On Sunday, August 6, Fr. Alejandro Lopez, OFM Conv., was officially installed as pastor of Mary, Mother of God parish. Thank you to Bishop Bartosic for presiding! Please keep Fr. Alejandro in your prayers as he leads our parish and cares for the friars who serve us here.
El domingo, 6 de agosto, el P. Alejandro López, OFM Conv., fue instalado oficialmente como párroco de la parroquia María, Madre de Dios. Gracias al Obispo Bartosic por presidir. Por favor, mantengan al P. Alejandro en sus oraciones mientras dirige nuestra parroquia y cuida de los frailes que nos sirven aquí.
Thank you to the Filipinos of Saint Gregory for putting together a great Picnic and Welcome for Fr. Alejandro on Sunday, July 30. Stay tuned for more events and fun this fall!
We are very happy to welcome Br. Tarcisius Bucca, OFM Conv., to Mary, Mother of God Parish, where he will live in residence. If you see him, please say hello!
What drew you to the Franciscans?
I learned about the Franciscans through Marytown [in Libertyville, IL], where I was going on regular retreats. That was how I mainly learned about them; I joined them in 2016.
Where were you before coming to Mary, Mother of God Parish?
I was at the Basilica of St. Josaphat for a year, where I was doing pastoral work, so helping with their food pantry and school. I was also helping liturgically at the shrine.
What will you be doing here at the parish?
I’ll be here in residence, but teaching full-time at a high school in Niles, IL, teaching theology to freshmen. So I won’t be directly involved with ministry at the parish, but I’ll be attending daily Mass and Sunday Mass here.
What are some of the things you enjoy in your spare time?
I really like biking. And Italian pizza!
Estamos muy contentos de dar la bienvenida al fraile Tarcisius Bucca, OFM Conv., a la Parroquia María, Madre de Dios, donde vivirá en residencia. Si lo ven, por favor, ¡salúdenlo!
¿Qué te atrajo a los franciscanos?
Conocí a los franciscanos a través de Marytown [en Libertyville, IL], donde iba a retiros regulares. Así fue como principalmente supe de ellos; me uní a ellos en 2016.
¿Dónde estaba antes de venir a la parroquia María, Madre de Dios?
Estuve un año en la Basílica de San Josafat, donde trabajaba en la pastoral, ayudando en la despensa de alimentos y en la escuela. También ayudaba litúrgicamente en el santuario.
¿Qué hará aquí en la parroquia?
Estaré aquí en residencia, pero enseñando a tiempo completo en una escuela secundaria de Niles, IL, enseñando teología a los estudiantes de primer año. Así que no estaré directamente involucrado en el ministerio de la parroquia, pero asistiré a la Misa diaria y a la Misa dominical.
¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?
Me gusta mucho montar en bicicleta. ¡Y la pizza italiana!
Thank you to all of the vendors, performers, volunteers, and attendees who made Tastes of Summer 2023 possible! We could not put on this wonderful event without the help of our talented parishioners sharing their gifts with us. We sincerely thank all the parishioners of Mary, Mother of God parish and our neighbors who joined us!
Congratulations to our prize winners!
¡Gracias a todos los proveedores, artistas, voluntarios y asistentes que hicieron posible Tastes of Summer 2023! No podríamos organizar este maravilloso evento sin la ayuda de nuestros talentosos feligreses que comparten sus dones con nosotros. ¡Agradecemos sinceramente a todos los feligreses de la parroquia María, Madre de Dios y a nuestros vecinos que nos acompañaron!
¡Felicitaciones a nuestros ganadores de premios!
Click below for more photos!
¡Haz clic abajo para ver más fotos!
Our Offices will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day. There will only be 9am Mass at St. Ita and 8:30am Mass at St. Thomas of Canterbury. All-day Adoration at St. Thomas of Canterbury will be canceled.
Nuestras Oficinas estarán cerradas el 4 de julio por El Día de la Independencia. Habrá solamente Misa de 9am en Santa Ita y 8:30am en Sto. Tomás de Canterbury. La Adoración de todo el día en Santo Tomás se cancelará.
On Sunday, June 11 (Corpus Christi), we had a formal blessing for Solidarity Gardens at St. Thomas of Canterbury - and some of our neighbors asked for blessings of their gardens as well!
Solidarity Gardens is a collaboration of Mary, Mother of God parish churches and St. Francis Catholic Worker. We are gardening together in our community to provide food for our Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry, and people in our neighborhoods in need.
Parish communities can be creative communities. Our Eucharistic faith calls us to make the land fruitful and offer our gifts to God. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis draws our attention to the concept of Integral Ecology– the idea that the health of our church and community depends on the health of the land around us. If you are interested in gardening, have experience (or none!), have always wanted to garden, like being outside then we're looking for you! Contact James Murphy at email@example.com with questions and to get involved.
Scenes from the parish Santacruzan festival on Saturday, May 20. This Filipino festival honors the Blessed Virgin Mary and commemorates the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena. Thank you to the Filipinos of St. Gregory for hosting this event each year - the 35th year this year!
Filipinos of St. Gregory
Hermanos and Hermanas 2023
We are very happy to welcome our new pastor Fr. Alejandro Lopez, OFM Conv., to Mary, Mother of God parish! He comes to us from Our Lady of the Rosary in Kellyville, Australia.
Haga clic aquí para una traducción al español.
What drew you to the Franciscans?
I joined the Order when I was about 30 years old, and what drew me to them is more what drew me away from other things. I was miserable as a graphic designer. In my job, I had to work under people who hadn’t gone to school for art or anything like that. I also felt frustrated because a lot of the stuff that I did was used once and then thrown away. I was thinking: "All of my designs end up in landfills and make the world more polluted and really don't help anybody." So I was thinking: "What is the point of my life?"
Then I started reflecting about where I had seen joy-filled people in my life and whom did I admire. The Conventual Franciscan friars stood out. They presented a different way of living that could be joyful and lived in community. I had known a couple of them while studying design at Washington University in St. Louis. That’s a secular school, but they have a Newman Center there for Catholic students. Two friars (now Frs. Patrick Greenough, OFM Conv. and Stephen McKinley, OFM Conv.) were ministering there as they were studying for ministry themselves.
I also met an Ursuline sister (Sr. Margaret Vitt, OSU) who was very instrumental in my life; probably, she is the first person to introduce me to our loving compassionate God. She was a very well-educated sister. When I first met her, she had studied for an advanced degree in France and was preparing to defend her doctoral work.
Through the friars and this sister, I basically started thinking about my vocation. I always felt called to the priesthood. When I started thinking about priesthood, I knew it had to be in some kind of religious community. Later I discovered that I really was Franciscan all my life though I didn't realize it. I'm drawn to the humanity of Christ. I'm drawn to the beauty of creation and finding God in creation. I'm drawn to helping the poor. I didn't necessarily know these were Franciscan themes until after I'd jointed the Order.
Before you came here to Mary, Mother of God, you were in Australia. What were you doing there?
I was pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary in Kellyville, one of the suburbs of Sydney. The parish was preparing to start a major renovation that would take all of my 8 years to complete! Nothing had been done to the physical church since it was originally built, about 50 years old ago. We had threadbare carpeting, we had poor lighting and you could no longer find replacement bulbs for some of the lights as they didn't exist. We had no air conditioning or heating. Realize that this is in a place where in the summer, it gets up to be about 100-110 degrees and can get humid. Remember that their seasons are flipped, so that means Christmas falls right in the heart of summer. So now imagine a packed church, with no air conditioning and then maybe it’s a rainy day on top of that, adding to the oppressive humidity. That was my first Christmas there and my worst Christmas there in terms of comfort. It got so humid in the church that the walls appeared to sweat!
As pastor, I would celebrate the sacraments, of course. I also visited the schools; they have two schools there, both elementary. I don’t know how the parish got attached to two schools. It's like the area grew so much, they had to build a second school but didn’t have enough to build another church.
Pastoring two schools was an enormous project, because every time a sacrament came up, we had about 180 kids per sacrament signed up for the classes. The first year I was there, we had eight First Communion Masses, because you couldn't fit everybody in the church. That was probably the biggest headache of that place, trying to organize the sacraments.
On top of that, renovating that church took 8 years! In the midst of the renovations, we suffered flooding in the hall (that we were using as a worship space while renovating) COVID... Add to that, the diocese was renovating one of the schools at the same time, which shared the church parking lots. Basically they took down all of the existing school buildings and rebuilt a whole new structure in two of the years I was there!
What was the parish like?
The parish had about 3,000 families, on the books. We had people from all over the world. The founders of the church were Italian and Maltese, so they were of European descent. But the later generations were coming in from Nigeria, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, India Papua New Guinea and other countries from Asia and the Pacific. And we all got along, which I thought was beautiful.
I sense such a loving community here at Mary, Mother of God Parish, too. I think there's a lot of different nations represented in our parish that seem to be getting along, and are respectful of each other and open to learning about wonderful new cultures. That's the wonder of Pentecost!
So you're coming from a place with a huge variety of populations to another! And as you know, Mary, Mother of God is a busy place. So asking about your spare time probably sounds ridiculous but it is nice for people to know- what would you do in your spare time such as you have it?
When I have spare time (I just got here, so I haven't had a lot of spare time) I like to exercise. I like to go to the gym. I like to run. I'm thinking about maybe starting biking once I get a bike, because you have such lovely bike trails by the lake. I like going to museums. When I was in Australia, I tried to go out every day off and try to see something new. I like to hike.
I like going to the movies. I really love movies. They're fun, and they kind of distract you from whatever you're worried about for a while.
Do you have a genre you prefer?
I like all kinds, but I especially enjoy science fiction movies. Star Wars of course is a big plus in my life. Really my vocation comes out of Star Wars, in a way, because I wanted to be a Jedi growing up, and this is the closest thing I think we have to Jedi. At least Jedi from the first movie! Towards the later movies, they start getting into battle and war, and I'm like "That's not what a Jedi is! Jedi are people who are protectors and caretakers, especially of the poor. That's what a Franciscan is, I think."
I like the superhero movies; Superman was my hero from childhood, and he still is!
I like movies that make you wonder "Where is this plot going? How is it going to end?" Movies that surprise us are few and far between these days.
I also like to read books- I also like to read a lot of science fiction books. Lately I've liked very much the Expanse series of books.
Anything else you'd want to tell people in the parish about yourself?
I think I want people to know that I’m approachable. At my last parish in Australia as I was saying my goodbyes, they shared how when I first got there they thought I was very serious! I’m really not! I hope parishioners here know this by now! I really like making people laugh. I was the comedian in my family growing up, the one who made people laugh. And I like to do that. I look forward to being with you here, helping you to laugh but also being with you when you cry and everything in between. I feel honored and blessed to be here, and it's a privilege and great responsibility. Though I like to laugh, please know that I'm taking my role here seriously.
May is traditionally the month of Mary, with May crownings and traditions to honor our Blessed Mother. During this month, we strongly encourage all our parishioners to explore the depictions and images of Mary at all three of our parish!
Today, we bring you the images of Mary at St. Thomas of Canterbury Church (4827 N. Kenmore). St. Thomas of Canterbury is notable for its shrines of martyrs throughout the world, but Mary features prominently throughout the church as well.
Mariam Dearit is venerated by Catholics in Eritrea, with a major festival in her honor at the end of the month of May. The members of the Holy Family Eritrean Community celebrated in her honor on May 6, with Mass in the Ge'ez a procession and reception.
Our Lady of Walsingham
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Lavang
Our Lady of Gaudalupe
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Mary with St. Anne
Early this month, we said goodbye to Fr. Bob Cook, OFM Conv., who has served as pastor of Mary, Mother of God since 2016 when the friars first arrived at Saint Ita. His new assignment will be as rector of the Basilica of Saint Josaphat in Milwaukee. Thank you for everything, Fr. Bob, and thank you to the parishioners at all our churches who helped honor him at his departure!