Fr. Britto's Blog

Women and AOW

Every three years during Lent we hear the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. With his usual flair for story-telling, John weaves his theology into this encounter between Jesus and a woman of ill repute. Jesus takes the initiative and befriends the woman. From a casual exchange of pleasantries, the conversation moves on to more serious matters and finally the woman recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. In fact she runs off into the village and invites her fellow villagers to come and meet Jesus. She becomes an apostle of the Good News.

The gospels are filled with stories of women who met Jesus and often became His disciples. However, it is Luke who gives the greatest prominence to women in his gospel. It is he who narrates the stories of Elizabeth and the sinful woman, the women at the foot of the Cross and the women weeping for Jesus on the road to Calvary. Luke also lists the names of women who ministered to Jesus from their own resources and helped to sustain His ministry.

Luke presents Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the first and the best disciple. She believed in Jesus and submitted herself totally to the will of God. Her song of thanksgiving echoes the song of Israel and that of the Church. She remains faithful until the bitter end when his male disciples take to their heels. She sustains the baby Church as the disciples await the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. John presents Mary as the final gift that Jesus offers to His disciples. Paul’s Letters are filled with names of women who were very active in the Early Church. Even a passing glance at the Church’s history will convince anyone that women have always been a significant and crucial part of the faith community. Our parish is no exception. Most of our parish staff and many of our numerous volunteers are women. The Church as well as the parish cannot be effective in the ministry without the serious participation of women.

Even before I came here, I found out that we had a huge number of women in our AOW (Apostolate of Women). Over the last ten years, I have been impressed by the contribution of our guilds and the AOW to the life of the parish. We are an active and alive parish thanks to the hundreds of women who serve in numerous capacities. Personally I have seen how they engage in works of charity here and abroad, make things happen and take leadership in parish projects. I consider this army of women a cause for boasting and a reason for hope. Some of our guilds have a history of almost half a century. As these seasoned members get older, we need younger women to step up. The senior members want to pass on the torch to the younger generation.

Recently some of the longtime members of the AOW have expressed to me their apprehension that interest and involvement in this important organization is waning. I hope their perception is wrong. They tell me that it is difficult to get women to step into leadership positions or even to join the AOW. I would like to take this opportunity to address all the women of the parish – the young and not so young. If you are already a member of a guild and the AOW, I salute you and I thank you. Please encourage your friends to join you. If you are not yet a member, I urge you to become involved. The parish needs you. I need you. Your contribution to the ministries and the life of the parish is irreplaceable and unique. No one else can take your place.

In particular I would like to encourage all women to join. We need fresh blood and new ideas. I know your lives are super busy and your calendars are full. Being active in AOW is an effective way of being good stewards. You will give the parish something more precious than your treasure – your presence and your time. When we had our centenary, I turned to the AOW for help. I can tell you in all honesty that but for their involvement we would not have been able to have a successful centenary year. We, Catholics, are all about tradition. Join the long line of strong, faith-filled women who have shaped the history of the parish thus far so that you can help fashion the story of the next one hundred years.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is great and worthy of honor not because she was gifted with many privileges by the Lord. She is to be admired because she said “Yes” to God and remained faithful to the end. Without her “Yes” the Son of God could not have assumed our human flesh. Her greatness lies in the fact that she gave Christ to the world. Here is your opportunity to collaborate in God’s plan and to establish God’s Kingdom here in Park Ridge. Please say “Yes!”

May God reward you abundantly for your many sacrifices! I am grateful to all the women who make our parish great. You are in my 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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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605
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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

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8:30 a.m. - Upper Church


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