Dear Parish Faithful,
From my perspective, we celebrated a wonderful Liturgy yesterday with Fr. Matthias, the Bishop-elect of our Midwest Diocese, serving as the head celebrant. Fr. Matthias proved to be quite accessible and warmly responsive to our collective greeting. He, in turn, seemed to be very impressed with the parish on his first visit here. He told me as much in our parting conversation as he was leaving to return to Chicago. He regrets the fact that since the Midwest Diocese is so far-flung geographically, his actual visits to any parish will, out of necessity, be infrequent. I will continue to pray that our newly-established and warm relationship with Fr. Matthias will continue to grow and deepen through the years once he becomes our diocesan hierarch. (A reminder: his consecration will occur in Chicago on Bright Saturday, April 30). We very much need a “good man” who will primarily shepherd his flock with loving care in order to restore our confidence in the Church’s episcopacy. I sincerely believe that we have elected a just such a candidate to continue that process, as the “face” of our Holy Synod has changed dramatically in recent years with many other key consecrations in other dioceses.
Following the Divine Liturgy, yesterday, Fr. Matthias treated us to a new DVD presentation of the Hogar San Rafael Orphanage in Guatemala. This was something of a “sneak preview” in that the DVD is not quite ready for distribution and sale. The viewing went well, and our children were very well-behaved and attentive considering the length of the DVD. A nice touch occurred when we paused the DVD when our own parish-sponsored Francesca appeared briefly, and many of the children recognized her from previous photos. Many of you approached me afterwards to express your amazement at what these three nuns – Madres Ines, Ivonne and Maria - have accomplished. Even the most sober-minded assessment finds itself speaking of a “miracle.” From its initial condition to its present state the Hogar is a living, concrete testimony to the “impossible” being achieved by the grace of God. I rejoice that we continue to be a part of that process.
Two of our parish men approached me about supporting the ongoing construction of the San Miguel dormitory near the monastery. This new facility will allow the children to move out of the crime-infested area of Guatemala City in which the Hogar is currently located. There is still a good deal to accomplish to fully prepare those facilities for habitation. Since we are already making the generous donation to support one of the children as a parish-wide charitable endeavor; perhaps it is best to leave that up to individual donors to do as they so desire. The place to make such a donation and to receive a US tax-deduction receipt from the foundation is to:
FRIENDS OF THE HOGAR RAFAEL AYAU
c/o Harriet Stratis
310 N. Lake Shore Drive #27A
Chicago, IL 60657
All in all, we thank God for our parish community and the spirit of unity in Christ which continues to deepen within our community. And we thank God for a wonderful day together yesterday with Fr. Matthias, our Bishop-elect.