Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hope in Humboldt Park

Have I mentioned how much I love Chicago? It's a place where hope thrives. Especially in Humboldt Park.
Recently a group from my parish volunteered a morning of service at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in Humboldt Park on Chicago’s west side. Since moving to Chicago I've been hearing about the miraculous transformation of this historical church and surrounding property that had once been boarded up and laid in ruins.
Headed up by Fr. Bob Lombardo CFR, the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels provides outreach to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago while also sharing the treasures of our Catholic faith.
Our main responsibility included assisting with the mobile food pantry in Kelly Hall Parking Lot. It was a step by step process by which we unloaded food from the food truck, moved the packages to the various stations, repackaged the food for distribution, assisted residents with gathering food, and loaded/carried the items to their vehicles or nearby homes.
It was extremely cold morning ...though nowhere near the subzero weather that shortly followed. Regardless, it didn't keep the volunteers and residents away. As I reflected on my experience I realized that despite the cold weather folks came searching for something more than the food and hospitality we offered.
What they seemed to be searching for was a sense of hope. And it seemed the more we shared hope with the neighbors that arrived, the more we found ourselves being filled with a sense of hope. It is in giving that we receive.
Our service project concluded in a time of Adoration followed by lunch with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and Father Bob. It was the perfect end to a perfect morning.
A special thank you to our leader, Christian from St. Mary of the Angels, for organizing this amazing opportunity!
Check out the following videos depicting the 'from tragedy to triumph' story of Our Lady of the Angels (first video) and one of the recent outreach programs offered by the mission (second video).
Rededication of Mission OLA:
Thanksgiving Outreach 2013:
Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry,shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn... Isaiah 58:7

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

March for Life 2014

Students from Holy Angels Catholic School, under the patronage of Father Augustine Tolton, joined tens of thousands of other pro-lifers in the annual March for Life.
Our walk along Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill was accompanied by freezing temperatures. And, yes, Even for a bunch of Chicagoans the 19 degree weather was quite brutal.
The middle school students didn’t complain a bit and made it through the entire march -- even when they had the option to initially go back to the hotel. "But this is what we came for!" Their enthusiastic cheers and overall positivity inspired me to also, 'march on'.
Kudos to Devin Jones and the months of preparation dedicated to helping his students understand the value and dignity of every human life. You can find out more about Devin’s work with the students at Holy Angels through his interview with Life Site News. Devin will also share more about our pilgrimage to DC tomorrow morning at 9am on Relevant Radio 950-AM. He will be joined by a couple of Holy Angel students on the program.
What an amazing day! Below are a few photos from our trek to DC: send-off Mass, praying at the DC Planned Parenthood Clinic on arrival day, attending the Youth Rally at DC Armory, meeting with Terrence Gainer, Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate and alumnus of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic School who traveled with us on our pilgrimage.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The year of faith is over. Now what?

"The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers." - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei
Sharing our faith can sometimes seem like daunting task. Get ready to be inspired as Outside Da Box shares three simple to steps to evanglization:
- We are called to share the faith
- Don't be afraid, rely on the Holy Spirit
- Live the faith, then explain why you do
How will you apply these three steps to your life?
Outside Da Box

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wired Advent

Such an exciting time in the Church with the recent celebration of the Feast of Christ the King, closing for the Year of Faith, a new Liturgical Year ….and now, Advent.
If you’re like me, Advent is a time that can get lost in the hustle of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas parties galore.
Here are a couple of cyberspace resources to help prepare a place for Christ from the Internet Highway to the road leading to the manger of our souls:
Find The #PerfectGift
Excellent video and initiative released by the Archdiocese of Washington reminding us that the #PerfectGift is salvation through Christ Jesus and the joy found in sharing him with those we encounter.
As shared on their website, “The story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection nearly 2,000 years ago continues to be told because ordinary people take up the story, make it their own and share it with others. This Advent, let us lead others to the perfect gift while, at the same time, truly preparing room for him in our hearts, saying, “We have been watching and waiting for you. Welcome.”
Check out the high quality ‘video ad’ below. Their online Advent Calendar provides daily activities to help make the most of Advent. My favorite aspect of the initiative is a spiritual ‘gift certificate’ that can be used to invite others to experience Christ.
A couple of other online resources...
Integrated Catholic Life
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff provides Five Keys to Stay Awake (when we need to)
USCCB – United Stated Conference for Catholic Bishops
Celebrating Advent as a Family and various links to Advent devotions including a cool Advent give away.
Pope Francis: Letting ourselves be encountered by God means just this …to let ourselves be loved by the Lord!
1st Sunday of Advent Angelus
1st Monday of Advent Homily

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's here! Pope Francis' first Apostolic Exhortation: The Joy of the Gospel

It's here! What a delight to find the text released for Pope Francis' first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel.
You can visit News.Va for an excellent overview of the 224-page document which outlines the Pope’s vision for a missionary Church, whose “doors should always be open”.
The Joy of the Gospel covers various, timely themes including evangelization, peace, homiletics, social justice, the family, respect for creation, faith and politics, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, and the role of women and of the laity in the Church.
You can read the entire exhortation here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Lesson in Trust

Bishop-elect Cozzens teaches (or at least attempts to teach) Lino Rulli a lesson in trust. And the vehicle for this lesson? Rock climbing.
As a fellow NET alum, I'm digging the NET t-shirt Bishop-elect Cozzens is sporting during this adventure. Check it out: