Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

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…)

Start with the One Person You Can Change

Start with the One Person You Can Change…

During the season of Lent, we are focusing on our parish theme “Pray-Fast-Give; Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” Each week during Lent we have had a different focus which has invited us to make sacrifices on behalf of healing our broken world.

In this last week before Holy Week, our focus is shifts away from the macro-level injustices of global and national poverty and even away from the local-level concerns of hunger. Instead, we turn inwardly, towards ourselves.

A number of years ago I had the chance to do a lot of travelling around the world to mission sites of the Church in the places of the deepest poverty. Fueled by an ambition to change the world (a passion I still have) I had to face an uncomfortable discovery in myself and in others. I became cognizant of a catchphrase which bears a great deal of truth “Everyone wants to change the world, but few people want to change themselves.”

I realize this little proverb is an indictment of us all but rather than casting stones at others, I’ll start with myself. That is, after all, the point. How foolish of me to think that the world is going to change but everything about me is going to stay the same. How ludicrous that I can condemn the world for racism, sexism, poverty, greed, lust, gun violence, etc… but if you dare judge me for being part of the problem? Woe there! Now you’ve gone too far!

I had to realize that I am the source of the change I seek. The world won’t change if I don’t do it first. I also came to realize that there is a treasure in the Catholic Church which empowers us to make that change. It is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I know for many people, including myself, there has been an unfortunate avoidance of this Sacrament. Perhaps my reason was that I thought I was too busy (a good thing to change), or had a lack of trust in the structures of the church (a good thing to change), or fear of being imperfect (a good thing to change).

Personally, I have discovered that almost every roadblock I have put up towards going to confession is a “good thing to change.” The Sacrament, at its root, is about changing and growing to be better person through transformative power of God’s love. If you are like me, I’ve tried a dozen things to fix problems in the world. I’ve donated money to good causes (a good thing to keep doing), I’ve volunteered at food pantries (a good thing to keep doing), and I’ve gotten involved in political advocacy (a good thing to keep doing). But at the end of the day, what have I done to change myself?

When I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, change is at the heart of it. In partaking in the Sacrament, I take personal responsibility to transform the world by transforming myself. In that tender and delicate space where I can be vulnerable and accept God’s love for me, I begin to see a better future for myself and the world around me.

It is in that spirit that I encourage others to accept that same grace, to be a part of this incredible sign of change, and to do it together. Let us be a community, not of people who are perfect, but of people who are getting better. Let our sign of that be our willingness to ask God for forgiveness and the power to reform our ways.

We normally have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available on Saturdays at 3:00pm in the church, but in a special way, we want to invite you to the communal celebration that we are sharing with Saint Benedict Parish on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:30pm at Saint Benedict Parish.

Reasons on why to go can be found at http://wp.me/p66xQ0-eEW as well as instructions on how to participate in the Sacrament (especially if it has been a long time). I am grateful for God in showing me through my own self-discovery how I needed to start with myself in order to bring more justice into the world. I pray God will bless you as you journey through your own self-discovery in knowing how to change and the steps to take in making those changes.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Communal Reconciliation Service – March 20, 2018 6:30pm

Reasons to Go to the Communal Reconciliation Service

At Saint Benedict Parish

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:30pm

  • Anonymity – You can put aside the fear that the priest who hears your confession will see you next week when at school or Mass by going to someone other than Fr. Sergio or Fr. Arlen.
  • You’re Not the Only One – Going when there are a group of people takes away the anxiety that you’re the only one sinning. Guess what? We all are. We’re also the ones with the invitation to get better.
  • Timing – It’s probably been a while.
  • Also Timing – It’s the season of Lent. It’s a Catholic custom to work on repentance in Lent.
  • Also Timing Again – It’s probably the quickest way to go. With 5 priests to hear confessions, there is a good chance you won’t have to wait that long to get it done.
  • Getting Right with the Rules – The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1457) informs us that “each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.”
  • Sin/Reconciliation is a Social Thing – There is no such thing as a sin that “only affects me.” All sin involves harm done to another person which means forgiveness feels better when other people are part of the reconciliation.
  • You’ll Feel Better – You know all that stuff (baggage) that is weighing you down? You know, the stuff you’ve tried to let go of it on your own but you can’t? Let God cut it off. That’s what God does.
  • You’ll Set the Right Example – Our children in school and Religious Education attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By going yourself, you’ll show them that this isn’t an exercise for school but a gift from God throughout our life.
  • Your Presence Will Help Others – All of us can be a little scared or unsure sometimes. Seeing others can help us overcome fear and conversely, our actions towards reconciliation can unconsciously empower others to do the same.

Need to know more on how to go to Confession? Follow this link: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/index.cfm

 

 

Uganda Lent 2018

Our Multi-faceted Support for Uganda

During the season of Lent, we are focussing on our parish theme of “PrayFast-Give; Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” Each week during Lent we have a different focus that relates to ministries we do in the parish to help heal the wounds of injustice in our community and in the world. If you have been part of Saint Andrew parish, for long, you know that we have a relationship with several direct ministries in Uganda. This effort has been part of our parish culture for more than a decade. Most recently, our efforts have focused on Fr. Matthias’ current parish, St. Charles Lwanga, its primary school and its recently built secondary school – our namesake, St. Andrew. This has been facilitated by a non-profit organization named Uganda Essomero which helps to build and support schools in Uganda. To find out more visit www.ugandaessomero.org. Multiple times a year our parish and school collect funds for our Parish-to-Parish support. These funds are
distributed by Fr. Matthias and utilized to maintain and support his parish, schools and 22 out-stations.

 

Parish-to-Parish funds are raised at:

• Fall Second Collection for Uganda • 5K Running of the Bulldogs • St. Andrew School Penny Challenge

In addition to the parish-to-parish support, our community has been the bedrock for One Heart Uganda and its scholarship program that currently serves more than 100 students. Parish and school individuals and families have directly sponsored students through this nonprofit organization. While the school and CCD program, as a whole, have each sponsored a student annually. Find out
more at www.oneheartuganda.com Although One Heart Uganda supporters are now found across the U.S. and in Europe, the majority of its support resides right here in our community with more than 60% of its scholarship recipients receiving consistent, quality education thanks to your generous support. This weekend we celebrate our special bond with our sister parish and Fr. Matthias in Uganda and we hope the following articles give you deeper insight in the tremendous work that Saint Andrew parish does as we engage in this relationship.
As you fast during Lent, remember that the purpose of fasting is so that we may more readily give to the needs of the world. We intend to collect the harvest from our fasting on Holy Thursday so we can support our ministries to Uganda (and other ministries). If you are looking to support any of these ministries, the collection on Holy Thursday is the designated place to make a donation during lent.

And please recall that “healing the wounds of injustice” is not just a financial obligation, but a personal one as well. We especially are called to correct the injustice within ourselves and interpersonally by experiencing the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As a community, we will join Saint Benedict Parish on Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30pm for our joint-parish Reconciliation service. We hope that you will join us.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate


Teacher’s Trip Brings Mission to Life

This July, a group of One Heart Uganda supporters, sponsors and board members will visit Central Uganda to experience local culture and gather progress updates from more than 100 scholarship students. Among those traveling, will be St. Andrew teachers, Kelly Shea (Preschool) and Paula Thivierge (Junior Kindergarten). The teachers will have an opportunity to visit several primary and secondary schools and partner with local teachers and students. In addition to developing curriculum to bring back to St. Andrew School, the opportunities for inspiring and sharing their teaching passion with educators across the world is exceptional.

“I’m looking forward to creating more awareness around Fr. Matthias’ mission and how he’s helping students,” says Thivierge. “I’m also really excited to meet, Eliosi, the little girl we sponsor. I can’t wait to bring back stories and experiences about what it’s like there for my girls and the children I teach.”

“Making the connection and bringing back the realness that connects our schools and students will be great. It really reinforces the Spirit, Study and Service that St. Andrew stands for,” said Shea. “We’re making a difference and I want to help get that word out.”

Our teachers welcome your support in helping them fund their upcoming trip. We encourage you to visit their
websites to assist their efforts:
https://www.gofundme.com/paulathivierge
https://www.gofundme.com/mission-trip-to-uganda-july-2018

 


Support “Get Well”


Worldwide, one out of every five deaths of children under the age of five is due to a water-related disease. Of the 783 million people without access to safe and clean water, more than 40% live in Sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda. These statistics are alarming and just a few. Water is a luxury that every one of God’s creatures should have access to. For this reason, Stephanie Lippian is leading the “Get Well” initiative. Through “Get Well,” it is our goal to raise $9,000 to build a well that supports the new St. Andrew secondary and St. Charles Lwanga primary schools at Fr. Matthias’ parish in Central Uganda.

Currently, the campus has two water tanks. Unfortunately, though, these tanks do not provide enough clean water through the seven-month drought season. The schools are very blessed because over half of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have the luxury of access to water and sanitation facilities. Due to the generosity of the St. Andrew parishioners, scholarships have been awarded and there are more students than ever on campus. It is our shared goal to see these children earn an education, but they need and deserve life’s basic necessity to do so.

Here are few more facts to consider:
• Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to be the family member responsible for fetching
water. Without toilets, girls often drop out of school at puberty.
• The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can, weighs over 40 pounds when full.

For these reasons and so many more, I ask for your help. 100% of the money raised will go directly toward
the new solar-powered well. If you would like to help fundraise or make a donation to the campaign
please contact me at salippian@yahoo.com or at 323-533-7082.

Lent 2018

Lent is for Healing.

This week we begin the practice of Lent in the Church with the celebration of Ash Wednesday.
At Saint Andrew Parish, our theme for the 40 days of Lent is “Healing the Wounds of Injustice” which corresponds with the traditional mantra during Lent – Pray, Fast, Give. The connection between our theme and the traditional mantra is made when we ask the question “Why do we pray?” and “Why do we fast” and “Why do we give?”
When I teach the RCIA classes for adults entering the Catholic Church, I frequently get questions about practices such as fasting and abstaining from meat on Fridays. Why would we do this? It almost seems contradictory when we profess that God created the world “good” and then we go about the business of neglecting ourselves from that goodness. “Why would we deny ourselves?” “What is good in that?” These are great questions. They help clarify the Church’s teaching and also reveal an innate bias rooted in a poor interpretation of our cherished beliefs and practices.
If instead we start from the point of view that yes, the world is created good, but we have participated in God’s creation in unjust ways, we find better reasons for practices such as 40 days of praying, fasting, and giving alms. When we give something up, it isn’t because we enjoy suffering or seek agony. That is misplaced at best and sadistic at worst. Instead, our sacrifice is our participation in restorative justice for the world. To seek the benefit of others is in itself a greater good than the good of pleasure or indulgence.
When we are aligned with our deepest values we pray so that we will have the strength to take action. When we take action by fasting, we remind ourselves of the struggle necessary for justice to flourish. When we give alms rooted in love, we take steps for God’s justice to be made real.
With the help of the Social Concerns Commission at Saint Andrew, every week of Lent, we will focus on one ministry from our parish that works to heal the injustices of the world. We invite you to reflect upon these ministries and to pray about how God can help to keep these ministries in your heart. We then invite you to respond from your heart by sacrificing something from your week. That extra latte or treat that you would normally have. By surrendering that which is excess in our lives, we will all have more that we can give to support those in need. Thus, our prayer (Pray), leads to action (Fast), which leads to justice (Give).
Near the end of Lent, we will focus on our own personal healing through sacramental sign as we prepare ourselves and challenge ourselves to enter into God’s restorative love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In the fullness of this 40-day journey, our hope is that we will take steps toward greater healing and prepare us for the great joy of Easter.
I hope you will join me and others from the parish in this Lenten journey as we pray, fast, and give so as to participate in Christ’s healing the world’s injustice.
-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate
A week by week schedule of our Lenten theme:
Greater Chicago Food Depository (Regional Justice)February 17 & 18
Ministries to Uganda (International Justice)February 24 & 25
St. Mary of the Lake Pantries (Local Justice)March 3 & 4
Catholic Extension Society (National Justice)March 10 & 11
Sacrament of Reconciliation (Personal Justice) March 17 & 18