This site will contain information about current Parish news and events.
RESPONSE TO CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
On Sept. 9, St. Gregory hosted an open forum inviting people to come and share their feelings about and reaction to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report about clergy sexual misconduct with minors. After the meeting a group of 8 people volunteered to come together to look at ways in which they as members of the laity could address the issue of sexual misconduct by priests and bishops and the issue of accountability for bishops who protected priests. In the near future, this committee will make information available in the bulletin and on the website about resources that are available to help people who have been victims of sexual misconduct by clergy and religious, information about how to report instances of sexual misconduct to civil authorities and to Church authorities and suggestions about what the laity can do to promote healing for victims and can do to let bishops and other Church authorities know what they need to do to better protect children and to hold those who protected priest abusers accountable for their actions.
What follows is a link to a letter that will be sent to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops before their November meeting. The letter was composed by Fr. Larry Dowling, a priest of Chicago and his parishioners at St. Agatha Parish. What also follows is a cover letter from Fr. Dowling. Please consider signing the letter, and forward it on to any other people you know who would be interested. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this critical issue in our Church. – Fr. Paul
As a Catholic this has been a heart breaking time. Attached I am including an open letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops created by a wonderful team at Saint Agatha Parish. I ask you to please encourage others to sign on by forwarding this post.
In light of recent revelations of past sexual abuse by priests and bishops and cover-ups by some bishops in Pennsylvania and the revelations about Cardinal McCarrick, you are invited to sign on to an open letter to the USCCB to be given them in early November before their annual meeting.
It is important that the bishops understand the magnitude of the pain and hurt this has caused to victims of priests and bishops and their families, to other victims of sexual abuse by a trusted adult who continue to be subject to memories of the abuse, and to the Catholic laity and the priests and deacons who everyday minister to and with the People of God.
Please consider signing on to this letter and disseminate it to others, both clergy and laity, who may want to sign on. Over 1200 have signed on thus far. I will be leaving it open until the first part of November when it will be delivered to the USCCB President and individual Bishops and copied to Pope Francis.
Fr. Larry Dowling, St. Agatha Parish
FR. BRIAN RESPONSE TO CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS
Fr. Paul invited any parishioners who would like to attend, to a discussion of the clergy abuse scandal afflicting the Church. A group of about twenty-five parishioners gathered after the 10:30 Mass to share their thoughts and feelings, their questions and prescriptions.
There were expressions of anger at the traumatic damage and emotional heartbreak that the abuse itself has caused to the victims and their families. There was anger, too, at the efforts of the hierarchy of the Church to suppress and cover up the crimes and the scandal they have caused. Some expressed anguish and a sense of betrayal. Several voiced a nagging ambivalence about identifying themselves as Catholic, and uncertainty about whether they can remain. There was wide agreement that the extent of the scandal is still unknown, and that it’s apt to get worse before it gets better.
Betrayal. Anger. Heartbreak. Ambivalence. Mistrust.
There was wide agreement that the steps that the American bishops took with their ‘Dallas Charter’ in 2002 were inadequate, and frustration with the darkness and secrecy that surround so many of the hierarchy’s deliberations and decisions. Several members of St. Gregory’s Parish Pastoral Council participated in the meeting, and helped by explaining the structures and processes within the archdiocese for consultation and communication between Cardinal Cupich and the laity. It was agreed that we should use those structures and processes to express our concerns to the Cardinal. Some expressed surprise and regret that meetings like yesterday’s, here at St. Gregory’s, aren’t happening elsewhere. Fr. Paul reported that there would be further deliberation by our own Parish Pastoral Council, at their next meeting, on what further steps we should take. Some suggested that we include prayers during our Masses for the welfare and protection of children, and the improvement of the Church’s response to this crisis. If you missed the meeting but would like to share your own thoughts, please write to Fr. Paul, Sr. Regina or myself. I would humbly ask that we all bring this anger, heartbreak and worry into our own daily prayers.
This scandal has been unfolding here in the United States across more than twenty-five years, although we know that the abuse that triggered it goes back much further. The Church will be reaping the bitter harvest of these failures for generations.
The Church is broken. Its brokenness reminds me of a phrase I learned in seminary, popularized by the renowned Swiss, Protestant scripture scholar, Karl Barth, who borrowed the inspiration for it from St. Augustine: “Ecclesia semper reformanda est.”
“The Church is ever-reforming. The Church is ever being reformed.”
It has to be.
Let us pray that it be Christ, guiding the reform.
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT CHOIR - The choir of St. Gregory the Great was recently featured on Shalom World TV. To view the video, go to https://shalomworldtv.org/ You will find the program under the Sing 4 Him link. You can also access it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-30Wx9eEZ-c&feature=share.
TAIZE PRAYER - During Holy Week, Sr. Regina, myself and a group of parishioners from St. Gregory the Great were featured on Shalom World TV leading two different services of Taize Prayer. If you would like to view these Taize Prayer services, go to http://www.shalomworldtv.org/videos/index/2154. If you have never attended a Taize Prayer service, consider joining us at St. Gregory for a Taize Prayer service which takes place one Sunday a month in Church at 4p.m. You can find the schedule on the Upcoming Events link which can be found under the About Us pull down menu. - Fr. Paul
GREETERS AT ST. GREGORY THE GREAT
All parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago as part of the Renew My Church initiative of Cardinal Cupich have been asked to look at themselves to determine how they can become a more vibrant faith community. Last year about 30 parishioners met every Friday for eight weeks participating in a process called Parish Transformation. We looked at our history and our future to evaluate ourselves and to find more effective ways to follow Christ and to become a more vibrant parish.
One of the themes that our Parish Transformation team chose to focus on was Communio. Communio has to do with how effectively a parish offers welcome and hospitality to those who come to worship and pray.
Out of that, we decided that we wanted to begin a new ministry at St. Gregory the Great – a ministry of greeters. On Easter Sunday we initiated this new ministry at the 10:30a.m. Sunday Mass. We have trained a group of 13 people who will be present in the vestibule of Church and at the North Courtyard entrance to welcome people, especially newcomers and visitors, as they enter Church. There will be three greeters assigned every Sunday. On Sunday, April 7 at the 10:30 Mass we will have a special ceremony in which we will introduce our new greeters and have a special blessing for them as they begin their new ministry. At some time in the future, we hope to expand this new ministry to the 4:30p.m. Mass on Saturday and the 8:30a.m. Mass on Sunday.
Our new greeters are Geralyn Fallon, Chris Garrity, Teresa Gruber, Don Haider, Mary Ann Harrington, Eric Heath and his son Ryan, Marianne Lee, Gerry Malone, Sandra Martinez, Eva Niewiadomski, Kerry Reed and Tom Wood.
We welcome any feedback you might have about this new ministry. – Fr. Paul
RENEW MY CHURCH
The Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago is in the midst of a new initiative of Cardinal Blase Cupich called Renew My Church. It is an effort on the part of Cardinal Cupich to make sure that as the Catholic Church in Chicago moves into the future, every parish has the financial, personnel and facilities resources it will need to thrive and not just survive. Every parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago has been placed in one of 97 groupings. The groupings will be activated in waves over the next three years. Each grouping when activated will be asked to look at what might need to happen in order to make sure that their people will be well served sacramentally and spiritually. St. Gregory is in a grouping with 6 other parishes, one mission and one school. The other parishes in our grouping are St. Gertrude, St. Ignatius, St. Henry, St. Timothy, St. Jerome and St. Margaret Mary. The mission is Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Croatian Catholic Mission which is located at Ridge and Devon. The school is Northside Catholic Academy. Our grouping will be activated this coming Fall. What follows are some websites where you can go to find out more about Renew My Church. As our grouping is activated, I will keep you informed about the decisions that we will make. If you have any questions about Renew My Church, please do not hesitate to call me. – Fr. Paul
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT HELPING HANDS TO REPLACE OUR PARISH SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
For many years now, St. Gregory the Great Church has hosted an organization known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. At the end of December, 2017, we ended our relationship with this organization. Many of the current members of our Society of St. Vincent de Paul are elderly and are no longer able to give this ministry the time and the effort that are needed. We also have been unsuccessful in recruiting new members to take over for our current leadership. We thank the members of our Society of St. Vincent de Paul for all the work they have done over the years to reach out to people in need in our St. Vincent de Paul district. We thank you, the parishioners of St. Gregory the Great, for your ongoing generosity to our Society of St. Vincent de Paul in terms of the collection we take up at the end of each month. You have been most generous. All funds currently left in our parish St. Vincent de Paul checking account will be sent to the Pope Francis Center which is one of the local organizations sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago and which serves individuals and families in need who live in Chicago north of Fullerton Ave.
Since as a parish we do not want to give up on our outreach to people who are experiencing genuine need, we are creating a new parish ministry known as St. Gregory the Great Helping Hands. This new parish ministry will provide emergency assistance to parishioners and to other people living in our immediate neighborhood. To fund this new ministry, we will continue to take up a collection on the last weekend of every month. A portion of the funds we receive each month will be sent to the Pope Francis Center to support their work with the poor and those in need. In this way, we will support the Renew My Church initiative of Cardinal Cupich. Renew My Church seeks to make sure that every Catholic parish has the facilities, staff and financial support they need to thrive. It also invites every parish to care for and support not only its own parishioners but also to reach out beyond their parish boundaries to provide care for people who are experiencing great need regardless of race, creed or color. – Fr. Paul
PARISH TRANSFORMATION UPDATE
Over the past year, St. Gregory the Great has participated in an initiative of the Archdiocese of Chicago called Parish Transformation. Parish Transformation is a program that seeks to help a parish look at how it might be more effective in responding to the needs that the parish is facing not only today but 5 to 10 years in the future as the demographics of the parish change. As the world around us changes and as we change as people, it is healthy to step back and evaluate how we are living out the mission of Christ through our parish.
The Archdiocese of Chicago provided us with a trained facilitator who walked us through the process. We also had a team of 32 parishioners who represented all the different groups that make up our parish.
We have now completed our Parish Transformation process. Our reflections and discussions affirmed who we are and much of what we are doing as a parish. However, we were also able to highlight certain areas of need that challenge us to try new ideas and approaches in a way that we hope will make our parish even more vibrant and effective in carrying out the spirit of Jesus’ mission and ministry not only in the present but also in the future.
As the end of the process we focused on two of the Parish Transformation building blocks – Communio and Evangelization.
Communio refers to efforts we make to be hospitable and inclusive, getting to know people by name, socializing with fellow parishioners, attending to the needs of others. We developed five action items that we as a parish want to pursue as part of Communio.
Evangelization refers to how we have to be creative about how we can show the relevancy of the Gospel to contemporary society, using language, new methods and communication systems that speak to today’s modern culture. Employing our imagination to show a new face for our parish may be the open door that leads others to rediscover Christ alive in his Church. We developed three action items that we as a parish want to pursue as part of Evangelization.
In an upcoming bulletin, I will share the vision statement that we developed which grounds our action items. Then the following week, I will share the five action items under Communio. And in the following week’s bulletin, I will share the three action items under Evangelization.
At the end of the process, representatives of our Parish Transformation team met with Bishop Frank Kane and presented our plan to him. He was very positive and affirming of the work that we have done. He was also very positive and affirming of St. Gregory the Great Parish as a whole.
I want to thank in a special way members of our Parish Transformation team for all the time, talent and effort that they dedicated to this process. Please offer a prayer of gratitude to God for them, and pray for the success of our Parish Transformation action items.
For more information about the entire Parish Transformation Process, please go to the Parish Transformation link under the About Us pull down menu. – Fr. Paul
LET THE CHILDREN COME TO ME - In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10, we hear Jesus say to his disciples, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
People have various reactions to the presence of little children at Mass. Some people are happy to see little children in Church with their parents. Some people find the activity of children at Mass to be a distraction to their own worship and prayer. While I do acknowledge the concerns that people have, my own personal view mirrors the words of Jesus. I welcome parents who bring their little children to Mass. As you know, little children have a lot of energy and short attention spans. They like to walk and move around and vocalize when they are in Church. Yes, sometimes the baby cries or the toddler runs around, but I am still glad that they are present in Church along with their parents. These children are our future. We need to be patient with them as over time they learn how to be quiet and still, pay attention and participate at Mass.
Given that, if you, as a parent, experience your small child crying non-stop, talking too loudly or running around too much during Mass, I suggest that you take them to the vestibule of Church or to the North Courtyard Entrance of Church for a little break to calm them down before bringing them back into Church. - Fr. Paul
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT APP - St. Gregory the Great Church now has a mobile app that is compatible with your iPhone/iPad or android phone. You can obtain the app by going to your iPhone store or by going to the Google Play Store on your android phone. It can be found at St. Gregory the Great, Chicago. iPhone users can also text great1 to 555888, and android phone users can text great2 to 555888. Our app is still a work in process. We are still learning how to best make use of it, but it does currently contain several buttons with up to date information about what is happening at St. Gregory the Great as well as other informative sites. If you have any suggestions as to how we might make this mobile app more helpful to you, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me. – Fr. Paul
AMAZON SMILE – A NEW WAY TO MAKE A DONATION TO ST. GREGORY
Now that we have discontinued our Scrip program, we are initiating a new way to make a donation to St. Gregory. It is called Amazon Smile. Our user name on the website where you can made a donation every time you purchase something on AmazonSmile is St. Gregory Church.
What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the same low prices, selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.
How do I shop at AmazonSmile?
To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile.
How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile, select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make will result in a donation. Our user name is St. Gregory Church.
How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?
The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges.
FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY BOOK - At the time of the Fiftieth Anniversary of St. Gregory the Great Church in 1954, a group of parishioners put together a book which contains the history of the parish along with pictures of the Church and many of the people who have been a part of our Church history since its beginning. Recently this book was put on line, and we are able to access it. Go to the following link to access our Fiftieth Anniversary book. https://archive.org/details/saintgregorystor00chic
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT – GUN FREE ZONE - On July 9, 2013, Governor Quinn’s veto of the concealed carry bill was overridden making Illinois the final state to issue concealed gun carry permits. Certain places are exempt from the law, but one of the provisions of the law as it is currently written is that people may bring a concealed gun into Churches and places of worship. In light of that, after consultation with our Parish Staff, we have made a decision to declare St. Gregory the Great Church and all of its buildings to be a gun free zone. A sign stating this will be placed in the Gymnasium Building, the Church and the Parish Center. I ask that all parishioners and visitors to our Parish keep St. Gregory the Great Church as a gun free zone. The only exception to this would be legitimate law enforcement personnel.
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT – POPE AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Sept. 3 is the feast day of St. Gregory the Great. He lived from 540 to 604 A.D. St. Gregory was the Prefect of Rome before he was 30 years of age. After five years in office, he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian Estate, and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. Ordained a priest, he became one of the Pope’s seven deacons and also served six years in the East as Papal Nuncio in Constantinople. He was recalled to become Abbot and at the age of 50 was elected Pope. He served as pope from 590 to 604. As pope, he was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England and sent forty monks there from his own Monastery. He is known for his reforms of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine, and for introducing the type of music known as Gregorian Chant. His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a Bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described Bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily Gospel to the needs of his listeners. Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, it was he who went to interview the Lombard king. An Anglican historian has written of him, “It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the Medieval Papacy; and of the Medieval Papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great.” If you look at the high altar in our Church, Pope St. Gregory the Great is the figure located at the far right.