Monday night Fr Peter, Fr Matt, and I were at the Holy Name Cathedral witnessing the changing of the guard. We welcomed Bishop Cupich as we bade farewell to Francis Cardinal George. The several hundred priests who were gathered there gave Cardinal George a well-deserved standing ovation. A breath of fresh air was beginning to blow on the Archdiocese of Chicago and as we greeted this new shepherd, humble and gentle, we could feel the excitement and the anticipation. As I sat there in the quiet of that imposing edifice, I could not but be filled with joy for being Catholic. I kept reminding myself that the scene unfolding before our eyes is one of those things that make us proud as Catholics.
Let me explain. In the peaceful passing of the torch from one prelate to another we can see the unbroken continuity in the faith that goes back to the apostles. Through the ups and the downs, even through the jolts of scandal, the Church marches on. We are grateful to the Lord who has called us into His community of faith. We have no doubt that the treasure we hold in earthen vessels has been handed down from Jesus to the apostles and then to us. We are the inheritors of a precious legacy that has been made possible by the numerous sacrifices of saints and sinners who have gone before us. We need to be grateful.
Two years ago we completed our centennial celebrations. During those events we were constantly reminded that we are blessed to be part of our great parish. We are the inheritors of great buildings, various ministries and a lively spirit, because of the sacrifices made by those who have gone before us. Our hearts resonate with the famous line written by Sir Isaac Newton in 1676: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Such a powerful sentiment of gratitude manifests itself in concrete steps to ensure that all of us join the host of giants on whose shoulders future generations will stand. Thus at the end of our centennial year I made a promise in your name: “We will guarantee the longevity and the continued vibrancy of St Paul of the Cross Parish.”
Our Parish Pastoral Council took up the task of finding ways to fulfill that promise. They consulted with the various ministries and groups regarding the priorities that the parish must have for the coming years. As a result of this process, they identified certain needs that must be addressed. Their recommendation was that we initiate a capital campaign to sustain the great spirit of our parish. The campaign would enhance the efficacy of our ministries and undertake new initiatives to help us flourish even more. The campaign would be called “Fulfilling our Centennial Promise.”
While we were contemplating our next step, the archdiocese directed all parishes to undertake a campaign to address their local needs and to assist the diocese. Cardinal George wanted to set up a fund to support Catholic education and to help poor parishes carry out much-needed capital repairs. The parish campaigns would contribute a significant portion of their monies raised towards the archdiocesan initiative known as “To Teach Who Christ Is” Campaign. The archdiocese has set a fundraising goal for each parish and the target is based on its ordinary income (Sunday, Holy Days, Christmas and Easter collections).
The official launch of our campaign will be on Saturday, February 7, 2015 and will conclude before Easter. We have already completed much of the groundwork. We have identified several projects that will be financed by this campaign. We have even obtained architectural renderings and approximate costs have been worked out. Right now I am in the process of reaching out to major donors. Even though the goal set for us is around $ 2.4 million, in order to accomplish the goals set by our parish council we are shooting for a slightly higher goal of $ 3 million. Knowing the generosity of our parishioners, the campaign committee and I are hopeful that we will exceed our goal. Early next year we will hold several town-hall meetings at which all the details of the campaign will be made known.
On November 13 we celebrated the feast of an American saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was an immigrant from northern Italy and came to America to serve the needs of Italian immigrants. She and her religious sisters had a farm here in Park Ridge near Northwest Highway and Potter. Priests from the Passionist Monastery on Talcott and Harlem would go to the farm to celebrate Mass for the sisters. Mother Cabrini had no money to pay them but she would give them fresh vegetables. One of those priests eventually started what later became the Parish of St Paul of the Cross. For some years, Mother Cabrini would visit the old wooden church to pray here at our parish. What a privilege to worship at the same parish where a great saint prayed!
We have so much to be thankful for. I hope and pray that all of you will join me in doing our part to fulfill our centennial promise. We have been given much. Let us give what we can – even at the cost of sacrifice – to pass on the faith to future generations.
I wish you and your families “Happy Thanksgiving!” I thank God for all of you. Your generosity always amazes me. May God bless all those you love and all that you do!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...