Ministry, I have recognized that homelessness includes all ethnic groups, ages, and personalities. Much of my worries seem trivial compared to the challenges other people face each day. Initially, Manicure Ministry was all about nails, but it turned out to be more about the importance of reaching out beyond our comfort zone and helping others feel good about themselves through a small act of kindness.
Brigid Townsend is a member of Old St. Patrick’s Church and will graduate from Trinity High School this spring. Both she and Korynn Frantz will attend St. Louis University in the fall.
As Director of Outreach, I have personally witnessed the difference these two young ladies have made to the homeless women at the House of Mary and Joseph Shelter. The women are excited to have Brigid and Korynn visit monthly and really look forward to these gatherings. I have also seen the girls grow into young women with an incredible sense of making a difference in the world.
Old St. Pat’s Outreach would like to keep this ministry going. We would be delighted if you and your teenage daughters would participate in this ministry of caring and sharing. For more information, please contact Beth Marek at 312.831.9361, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can make a difference in the lives of homeless women in Chicago.
Beth Marek, Director of Outreach
Old St. Patrick’s Church
I seriously cannot believe how fast this school year has gone by — it seems like just yesterday I was wading my way through the big, beautiful, sometimes overwhelming community of Old St. Pat’s. And now, my time here as ministry intern is quickly coming to a close.
How did I get here? I mean, back in high school if you would have told me that one day I would be preaching at one of the largest Catholic churches in Chicago, I would have laughed at you. Yet, I did just that during my time here.
I distinctly remember the process of figuring out where to go to college. I was trying to decide between a school in Missouri (where most of my friends from high school were going) or a small college in Holland, Michigan. If I went to school in Holland, I would know absolutely no one and that was a terrifying prospect. I visited both schools. I talked with friends about them. Then, one night I was leaving my best friend’s house and it just hit me — I needed to go to Holland. I did not particularly WANT to — my body and my mind were yelling at me to stay near the comfort of my friends and family. But I did it — I followed my gut and went to Hope College. It was pretty awful at first — I had an extremely hard time transitioning, but I pushed through the fear and unsettled feelings. Then, I made some of the best friends in the world. I randomly found my way to the religion department and found a professor there who would listen to my theological questions and offer guidance. And somehow I came out of that place with a longing to continue my religious education. Thus, I found my way to University of Chicago’s Divinity School…which then led me to be here with you wonderful people!
Sometimes our minds or bodies lie to us. They keep us from pushing ourselves to take risks and to try to do those things that we think we just cannot handle. But what are we missing out on when we do that? When we push ourselves into new experiences we gain more trust in ourselves and our abilities, we gain new perspectives on the world and humanity, we gain deeper resources for understanding, wisdom and empathy for our fellow beings. WE GROW. I cannot believe God put us on this Earth in order to watch us fall into the routine of our daily lives and just be “OK” with getting up every morning. We are alive, but are we living? We are awake but are we developing new relationships? Learning new things? Growing in understanding of ourselves? Of our creator?
I found my way to University of Chicago’s Divinity School…which then led me to be here with you wonderful people!
Obviously, this would be tiring to think about all of the time. It takes a lot of energy to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. But, I often think we let ourselves off the hook too easily. Can you dare to put your trust in God? I think we can more than we actually do.
I share the story above not in order to say “look at what I have done” but because that story often serves to remind me to trust in God. I still have tremendous struggles on a daily basis with trusting God and I imagine I will have them until the day I die. But together we can reflect on these things and go into new experiences aware of the extreme potential for growth that can come from them. And finally, thank you all for being a part of my ministerial journey — you are a wonderful example of what church can be.
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