I have been reflecting on the possible scenarios—I hope you have too as we need your feedback. These reasons have come to mind on why I think it could be a good fit:
1. Both parishes now serve a majority of commuters, yet leadership teams from both parishes see the need to find ways to reach the local, new demographic of our area—young adults who don’t go to church. St. Aloysius has had Masses in the neighborhood; we have the school and have organized family fun days, St. Nicholas Day of the Novena, etc. for this purpose. Having this common mission is key to fitting and working together.
2. Social Justice Ministry: St. Aloysius’ food pantry serves almost 100 families weekly with food, and offer spiritual, social, and material support to seniors in the neighboring housing. They have also hosted a giant Thanksgiving dinner for them. We support the Midtown Center in their efforts in filling the Christmas gift-baskets for hundreds of families, and other initiatives. Our school also offers scholarship to financially challenged families. This ministry also engages our local young adult population, giving them opportunities to serve the community—a great first engagement for them!
3. Young people: St. Aloysius build the Monsignor Thiele Center with the desire to reach young people and keep them engaged with their faith. We support the Midtown and Metro Centers—apostolates started and supported by some members of Opus Dei—to provide inter city boys and girls the character formation needed to stay on track with their studies and support them in their faith, family, and career. In addition, this has been a wonderful way to challenge college and young professionals to give themselves in volunteer opportunities.
4. Spanish Language Ministry: both offer Mass and other support (St. Joseph’s Services at St. Aloysius); we also have recollections (retiros), weddings, and quinceañeras in Spanish, and make ample Confession times and spiritual direction available. Our school is also starting a Language Intensive Preschool to offer a bilingual (Spanish/English) education option to families. Both offer Religious Education in Spanish as well as in English.
5. Devotion to Our Lady: our novena to the Immaculate Conception draws hundreds during the week, and more than a thousand on the feast. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also very popular, even beyond the Latino population. The devotion to the Divina Providencia has been popular at St. Aloysius.
Certainly there will be challenges but if we keep our focus on are mission our Lord and his Mother will bless these efforts. We encourage you all to reflect on the enormous possibilities to evangelize the Bucktown-Wicker Park area, and beyond.
Some parishes have not fared well with Renew My Church decision—yet to happen here. Some Catholics react by leaving the new parish for Protestant churches or stopped going to church altogether. We can’t let that happen here. Nor do we want angry people because they felt left out of discernment process due to insufficient communication.
Prayer is key, to strengthen the faith of all. But let’s ask the Holy Spirit to move each one of us to be open to welcoming the new reality and to face the challenge of evangelization. Souls are depending on us to say Yes to God, just as Our Blessed Mother did when the angel Gabriel announced to her God’s plan—which wasn’t her plan until then! Fiat mihi—fiat nobis—secundum verbum tuum: Be it done to me—be it done to us—according to your word!
Fr. John Waiss
Please take time to fill out the second survey. We need to hear your thoughts about the scenarios for Renew My Church.
Second Zoom Town Hall Now Online
Please take a look at our Zoom town hall. This meeting focused specifically about the options for our parishes in Renew My Church.