Sunday, April 7
Although the noise is driving me crazy and the vibrations from all the pounding of pavement is causing me to panic with respect to possible cracks in the walls, I am looking forward to the “new look” of the expressway outside our back door! The end of this construction cannot happen fast enough! If I could put the emoji of the angry face on this article, I would!
But despite my frustration with the noise, dirt, and chaos, I am intrigued by the symbolism of the new bridge that reaches across the expressway at Monroe Street. Admittedly I am borrowing the image of a picture that my friend and colleague Mark Scozzafave, our music director, put on his Instagram this past week. Mark wisely and creatively saw the bridge as a gateway to Old St. Pat’s for all those who travel east from the neighborhood of the West Loop. Borrowing this metaphor of the bridge, I couldn’t agree more!
The noise, the drilling, the pounding, the vibrations, the dirt, and inconvenience says a lot when it comes to building a bridge. It takes work, time, patience, and perseverance. I can’t think of a better way of expressing both the challenge and the mission of the Church today than all of this.
As far as I’m concerned, we need this bridge project! It reminds me of the renewed mission we should definitely be about here at Old St. Pat’s. I want us to always be “Bridge Builders” and doing whatever we can to find creative ways of bridging this unique expression of the church with not only the ever increasing number of millennials who live in the West Loop, but for everyone who seeks a life-giving experience of a faith community such as ours. There’s a lot of noise, distractions, “dirt”, inconvenience, and plenty of reasons why crossing the bridge to the Catholic experience is not high on many people’s agendas these days. With you, I am committed to using every ounce of energy to do what we can to truly be bridge builders for those seeking a renewed experience of the church today.
Despite the cost and hardships, we need to keep building bridges: with the lost, the excluded, those on the margins, and those who feel unloved. We need to be bridge builders with our sisters and brothers of other faith traditions. We need to build bridges with those who have been hurt by this church of ours and those who have walked away angry and discouraged. Together with our new Mayor, we need to build bridges in this city, uniting neighborhoods and creating KINSHIP among all. With the appointment of Wilton Gregory (a friend and Chicago priest) recently appointed as the new archbishop of Washington DC, a place so deeply wounded by the sexual abuse scandal, we need to build bridges that bring healing, reconciliation, and a brighter, stronger Church throughout the United States and around the globe.
The noise and disruption is no fun… but once the bridge is built and completed, I look forward to welcoming many to this Sacred place of Hope and Renewal!
Thank you for being the incredible bridge builders who keep this Church of Old St. Pat’s so strong and vibrant!
Father Tom Hurley