October 18, 2020

This Sunday is the 94th year of celebrating World Missions Sunday. This yearly celebration reminds us that the call to bring the Gospel to others remains as necessary today as it from our very beginnings in first century Palestine.  In our world today being missionary is not only for those called to go to other cultures, languages and lands, it is also, perhaps even more of a challenge, for each of us to bring the Gospel to our city, our neighborhoods our society. For centuries dedicated men and women have taken up the call of Jesus to bring the Gospel to others. This call has led many people to sacrifice greatly in order to share their faith in bringing the message of Jesus to others. We, here in the USA are the beneficiaries of dedicated priests, religious men and women and faith-filled laity who brought the "Good News" of Jesus to our lands over the past few centuries. However, vocations to religious life and priesthood have diminished sharply in the past few years and yet the need to bring Christ to others is vitally important to the world in which we live.

Pope Francis reminds us, “Many parts of the world are experiencing a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Often this is due to the absence of contagious apostolic fervor in communities which lack enthusiasm and thus fail to attract. The joy of the Gospel is born of the encounter with Christ and from sharing with the poor. For this reason, I encourage parish communities, associations and groups to live an intense fraternal life, grounded in love for Jesus and concern for the needs of the most disadvantaged. Wherever there is joy, enthusiasm and a desire to bring Christ to others, genuine vocations arise.”

Your prayers and generous gift to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the second collection boxes this weekend will help the work of priests, religious and lay people throughout the world as they offer practical help, the experience of God’s love, mercy, hope and peace to those they serve in their mission area. May God bless your generosity for the missions.

In spite of the restrictions of the coronavirus, fewer people and events in the Loop and some technological difficulties the 6th annual St. Peter's in the Loop fund raising Gala was held last Saturday, October 10 virtually via You Tube from the lower meeting room here at St. Peter's. The Gala offered over 100 special items for a silent auction, four extraordinary items for the live auction and an opportunity to help fund the ministry of St. Peter's Church. Folks from the city, suburbs, friends and benefactors from throughout the country provided extraordinary generosity in these difficult times helping us to raise over $200,000 for the support of our ministry here at St. Peter's.

Under the capable guidance of Fr. Mario, technological support of Jo Ann Bednar (Director of Communications for St. Peter's), live streaming and photography assistance by Mykhailo Bogdanor and the hard work of the Gala committee, St. Peter's was able to have our first virtual fund raising event. I am in awe of the tremendous amount of hours and work that went into making this year's Gala possible. The generous response of so many of you to our appeal to provide funds for the important ministry of St. Peter's is a true testament to your participation in the ministries that happen here at 110 West Madison, Without your support the lights could not shine, the heat/cooling would not work, the dedicated lay employees and volunteers could not work and indeed the doors could not even open.

On behalf of the Franciscan friar community, lay staff and everyone who avails themselves of the Masses, communions, confessions, etc. here at St. Peter's, I thank all of you for your generous donations throughout the year and for your on-going support of St. Peter's. As far as we are able we friars and lay employees will do our best to provide caring ministry to you all.

In my daily walks throughout the Loop, I am noticing that slowly people are returning to work in the Loop and there is a growing number of visitors to the city. Along with more people in the Loop we are starting to see an increase in attendance at Masses and confessions. With more people visiting St. Peter's we are looking into how we might be able to provide an opportunity for people to spend a few moments for quiet prayer or reflection when the church is open. Our church committee that oversees safe protective measures to prevent virus infection is presently looking at how we might provide more prayer opportunities. We will keep you informed of this discussion.

Effective Monday, October 19 those of you wishing to request Mass cards and offer names to be remembered at Masses will be able to do so once again when the church is open by telling the security officer or greeter at the entrance door of your request and going to the front office. Offerings should be by check or exact amount of your offering. We cannot make change at this time. You will also need to stay behind the protective plexiglass shield and maintain a safe distance by having only one person in the office at a time.

With restrictions on face to face meetings and discussion groups, Fr. Derran (Programs  Director) is providing programs (e.g. Little Rock Bible Study, a series on Catholicism, etc.) via Zoom and via YouTube. Please consult the bulletin or the church web site for details on programs that will be offered this Fall and how to sign up to be a part of these valuable sessions to learn more about our faith. If you need more information you may call Fr. Derran (312-372-5111) or Mrs. Jo Ann Bednar (312-853-2376) for more information. We are also looking into providing some Advent programs and resources that will have to be virtual as long as the Covid-19 virus restrictions are in place.

Young Adults are encouraged to explore our Young Adult Group that is under the capable leadership of Fr. Shea. The are meeting Mondays from 5:30 pm-7:00 pm via Zoom. How to access this meeting will be found elsewhere in today's bulletin.

In this time of the pandemic and if you are looking to reflect more on your life in God, I encourage you to consider spiritual direction. We have two trained Spiritual Directors here at St. Peter's Church. Br. Guillermo Morales, OFM and Sr. Fran Sulzer, FSPA can be reached through their email address found elsewhere in this bulletin. They can also connect you with other spiritual directors in the Archdiocese.

We are still in need of more volunteers to help at St. Peter's Church. Please contact James Kapellas (Coordinator) at 312-853-2418 to learn of various opportunities for volunteering that are available now.

St. Peter's Church was established in 1846 near Washington and Franklin. A new and larger church was built and dedicated in 1865 and remained open until 1953 when our present church was build and dedicated. In 2021 we are making plans for special celebrations at St. Peter's Church as we will celebrate our 175th anniversary of the founding of St. Peter's Parish. We will be sharing much more about this special anniversary in the coming months.

And I ask everyone to please DON'T FORGET TO VOTE if you have not done so in this very important election year. Early voting has already begun here in Illinois. Every vote does count and remember, if you do not vote then you have are giving up a most valuable right that every citizen of our great country has.....the right to determine our government.

Fr. Michael