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Vision for the Parish

I can’t believe that in a few weeks I will complete a decade among you as your pastor. Every day I thank God for giving me this privilege of tending God’s vineyard in this part of the world. The Lord has been gracious to me and I have so many blessings to count. It is strange that just a few years earlier I didn’t even know that St Paul of the Cross Parish even existed. Together we have done much over the last ten years. The parish has been a great blessing to me. I hope these years have brought you some blessings also.

As I look back, my mind races to the day I submitted my application to the Personnel Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago. I was asked to write a statement outlining my vision of a Catholic parish. These days I have been reflecting on that vision. I would like to reproduce that statement here so that you and I can reflect on how much of that vision has become a reality. I know that there are a few areas in which we still have much work to do. Hopefully those areas will become our priorities for the future.

For your benefit and mine, I am presenting here my vision for a Catholic parish.

MY VISION OF A CATHOLIC PARISH

I envision a Catholic parish to be a community of believers who seek to live the example of Jesus as defined in our Catholic tradition. Such a community is aware not only of its uniqueness within a particular cultural milieu, but also of its oneness with the universal Church. The role of the parish is to encourage the faithful to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus, to live out the Gospel message in their everyday life and in the process be His witnesses in the world.

Since the family is the nucleus of the Church, the main focus of the parish must be on families and children. Without neglecting others, the pastor and the ministerial staff seek to strengthen marriage and family life while they educate all, especially the young in the faith. In my vision of a parish, priority must be given to the Catholic school and Catholic education. A parish must pay particular attention to the young and the children. Bringing young adults into the fold is another priority because without their return to the faith the Church cannot continue to flourish.

All forms of personal devotion and Catholic piety must be encouraged. However, the spiritual life of the parish finds its true expression and its own proper identity in the community’s gathering around the Eucharistic Table for the Sunday liturgy. The proper celebration of the Sunday Eucharist and the various sacraments constitute the essential priorities of the parish and the pastor. The parish is always nourished and challenged by the Word. Education in the faith is not merely for children and youth; it is for all. Formation in the faith becomes a lifelong process wherein the parents learn the faith even as they educate their children.

The parish must be a welcoming community to all. There everyone must be able to find their spiritual home. Even those who feel at odds with the Church because of their moral/theological positions or changed life circumstances must be welcomed. Even while welcoming, the pastor should encourage and challenge them to be open to Church teaching. At the same time, the parish community must constantly question itself to see whether it is being totally open to the actions of the Spirit as voiced by the concerns of these members.

True to the spirit and example of Jesus Himself, the parish must evidence a predilection for the poor and the oppressed. The parish must be a haven of justice and peace. While the parish gives generously of its financial resources to the poor, it must encourage its members to get their hands dirty serving the poor. Genuine concern for the poor should be the hallmark also of our religious education and youth ministry.

Within such an understanding of parish, the pastor strives to connect with all the households within the parish. He is part of every family without belonging exclusively to any. His effectiveness is measured by the way he is present to the parishioners at the significant moments of their individual and family lives. His love for them has but one goal: to bring them closer to the Lord so that they may conform more and more to the image of Jesus.

I would like to invite the parish, especially the leadership, to reflect and determine what areas we need to focus on in the coming years. May the Holy Spirit guide us to be the kind of faith family that He wants us to be!

God bless you all!

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel