Last week we celebrated the feasts of All Saints and that of All Souls. Those annual feasts of the Church remind us to pray for our relatives and friends who have died. The month of November is dedicated to the Poor Souls and all the faithful departed whom we pray rest in peace. I encourage you to make some extra time this month to pray for all the dead. I invite you to place the names of your deceased family members and friends in the Remembrance Book located near the baptismal fount in church. We are praying especially in November for all those listed in the book.
This Thursday, November 11, we will be reminded that one hundred and three years ago in 1918, on the 11th month of the 11th day at 11:00 am an armistice was signed to end the First World War, “The war to end all wars!” President Woodrow Wilson called on the country to remember those who had died in the nation’s service. He invited America to “show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” As we all know, the world was soon plunged into an even greater war in 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland and soon the nations of the world were fighting the Second World War. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other wars have followed in various other troubled places throughout the globe.
As we celebrate Masses this month, I encourage you to pray for the thousands who have died in war. If you have ever been in war you know the tragic consequences of evil in our world. If you have ever visited Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery outside Joliet or another national cemetery or battlefield in this country or elsewhere, you know the sobering reality of looking at thousands of graves and realizing most of them are for men and women in their teens, 20’s and 30’s when they died. They are the young and energetic people whose full potential was cut down by the horror of war.
As we come together this weekend and all during this month, let us pray for our men and women who have given so much for our freedom. Pray also for those innocent civilians who have died as a result of war. Let us pray for peace in our world. As we celebrate Veterans Day this year let us remember all those who have served and those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces, in Veterans Hospitals and everyone who is working to promote peace in our world.
The consequences and traumatic experiences of many service men and women continue to haunt many even after they return to civilian life. As Fr. Ed McKenzie, OFM (a member of the Franciscan Staff at St. Peter's and a veteran himself) has shared via previous bulletins and on our church web site, the organization Military Outreach, USA is helping provide apartment essentials for the VA program of rent subsidy that helps move homeless veterans into apartments. More information on what you can do to help will be found on our church web site or by contacting Fr. Ed here at St. Peter's (312-372-5111).
Anyone who has ever served in the military knows that since the beginning of our country, clergy have helped serve the spiritual needs of those in the Armed Forces. Chaplains served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War and countless other conflicts. Many members of the Sacred Heart Province of Franciscans have served in various chaplaincies throughout the world, both in peace and war times. Four Franciscan priest chaplains of the Province died during World War II. Fr. Patrick Maloney died in 1943 at Ft. Custer, Battle Creek, MI. Fr. Alexander O'Donnell died in 1945 as a result of injuries received in France. Fr. Elwin Bina was killed March 1945 in the Aleutian Islands as he was going to celebrate Mass for servicemen at an isolated base. Fr. Myles O'Toole was wounded and while giving the Last Rites to other soldiers was killed by an artillery shell on Luzon, Philippine Islands in January, 1945.
Many other priests have courageously served as chaplains. Fr. Emil Kapaun, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, served during the Korean War and died in a POW camp in North Korea. Fr. Vincent Capodanno, a member of the Maryknoll Missionaries, was killed in Vietnam serving as chaplain to the Marines. Both of these priests received numerous awards and both are recipients of the US Medal of Honor. The cause for canonization for both these priests has been taken up by the Vatican for their heroic service to others.
The remains of Fr. Kapaun were identified in March 2020 and returned to Wichita in September. After a funeral Mass his remains were buried in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Fr. Kapaun served as an Army chaplain during World War II and the Korean War. He was taken as a prisoner of war to North Korea in 1951 and ministered to other soldiers until his death, at age 35, in May of that same year. In 1993, Kapaun was declared a Servant of God, the first step toward sainthood. In 2013, Kapaun was awarded the Medal of Honor by the U.S. Government for his actions at the Battle of Unsan.
Fr. Vincent Capodanno was on his second tour of duty as military chaplain when he was killed ministering to soldiers in Quang Tín Province, Vietnam on September 4, 1967. He was 38 years old at the time of his death. Fr. Capodanno was awarded the Medal of Honor by the US government in 1969 and is buried on Staten Island, New York.
If you are interested in learning more about Fr. Kapaun or Fr. Capodanno, you will find more details in the following books. The Miracle of Father Kapaun by Roy Wenzl & Travis Heying and Armed With Faith: The Life of Father Vincent Capodanno, MM by Stephan M, DiGiovanni. You can also find more information on the website of the Diocese of Wichita for Fr. Kapaun and for Fr. Capodanno on the website for the Archdiocese For the Military Services, USA.
NATIONAL VOCATION AWARENESS WEEK - 2021
This week (Nov. 7-13), throughout the USA, dioceses and religious communities are asking all members of the Church to pray that young people of the Church may respond to God's call to serve as priests, deacons or consecrated religious priest, sister or brother. As we all are aware there is a shortage of young adults entering studies to serve others as sister, brother or priest. For more information and ideas contact the Archdiocese at: chicagopriest.com/resources/national-vocation-awareness-week or for Religious life: US-6 OFM, Franciscan Vocation Office at: [email protected]
UPDATED CHURCH SCHEDULE
The past two years has seen various changes in the schedule of Masses, Confessions, opportunities for prayer, etc. in many churches throughout the Archdiocese. With increasing numbers of people who have received the COVID vaccine, wearing of masks and using safe health practices the cases of those getting COVID has decreased. In the past few months we have noticed an increase in the number of people attending daily and weekend Masses here at St. Peter's. There are also more people returning to work in the Loop as well as tourists and visitors to the City. We are hopeful that the danger of COVID will continue to decrease in the City.
In response to a number of inquiries from many of you who come to St. Peter's, we will begin on a trial basis adding an earlier daily Mass to our schedule and providing more opportunities for people to pray in church. This addition to our Monday - Friday schedule will begin the first week of Advent on Monday, November 29. Please note that we will evaluate this addition to our schedule in January to determine whether to keep it as part of our regular schedule.
Beginning in next weekend's church bulletin and on our website in the coming weeks, we will publish the details and the new schedule for our Monday - Friday ministry schedule. If you find the additional Mass and prayer opportunities works for your schedule please let me know.