Social Media Icons

Urban Impressions of the Stations of the Cross

Thursday, June 30, 2016

TBT - St. Katherine Drexel

It is a lesson we all need – to let alone the things that do not concern us. He has other ways for others to follow Him; all do not go by the same path. It is for each of us to learn the path by which He requires us to follow Him, and follow Him in that path.

St. Katherine Drexel

In our efforts to share the good news of salvation, to guide those we care about, and to provide counsel to the doubtful or those who have yet to claim a belief system at all, there is a need to remember the power of silence. There is a humility we need to claim and own that acknowledges we are imperfect and will offer imperfect counsel, imperfect advice, imperfect support. We need the humility to let the Holy Spirit fill the space around our imperfections so that the words and actions we offer to others is suited to their path, to their call, to their journey with God.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Journey of Doubt

Take some time to read through the passage, Luke 24:13-35, then return to this reflection. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The two disciples knew all about it. They had the names, the places, all the details. They knew what had been going on in Jerusalem. And they had plenty dissect as they chatted on their journey to Emmaus. Every detail was thoroughly debated, every moment examined. Each had an opinion.

Then these two men ran in to the only person who had no idea of the happenings in the city. These disciples were so eager to share what they knew with this stranger. They offered all the details, all the excitement, all the disappointment. They were in the know and happy to share that knowledge.

What must those disciples have thought when the stranger said, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!”

I wonder if these men were so caught up in what they knew because it was a way to cope with what they didn’t know, what they weren’t sure of, what they doubted. Being unsure, doubtful, is an awfully uncomfortable state of existence. Perhaps the surety with which these men spoke of the facts was a way to remind themselves of something solid, something they knew, something they could count upon as truth. Those names, places, details were things they could verify. They were reasonable. Jesus rising from the dead? That was illogical, unheard of…impossible…

The stranger took what they knew, what they were familiar with and used it as a way to show them how to understand better, have deeper faith. When the stranger easily could have scolded these doubtful disciples, he instead patiently guided them through all the details, all the names, all the places, all over again. Providing context, nuance, and vision the stranger took the disciples from doubtful knowledge to the cusp of faith.

Finally, through the coming together in prayer and a communal meal, that chasm between doubt and faith was crossed. 

Counseling the doubtful is a journey. At times, we are that stranger, walking with someone, providing guidance, context, and vision. At other times, we may be well aware of the facts, yet lacking in that faith and vision. Knowledge goes hand in hand with faith for much of the journey, yet there will be a moment when faith must leap beyond knowledge. In that moment, may we be open to the counsel of others, of God, and may our hearts burn within us.

And may we joyfully continue our journey, knowing Christ not as a stranger, but our companion on the journey of faith and our Savior. May we joyfully share that faith and good news of salvation, just as those two disciples did so long ago.

Jennifer Delvaux
Director of Faith Formation

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Higher Calling Deserves…A Higher Level of Leadership

One’s faith journey will always be uneven, marked by moments of doubt. This week’s Act of Mercy, “Counsel the Doubtful,” embraces this reality and offers guidance for traveling this lifelong journey for all, as clergy and laity, for ourselves and for others. 

Last week’s Act of Mercy, “Instruct the Ignorant,” focused on sharing knowledge of our faith. “Counsel the Doubtful” shifts to activating our faith, especially in the face of making life decisions as a Disciple of Christ and dwelling with God forever. The word “counsel” comes from the Latin word consilium (con=with and silium=decision).

Often thought of as an Act of Mercy primarily for our clergy, there is also a profound need for the laity to actively counsel as well. It calls for us to seek resources to guide us in providing counsel to others.

The above invitation, “A Higher Calling Deserves” is from Loyola University Chicago’s Institute for Pastoral Studies (IPS). Founded in 1964 in the midst of Vatican II, IPS recognizes the critical role of lay staff and parish leaders. As part of an outstanding Catholic university, IPS taps into deep sources of ideas, parochial experience and creative approaches to parish regeneration, planning and growth.

Located around the corner from Holy Name Cathedral, IPS provides transformative education for ministry, spiritual leadership and faith-based social engagement through professional graduate degrees and certificates. IPS prepares people for collaborative leadership in an increasingly diverse world, blending faith and justice in service to the mission of Christ and the Church. 

IPS Parish Leadership and Management Programs extend educational opportunities beyond Master’s degrees by offering specialized group retreats, adult Biblical education, intensive adult certification programs, parish leadership consulting and speaker bureau workshops and networking events customized for parishes. 

Mark Bersano, MASJ, Coordinator of IPS Parish Leadership and Management Programs;

“I believe in the power and wisdom of local parish communities to transform the world. A major part of our mission at IPS is to provide the education, best practices and flexibility to help parishes achieve this more effectively in a complex and ever-changing world.”

The role of counsel is in front and center in Archbishop Cupich’s recently announced archdiocesan initiative to “Renew My Church”. This directly supports Pope Francis’ call for the Jubilee of Mercy to be a time for the universal church to rise, renew and reimagine herself.

Archbishop Cupich encourages clergy and laity to “dream big” about the future of our Church, to discern and to make the tough decisions facing our archdiocese. The Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago, in partnership with the Archdiocese, provides education and support to parishes as they create their individual “Renew My Church” plans. 

Lori Doyle - Joined Holy Name Cathedral 6 1/2 years ago when I moved to Chicago. Currently the Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council, I also served as Chair of the Human Concerns Commission. Actively involved in our parish, I also serve as an Extraordinary Minister and a Minister of Care at Prentice Hospital/Northwestern Hospital. Was honored in 2015 with the annual Archdiocese of Chicago Christifidelis award

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Media & Mercy - The Fault in Our Stars

It’s rare that I talk about John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars without making copious use of the word ‘but.’ For example: “It’s a young-adult novel, but it’s really good.” Or, alternatively: “It’s a love story, but it’s not just a love story.” 

Not that there’s anything wrong with young adults, love, or young adults in love. (As has previously been established during the Year of Mercy, young adults are awesome.) But the things that work best about The Fault in Our Stars don’t bear much resemblance to the petulant displays of passion that most people think about when they hear the words “teenage romance.” 

The reason that adult-adults (and especially Catholic adults) should read it—and the reason that it’s worth considering in relation to the Works of Mercy—is that protagonists Hazel and Gus come closer to achieving a sacramental relationship than the vast majority of most pop-culture couples. 

Ultimately, it isn’t very difficult to fall in love with somebody. Especially if the only thing that you’re really looking for is a person to play a role in a story that you’ve already written, because asking someone else to validate your preconceptions is a dreadfully easy thing to do. Truly understanding another person, however—assuming the full weight of their fears and doubts, and offering counsel to them as you attempt to navigate your own—is much harder. 

The beauty of Gus and Hazel’s relationship is that, in the brief time that’s been allotted to them, they manage to do this for one another. Both of them respond to their terminal cancer diagnoses very differently. In an attempt to make the most out of his life, Gus tries to live as loudly and forcefully as possible; and, in an attempt to spare her loved ones pain, Hazel makes it a point to live in the smallest of steps. 

A lesser novel might devolve into a treatise on seizing the moment, and hinge upon the Gus saving Hazel from herself. The Fault in Ours Stars resists this impulse, however. Instead, it examines the ways in which the couple’s differing philosophies spring from their doubts. 

Both Gus and Hazel are afraid of the fate that’s in store for them. Ultimately, it would be very easy for them to spend their entire lives obsessing over the pain and sadness that’s sure to come (as it would be for virtually every human being, sick or healthy). But, thanks to their relationship, they’re able to turn away from themselves and towards one another. 

By sympathizing with the doubts of another human being, and doing whatever they can to counsel one another, Gus and Hazel are able to transcend the anxiety that is too often allowed to define the human condition, and realize their full dignity as children of God. Regardless of your age, I would hazard that’s a useful lesson for anybody.

Teresa de Mallorca is the pseudonym of a neophyte who just completed the RCIA program at Holy Name

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Grace of Doubt - Counseling the Doubtful

The Doubtful
We all face moments of doubts in our lives. Maybe the career doesn’t seem as fulfilling as you envisioned it would be. Maybe losing a job and being forced to move across the country has shaken your faith. We often encounter these moments when life doesn’t provide the answers and peace you thought it would. 

How do we respond? Having doubts can make us seem tentative or uncertain. Our culture isn’t always patient with such people. Displays of certainty and conviction are more prized over moments of doubts or contemplation. The sound bites over the long explanations. The tentative may come across as wishy washy. Because having doubts can be uncomfortable, it may push us to make quick decisions. With the Internet, making those decisions seem easier with the world’s answers and opinions at our fingertips. 

With all this information, however, it’s hard to discern what advice is good and what is useful. It’s at these times that we are often best served by speaking with others and be willing to learn from them. Having the humility to reach out for help and guidance is a path to spiritual growth for as Proverbs 19:20 says, “listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may eventually become wise.” 

To doubt can be a virtue if we are open to the people the Holy Spirit sends our way, are willing to examine our assumptions, and listen and discern the wisdom from others.

The Counselor
Without a doubt (pun intended), graces are bestowed onto those who seek guidance and are open to who and what God sends in our paths. However, this spiritual work of mercy has two actors: those who doubt and those who counsel. It’s not just the doubtful who grows spiritually; God also smiles on those who are willing to counsel and advise. 

In my experience as an RCIA sponsor, I have heard others worry that they don’t think they are qualified to be a sponsor because they don’t have all the answers or don’t know the “right” way to express answers to help others become Catholic. 

However, I’ve found that people don’t necessarily want human answer banks. That’s what the Internet is for. 

They need a friend to help weigh perspectives and opinions so that they can craft their own answers that speaks to their particular situations and in their own words. I walk with each on his or her journey to finding answers. I am a sounding board as we both weigh pros and cons/the good and bad together. I ask questions to bring up other points of view. I offer insights from those who gone through similar experiences. 

Oftentimes, counseling the doubtful isn’t about having all the answers, but is to be willing to be present as the doubtful wrestle with questions and issues. It’s about having the prudence to know when to hold back and when to give advice. It’s about knowing how to advise in ways that the doubter will listen versus tune out. It’s also about being humble if your advice isn’t taken or even found to be wrong. 

Above all, it’s about having trust that the Holy Spirit will guide what you say or don’t say, what you do or don’t do. It’s having trust that the other person will receive your counsel in ways that best works for him or her, even if you can’t see it.

What has been your experience? How have you responded to those moments of doubts? What ways do you think best guides others, such as friends, children, co-workers?

P. Gonzales
RCIA Sponsor

One Word at a Time - Extend

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pew to Pilgrim – Instruct the Ignorant

The words can be misleading as some may miss the intent to help people understand and learn – to deepen their faith and how to share their beliefs with others.

Think of times when you helped someone else understand a subject you understood better. Any time you help the “unlearned” or the “unaware”, you are performing this Act of Mercy. You are a teacher.

Jesus encouraged his disciples, and therefore he encourages us as Disciples of Christ, to bring our faith out of the church and into the world. This requires a deep understanding of our Catholic faith and knowledge of how to share with others. It is important to seek sources that can correctly help us understand who Jesus is and what he taught. 

We often think that learning about our faith as what we did during Catechism classes as children. It is really a lifelong journey to learn, to share, to reflect and to go deeper. It also means bringing our faith out of the confines of church and into our community and to bring others from our community into the church.

This means we need to be able to answer practical questions regarding our faith. How do you react when something unfortunate happens in your life and you wonder how God could let that happen? Having a good understanding that God put on on Earth to fulfill a purpose with a particular journey – filled with both happiness and hardship – will equip you to help others.

In this week’s Pew to Pilgrim approaches, we offer a variety of ways for you to learn more about our faith, to become a teacher and guide, ways to practice sharing through questions, and more advanced commitments to leading others in the process of formation and conversion.

Our society is barraged by a culture of sharing and many forums for discussions, many filled with misinterpretations or falsehoods. Use this week’s focus on Instruct the Ignorant to reflect and act on ways you can make a difference in the “conversation.”

  • Incorporate daily prayer and reflection time for yourself – Use the Magnificat as a guide
  • Watch Fr. Barron videos on YouTube Word on Fire
  • Read Matthew Kelly’s Rediscovering Jesus
  • Invite someone to come to Mass with you; have coffee afterwards to discuss the homily
  • Become a volunteer for Young Adults Theology on Tap (July Sunday evenings)
  • Join our Bible Study group – every Wednesday evening 6:30p at the Rectory
  • Find a “buddy” and practice the debate about aspects of our faith; start with one topic
  • Become a RCIA Sponsor – classes start in September Email Jennifer
  • Have a tough conversation about your faith & beliefs with someone you might normally avoid; prayerfully reflect on what happened
  • Complete the Faith Formation Commission’s survey to share your needs Take Survey Now
  • Learn more about your faith – Read the free online version of the US Catholic Catechism for Adults
  • Attend our Fall Boost Your Beliefs series; ask questions & share insights
  • Reflect on theological questions of the day – seek sources to help you answer these questions: EWTN, American Life League, Catholic Exchange, Relevant Radio, The Vatican, USCCB
  • Become a tutor for FXW Middle School students prepping for HS Email Young Adults
  • Volunteer to help with our Baptism classes or children’s Religious Education Email Jennifer
  • Go on a service trip or short-term mission trip. No time? Donate to support someone else on their service trip

Lori Doyle and Gabi Schultz are members of the Parish Pastoral Council, active with a variety of Liturgical Ministries as Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers, Cathedral Altar Servers and Ministers of Care at Prentice Hospital/NW Hospital. Both parishioners for about 6 years, Lori loves to travel and cook and is a proud mother of her son John, a UM Wolverine. Gabi enjoys trying new restaurants, running, cooking lessons and spending time with friends and family.

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Teach Them to Long

Ultimately, our goal is to be fully in communion with God in Heaven and to help others in their journeys.

It is so easy to get caught in the logistics of any journey - checking the boxes of what to do and when - that we forget the bigger picture. We forget the why and for whom we are taking this journey. We forget the joy and spirit of the journey.

We need to remember that for all our efforts to grow in understanding of our faith, we need to have at our most inner desires, a longing for God. 

As we challenge ourselves to share our faith, our knowledge, our passion for Christ and the Catholic Church, we must remember to hold on to our own longing for God's immense love, compassion, and call to discipleship. In turn, we must make sure all our good intentions to instruct and teach are means to help develop a deep, profound longing to be in communion with our God.

Jennifer Delvaux

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

With Love

When we are right, when we believe we know what would be good for a person, we can quickly become self-righteous, patronizing, and lose sight of our own need for guidance and compassion. Pope Francis consistently has reminded us in the short time he has been Pope of the great need to be humble and loving. This is so very true when we are in the role of guiding others.

  • What are the characteristics, behaviors, and thoughts that you may need guidance to improve? 
  • Where in your faith life do you need some instruction, support, or guidance?
  • How can you continue to grow in your faith journey? Who can you turn to? 
  • Who might be in your circle of friends, family, acquaintances that you can gently guide on their journey?
  • How can you more fully live a humble, loving life of service? What might you do in the next couple of days to take the next step on that journey?
Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.
Jennifer Delvaux

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wisdom from Lady Catherine and Timothy

One of my favorite fictional characters is Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice. With apologies to those who are not Jane Austen fans, bear with me. Lady Catherine is such a great, larger than life character. In all the films made of this literary classic, I always look forward to seeing how she is portrayed. Her essence is summed up as officious, conceited with a sense of false humility, condescending, meddling, rude, and prideful. She is just the sort of character you want populating a novel and just the sort of character you do not want on your condo board, across the meeting table, or in charge of your book group.

The moments when Lady Catherine shines is when she is trying to orchestrate life around her – telling others where to stay on their journey, the correct way to arrange their closets, the right message to share when preaching, the correct age to marry, and most definitely the individual they should never dream of marrying. She attempts, to varying degrees of success, to dedicate her life to instructing others. 

Whether or not you are familiar with Lady Catherine, I suspect by this point you have in your mind at least one person who reminds you of her. Perhaps you’ve started to think of all the ways this person pushes your buttons, irritates you, complicates decision making, confuses some, and frustrates others. We all have known at least one “Lady Catherine” in our lives. 

Yet, if this type of person is so common in our lives and common to so many people, the question I find myself asking is, “Could I possibly be Lady Catherine?” It is initially slightly amusing…then awfully uncomfortable. How quick am I to offer advice without considering the tone, effect, or concerns of my listener? How often do I try to direct the course of a meeting, conversation, or workgroup the way I see to be the ‘right way,’ without considering input from others and their knowledge? How often do I let my attempts to instruct be cold recitation of facts or impersonal lectures instead of, as Julie Yacopino said on Sunday, the journey of a heart filled with love?

In the First Letter to Timothy, Paul writes, “The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Tm 1:5).” When we offer instruction, advice, or guidance of any sort, it is absolutely necessary to ground ourselves in love. We need to ground ourselves in love of God, God’s love, and the love for the person we are guiding. 

Further, the instruction we provide needs to focus on developing a pure heart, good conscience, and strong faith in the other individual. We are not converting others to our own thoughts and beliefs. We are trying to work with the Holy Spirit to bring people more fully in relationship with and understanding of God.

How can you be more considerate of others when offering guidance, instruction, or advice?
Where might you need to accept with grace and humility the instruction or guidance of another?
When has God spoken to you through the wisdom of another?
Where might God be calling to you to grow your own understanding of faith and religion?

Jennifer Delvaux

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Profiles in Mercy - A Fresh Approach

“Instruct the Ignorant” is one of those Acts of Mercy that puzzles many of us. Who is ignorant? What does that mean? It is likely some may even revert to a negative connotation of ignorance, assuming it implies ill mannered or stupid.

The word “ignorant” comes the Old French word meaning “lacking wisdom or knowledge; unaware.” Embracing this Act of Mercy as more of a teaching moment and an engagement opportunity to deepen understanding and activate our faith.

Adult Faith Formation is a critical part of any parish. The USCCB describes three major goals:
  1. Invite and enable conversion
  2. Promote and support active membership 
  3. Call and prepare adults to act as Disciples of Christ
Almost exactly one year ago, Holy Name Cathedral took two major steps to embrace this approach for our Parish. First, to create a new Faith Formation (FF) Department and second, to unify two lay leadership groups, the former Adult Education and Evangelization & Spiritual Life Commissions, to become the Faith Formation Commission (FFC). 

The Faith Formation Department, led by Fr. Don Cambe, Associate Pastor, and newly hired Director of Faith Formation, Jennifer Delvaux, revamped the Rites for Christian Initiation (RCIA) program, introduced new Evenings of Reflection, and created new Baptism classes.

Collaborating with the FF Department, the FFC’s mission is to help parishioners gain a better understanding of the fundamentals of our faith, the Mass and the Sacraments and live our faith beyond the pew as a Disciple of Christ.

Kathy Montague, Faith Formation Co-chair, “Creating the Faith Formation Department and combining the EDC and ESL revealed we were just barely scratching the surface. Using the lens of Faith Formation, we now ask the question ‘How can we bring people closer to Jesus?’

Shifting to a more interactive approach, Holy Name’s FF programs encourage parishioners to ask questions, share perspectives and reflect on how we take our faith into our daily lives. 
  • Wednesday Weekly Bible Study – historical context and open discussion 
  • Boost Your Beliefs – how to meet the challenges of living faith-filled lives 
  • Lenten Faith Sharing Groups – small groups discussing the Year of Mercy 
  • Educational programs on papal teaching and newly-issued encyclicals 
  • Saturday morning Lectio Divina - an ancient prayer method reflecting on the Sunday Gospel for women
  • Women’s Weekend Retreat (March & October) – spiritual reflection and conversation 
  • Fall Art Exhibit – reflecting on our faith through a new medium
Nick O’Hearn, Faith Formation Commission Co-chair “The FF Department & the FFC are actively seeking input on new ways to provide opportunities to gather and learn to grow as Christians as well as support our ability to talk about our faith.”

Based on a new survey of parishioners’ interests, preferences and knowledge gaps, our FF team is prayerfully designing even more new ways to help us to learn more about our faith and be able to talk to others about our beliefs. In essence, enabling all of us to be able to Instruct the Ignorant.

Lori Doyle - Joined Holy Name Cathedral 6 1/2 years ago when I moved to Chicago. Currently the Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council, I also served as Chair of the Human Concerns Commission. Actively involved in our parish, I also serve as an Extraordinary Minister and a Minister of Care at Prentice Hospital/Northwestern Hospital. Was honored in 2015 with the annual Archdiocese of Chicago Christifidelis award

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lesson by Charles Xavier - Instruct the Ignorant

Teachers are easy to resent. Even aside from the fact that spending time with them is compulsory, they occupy a nebulous spot in the pecking order of authority. Parents, for all their failings, are irreplaceable; and the only thing that it takes to cut ties with a disappointing boss is finding a new job. It’s teachers that are burdened with the worst of both worlds. It’s very easy to imagine our lives without them, but we’re still forced to follow them and seek their approval. 

Because of this, I didn’t like a single teacher until I was twelve. Compulsion was wedged too tightly between us. For my part, I couldn’t see them as people; and for their parts, the only part of my personhood that concerned them was whether or not I did the work. It wasn’t until I reached the seventh grade that I met a teacher who was interested in the things that I had the potential to achieve. 

This was the reason it took me so long to appreciate the X-Men. There was always a part of me that found Professor Charles Xavier—the benevolent telepath who wants nothing more than to see his students grow, thrive, and build a peaceful world—and his commitment to teaching less believable than Wolverine’s adamantine claws. I read the comics and watched the cartoons, but clung sourly to my belief that the only thing teachers cared about was crowd-control. As far as I was concerned, every one of Xavier’s students would have been better off without him. After all, they had superpowers—they didn’t need to worry about their futures. 

In a lot of ways, I was like the super-speedy Quicksilver as portrayed in X-Men: Apocalypse. Strictly speaking, there was nothing wrong with either one of us: we were quick, and clever, and lived very comfortable lives in the basements of our family homes. But we had no one to challenge us. 

For Quicksilver, it took Charles Xavier to make him realize how much he’d allowed his gifts to fester, and how much he had left to learn. And, ultimately, this turns out to be a very good thing for him—it’s only after this happens that he’s able to achieve something and perform good works for others. 

This is the reason why instructing the ignorant, no matter how smug it might sound, is actually a work of mercy. You might think that you’re fine the way you are, and you might even be right; but if you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t realize the full potential of the gifts that have been bestowed upon you.

Teresa de Mallorca is the pseudonym of a neophyte who just completed the RCIA program at Holy Name

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Journey of a Joyful Heart - Instruct the Ignorant

The words sound harsh, but far from harsh is the journey of a heart filled with the awe and wonder of our Faith. 

As a spiritual act of mercy, “instructing the ignorant” is described as providing relevant information to the one that does not possess the necessary knowledge. This writing speaks to the experience of sponsoring candidates on their journey of Christian initiation into full membership of the Catholic Church. This is accomplished through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults known as RCIA. 

While our hearts yearn to support the new RCIA candidates as sponsors, we, as Christians are responding to an expectation. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and the duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth.“ CCC 900

What does it mean to sponsor a candidate and act as a witness to their walk of faith?

Serving as a sponsor is all encompassing… a spiritual, intellectual, and personal journey. As in all matters of faith, the Spirit guides us by opening our minds and hearts to hear the Word to learn the Truth. The beauty of this realization shows itself in a wide range of possibilities from an awakening in a quiet prayer or conversation to a larger discussion held in the shared community. The RCIA process allows formation to occur on many levels with multiple venues: a one on one conversation; a small faith sharing group; a lecture; and /or sharing thoughts and ideas with the entire group. Our most touching moments happen at Mass as various rites of election and acceptance are celebrated and witnessed by the congregation. A wonderfully, natural bond develops as experiences are shared. 

The Spirit’s gifts of grace are shared by the candidate and the sponsor relishing the wisdom bestowed. Hearts are on fire and souls sing out as the Truth begins to reveal itself. Faith and reason build our moral fiber as our journey takes life…it is palpable, transformative, rich and complex. Special care must be taken at all times to check yourself as the sponsor and to encourage and support the candidate. It is crucial to remember it is the candidate’s walk of faith. By embracing their needs and meeting them where they are enhances the relationship and promotes deeper understanding as issues of religion, scripture, and tradition are discussed. It is vital to also remember the event, person or people that influenced the candidate’s decision to become Catholic. Whether they are actively involved in the classroom or not does not minimize their significance and attachment. They are always close at heart. 

The experience of sponsoring a candidate in the RCIA is completely new each year as each person walks their own individual journey. “The witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.” CCC 2472

Julie Yacopino, Faith Formation Commission 
RCIA, Baptismal Preparation Leader
EMHC and Lector, 

One Word at a Time - Notice

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pew to Pilgrim - Feed the Hungry

In Matthew Chapter 25: 31-46, the Gospel informs us of what we need to do to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, in essence our “marching orders.”

Probably one of the most practiced works of mercy, Feed the Hungry, addresses our most basic need for food to survive and thrive. While the world produces enough food to feed everyone, there are still millions and millions of people who do not have the money to buy the food or access to the land to grow the food for themselves.

In this Year of Mercy, we need to reflect and act on this massive problem for so many in our community, our nation and the world. 

The shocking reality of the problem is seen here in Cook County with 812,000 individuals who are food insecure, not knowing when or where their next meal will be available. This problem is even more critical when we look at the most vulnerable – our children and the elderly. 

Here are a few key takeaways from Hunger in America 2014
  • Every year, 1 in 6 of our neighbors receives food from a Greater Chicago Food Depository’s member agency grocery or meal programs 
  • The Greater Chicago Food Depository serves more than 232,100 households annually 
  • 68% of supported programs reported an increase in volume of clients over the last 12 months 
  • 69% of client households have incomes that fall at/below the federal poverty level; 54% with annual incomes of < $10,000 
  • Here’s a look at the difficult choices clients are making – between paying for food and some other basic need 
  • 62% of clients – food or medical bills 
  • 73% of clients – food or utility bills 
  • 59% of clients – food or rent/mortgage 
  • 67% of clients – food or transportation 
  • 38% of clients – food or education 
Thinking more broadly, what does it mean to “feed” someone? There are so many people in need around us everyday in need of a source for this next meal. Beyond that, many are hungry to fill a spiritual emptiness, something to help them as they face whatever void exists for them. How can you help them?

Reflect on your own access to food and see where you could make donations in lieu of how you spend on meals. There are many programs supported by Holy Name Cathedral and Catholic Charities of Chicago – be generous with your time and your wallet to help your fellow Chicagoans facing a daily struggle with hunger.

  • Feel the hunger yourself – fast as a way to gain access and prayerfully discern how you can help
  • Learn more about Food Insecurity
  • Note how much food you throw away – see how you could buy less & eliminate the waste – donate your savings
  • For an upcoming birthday or holiday gift, donate to the Thursday/Friday Night Suppers in that person’s name @ HNC Rectory
  • Join the Holy Name Cathedral Team @ GCFD Annual Walk for Hunger on June 25 Email Lori
  • “Food Rescues” - Volunteers to help collect food donations from vendors after the close of food industry trade shows (March-November) @ McCormick Place
  • Provide meals or buy groceries for a fellow parishioner when ill or recovering Email Ann
  • Buy booklets of Chicago Shares to give to homeless approaching you on the street for help
  • Skip a dinner out and donate the money to Catholic Charities food program
  • Next time you make a meal that could be frozen, make a double batch and donate the additional to a soup kitchen
  • Volunteer for the Greater Chicago Food Depository Team on August 6 or October 1 Email Anthony
  • Volunteer or bake for HNC’s Thursday/Friday Night Suppers @ Catholic Charities – Call Fr. Boivin 312-787-8040
  • Imagine your Friday lunch is your last known meal source until Monday lunch – Help with Blessings in a Backpack for St. Malachy kids
  • Become a certified volunteer with Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly – deliver food to isolated and shut-in elders
  • Become a trained volunteer with Emmaus Ministries and volunteer to cook and eat a meal with their clients
Lori Doyle and Gabi Schultz are members of the Parish Pastoral Council, active with a variety of Liturgical Ministries as Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers, Cathedral Altar Servers and Ministers of Care at Prentice Hospital/NW Hospital. Both parishioners for about 6 years, Lori loves to travel and cook and is a proud mother of her son John, a UM Wolverine. Gabi enjoys trying new restaurants, running, cooking lessons and spending time with friends and family.

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Season of Mercy - Yours

How can you be Christ's hands? Where might you be able to do good work, kind work in God's name this weekend? 

What are one or two ways you can be a bit more compassionate in the next couple of days?

Who has been the hands of Christ in your life lately? Who has shown you compassion and kindness? How can you offer them a thanks?

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

TBT - Dorothy Day and Food for the Hungry

"Food for the body is not enough……there must be food for the soul." 

"Our faith is stronger than death, our philosophy is firmer than flesh, and the spread of the Kingdom of God upon the earth is more sublime and more compelling. Our salvation depends upon the poor."
Dorothy Day

Food for the body is much easier to find and easier to understand. Bread, vegetables, protein, fruit, we understand theses pieces of our daily dietary requirements. Food or the soul is much more challenging to wrap our heads around. 

What feeds your soul? Time reading and reflecting on Scripture? Mass? Adoration? Prayer with family or friends?

When you next help provide someone with food for the body, how can you also feed their soul?

Take time today to feed your soul. Seek out a way to help feed another's soul.

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What We Do and Who We Are

Take some time to read through the passage, James 2:14-18, then return to this reflection. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Why spend fourteen weeks focusing on the works of mercy? Because what we do with our faith is crucial to who we are as people of faith. 

The Gospel of Matthew ends with the commissioning, the sending forth of the Apostles to the ends of the earth. They are given two tasks. First, they are to baptize – spread the Good News of salvation from sin, the hope of eternal life, and the immense sacrificial love of God for all his children. Second, they are to teaching all that they encounter to observe all that Christ taught the disciples. 

I know from a few college classes and many books read over the years, that experiential learning is crucial for us to cement our understanding of concepts. You weren’t just taught English, you wrote essays and stories. You didn’t just read about chemical reactions, you experimented in lab. 

It is tempting to reduce that great commissioning of the Apostles, and by extension all of us, to mere words. It is tempting to see the call to spread the Gospel as merely a verbal exercise. Yet, Christ did not rely solely upon words when he taught the disciples and Apostles. He healed the sick. He multiplied bread and fish to feed the hungry. He comforted widows and saved servants. He upturned tables. His teachings were exemplified and amplified by his actions. The acts of salvation demonstrated the depth of truth behind the words of salvation Christ offered. Christ’s words and actions are impossible to untangle, for to accept one without the other loses the meaning and import of each. 

To truly fulfill that final commission, to truly be disciples in the world, we need to not only speak the truth, but live the truth. We need to demonstrate the love of God for all h is children and the love we have for God to others. We need our actions to demonstrate the depth and truth of our faith and God’s love.

As the Letter from James reminds us, we cannot merely wish others well, we must provide what they need to be well. St. Teresa of Avila reminds us that our hands, our feet, what we choose to do in the world that will be Christ’s presence in the world.

What will you do today to be Christ in the world?

Jennifer Delvaux
Director of Faith Formation

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I Am Hungry – Can You Help Me?

You may have noticed a line forming every weekday evening around 3:00 pm along the front gates of Catholic Charities at 721 N. LaSalle Street in River North.

These are our neighbors, fellow Chicagoans in need of a helping hand to feed themselves or their families. It may be a one-time need or longer-term aid due to job loss, homelessness or some type of shortfall in household income. 

Started in March 2006, the Thursday/Friday Night Suppers are Holy Name’s longest running program to feed the hungry. Along with Fourth Presbyterian, Catholic Charities and the Chicago Help Initiative, these groups provide 130 hot meals plus 60-80 “to go” meals Monday-Friday. 

Teams of volunteers arrive at 3:30p, starting with “to go” bags of sandwiches, fruit, juice, chips and dessert and then setting up the hot-food buffet. Thursday night meals are donated by one of our restaurant partners. Friday night meals are covered by generous cash donations, sometimes from the guests themselves. 

Margaret Owens, a Holy Name Cathedral parishioner, started volunteering in August 2008. As she often encourages other volunteers, she started by doing what she loves to do – in her case, baking. Each meal provides a home-baked dessert, often one of the highlights of the dinners. 

Margaret laughs about the state of her apartment on baking day. Not daunted by the size of her apartment kitchen, she bakes eleven+ dozen of cookies, cupcakes or her famous kolachy, filling up counters, tables and various shelves in her home. The joy of baking becomes an even greater joy as she sees and hears how much the guests enjoy the homemade desserts.

A former HNC Human Concerns Commission Chair, Margaret also became a Supper Coordinator for the First Friday Supper for the ACT II group. Our Young Adults group lead the Second Fridays. All other Thursday/Friday nights have an HNC volunteer Supper Coordinator.

Margaret spoke of the uniqueness of this program to help the hungry. “Not only do we address their hunger, we provide a sense of fellowship and respect. They have a good time and get fed at the same time.” The guests are deeply appreciative of the direct interaction with all of the volunteers who prep the meals, serve food via the buffet or provide table-side beverage service. 

How can you get involved? If you want to bake or volunteer, just call Fr. John Boivin (312-787-8040). If you cannot make the 3:30p time, you can help out with cash donations to our Supper Fund. In October & November, donate Walgreens gift cards and winter gloves. Or if you knit, help us knit winter hats now to give to our guests on St. Nicholas Day.

Read about how our parish is feeding the hungry:

Lori Doyle

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Les Miserables - Feed the Hungry

I’ve met more than a few devotees of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in my lifetime. Seeing as how I’m only in my twenties, this statement might not amount to much; and there are certainly less people in the world who’ve made it through all 1400 pages of the book than there are fans of the musical adaptation, the most pious of whom call themselves “Mizzies.” 

Nonetheless, there exists a breed of reader who thinks that all truths about humanity can be found within this French novel from 1862. And, typically, these people aren’t too fond of the musical. If you ask them why, they’ll tell you that lines like “To love another person is to see the face of God” (the lines sung just before the show launches into the closing number) are too sappy and simplistic to do the book justice. 

Harsh as this sentiment might seem (what’s so objectionable about love?), there is a certain logic to this position. Just like its more famous descendent, the novel is consummately interested in mercy and redemption. After all, it would be pretty hard to open a novel with a priest performing an act of mercy for a convict and thereby saving from a lifetime of despair and bitterness without touching upon those themes. 

But attaining grace is much harder in the book than it ever was in the musical. Though many of the situations are the same (convict Jean Valjean must contrive a way to save Cosette, the daughter of a victimized sex worker, against the backdrop of the social upheaval seething through 19th Century France), it’s much harder to figure out what the right thing to do is. 

One of the most famous examples is when Valjean must decide between revealing himself to the authorities (and thereby sparing a homeless man from going to prison in his stead), or remaining in the small village where he’s settled (which would allow him to keep running the factory that’s the cornerstone of its economy). Though this situation is presented as relatively clear-cut in the musical (because Valjean’s soul “belongs to God,” he is forbidden from telling a lie, and must save the homeless man), it’s more complicated in the book. Hugo notes that, because Valjean turned himself in, the factory closed and many of the villagers went hungry. How can the reader say that Valjean acted mercifully, then? Isn’t leaving hungry people in your wake the opposite of mercy? 

The reason that I (and many other readers, for that matter—though not all) would say that Valjean did the right thing is because all of us are responsible for ensuring that God’s will is “done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” A village full of hungry people is not a reflection of God’s will, it’s true. But neither is a blameless man being condemned to spend the rest of his days in prison.

Tempting as it might be to sacrifice the few for the many, stomachs that are filled because someone else is permitted to go hungry is not an example of mercy. Christ’s teachings ask us to believe that a better world—a world in which all things are reconciled, and all people dwell in peace—is possible. Scapegoating a man because of his homelessness and poverty is antithetical to this position, and does nothing to spread Christ’s message. If anything, it only enables the system that permits such things to be possible. This is the reason that, ultimately, Valjean turns himself in. 

And this, in turn, is the reason that I actually prefer the book to the musical. Reconciling ourselves to God can be a complicated process, and oftentimes have unforeseen consequences—but that doesn’t mean it’s without value.

Teresa de Mallorca is the pseudonym of a neophyte who just completed the RCIA program at Holy Name

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Season of Mercy - Feed the Hungry

The heart of the commandment to feed the hungry is not food. It is something greater.

Certainly, being among our most fundamental necessities, not only to live well, but to live at all, food is deeply important to the corporal work of mercy of feeding the hungry. And to a person in need, that want of basic nourishment can feel more pressing than any other.

But we hunger for more than food. And in offering food to others, we share more than physical sustenance.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to help serve meals to the hungry with my family through Catholic Charities over a number of years, placing a piece or two of bread on a guest's plate with my younger brother thousands of times along the way. I have been blessed with countless other opportunities too, to share smiles, and see smiles shared, throughout those afternoons and evenings.

In that time, I have had the great pleasure to meet many guests and fellow volunteers and staff members, including some who have become dear friends. Even among those whom I have known only fleetingly, I have experienced first hand the truth in the saying that there are no strangers--only friends whom we have not yet met.

We have prayed together, and spoken of Jesus and the gospel together.

We have shaken hands, and hugged. We have joked, and laughed. We have joined in a sea of Santa hats, and filled our hall with the ringing sound of Christmas carols, guests and hosts alike singing all together. We have comforted each other in sadness and loss, and exulted in each other's joy. We have shared countless smiles together in a thousand ways, and openly sought God's blessing for each other many thousands of times.

We are brought together by a need for food, and a desire to serve that need. But more than that, when we are together, our room is filled with love.

The heart of the corporal act of mercy of feeding the hungry is the same as the heart of every of act of mercy, because all mercy that we share comes first from God, and is a reflection of His being, and His relationship with us, and the relationships we are meant to have with each other through Him. The heart of the commandment to feed the hungry is love.

It is possible to share food without sharing love, to feed the body without feeding the soul. I have seen that too. But nothing done in Christ is meant to be without love. His love is with us always.

In feeding the hungry, there is always an opportunity to make love a part of the bread that we share. A chance for a gentle or joyous word, or a smile, or some other kindness that helps our souls know that we are never truly apart. Even if we are helping someone on the other side of the world, that friend, whom we may never meet in this lifetime, is still within reach of our love, because that person is within reach of our prayers.

Our prayers do more than empower our love. They also demand our action. In the Our Father, Jesus teaches us to pray to God, to ask of Him, "Give us this day our daily bread." When we pray in this way, we are praying for ourselves, but also for each other, for everyone. We are praying for all of our brothers and sisters to be fed.

What we ask for in prayer, we must also work for, in whatever way we can. One of God's greatest gifts to us is that He shares so much of His love for us through the love that we share with each other.

The greatest act of feeding the hungry in our lives is also the one that is most filled with love, and that most brings us together. In the Eucharist, Christ, who is love in human form, transforms bread into a part of Himself, as a part of His perfect sacrifice for us, so that in eating of His body we may enter into communion with Him, with God the Father, and with each other.

We are all commanded to feed the hungry because we are all commanded to love. This act of love is not merely commanded; it is also a great gift from God, an opportunity for joy. We can feed each other in our daily lives, because God, with His love, with Jesus, first fed us.

John Manley
Serves on the Young Adult Board, with a focus on coordinating service and spiritual opportunities

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

One Word at a Time - Thank

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pew to Pilgrim - Comfort the Afflicted

Comforting the Afflicted is somewhat harder to understand than some of the corporal works of mercy. Thinking about the afflicted generates a common question “who are the afflicted?”

The answer is simple - they are all around us. Think about anyone who is suffering, troubled, hurt or struggling. It could be someone who has some type of mental or physical illness, it could be a person grieving, it could be the family or friends of the afflicted uncertain of what to do. 

The challenge is for us to take a big step in our faith to “be available.” This act of mercy calls for us to be aware of the people around us and reach out to those in need. Just as Jesus came to the aid of others even in his greatest difficulties during the Passion, we need to be available to others regardless of our challenges. 

Where to start? Gaining an understanding and being aware of the people in our community, our parish, our friends and our family is a starting point. Actively learning about charitable organizations, their mission and the people they serve is another way to begin. Seeking ways to help these groups as a volunteer or through specific types of donations is also a way to perform this act of mercy.

Closer to home, think about the people around you. Is there someone under unusual stress or someone facing an upcoming loss of a job or spouse, an illness, dealing a failure or fear of what the future holds? Who do they have to support them, reassure them and to pray with them?

Be on the lookout…move beyond your own worries...share a kind word or a reminder you are there for them along with God.

  • Prayerfully reflect on how to be an active listener
  • Nearly 20% of our returning vets face PTSD and TBI - Learn about the loneliness facing them
  • Reach out to a family, friend or fellow parishioner with an offer to help in some practical way (meals, groceries, babysitting, errands) 
  • Donate men’s clothing or toiletries for men struggling with street prostitution in Chicago
  • Attend a caregiver workshop “The Spirituality of Presence: A Franciscan Approach” Enroll by calling 847-356-4523
  • Provide food and fellowship as a volunteer at Catholic Charities Thursday/Friday night dinners
  • Provide health care, legal or education services to the homeless or those living in poverty or
  • Have a Mass offered for someone who has passed or is suffering
  • Refer someone who is grieving to Holy Name’s Bereavement Group 
  • Send a text, an email, a card to someone struggling to let them know you are there and in your prayers
  • Donate to the national Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) for expansion to a new city:
  • Children facing cancer affect the whole family – give them a Bear Hug
  • Join the Ministry of Praise to pray for those who are suffering or request a prayer – Call the Prayer Hotline 312-573-4493
  • Bring fellowship to lonely elders in Chicago – volunteer for Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly
  • Get trained to reach out to male street prostitutes in Chicago with Emmaus Ministries
Lori Doyle and Gabi Schultz are members of the Parish Pastoral Council, active with a variety of Liturgical Ministries as Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers, Cathedral Altar Servers and Ministers of Care at Prentice Hospital/NW Hospital. Both parishioners for about 6 years, Lori loves to travel and cook and is a proud mother of her son John, a UM Wolverine. Gabi enjoys trying new restaurants, running, cooking lessons and spending time with friends and family.

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

TBT - Foundation of Mercy

Contemplation is a response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being; for we ourselves are words of His. But we are words that are meant to respond to Him, to answer to Him, to echo Him
Thomas Merton

In order to live the call to mercy in our daily lives, we need to be rooted in Christ. Through Christ we find our model, strength, compassion, and humbleness necessary to serve others. Contemplation allows us to know God, not just know of Him. It is only through daily conversation and contemplation with God that we grow to be disciples and through our discipleship, missionaries of mercy.
Jennifer Delvaux

Share your thoughts below or on social media, tagging Holy Name Cathedral and using #SeasonOfMercy.