Fr. Britto's Blog

Milestones

I don’t know what you think about milestones. They make us pause, and they sometimes make us sad. Our birthdays are milestones that remind us that time is passing, and passing quickly. They beckon us to give thanks to God for all the graces He has showered on us during the previous year. They also help us remember the times we failed to use the opportunities for good that He sent us on our way. In addition they invite us to look to the future with hope.

 

As this bulletin goes to press, I am completing ten years as the pastor of St Paul’s. I am deeply grateful. I thank God for bringing me here because I feel profoundly blessed. I thank God for you because you have been more than gracious and kind. I thank Him for your faith and your commitment. It is heartwarming for me to hear your laughter during my homilies. I thank God for the many longtime parishioners who continue to be the bulwark of this parish. I thank Him for the many young families that want to pass on the Catholic faith to their children. I thank Him for our young people who participate in our liturgies and continue to be engaged in the life of the parish. I thank God for our many, many volunteers who collaborate with us in our ministry to our large faith community. I am grateful for our competent and dedicated staff who have shown me what it means to minister as a team. I am grateful for my fellow priests who give of themselves without counting the cost. I am also gratefully mindful of all those who have gone before us for bequeathing to us a great community.

As I look back on the past ten years, I am amazed by all that we have been able to accomplish as a parish. We have done many things well. At the same time, I am sure we need to do better in other areas. As I look ahead to whatever time the Lord may give me as your pastor, I would like to propose five goals to aspire for.

  1. Christ, our focus

You have heard me speak often about becoming “intentional disciples.” Each and every one of us must embrace Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master. He should not remain a distant historical personality. Instead, He should become the Risen Christ Who is alive and active in our lives. For that to happen we must get to know Him (through the Scriptures, the sacraments and prayer), to love Him (by realizing how much we have been loved by Him) and to follow Him (through our commitment to His will and the Cross).

  1. Sense of Community

Over the last ten years we have added over 1,400 registered families (at least on paper) and have become the second largest parish in the diocese. Even though we are rather big, we still exude a small family feel. We have made attempts to be welcoming but we need to get to know each other. We are supportive of each other in times of suffering and loss. At the same time we need to invite our neighbors to join us at the Sunday Eucharist.

  1. Prayerful Liturgy

In the life of the parish the Sunday Mass must be the focal point. We need to gather as a community on Sunday to draw strength for the week. At the same time we need to go out into the world to bear witness to the Lord Whom we encountered at the Eucharist. Our participation at Mass has certainly improved. We can hear people singing and praying. However, we need to improve our liturgies and our preaching.

  1. Lifelong catechetical formation

As a parish we do an amazing job of educating our children in the faith. The numbers speak for themselves. Between our Catholic school and our religious education programs, we form almost 2000 children below the age of 14. We have increased the opportunities for adult faith education with our Bible Study, parish missions, and adult education series on the truths of our faith. However, our programs reach only a small fraction of our parishioners.

  1. Missionary Discipleship

Pope Francis has invited all Catholics to be “missionary disciples.” Such an endeavor calls for two things: First, we need to share the “Good News” with our brothers and sisters, starting with our own families; and, second, we need to serve the poor and the needy because the Lord told us to. We do very well with the latter and we need to improve in the former. Our emphasis now has to be on evangelization – we need to do all in our power to help non-practicing Catholics to become joyful disciples.

As we move forward, I would like to return to some words that I wrote in my first column. I would like to reiterate the same call:

[L]et us not rely on our resources. Let us turn to the Lord who is the Master of the house. In all things, let us put ourselves in His hands. May we keep our eyes and ears open that we may be able to recognize His will! As a parish we want to go where the Lord will lead us. In order to be able to surrender ourselves to God’s will, let us be men and women of prayer.

Thank you for all that you are! Please know that I appreciate each and every one of you. I pray for you every day at my Mass and in my personal prayer. Please keep me in your prayers.

Who is Fr. Britto?

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...

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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