Fr. Britto's Blog

Call to Service

This Sunday we had a guest-homilist at the 10:30 am Mass upstairs. Fr. Jay Jung, a Vincentian, concelebrated with me and delivered the homily. He is currently the pastor of St. Jude Parish, Tuba City, Arizona, the mission that we chose to be the beneficiary of our Lenten sacrifice. He was grateful to receive a check for $30,183.93 which bears bold testimony to your willingness to help those you do not even know. By our gesture we are re-enacting what the churches founded by the Apostle Paul did when they came to the assistance of poorer communities.

Coincidentally a group of our teens returned this weekend from their service trip in Minnesota. In the next couple of weeks we will hear their stories and their experiences. At the end of August, twenty-seven of us will travel to Tuba City to meet the people that Fr. Jay serves. Hopefully we can do some little bit of service and get to know our brothers and sisters on the Reservation.

There is also another hopeful phenomenon stirring to life in our parish community. More than a month ago, a group of determined moms and dads proposed to mobilize a group that will foster a spirit of service. They pointed out that we are very generous with our resources and that it is important that we get our hands dirty serving those in need. Also moved by the call of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to come to the aid of the needy, these parishioners are calling themselves the “Servants of St. Francis.” Their main objective is to nurture a spirit of hands-on service in response to the example of the Master who washed the feet of His disciples.

All these things are hopeful signs for our parish. We are a faith-filled parish that is serious about the Sunday Mass, Catholic education and religious education. Our parents bring their children for sacraments and make sure that they are well-prepared. We are very generous not only in supporting St. Paul’s but also in coming to the assistance of those in need. In the four years I have been with you, I have personally witnessed how amazing you are with your donations when a catastrophe strikes anywhere. If there is one thing that we can do better, it is this. We need to make a more serious and intentional commitment to hands-on service. We need to get all of us involved: kids, teens, adults, families and seniors. My hope is that in the coming years we will grow in this area.

Someone has said that service is the rent we pay for living on this earth. In order to show our gratitude for being given the gift of life, we serve one another. As Christians we have an even stronger reason. In chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel Jesus says that we will be judged at the end of time by the way we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger. Whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do for Jesus. We are not mere philanthropists who hate to see people suffer. We come to the aid of our needy brothers and sisters because they are Jesus to us.

Writing to the Church in Corinth St. Paul encourages his Christians to help other churches in need. He tells them that they should imitate Jesus who was rich but made Himself poor in order to make us rich. Having grown up in a poor country like India (where over 40% of the people live in extreme poverty), I often ask myself how I landed in one of the richest countries in the world and now live in a suburb like Park Ridge. I even feel guilty sometimes. That is when I remind myself of what St. Paul wrote. God has given us all these gifts so that we can be the hands of God stretched out to help the poor and the needy. If God has made us rich, then like Christ we have to make ourselves poor in order to make others rich. I don’t mean to suggest that you should literally become poor. I mean that we must use our riches to diminish the poverty of others.

Let us not forget that we are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are his eyes and lips. We are his heart. St. Teresa of Avila said it better:

Christ has no body now on earth but ours;

Ours are the only hands with which he can do his work;

Ours are the only feet with which he can go about the world;

Ours are the only eyes through which his compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.

Christ has no body now on earth but ours.

As a parish, may we follow the example of St. Francis and Mother Teresa! May we heed the call of Pope Francis to go to the aid of the poor!

 

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