175th Anniversary Concluding Mass August 14, 2022
Next Sunday at the 11:00 am Mass we will conclude the year-long celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of St. Peter's Church. We are honored that Cardinal Blase Cupich (Archbishop of Chicago) will preside at this Mass. I encourage you and your family to join us as we give thanks to God for these 175 years of the ministry of St. Peter's. We also pray that God will continue to guide us as we seek to serve the spiritual needs now and into the future of those who live in the Loop, those who work here and all our visitors who come here to worship and experience the presence of God.
St. Peter's Church was established in 1846 to minister to the increasing German immigrant population in Chicago. The site chosen to build the first church was on the south side of Washington Street between Wells and Franklin Streets. The church building was completed that summer and dedicated on August 2, 1846. It was a frame building, forty feet wide and sixty feet long. A Catholic school was located behind the church and the rectory was west of the church building. A diocesan priest, Fr. John Jung was appointed pastor. A new and larger church was constructed at Polk & Clark streets in 1865 to accommodate the growing Chicago Catholic population. The Franciscan Friars of Sacred Heart Province at the request of the Bishop of Chicago arrived on July 29, 1875 and accepted the ministry at St. Peter's. Due to changing needs for ministry in the Loop a new St. Peter's Church was constructed on Madison and Clark in the early 1950's. Our present church was opened and dedicated in 1953. The Franciscan priests and brothers of Sacred Heart Province continue to minister here at St. Peter's.
MISSIONARY COOPERATION PLAN
The weekend of August 20-21, 2022 we will observe the Missionary Cooperation Plan, the annual collection that connects our archdiocese with missionary causes around the world. After two years being unable to host in person a missionary, this year in the Archdiocese various missionaries from throughout the world will be speaking at parishes in the Archdiocese.
Father Benedict, Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales (MSFS) will be making the mission appeal on August 20-21, 2022 here at St. Peter’s parish to promote education among the poor children in India. Christianity is India's third-largest religion with approximately 30 million followers, constituting 3% of India's population. Around 70% of Christians are Dalits, a marginalized group without any rights or power.
Dalits are formerly known as ‘Outcaste or Untouchables’ under the caste system of India. For centuries, they have been deprived of education, social justice and equal opportunity. Due to poverty, the children are unable to continue their schooling and end up working in restaurants, tea shops, brick kilns, hazardous firework factories and weaving factories. They are robbed of their beautiful childhoods and bright futures. More than 15 million children are listed as child laborers in India. The only way these children can break this vicious cycle of poverty, abuse and oppression is to return to school.
In this painful context, the Bishop of the Diocese of Chingleput in Northeast India, Bishop A. Neethinathan makes this appeal in seeking your help and prayers. Your generosity through this mission appeal can help our children return to school and enjoy their childhood. You can surely prevent many children from child labor, child trafficking and child migration. Your contribution will be used to pay school fees, books and uniforms. You can also support a child through educational sponsorship at www.dalitsolidarity.org.
Thank you and may God richly bless you for answering God’s greatest commandment—to love.
CARE FOR THE EARTH
The past few years has seen growing extreme weather patterns throughout the world. In many parts of the world drought, dangerous storms and increasing temperatures have had a devastating impact upon the quality of life of thousands of people. Scientists, meteorologists, farmers and many others have sounded the alarm that we humans need to take better care of our earth.
Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si", on Care For Our Common Home, appealed to all humanity, "...for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet." He wrote that, "...we need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all." Pope Francis quoted the bishops of Southern Africa in their statement that, "Everyone's talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God's creation. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents." In next weekend's bulletin I will share with you some thoughts from the Message of Pope Francis for World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, 2022.
POPE FRANCIS’ VISIT TO CANADA
Pope Francis recently (July 24-30, 2022) visited with some of the Indigenous, First Nations and Inuit people of Canada. He came as he stated on a "....penitential pilgrimage. I have come to your native lands to tell you in person of my sorrow, to implore God's forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, to express my closeness and to pray with you and for you."
In Edmonton, Alberta at Sacred Heart Church, Pope Francis acknowledged the good that the Church brought to the native people but also the pain, suffering and cultural insensitivities that also came with too many of those who should have been bringing healing rather than sorrow. The Pope said,
We must not forget that in the Church too, the wheat is mixed with weeds. And precisely because of those weeds, I wanted to make this penitential pilgrimage, which I began this morning by recalling the wrong done to the indigenous peoples by many Christians and by asking with sorrow for forgiveness. It pains me to think that Catholics contributed to policies of assimilation and enfranchisement that inculcated a sense of inferiority, robbing communities and individuals of their cultural and spiritual identity, severing their roots and fostering prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes; and that this was also done in the name of an educational system that was supposedly Christian. Education must always start from respect and the promotion of talents already present in individuals. It is not, nor can it ever be, something pre-packaged and imposed. For education is an adventure, in which we explore and discover together the mystery of life.
Here, in this church, above the altar and tabernacle, we see the four poles of a typical indigenous tent, a teepee. This teepee has deep biblical symbolism. When Israel journeyed in the desert, God dwelt in a tent that was set up every time that the people stopped and camped: it was the Tent of Meeting. The teepee reminds us that God accompanies us on our journey and loves to meet us together, in assembly, in council. And when he became man, the Gospel tells us, he literally “pitched his tent among us” (cf. Jn 1:14). God is a God of closeness, and in Jesus he teaches us the language of compassion and tender love. That is what we should call to mind every time that we enter a church, where Jesus is present in the tabernacle, a word that itself originally meant “tent”. Therefore, God has placed his tent in our midst; he accompanies us through our deserts. He does not dwell in heavenly mansions, but in our Church, which he wants to be a house of reconciliation.
Please continue to pray for peace in our city and an end to the war in Ukraine. Let each of us do all we can to be, as St. Francis of Assisi calls us, "Instruments of Peace."