This site will contain information about current Parish news and events.
PATRICK GODON SAYS FAREWELL AFTER 15 YEARS
Patrick Godon, Director of Music here at St. Gregory the Great Church has recently been named the Organist/Choirmaster at Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, IL. Here was his farewell speech, given at all the masses this weekend of August 4 & 5:
We have some happy and sad news. I've been offered a job I can't refuse and will be leaving St. Gregory's at the end of August. My new job will be as Organist/Choirmaster at Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, IL.
Saying farewell to you, dear friends, is one of the most difficult tasks I have been given since first coming to St. Gregory the GREAT Church 15 years ago. I've always loved the namesake of our church here, as it inspires us to strive to make the best music possible.
Finding the right words to thank all of you is impossible, but here's an attempt to muster a few thoughts.
To the cantors and choir members - over the years we've had the Chant Choir, the St. Joseph's Choir, the Youth Choir, the Festival Choir, the Chamber Choir, and the Parish Choir: Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I didn’t have to look far for help. You taught me even more than I learned in my college classes, and that's saying a lot. You welcomed me like a family member and helped me grow into my role as a successful Director of Liturgy and Music. Thank you for singing my compositions. I've been so pleased to lead your singing in churches around the world on 1 domestic choir tour to Louisiana, raising $3,500 and writing a composition for the music program of a sister parish hit by hurricane Rita, and 6 int’l tours: to Italy (twice), Greece/Turkey, Ireland, Spain, and France. Through these experiences I have grown very close to each one of you and I believe the music we have made together says it all.
To the staff: In particular, I want to thank Fr. Paul, for fostering the evangelization through the arts program here AND bringing the importance of prayer into the center of our lives. He's not afraid to stand up for what's right and good, and he's been a real life guardian angel for my family. He's been there for us in the good times and the bad. He trusts me and has encouraged me to dream big. Fr. Brian for his gift of artful homiletics and beautiful liturgies (I often daydream and selfishly think, "I would love to know what Fr. Brian's homily would be at my funeral." The beauty lies not only in WHAT he says, but in HOW he delivers it..... Not to mention his impeccable taste, his great mac & cheese, his insights into any facet of current events, and for his supplying the text for the first choir anthem I ever wrote called, "Christ Is There." The choir sang a verse of it in St. Peter's Square for Pope Benedict, who after hearing us applauded!) Sr. Regina for embracing our children in the SSR, sharing her musical gifts with all of us, and for allowing me to stretch her when cantoring, (She could often be heard in my office before mass as we were practicing, "Another key change? Really??!?!") Bernadette for all of her graceful and timely help whenever I called upon her for assistance, despite the myriad other things on her plate, John Miaso for keeping this place open and running despite many obstacles, Jen Sherrill for leading the Youth Choir as a volunteer and igniting the fires of musical curiosity in our young singers (and getting Fr. Paul to play ukulele with them!), Amy Alznauer for sharing my love of collaboration and inspiring us all with your dream-like writing style, Joe Malham for his prolific and beautiful icon output, quick wit and mind-boggling knowledge of all things movies and Catholicism, and Sr. Barbara for being the best neighbor and for her unwavering support (and always asking me to play "Embraceable You"). I'd also like to thank my former boss, Fr. Bart, for hiring me right out of college and believing that I could help create a destination parish where people from all over the Midwest would come to know and respect because of the music program.
To the congregation: It has been a privilege and an honor to provide the musical bread for your spiritual lives. You have been cheering me on through your kind words and recognition each week. Your support of the choir and all they have accomplished has given life and sustained energy to the music ministry. When we lost our baby Moses, I'll never forget how you rallied around our family to help us through the most difficult time in our lives. Again, a lifetime of thanks to Joe Malham, for creating a panel in the Consolation Chapel dedicated to our lost baby Moses, sponsored by Fr. Paul (I'll never be able to thank you both enough for doing that and creating such wonderful beauty where there was once just a white wall).
Over the past 15 years, it has been a joy to couple my vision with your generosity. Together, we've sponsored and created the orders of service, bought robes for the choir, bought the Boston grand piano over there and upright Boston piano in the choir loft, bought a set of timpani in the choir loft, and most recently we've expanded the organ to fill one of the two empty chambers on the west wall. The music made on these instruments has been an inspiration to many. I am so thankful to have been part of that and am proud to be in the hallowed St. Gregory history books. I will never forget the day Keri and I were married here, the baptism of our children, the funeral of our baby Moses and dedication of the Consolation Chapel panel for him, forming the International Chamber Artists here, and striving to make GREAT music week in and week out - but esp. at the All Souls Liturgy, Lessons, Lights & Carols, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter. I’m overjoyed that I’ve been able to help make these contributions to this GREAT Church.
The choir has graciously agreed to sing one final 10:30 mass with me on Sunday, August 19th. I hope you can attend.
We are sad to be leaving, but I am looking forward to this new challenge and to starting this new phase of my career, plus I'm tired of being the oldest member on the staff. I am happy to report that our chamber music organization, ICA, will continue to perform here - so I will still have opportunities to play for you! I hope we stay in touch, because you have been such a big part of my life. I wish you and St. Gregory the GREAT Church much “Love and Music.” I will continue to pray for you, and I invite you to continue to pray for my family.
The Lord bless you and keep you,
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.
Love and Music,
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.”
Now that our Children’s Liturgy of the Word is on a Summer sabbatical, we have our little children with us for the entire Mass, and I have noticed at the 10:30 Mass in particular that our little children have become more animated and vocal.
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.