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Summer Pastoral Letter

On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. Genesis 2:2-3

The Word of God tells us that God rested on the seventh day from all the work he had been doing. And because he blessed the seventh day and made it holy we likewise “keep the Sabbath holy” and rest from all the work we do. Of course, that is contingent on whether or not our employer gives us weekends off, and we don’t cram the weekend with too many activities. When we do honor the Sabbath by refraining from unnecessary work we discover why God rested on the seventh day. God being God did not need to rest on the seventh day. God rested on the seventh day so that we might do as he did, because we are not God, and we do tire and need rest.

But, what about vacations? Although the Book of Genesis makes no mention of God taking vacation time, the gospels do tell us of Jesus taking time away from his mission and the disciples to pray and connect with the Father. So, even our vacation time can be blessed and made holy if we take the right approach.

One of the things that can help make our vacations holy is to pay attention to our surroundings. The world is a beautiful place and in the busyness of our daily lives we often take it for granted. Vacation time offers us opportunities to immerse ourselves in nature, different cultures, and interesting cities and countries. But even when we’re on vacation we may be missing the point. Instead of trying to see Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower all in one day, it might be better to see only two of those sites and spend some time doing what the French do well, watching the world go by as we drink some coffee on a sidewalk café.

Another thing that can make our vacations holy is to take some time feeding our soul. With the down time that vacations afford us, we can feed our soul by reading a book, or taking a class or workshop in something that we find interesting but never have the time for. We can play the tourist in our own city and go see some great art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Millennium Park offers free concerts in all musical styles all summer long. These types of experiences not only help to break the routine of life, they can often expand our minds and offer us new insights that may be helpful in dealing with our regular routines.

And finally, our vacations can be holy if we are truly present to our families, friends and loved ones. We spend more time with these people when we are on vacation, but are we truly being present to them and fully appreciating their love and friendship? Every year before the school breaks for summer vacation I tell our school children the same thing; to pull themselves away from their phones, tablets and video games to enjoy not only the places they will travel to but the people they will be traveling with as well. Sadly, we adults need to do the same. Spending time together and being present to each other is not the same thing.

Whether you are traveling half way around the world or you’re doing a staycation this summer, your vacation time can be a blessed and holy experience if it is approached with the right perspective. I pray that this summer affords all Saint Andrew families time of rest filled with joy, peace, and the love of family and friends. May you travel in safety. May Christ be your boon companion. And at the end of your journey may Christ welcome you home.

Fr. Sergio Romo

Parish Pilgrimage August 2017

Join with your parish family for an afternoon pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Gauadalupe in Des Plains, IL on Sunday, August 27, 2017 after the 10am Mass. The pilgrimage will be from 11:15am to 2:30pm. To learn more and to register… (more…)

Religious Education Registration Form 2017-18

Religious Education 2017-18

Looking for a way to teach your children about the faith? We have something for you!

Saint Andrew Religious Education (RE) will offer a family program for families with children from Kindergarten through High School utilizing the Family Catechesis Model. This model has been adopted to the needs of Saint Andrew families after two years of working with families and publishers to have the most flexible and dynamic program we can offer. (more…)

Corpus Christi Reflection 2017

Reflection on the Feast of Corpus Christi 

Every now and then a news article pops up about breastfeeding. There are several hot topics on the subject that trigger lots of debate. Should it be allowed in public? Why do some shame this very human activity? Shouldn’t it be celebrated? Should it be promoted for a child’s health? Maybe, but what about women who can’t breastfeed?

I bring up the subject knowing that I have a real deficiency in participating in the conversation. I am a man and like most men, cannot speak with any authority on the matter and probably should not venture too far into any of the debates. But I can’t help observing a key connection between the human experience of nurturing a child through breastfeeding and the Catholic faith, especially in the feast celebrated today, the feast of Corpus Christi – the feast of the Body of Christ.

There are two instances in human life where I have encountered the sacred notion “Take and eat, this is my body given up for you.”  One is in the infancy of life when many mothers offer their very bodies for the well-being of her child. The second is our spiritual infancy (which we are living even as you read this), where Christ offers his body for the well-being of our very selves.

Once, when I was on a day of retreat and a Catholic priest offered that reflection to me, it took me a while to absorb the enormous meaning behind the connection of those two events. So, if that is happening for you right now, take a moment and reflect upon it deeper.

After years of pursuing, reading and reflecting upon matters that are religious and spiritual in nature, and as a religious educator for this community, I am at a point in my life in which I tire rather quickly of spiritual make-believe that isn’t connected to the here and now. I sigh in exhaustion at notions of God that resemble more of a fantasy of ghosts and ghouls than what is tangible and real.


Which is probably why I always feel at home in the Catholic Church. Where else is the connection between the spiritual and physical as manifest as it is in the Church? For us to have a sacrament, we require the physical elements of water, oil, bread, wine, rings, and/or physical people present. We don’t believe that we can just pray for someone’s soul and they’ll be saved, but we demand attention be paid to the Corporal Works of Mercy. The hungry should be fed. The naked clothed. It is why we build hospitals, food pantries, and shelters. Its why we invest in schools to nurture the whole person body and mind.

It is also why we take such great offense to violence done against the flesh, when bodies are cheapened to be clogs in the machine of exploited labor or when bodies are reduced to serve as objects of gratification through human trafficking or abusive relationships.

We believe that we do and will experience God in the flesh and nothing illustrates this belief with greater fervor than Jesus coming to us with his own body, with the same love of a nursing mother, and saying “Take this. Take me. I love you with such intensity that my very body is for you.”

On the feast of Corpus Christi, it isn’t uncommon to focus on the miracle of transubstantiation and the beautiful theories and doctrines which describe the miracle of the Eucharist. This is good to do. But it doesn’t hurt to also remind ourselves of another reality.

Scientist have performed experiments with animal primates in which they showed that primate babies who do not have contact with the skin of an adult of their species will not develop normally and in often cases die. Although unethical to do such an experiment on human beings, it is assumed that human persons would respond the same as the animal experiments. It is deduced that if we, as a newborn, do not have contact with a body to which we can connect, we will shrivel. What a grace it is that in our spiritual infancy, our tender time of spiritual growth here on this planet, God provides us with this contact as well. Jesus gives us his body to be near, to embrace us and to soothe us. The closer and more often we come, the more holistic our development will be. We celebrate this grace every Sunday, but especially today on the feast of Corpus Christi.




Theology on Tap Summer 2017

Theology on Tap is getting ready to kick off this summer and Saint Andrew Young Adults are getting ready for a great series!

Want to hang out with other Catholic young adults? Want to learn more about faith? Want to meet some of the movers and leaders in the Catholic Church in a low-key environment?

Then join us for any one of the Theology on Tap evenings planned this summer and learn more about all the opportunities at (more…)

Gods Rule of Three

God’s Rule of Three 

If you ever take a class at one of the comedy clubs in the neighborhood, you’ll learn about a concept called the “rule of three.” It is ubiquitous in the jokes of late night comics, sitcoms, and movies. An example of the rule of three is a waiter in a restaurant saying, “I’d like to introduce you to today’s fresh fish specials. We are serving salmon, halibut, and canned tuna.”

The structure of the joke is actually very simple. First, a comedian trains the listener’s thoughts to flow as if they were on the established tracks of a train. The first two examples in the joke “set up” the track, but then a third example intentionally derails your thoughts and the resulting jolt (hopefully) is something at which we will chuckle. It is the thrill of the expected meeting the unexpected that delights us.

Today is the Church’s celebration of our own “rule of three,” the dogma of the Holy Trinity. Like the comedian’s “rule of three” it plays with the “entirely predictable” meeting the “entirely unpredictable” and delightfully so. This dogma of the Trinity is so important to Catholics that it we acclaim it before we begin or end anything we do. From our Baptism to our daily prayers to our final farewell at a funeral, we do these things “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

But where in the readings of today (or anywhere in scripture) do we see God named as “The Holy Trinity?” Nowhere actually. The closest we might come in today’s reading is when Saint Paul writes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Cor 13:13) But to go from that inference to a theology that enshrines the notion of God as a trinity is quite a leap. Which makes it curious for us as Christians. At the end of the day, it certainly would have been easier if God had used Moses, Saint John, or Saint Paul to explicitly say “Hey, this is who God is. God is actually one God, but you’ll experience God in three persons.” But he didn’t.

Why then do we define ourselves through this belief especially when we can’t fully understand it? This teaching was never explicitly taught by Jesus. Rather it was inferred through the thought and holy reflection of the early Christians. Since then, we’ve held to it, even after it has become a sticking point between us and other monotheistic religions who think we are worshiping three Gods. (Hint… we don’t),

The mystery of the Trinity and rich and wondrous. Saints, poets, and artists have exhausted countless efforts to describe this mystery, and each attempt both inches us closer to understanding the nature of God and at the same time pushes our understanding farther away. As we try to ponder the Trinity, we discover more about who God is in much the same way that we learn to deeply value the mystery of a good movie, or a good book, or a good friendship. Mystery isn’t about something being unknowable, but rather realizing that the more we explore it, the more we appreciate it.

In this way, the core teaching about God within the Catholic Community is itself a revelation about the expected meeting the unexpected, like the “rule of three” in a comedian’s finely tuned routine. God’s mystery comes crashing into our forecasted plans with an embedded joy. In this way, God delights both in us and with us. Through the Holy Trinity, which we celebrate today, God invites us to enter his ever-unfolding revelation as we do everything in God’s “rule of three.”

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Working with Saint Mary of the Lake and Saint Thomas of Canterbury 2017

Charitable Best Practices

Many parishioners either run their own business or are aligned with business corporations in which they pursue best practices to achieve the greatest results. In that endeavor, many of us know that alignment of an organization’s strategies helps to optimize results. The same is true of our charitable works.

The Church has always sought to empower the work of charity and the Social Concerns Commission of Saint Andrew has been working the past year and a half to organize our parishes’ charitable efforts so that they are streamlined and clear.

The Commission has identified international, national, regional, and local charities with whom we will seek to focus our charitable efforts. We already know that focusing our international efforts with our sister parish in Uganda through our relationship with Fr. Matthias is the best way to have the biggest impact. We are hoping to do the same with our local charitable efforts too.

We are hoping to do the same with our local efforts. The Social Concerns Commission has advised the pastoral staff to focus our local charitable work on projects related to the needs of Saint Mary of the Lake and Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Together, the food pantry, soup kitchen, and school are serving hundreds of refugee families that we as a parish have already begun to support through food drives and the Giving Tree. We are seeking to focus more directly on their needs in the future.

It doesn’t mean that we will not support other local charitable efforts, but the primary focus for us through special collections, social concern, and even Greater Chicago Food Depository food credits will be directed towards Saint Mary of the Lake and Saint Thomas of Canterbury.

This makes sense on a number of levels. For one, they share the same Catholic heritage as we do. For another, they are organized through the Saint Vincent DePaul Society, which is a known and reputable resource for caring for those in need. Finally, we have a relationship with them through previous work and meetings with their organizer, Deacon Paul Spalla, so we know personally that every dollar we send in support is being used to directly support persons with food, clothing, and shelter sacristy.

This summer, we are looking to support additional food drives for items and needs they have requested. By focusing our efforts with them, we hope to have a greater impact on our collective abilities.

Harvest Food Drive – September 9 & 10

During the weekend of September 9 and 10 after all masses at Saint Andrew, we will be collecting items (at the back of Church) focussed on the autumn harvest. If you can donate vegetables that are found in season (onions, potatoes, peppers, greens, etc) all contributions will go directly to the Saint Mary of the Lake Food Pantry.

Stop by the table to learn more about the good work Saint Vincent de Paul Society is doing.



A Pentecost of Diversity

A Pentecost of Diversity

Most of us will get up tomorrow, go to work, have an exchange with various vendors to buy something we need, and at some point probably peruse some type of media informing us about the news of the day either through social media, print media, television, or Internet news sources. It is very likely that in the midst those daily rituals, we’ll encounter a disagreement with someone that will trigger a modicum of frustration that we’ll try to outsource to the negligence of someone else. In other words, there will probably be some sort of misunderstanding that irritates us.
Perhaps it’s the person whose political views are different than ours and what they said on Facebook. Perhaps it will be the internal dumbfounded gasp we will try to swallow when someone holds a contrary view than our own on subjects such as health care, the economy, or whatever else is in the news. Perhaps we’ll bump into someone who dresses in a manner divergent with our own norms. Maybe we’ll be irritated by a misunderstanding that arises from someone’s accent or the language they speak.

Why Lord couldn’t you have made the world simpler? Why can’t everyone be exactly like me so we could all get along?

Today is the feast of Pentecost. My challenge as a worker in the Church is trying to explain why things that happened 2000 years ago have any relevance today. Hopefully you already know the basics of the Pentecost story. Jesus was gone. The Apostles were scared. The Holy Spirit came. Tongues of fire descended. The Apostles overcame their fear by speaking in other languages and the Church spread.

It was a miracle and miracle stories are always nice to recall. They provide us with reassurance that God has supreme power and having personal knowledge of that power helps to reinforce our own desire to believe.

But there is also peril in recalling miracle stories from 2000 years ago. It can put a distance between us and the historical event and this can prevent us from seeing the miracles happening within our midst. To understand what I mean by this, I think it is important to look at

Pentecost and ask the question, “What could have been different about the story?” One alternative is this. It could have been a story where everyone began to speak the same language. Why were the Apostles’ capacity for multiple languages changed and not those who heard them changing to one language?

Pentecost frequently gets compared to the story of the Tower of Babel in which humanity’s arrogance led the inhabitants of Earth to build a very high tower at which point God curses humanity’s progress by confusing them with different languages to speak. This brought about disunity and prevented humanity from becoming more like God.

Within this comparison, Pentecost is the “anti-Babel” experience, the event when Babel’s curse is undone. But I think that misses a key detail in the story. It isn’t that everyone at Pentecost is speaking the same language so as to return to the way of life before Babel. Rather Pentecost is about the ability for the congregants to understand the Apostles each in their own language.
From that point of view, I think Pentecost is very relevant as a miracle within our daily lives. God isn’t interested in bringing us into some sort of fascist-like conformity. God’s design is not about artificial or forced uniformity. Instead, the miracle of Pentecost illustrates that the Holy Spirit blesses us to find communion amid our differences.

So the next time a co-worker baffles you with his behavior, or you disagree with someone’s politics, or you have an encounter on the street in which someone who you misunderstand because of their culture and language, pray for a moment of Pentecost. The miracle to be found is not in castigating differences into a submissive unity. The miracle to be found is how God blesses those differences and will speak to everyone through them.

Peace found through difference is difficult and that is what makes it miraculous. If we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and transform us, then Peace within our differences is the miracle of a new and immanent Pentecost. It isn’t something that only happened 2000 years ago, but is something that can happen (in small ways and grand) today.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate


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