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North Side Kairos 2018

The North Side Kairos Retreat will be held on August 3 to August 6 for incoming juniors and seniors and outgoing seniors in high school. The retreat is known for its excellence in meeting high school students where they are at and accompanying them on their journey though life.

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Do You Communicate With God?

Communicating With God

Does God communicate with you?

Do you communicate with God?

Usually the answer to these questions are not often openly talked about and as a society, we are rightfully suspicious of an individual who claims to hear God’s voice if that voice isn’t ratified by what is readily available for all to see, hear or discuss. But shifting our focus just slightly, we might have a new insight to the aforementioned questions.

This past Saturday, our second graders celebrated their First Communion. We held two beautiful celebrations with them and their families and it was joyful to witness children finding their sense of belonging to the family of God at the altar of the Lord. It affirmed that we are a community sustained and nurtured by the Eucharist. We are transformed by it and it makes us the Mystical Body of Christ.

Looking back, I wonder, did all of the recipients understand what they received? I would hope they did in accordance with their developmental stage and their ability to understand. Hopefully the work of parents and our teacher-catechists to explain the Eucharist was of benefit to them, but I didn’t see a lot of them suddenly gifted with the angelic prose of St. Thomas Aquinas or the fidelity of St. Clare of Assisi. No, it didn’t seem like they were suddenly scholars of our faith tradition, but they did seem alive with God’s love, beaming with joy that they too have a deep and lasting connection with Jesus.

There is a reason for that.

If I asked you? What is the verb of “Communion” what would you say? How do you “do” communion?
We sometimes cheat and say “we receive communion” or we “got/get communion” but those are the wrong terms. The proper term, that is to say, the right verb to use is that we “communicate.” The act of receiving Holy Communion is Holy Communication.

So going back to that first question? Do you communicate with God? I hope so! That is literally what we do when we receive Holy Communion. God is communicating with us. We often get mixed up with assumptions that communication necessarily involves words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. We presume communication is structured, logical, and linguistic.

God communicates without words, in a sign that in itself is more than a sign. God uses an efficacious sign that makes real the presence of Jesus in our life. Holy Communion is a form of communication that second graders understand sometimes more nimbly than the rest of us, primarily because they aren’t looking for God to love them through lofty explanations or mind-bending metaphysics. They’re simply asking “Do you love me God?” And God comes to them with the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist saying “Yes I do. With my whole self. I love you.”
Perhaps we all need to go back to that place in ourselves where we are more like a second grader, the place where we’re not so wrapped up in definitions and concepts, arguments and words. Perhaps it is refreshing to delight in God’s act of communication, a simple action with profound consequence that reminds us of God’s constant and enduring love for each of us.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

What Does Holiness Have To Do With It?

What Does Holiness Have to Do with It?

Just a few weeks ago, Pope Francis issued a major papal document about holiness entitled “Gaudete et Exsultate” or “Rejoice and be Glad.” I highly recommend taking the opportunity to read it if you get the chance. We’ve made a URL for you to find the document at https://tinyurl.com/PopeFrancisHoliness. At Saint Andrew, we’ll be exploring how we can unpack the wisdom of the letter in the weeks and months ahead.

In the meantime, I’ve got a one-page article to give a teaser about its importance and impact to us as followers of Jesus Christ.
In the document, the pope didn’t exactly address the etymology of the word “holiness” per se. My take on it this omission is that he was trying to do something else. He skipped over the definition and moved right on to the results. Not a bad strategy, but as a religious educator, I find it helpful to give a minute’s attention to the definition.

Mostly because it is that the way that one defines “holiness” that will determine a great deal in regards to faith and religion. In our multi-cultural linguistic landscape there are different perspectives from different linguistic traditions that confound the meaning of the word “holiness.” For example, the word holiness from the Hebrew/Jewish roots is “qodesh” and translates to being “set-apart.” Inherently, it denotes a sense of privilege and uniqueness. But the other understanding comes from our European and Celtic origins. The word for “holy” in romance languages is “santo” which is similar in origin to the word “sano,” the word for “healthy.” The connection to be made is that to be “holy” means to be healthy, whole, complete in body, mind, and soul. In fact, our English use of the word “holy” stems most closely from the Celtic word “hale” of which several derivative words emerged, namely “holy,” “healthy,” “whole,” “holistic,” etc.

The European and Celtic linguistic roots of the word do not carry with them a sense of any social caste. There isn’t an “us” and “them” mentality within the words and I personally find that refreshing. This sense of the word implies a sense of possessing integrity, completeness, and personal and communal integration.

Most probably, the Hebrew/Jewish concept of holiness was an expression of the same reality, it just came out awkwardly when translated. In the harsh environment of the Israelites, foods and materials that were set apart and kept clean were inherently more healthy and fostered greater flourishing. Unfortunately, the shadow side of being “set apart” is the notion that there is an “us” and a “them.” Where this has gone tragically wrong over the centuries is when, in our church, we have a notion of holiness that it only belongs to “them,” meaning the saints, the priests, the nuns, etc, but not everyone else.

The Second Vatican Council corrected this in the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium, which promulgated the notion of a “Universal Call to Holiness.” In brief, it taught that all people are called to be holy, not just folks who made their way into statues and stain glass windows.

Since that time, there have been a lot of conversation about what a “universal call to holiness” means, but nothing has been published as clear and poignant as what Pope Francis issued last week. The examples he uses plainly critique any notion that holiness is about forming a separate class of people who bear some sort of superiority, but rather he insists that holiness belongs to “the parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, and the elderly who never lose their smile I see holiness in the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next door neighbors, those who, living in our midst reflect God’s presence.” Pope Francis p.7 Gaudete et Exsultate

This quote, combined with numerous other quotes within the letter, demonstrate a deep appreciation of holiness that does not infer class stratification between those who are “good” and those who are not. Pope Francis’ instruction seems to point engender a pursuit of deeper integration and wholeness within ourselves and our relationship to the world. When we are most truly ourselves as created us to be, that is when we are the healthiest. That is when we are holy.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Garage Sale 2018

 

Saint Andrew Children’s 8th Annual Garage Sale Saturday, May 12, 2018 Saint Andrew Gym from 8:00 am to noon As you clean out closets and toy bins, please set aside and save any items for the sale! (more…)

Capital Campaign Update April 2018

We want to continue updating the parish on our progress of the Saint Andrew Parish Capital Campaign.  

The continuation committee meets regularly and has since our Town Hall meeting.  Each time we meet, we discuss the status of the projects, how to keep the momentum going, how to expand our donor base with new pledges and review the financial reports from the Archdiocese by donor.  During our last meeting we discussed all of those components.

  • We will publish the Capital Campaign financials in the bulletin on a monthly basis or more regularly if necessary
  • We will list the current projects update below the financials ie, Church lighting is complete, stained glass windows project is moving forward (see below for status on this project)
  • Fr. Sergio will summarize campaign projects from time to time in the bulletin
  • Targeted Early Childhood Education Town Hall meeting is scheduled for May 9th (more details to follow)
  • Sending reminder letters to past due/delinquent donors

As we all know, the Church lighting project is complete.  The stained glass window project is moving forward.  We don’t have a start date quite yet because we had to get testing done on the windows for asbestos and lead.  Those results have come back positive and we will have to do some abatement.  The Archdiocese is already lining up three companies to provide bids for the abatement work.  They will most likely be here sometime next week to look at the windows and we could expect submitted bids sometime the following week. The Archdiocese has suggested that the abatement company coordinate use of the scaffolding with the stained glass company. They will coordinate this once a contract has been awarded for abatement. That will probably be the time we will have a clearer sense of start time and we will keep the parish apprised of those timelines.

As always, please let us know if you have questions or concerns.  Thank you for your commitment to the mission of Saint Andrew Parish, both the church and school! Your enthusiasm and eagerness to see this capital campaign to its completion is appreciated. As with any project comparable in size, scope and cost to the projects we have chosen, there will always be logistical and procedural steps to take and there may be unanticipated issues to address. We kindly ask for your patience and understanding.

Thank you for your confidence in us and the parish!  Have a great week!

Haven’t made a pledge? Find out more by reading here.

 

Garage Sale 2018

 

Saint Andrew Children’s 8th Annual Garage Sale Saturday, May 12, 2018 Saint Andrew Gym from 8:00 am to noon As you clean out closets and toy bins, please set aside and save any items for the sale! (more…)

Parish Mission 2018

Join us for our annual parish mission jointly sponsored by Saint Benedict and Saint Andrew Parishes on Sunday, April 15, 2018, Monday, April 16, 2018, and Tuesday April 17, 2018 at 6:30pm in the Saint Andrew Chapel. The parish is for all ages and an optional dinner is available for a small donation starting at 6:00pm.  (more…)

Why We Need Doubting Thomas

Why We Need Doubting Thomas

This weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter which is most commonly known for its reading of the Gospel about the Apostle Thomas, known to us as “Doubting Thomas.” The nickname stems from our own pejorative tendency to reprove those who exhibit their doubt openly, even though it is something that each of us is guilty. Haven’t we all doubted a little? Haven’t we all wished there could be a definitive sign to prove that which we believe?

Unfortunately, the fear of being a “doubter” is persistent in the Church. It is as if the ghosts of some past priest, nun, religious instructor, or even parents look over us and shame us for what amounts to nothing more than having common sense.

We feel a collective anxiety in admitting that it is difficult to believe in something that you can’t see and in our collective discomfort, we put the blame on someone else. Doubting Thomas becomes a scapegoat who enables us to outsource the fear of being judged for all the doubts which are quite natural to have.

This hasn’t always been the case in the culture of the Church. There have been periods of time where the simultaneity of doubt and faith where treated as equal partners in the dance of exploring God’s mystery. Pope St. Gregory the Great describes the story from the Gospel this weekend in the following words:

“Do you really believe that it was by chance that Thomas was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvelous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples.”

The words of Pope St. Gregory the Great highlight that the trajectory of human experience is one of movement. In our life, we move (or ought to move) from childishness to maturity. We move from fear to love. We move from sorrow to joy, and we move from doubt to faith.

It is this irreproachable and constant movement, our persistent “evolution of being” which truly defines our legacy as a church community, not static rules, unchanging rubrics, or inaccurately placed phobias of empirical truth. When our church community is at its best, we celebrate the miracle of dynamic growth that shapes and reshapes who we are. Its why we gather, and continue to gather, so that we can learn from each other. It is the.. reason for our faith.
From the beginning of the calendar year we have been positing that question quietly in our articles, in our selection for One Book One Parish, in our social media, and conversations from parish leaders. “What’s your reason?” “Why are you Catholic?” “How has your life been changed by faith in God?” Maybe this week we could add the question “How are you like Thomas?”

Next weekend, we have a summit planned around these questions, it is our annual parish mission held at 6:30pm on April 15, 16 & 17 in our chapel. It will be a three-night series of talks exploring our theme “Got Faith? Finding a Reason for Faith.” We hope you will attend at least one, if not all three of the nights and make of it a sort of spiritual retreat located here in your parish home.

At the parish mission you will find a set of conversations built around the question “What’s your reason for being Catholic?” Hopefully you’ll find that doubts and questions aren’t a denial of belief but part of the process of growing in faith, and moreover that we as a parish community are here to enable one another in that ongoing process. Together, we can be like Doubting Thomas and find answers to the questions we have about faith in the journey of life. I hope you’ll join us!

-David Heimann
Pastoral Associates

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Our Parish Mission:

The Saint Andrew Parish Mission is held jointly with Saint Benedict Parish once a year. This year it will be held on
Sunday, April 15, at 6:30pm
Monday, April 16 at 6:30pm
Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30pm

What is a Parish Mission:

Think of a Parish Mission like a spiritual retreat. Often at a spiritual retreat, you’ll hear from a retreat master who gives a set of themed talks to help guide your own spiritual exploration. Most of us don’t have the time or resources to take several days to travel to a retreat house and have such an experience, but we can make a retreat with our fellow parishioners at a Parish Mission. While carrying on with work days and family responsibilities, you can enjoy the centerpiece of a retreat experience which will also become the centerpiece for our parish’s conversation on spiritual growth for the weeks and months ahead. Attend what you can of the mission. Come all three nights if that is possible, but even one night can have significant rewards in your spiritual journey.

Is it Really for All Ages?:

Yes! Our speaker has been prepared to address a group from teenagers to older adults and has something to offer for everyone. If you are single person living in the neighborhood or a family just trying to get it all done, we’ve designed this retreat to accommodate you! We begin at 6:30 which is time for you to come from work and we end by 7:45 (with the option of a light reception afterwards) so that families with young children can start their bedtime routines for school the next day. Younger children are invited to start with the prayer service in the chapel at 6:30pm and then can elect to join the children’s program in the Social Hall (similar to how Liturgy of the Word for Children runs during our 10am Mass on Sundays).

What is the Dinner All About?:

The dinner is provided for your convenience, but not a necessary requirement for participating in the Parish Mission. At 6:00pm we will have a simple dinner provided so that individuals coming from work don’t need to worry about dinner at home. Just come as you are and relax! A donation of $5 per individual or $10 per family makes it an easy and care-free evening to spend with your parish family at our annual parish retreat.

Menu includes:
Sunday night: Fried Chicken, Mac and Cheese, salad
Monday night: Italian Pasta, salad
Tuesday night: Sandwiches, chips, salad.

Easter Letter 2018

Dear Parishioner and Friend of Saint Andrew,

Today is one of those days when the sun is shining and the weather has turned warm, if only for a day. The world seems brighter and more colorful. All kinds of green things are pushing through the rich black soil. Seemingly, the whole city lets out a sigh of relief. The cold weather will be back tomorrow, but today, the sun and warmth are a pure gift.

Winters in Chicago always seem to be exceptionally long. When these spring-like days roll around we eagerly welcome the signs of new life that are found nearly everywhere we look . We are overjoyed at the promise of soon being free of the restrictions that winter places upon us.

As people of faith, all of this reminds us that Jesus likewise frees us from the restrictions of sin and death. Through his passion and resurrection, we have been freed from the long “winter” of sin and death that resulted from the Fall. Lent affords us the annual opportunity to turn away from the sins we have freely chosen. We die to their false promises and rise to a new and eternal life with Christ.

Like the first disciples, we too believe that Christ is the resurrection and the life! With joy we sing “Alleluia” for the freedom and new life that has been given to us. I invite you to join us at Saint Andrew Church for our Easter parish celebrations as we give thanks to God for this great gift and once again sing “Alleluia!”

I am asking for your support at this time for the needs of our ever-growing parish. Lent and Easter has traditionally been a time to show our gratitude to God for the gift of faith by making a financial offering to the parish. Your contribution will go a long way to support the many ministries of our parish. You can make an offering in our weekly envelopes, or online in our annual Easter Collection through Give Central.

Along with thanking God for the gift of our new life in Christ, I will also thank God for the gift of you, the people of Saint Andrew Parish. Please be assured of my prayers for you and your loved ones during this Easter Season. May God bless you abundantly.

Peace,

Rev. Sergio Romo

Pastor

 

When Does Lent End?

When does Lent End?

One of my favorite questions to answer in Religion Class or in a religious conversations with parishioners is when someone asks me, “Is it true that I can cheat on my Lenten sacrifice on Sundays in Lent?”

I usually answer the question with a question. “How many days in Lent are there?” Everyone answers “forty” which makes me feel good about their religious education. Forty is a significant number in the Bible and that has been ingrained into people’s minds. The Israelites spent forty days wondering in the dessert, Jesus went to pray for forty days, after the Resurrection, Jesus was on Earth for forty day and of course there are forty days of Lent.

But all of that depends on when you count. If you count the Sundays as days of within Lent, then today (Sunday) is the fortieth day since Ash Wednesday. If you don’t count the Sunday’s then the fortieth day is this coming Saturday (Holy Saturday). So… which is correct? Probably a trick question. Most of the questions I ask are. If, let’s suppose, you entered the mind-set that the forty days of Lent ended today (Palm Sunday). In this scenario, you may have kept your fast during the past 5 Sundays and are all ready to be done with things. Alas, you would then be subject to the Holy Week fast, a final intense week of praying and fasting in commemoration with the ritual accounting of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

If, let’s suppose, you entered the mind-set that Lent doesn’t end until this Saturday, then another stipulation would befall you. The most holy days and nights of our calendar are captured in something we call the Triduum. The three liturgical events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which in themselves are really one long celebration over three days. If we are as true as we can be to keeping the Triduum, we would end our Lenten fast on Holy Thursday night, have a party, and then do 3 days of fasting during the Triduum until we feasted again after the Easter Vigil.

As with many things related to the “rules” of the Church, we can let the rules get in the way of following the purpose for which the rule was created. Rather than being fastidious about whether I could eat chocolate on Sunday’s or not is missing the point. Whether I end Lent today and then enter into a Holy Week fast or whether I end Lent on Thursday and enter into a Tridduum fast is all at the service of asking “Did Lent help me change in such a way that I could enter into Easter with a closer relationship to Jesus?” Because that is really the point.

At Saint Andrew, we held the theme for Lent “Pray, Fast, Give – Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” I guess the best way of knowing how you count the forty days of Lent is to look into the world and note what you see. If there is still injustice, if there is still a suffering in the people around us, if there is still hatred, deceit, and perversity, then Lent isn’t over. If I look within myself and I am still twisted by sin and selfishness, then Lent isn’t over. Our Lenten discipline is over when we are truly ready for Easter in our hearts. Ritually in the Church that may be next Sunday, but in our lives it may be longer or shorter. The rules about Lent are meant to be a prescription to help us along our way, not an injunction we can figure out how to get around. As a basic rule, if there is still injustice in the world, then Lent continues until all can know of the freedom the Resurrection brings us.

I pray you have a blessed and wonderful Holy Week. For me, I’ll keep spending this time praying, fasting and giving. I hope you’ll join me.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate