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2017 Running of the Bulldogs 5k

You can now register for the Saint Andrew Parish Running of the Bulldogs 5K & Kids Fun Run!
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Purchase your race registration, sign up to volunteer, and become a sponsor here.


Annual Food Drive 2017

Annually, Saint Andrew Parish hosts a large food drive to support our local food pantries. Collection is this Saturday and Sunday November 17 & 18. Details on what items are needed and where to bring the food are found by reading more.  (more…)

Dont Give Up Hope 2017

Don’t Give Up Hope

Another week when the unfortunate events that have unfolded have changed the first page of the bulletin. While the Cubs are in the playoffs and Autumn is in the air, my hope was to reflect on the scriptures with you in a playful subtle way. The “stone which the builder rejected” connection between Jesus-and-Luke-Skywalker-as-the-forgotten-outsiders-who-managed-heroic-feats was the plan for our weekly reflection. I’d have to draw a distinction between the works of history and a narrative of fiction, but that would be easy enough to do. All of those plans changed when last Sunday’s tragedy in Las Vegas hit, an event that we wish was fictional but is more and more part of our country’s narrative.

When trying to find the message from the prescribed readings on any given Sunday, it is my custom to focus on the First Reading and the Gospel. They are usually tied together and selected to reflect a common theme or movement of God’s revelation. As a church, we’ve had several hundred years to get the pairing of scriptures between the First Reading and the Gospel just right, but we have only had around 50 years to get the Second Reading right. The Second Reading was added after the Second Vatican Council and the reading doesn’t always match up as neatly.

But this week, I don’t know if there are any better words to reflect upon than what we find in the Second Reading. It is a messy world and relentless dismay has battered us. From hurricanes to race relations to gun tragedies, there seems to be an onslaught of continuous despair in our country.

And in the fury, we proclaim Saint Paul’s words,


Finally, brothers and sisters,

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable,

Whatever is just, whatever is pure,

Whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,

If there is any excellence

And if there is anything worthy of praise

Think about these things. (Phil 4:7-8)


Scholars point out that when Saint Paul wrote those words, he was in prison facing trial. He had reluctantly complied to participate in a ritual purification in the temple of Jerusalem at the behest of his friends (the Apostles). He didn’t necessarily agree with them on this matter but afterwards what made it worse was that a violent mob was incited by the ritual purification. Subsequently, the authorities took Saint Paul into prison. He was scorned by both ends of the crossroad that entangled his life. Not exactly the place from which most of us would write such dulcet assurances.

One wonders though, if it wasn’t Saint Paul’s ability to focus on what was true, honorable, just, and pure that got him through? His bold assertion to believe in beauty and gratitude in defiance of calamity may have been the catalyst that transformed his agony into hope rather than transferred it into spite. In the midst of the voracious whirlwind of chaos, Saint Paul was able to hedge off despair by centering his thoughts on what was good and excellent. He was also able to advise us to do the same.

Saint Paul’s message is resilient and purposeful for us today. We cannot give up hope. We cannot yield to the shadowed forces that oppress our world. It is certainly a time to grieve and we should not recoil from allowing ourselves to feel the weight of sadness hovering upon our world, but it is also a time to surround ourselves with beauty, with graciousness, and with the glow of optimism that faith brings. Even in Saint Paul’s darkest hours, his faith anchored him. We are invited to do the same.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate


What is Your Opinion

The Power of a Question

What is your opinion?
Do you get asked that question a lot these days? If so, that is fantastic, but I find less and less people asking questions like that. (Sans customer questionnaires which are seemingly ubiquitous on customer receipts of purchase. In this article, I’m writing more with an eye to our personal interactions.)
With social media, blogs, and the ability to broadcast your opinion far and wide, it is so easy to offer one’s opinion that society seems to lack a preponderance of individuals interested in asking your opinion. It seems as if everybody wants to tell you their opinion but not vice versa.
I am sure that you have noted that Facebook and Twitter are filled with individuals who have self-appointed omniscience and are arbitrators of everything from “what patriotism really means” to “how smart you are based on your beverage choice.”
But the scriptures from this weekend’s readings present us with a different perspective. We believe that the only one who is truly all-knowing is God but it is worth noting how God’s wisdom is shared. It isn’t by God’s imposition but rather by God’s empowerment through the solicitation of our own ideas.
In the First Reading (Ez 18:25-28) from the prophet Ezekiel, the voice of God asks, “Is it my way that is unfair or rather, are not your ways unfair?” In the Gospel reading from Matthew (MT 21:28-32), Jesus starts off the reading by asking, “What is your opinion?”
To be certain, this weekend’s scriptures are full of wonderful insights about life. Saint Paul instructs us to “Be of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory… etc” (Phil 1”1-11). The prophet Ezekiel says “If someone turns from the wickedness he has committed, if he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.” There are literally hundreds of positive applications to the admonitions presented in the scriptures this week, but one stands out with a daunting boldness that it deserves our greater consideration. What does it look like when the one who has all authority to answer all questions instead asks a question?
What I take from this is the instructional quality of the act of asking. God, the all-powerful and all-knowing enters into a suspended space of unknowing and humility before us. Even as God knows what is ultimately true and just, God pauses to engage us in a conversation. God’s activity is that of inquiry before his creation. God honors subjectivity and freedom. What then does that say about the proper stewardship of our own righteousness? I think something radically different than common perceptions about power and authority.
What if we followed God’s example in our daily life? What if we made a practice of suspending our own self-righteousness to seek out the opinions of others, even if we think we know more than them? If that took root in the hearts of men and women, there would probably be a lot more listening and a lot less arguing. There would probably be a lot more compassion and a lot less conflict.
Maybe it is worth a shot.
Often the “call to action” from the scriptures each week is to go out into the world and do something. Do a kind act. Donate to a cause. Join a service opportunity. What if instead the call to action this week, or this month, or this year is to make a commitment to suspend the arrogance of thinking you have it all figured out. Follow the example of God speaking through Ezekiel and the example of God the Son – Jesus. Instead of knowing it all, ask a question of someone and then… listen.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Uganda Collection 2017

From Chicago to Lwamata: Parish-to-Parish Support

Next weekend, St. Andrew Parish will conduct a second collection to help the parish of St. Charles Lwanga headed by pastor, Fr. Matthias Kakooza. This annual collection helps Fr. Matthias support the ministries of his community, in addition to the upkeep of the parish church and 22 outstations, where Uganda parishioners experience important Sacraments.

Just as our collections each Sunday keep the lights on – a portion of the support we offer St. Charles Lwanga helps to keep their church operating. This parish-to-parish support is significantly different from the scholarship and school building organizations that also support Fr. Matthias’
community. For one, this support flows from our church through the Archdiocese of Chicago and to the Mityana Diocese in Central Uganda.

Experiencing a Sunday morning Mass in the main parish church of St. Charles Lwanga is a vibrant event – every pew bench is filled, children crowd together to sit on the floor in front and to the
sides of the altar. Joyous music accompanied by drums fills the air. When their offertory collection commences, you’re just as likely to see fruits and vegetables brought to the altar as coins. At the outstations, parishioners must wait weeks for their turn to be visited by a priest and
catechists make due between visits. These parishioners, who live in the remote bush with dirt roads, are too far to walk or travel to the main parish church on Sunday. Their Masses are held in simple structures and sometimes under the shade of a tree.

Our Ugandan sisters and brothers are passionate about their faith. Last year on a special holy day, Fr. Matthias baptized literally hundreds of people young and old for half a day as the line stretched out of the church and across the parish yard.

It is our blessing to play a role in supporting their faith and our great honor to have such a wonderful partner and friend in Fr. Matthias. You can contribute your support both in church next weekend and online through St. Andrew’s website.

Uganda Umbrella of Support

St. Andrew has a history of supporting our brothers and sisters in Uganda. What began 14 years ago with Fr. Matthias’ first visit to Chicago has grown and enriched our community. Through the years, we’ve answered a variety of needs from bikes for Catechists to reach outstations to the construction of water wells, expanded classrooms, and schools.

Currently three main programs support Fr. Matthias and his community:

Parish-to-parish Support: Our financial support keeps St. Charles Lwanga Church, rectory, classrooms and outstations functioning. Your help ensures Uganda parishioners experience important Sacraments in 22 distant outstations.

One Heart Uganda – Scholarships: Education changes lives; currently our community is making that change a reality for 100 students. Often orphaned or at-risk, talented young people are given new hope through annual tuition sponsorships.

Essomero – School Building: A new K-12 school is planned to provide a high-quality education and environment for learning. Fundraising is underway and the school will be built on private property in
Myanzi, Uganda.

Update on Lighting 2017

In my last update on the church lighting project I relayed the decision to install the new lights down the center aisle instead of their present position. The benefit of this decision was that we would be able to use the existing catwalk in the attic of the church for servicing the light fixtures, instead of building 20 new catwalks that would have reached out to the present light locations. Upon further study we learned that the existing catwalk is not centered, and as such, would be in the way of the new lights. This means that some modifications will have to be made to the catwalk to allow sufficient clearance for the new lights.

A meeting was held at Saint Andrew for all the companies that were bidding, to go over the plans, and to do a walkthrough of the main church, the attic and basement. Three companies submitted their bids, each with different estimates on cost of materials and installation. The lowest of the three bids came in at $250,000, which is $100,000 more than what was originally estimated. While that may sound like bad news, there is a reason for the higher cost, and there’s actually some good news to share as well.

As is often the case with any remodeling, whether it is a church or a home, there are additional costs that were never anticipated when preparing a budget. These are the “oh no” moments that happen when you finally get a look behind the wall, or under the subflooring. Such was the case with the church lighting as I mentioned with the catwalk. But, it also meant that other modifications were going to be necessary. There is a steel framework that holds up the church ceiling. One of the discoveries we made was that the light fixtures would not fit into the existing steel framework. Modifications will need to be made to the steel framework to allow for the lights to be dropped into their new location. So between the catwalk and steel framework modifications, as well as removing the old light fixtures and covering up the holes, there is a significant amount of construction work that needs to be done. About $72,000 of the total $250,000 is for this construction work alone. If it weren’t for this additional work that needs to be done, the bid would have been very close to the original estimate.

As I mentioned though, there is some good news. While this project moved at a slower pace than we had planned, it has actually worked to our benefit. If you remember when we had the ceiling tile fall in the church, our insurance company was advising that we have every tile physically inspected. This was projected to be a huge expense. With the passing of time our insurance company no longer feels it necessary to have every tile inspected. Instead, when the old light fixtures are being removed, only the old tiles immediately around the fixtures will be inspected, as they are the ones that would most likely be in need of repair. This new plan will save us a tremendous amount of money.

The Finance Council has been updated on the status of the church lighting project and on the $250K bid and the reason for the higher cost. They


have recommended that we move forward with the project. The rational for this recommendation included the fact that we need to show progress soon on this proj


ect to help keep the momentum of the capital campaign. And secondly, we may find that the cost of one of the other projects may come in less than we estimated, which would offset the higher cost of the lights.


The Archdiocese of Chicago has approved the project, both the scope as well as the funding. I hope to receive a contract for me to sign within the next few days. Once that happens, it will be about 8 weeks for the light fixtures to be delivered. Our plan would be that the new lights would be installed before Christmas.

Thank you to all who have contributed to our capital campaign, Enrich-Expand-Grow. Please keep those redemptions coming. The faster they come in, the sooner we will be able to get started on the other projects. If you have not yet made a pledge to Enrich-Expand-Grow, it is not too late! We need your help. You can still participate and help us achieve our goal. For more information please go to and click on the Enrich-Expand-Grow section for more information, or contact Julie Richards at

-Fr. Sergio Romo

Date at the Lake 2017

Date at the Lake 2017

Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday to help make A Date at the Lake such a great success!

Were you there, but didn’t get a chance to sign up for all the parties you want to attend?
Or did you miss the event, but still want to partake in the parties?


2017 Running of the Bulldogs 5k

You can now register for the Saint Andrew Parish Running of the Bulldogs 5K & Kids Fun Run!
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Purchase your race registration, sign up to volunteer, and become a sponsor here.


Welcome Deacon Mark

Hello! I’m Deacon Mark Purdome, and I’m excited to join the St. Andrew community.

After raising our two daughters in Gurnee, my wife Bridget and I, along with our dog Shadow, recently moved to Chicago as empty-nesters. We’re looking forward to living the city lifestyle, enjoying the restaurants and entertainment just outside our door.


I was ordained in 2007, and for the last 10 years I was assigned to St. Paul the Apostle, Gurnee. I would say that my spirituality tends to lean toward joy and awe at the opportunity to come together as a community to serve the Lord. I find myself frequently repeating the opening of Psalm 100: “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness”.

For both work and hobbies, I am a bit of a geek. I’ve done things ranging from Unix operating system development to telephony call processing. For the last 14 years, I’ve been the IT manager for a small non-profit foundation in the northern suburbs. Bridget is a spiritual director and is responsible for spiritual care at three transitional living facilities for people with HIV/AIDS in the Chicago area. Shadow (the dog) is responsible for greeting everyone with an enthusiastic tail-wag and defending our city against rabbits.

It is a great time to be together as a community, and I’m excited and thankful to call St. Andrew “home”. I hope to get to know all of you in the coming months.

Parish Wide Curriculum 2017

Finding God – Parish- Wide Enrichment

One of the primary responsibilities of a parish community is to foster the faith of its parishioners through religious education. Mistakenly, this is sometimes reduced to merely having a parish school and/or a K-8 Religious Education program, but in fact, the responsibility extends to all ages as we pursue the knowledge of and relationship with God.
But how do we do that and what will we study?

Thankfully, our parish now has a unified curriculum that extends across the entire parish through Loyola Press’ Finding God series. This series is built on a spiraling curriculum that enriches the capacity of each student year by year over set themes. Both our parish school and K-8 Religious Education programs have adopted this curriculum, which provides a strong framework for the rest of the parish. For the first time, our parish bulletin, homilies, classrooms, media, and adult education opportunities will have a common theme from which to draw and every subgroup will be having variations on the same subject at the same time.

This is not only helpful for efficiency of planning, but it also makes sense when offering parents and adults opportunities for faith formation. If you have a child or grandchild in our K-8 programs, you may sometimes wonder how to answer the questions they have about what they are studying in religion class. How beneficial it would be to have a corresponding program for adults that offers broader context to what is going on in the classroom. How much more helpful is it when articles found in the bulletin and on social media reinforce the conversations our teachers are having with their students.

From now until late October, we will be focusing on the first unit of the Finding God curriculum entitled “God our Father and Creator.” During this period, we will be emphasizing the conversations about who God is, how we come to know God, especially through creation.
If you would like a more in-depth presentation to accompany this conversation, you are invited to attend our “God our Father and Creator” session for adults on Sunday, October 15 from 8:50am to 9:50am or on Thursday, October 19 at 7:00pm. Both presentations will be in the Social Hall.

In future weeks and months, please be mindful of the united conversation we will have between our students, families, and parishioners as we continue to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.

There will be similar presentations for adults during all of the months listed in the parish-wide curriculum below. Please join us in growing as disciples together.

To read more about the overall curriculum, visit