I would like to thank all of you for participating in our Second Collection, the “Homes For Christmas” Drive. Last week, the Second Collection was $1,360. Additionally, last week, an anonymous donor came into our office with $6,000 to purchase a home for a family in Haiti! I’m so inspired. My hope is that we can raise an additional $4,640 so that we can build homes for at least two families in Haiti. To give everyone an opportunity to give, we will continue to have a Second Collection for the “Homes For Christmas” Program during Advent. If you have not already given, or if you would like to give more, please consider giving at the Second Collection.
It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Renew My Church Initiative. The truth is that, generally speaking, Sunday worship is down across most Christian denominations in the United States; and this is true for the Catholic Church here in the Archdiocese of Chicago. When Mass attendance declines, so do donations and vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Therefore, due to financial reasons and a shortage of priests, the Archdiocese of Chicago must do some restructuring to more efficiently carry out the mission of the Church.
You may remember about two years ago, we had a meeting to discuss which parishes we would be “grouped” together with. After input from all of the parishes, we suggested, and it was approved, that we would be grouped with St. Patrick’s in Wadsworth, and St. Paul the Apostle in Gurnee. This simply means that in the future, at a designated time yet to be determined, our three parishes will meet to discuss how we can work together, and therefore, work more efficiently in a world of decreasing resources, particularly less priests in full-time ministry.
In some areas, this may require the use of new models such as multi-site parishes or multi-parish pastoring. In all areas, groupings will be called to greater collaboration and interdependence. Grouping parishes allows local-level ownership and planning to take place, and ensures that local feedback is surfaced and taken into account. Ideally, forming groupings also helps us think in a more future-oriented, collaborative, and visionary way about what it means to be Church in a local area.
But the Renew My Church (RMC) Initiative here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, is about more than simply working more efficiently. Jesus Christ calls us to constantly renew His Church. RMC is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s response to: (1) Make disciples, (2) Build communities, and (3) Inspire witnesses.
RMC intends to foster belonging, particularly among young people, and invite them to have a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. RMC also supports vibrant parishes and schools that cultivate bonds with each other, and provoke active participation in the Church. RMC additionally asks us to come together in solidarity, and spread the light and hope of Jesus Christ in order to transform the world.
Our Parish is part of a pilot program in which five OLH parishioners and I will meet about six more times before June of 2019 to collaborate with other parishes in the program, and identify ways to renew our parishes with the aforementioned goals. Please pray for us. We are truly committed to sacrificing our desires for the good of the Church, and to bringing others to faith in the Lord Jesus.
Let us continue in the spirit of Advent to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus.