This year, our parish's Advent Giving Trees are dedicated to collecting toys for our newest neighbors, the families who have migrated from Venezuela.
BUYING A GIFT
Help make this holiday season brighter for the children by taking a tag off of the tree at the back of one of our churches and return it before December 17.
WRAPPING & DISTRIBUTING GIFTS
The toy distribution will take place at the conclusion of the 5:30 PM Christmas Eve Mass at Saint Ita church. Volunteers are needed to prepare the gifts and distribute them. Below are the dates and times we need help. (Children welcome!)
Can your family help sort and wrap toys before Christmas Eve? Or maybe you can distribute toys to families after Mass...
If you want to sign up or if you have any questions, please contact Pamela Matambanadzo.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 312-620-4548
In honor of the 800th anniversary of the first live Nativity Scene Greccio, Italy our pastor Fr. Alejandro, OFM Conv. lead a discussion at Canterbury House on Nov. 28. The roundtable touched on the Franciscan history and overall significance of that act by St. Francis of Assisi on Christmas Day 1223.
Attendees talked about how the Nativity Scene is expressed today in our parish and how the poverty of the Holy Family can inspire us in our own work with the poor, the immigrant and the marginalized in Chicago 2023.
Photos courtesy: Damien Chlanda
The Franciscan Friars and Secular Franciscans want to thank everyone who helped us celebrate Thanksgiving this year! The 10:30 AM Mass at Saint Ita church was well attended with beautiful music from the Saint Ita choir. And no one went away hungry from the 12 PM potluck dinner in Jubilee Hall. In addition to the turkeys cooked by the friars, over 100 pies were donated from St. Mary of the Woods church and parishioners brought dozens of flavorful side dishes. In short, there was much to be thankful for this year!
Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.
Click "Read More" to see photos from the Thanksgiving dinner!
Highlights from last Friday’s movie night sponsored by the Mary, Mother of God Religious Education program. Children and parents enjoyed snacks while watching “Across the Spider-Verse” the sequel to the last movie night film. We hope to see you next time! Don’t forget to check the bulletin for more upcoming parish events.
On Christmas in the year 1223, St. Francis of Assisi desired to “enact the memory of that babe who was born in Bethlehem: to see as much as is possible with (his) own bodily eyes the discomfort of his infant needs, how he lay in manger, and how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he rested on hay.”*
St. Francis wanted to experience in his body whatever Christ experienced, trying to make the Incarnation real. Thus, he created the very first nativity scene in the tiny Italian town of Greccio. In a cave, he set up a stable with live animals and a babe in a manager to bring people's hearts and minds towards the poor Christ Child and his Holy Family.
This year, we celebrate 800 years of nativities! Christians today continue the tradition started by St. Francis of erecting the Christmas crèche in our homes and churches. (Did you know the word crèche comes from the name Greccio?) As we celebrate this special anniversary, we are called to slow down and take notice. To look upon the poverty of Christ in the manger and allow our hearts to be moved.
"Love cannot be given or received from a drive-through window. Love takes time; it cannot be rushed, and the Saint Francis understood this," said Fr. Alejandro Lopez, pastor of Mary, of God parish. "He wanted everyone to slow down and contemplate the Great Mystery of the Incarnation. To allow the simplicity, the poverty and the humility of God in the person of the Son to move us to love. To love God, for loving us so much, and love our neighbor."
On Christmas in the year 2023, let us remember that God loved us first and that love then moves each of to be loving to others. Moving us to recognize Christ not only in the manger figure, nor on the Altar, but also in one another, especially others who are poor and vulnerable. May the Lord transform us all through the inspiration of our Holy Father, St. Francis!
*From “The Life of St. Francis” by Thomas of Celano, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, Volume I: The Saint, Chapter XXX, Page 255
SAVE THE DATE!
We are pleased to announce that Friar Bede Thigpen has been ordained a priest! The celebration took place at Saint Ita church on Saturday, November 11. Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of Lacrosse and fellow Franciscan, who had previously ordained Friar Bede a deacon. Parishioners volunteered to sing in the choir and the Secular Franciscans prepared Jubilee Hall for the following reception.
Fr. Bede, you are in our prayers as you begin this new phase of your life.
“O Jesus, our great High Priest, Hear our humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Father Bede. Give him a deep faith, a bright and firm hope, and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.
Click "Read More" to see more photos!
On November 9, parishioners and community members met for a roundtable discussion facilitated by Canterbury House around the Synod on Synodality that was held in Rome in October. The group discussed what a Synod is – an assembly of the Church – and what Pope Francis hopes for this Synodal process are. Everyone shared their own experience (or lack of experience) with the Synod so far.
They were joined by Fr. Stan Chu Ilo, Associate Professor of Catholic Studies at De Paul University. He had just returned from convening a meeting with the Bishops of African to review the document from the Synod meeting. Fr. Stan was also appointed to the North American continental team by Pope Francis to create a report in preparation for the Synod meeting in October.
One attendee said they were excited by the roundtable because it was a great way to become up to date on an important process happening in the Church. They also hope to have another discussion soon!
What drew you to Franciscans?
My idea of the Franciscan way of life was that of the capuchins and not Conventual. I was in a retreat program with another religious community, and it is then peeping through the chapel I saw a multitude of Friars praying and sing wearing the grey habit and I think that was decisive moment. I left the other community and joined the Conventuals.
Where were you before coming to Mary, Mother of God Parish?
Before coming to America, I was working in one of our parishes in Kenya as an assistant to the parish priest. Coming to America, I was working in Marytown working at the shrine of Maxmilian Kolbe.
What will you be doing here at the Parish?
I will be helping with weekday and Sunday Masses at Sain Ita, St. Thomas of Canterbury and most probably occasionally at St. Gregory the Great. I will also be engaged in the RCIA programs.
What are some of the things you enjoy in your spare time?
I like reading, in good weather, I enjoy outdoor activities.
¿Qué te atrajo de los franciscanos?
Mi idea del estilo de vida franciscana era el de los capuchinos y no el conventual. Estaba en un programa de retiro con otra comunidad religiosa, y es entonces cuando asomándome por la capilla vi a una multitud de frailes rezando y cantando vistiendo el hábito gris y creo que ese fue el momento decisivo. Dejé la otra comunidad y entré en la Conventual.
¿Dónde estaba antes de venir a la Parroquia María, Madre de Dios?
Antes de venir a América, trabajaba en una de nuestras parroquias de Kenia como ayudante del párroco. Al venir a América estuve trabajando en Marytown trabajando en el santuario de Maxmilian Kolbe.
¿Qué vas a hacer aquí en la parroquia?
Ayudaré en las Misas de los días entre semana y de los domingos en Santa Ita, Santo Tomás de Canterbury y muy probablemente de vez en cuando en San Gregorio. También participaré en los programas de RCIA.
¿Qué le gusta hacer en su tiempo libre?
Me gusta leer y, cuando hace buen tiempo, disfruto con las actividades al aire libre.