St. Nicholas was our guest of honor and particularly popular with the children (no one went home empty-handed!) at our annual Christmas breakfast and bake sale. On Sunday, Dec. 11, parishioners, family, and friends enjoyed fresh baked goods and a home-cooked breakfast. The Knights of Columbus were the proud sponsors of this very successful event. Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy great food and fellowship!
Until next year, take a look back with these photos:
Dear parishioners and visitors,
For more than 134 years, St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church has been the spiritual home for thousands of Catholics. God has entrusted the care of this spiritual home to us so that thousands more for generations to come can call this beautiful church their home.
On the first two Sundays of every month, we take up a special collection for our Preservation Fund. One hundred percent of the money that is collected for this fund goes to restore the church. You can see from our before and after pictures that we have done quite a bit over the last three years. We are now entering into another phase of restoration, which consists of the painting of the interior domes. These domes will be painted gold like the other two domes. Plaster continues to fall, so we need to move on this sooner rather than later. What can you do to contribute to this ongoing restoration?
Prayerfully ask yourself, "what can I generously give each month?" Then fill out one of the pledge cards with your commitment and place it in the basket in the back vestibule. Your contribution can be given in the Preservation Fund collection at Mass on the first or second Sunday of every month. Or you can also contribute online through GiveCentral. As I mentioned in a recent homily, let our restoration work here at the parish truly be a labor of love! As St. Mother Teresa once said, "I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, 'How much money did you make?' or 'How successful were you?' or 'How many good things have you done in your life?' Rather, He will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?'" As stewards of this church, may our generosity to restore this church be a labor of love for the Lord Jesus. Let us make sure this beautiful and vibrant parish is around for another 134 years so that everyone who comes to worship and adore the Living God in the Mass will continue to experience the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven: God's presence among us in Word and Sacrament.
Through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, I pray that your continued generosity will keep St. Mary of Perpetual Help a beacon of hope and salvation for generations to come. I am forever grateful for your generosity and for the ways God has blessed our parish. I am truly excited about the great things we plan to accomplish together for this parish community in the years to come.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas Aschenbrener
Here is a quick slideshow of some pictures of the interior dome from before this stage of our renovation ...
... and here is a slideshow of the progress we've made with your generosity thus far:
Normally, when we enter the church, we walk through it to admire the architecture, stained glass windows, and sanctuary. It's rare to find a church that offers a guide to explain the "what" and the "why." Consequently, most people miss out on the deeper meaning of what a church has to offer.
The goal of our parish's Pilgrimage of Prayer book is to help you appreciate what you see and help you come to a deeper understanding of why it is here. Our church is one of the most beautiful in Chicago, but without knowing and appreciating the meaning behind its beauty, we remain lost in the superficial reality of things. Churches are meant to draw us beyond this world into the heavenly reality; they are meant to teach us about the things of heaven and how to get there. Our hope is that this pilgrimage of prayer will deepen your understanding of things divine so as to enable you to grow in your love of God and neighbor.
The Pilgrimage of Prayer books are available for $20 each ($15 plus $5 shipping). Just make a $20 contribution through GiveCentral for each book you would like, then place your order with a message to Mona in our parish office. Include your address in your message, and Mona will verify your payment and ship you the book(s).
Beginning Sunday, Sept. 18, we will show Bishop Robert Barron's new Catholicism series, "Pivotal Players," before the 10:30 a.m. Mass. This multi-part film series illumines a handful of saints, artists, mystics, and scholars who not only shaped the life of the Church but changed the course of civilization.
Everyone is welcome to attend the viewing and discussion on Sunday mornings from 9 to 10:15 a.m. in the school commons. Coffee and pastries will be served. Check out the film's website for more information on the series.
There is a growing consternation among some Catholics that the Church, at least in her leadership, is living in the past. It seems there is no awareness that we are at war and that Catholics need to be summoned to sobriety, increasing separation from the wider culture, courageous witness and increasing martyrdom.
It is long past dark in our culture, but in most parishes and dioceses it is business as usual and there is anything but the sober alarm that is really necessary in times like these.
Scripture says, Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle (Psalm 144:1). Preparing people for war—a moral and spiritual war, not a shooting war—should include a clear setting forth of the errors of our time, and a clear and loving application of the truth to error and light to darkness.
Read the full article from the National Catholic Register.
What does being a Catholic mean? Is there a distinctively Catholic way of seeing things? What does the Catholic Church teach about the human condition—about our lives, our loves, and our destiny? In The Truth of Catholicism, best-selling author George Weigel explores these perennial questions through the prism of ten contemporary controversies.
The Catholic Church may be the most controversial institution in the world. Some find its teachings inexplicable, puzzling, even cruel. George Weigel suggests that we look at Catholicism and its controversies from "inside" the convictions that make those controversies not only possible, but necessary. The truths of Catholicism then come into clearer focus as affirmations and celebrations of human life and human love, even as they challenge us to imagine a daring future for humanity and for ourselves.
[Click to Read More]
Is Jesus uniquely the savior of the world? Does belief in God limit our freedom? What are we doing when we pray? Is the moral life about rules or about happiness? Doesn't suffering contradict the biblical claim that God is good? How does the Catholic Church think about other Christians and about other great world religions? Are Catholics safe for democracy? What will become of us? In an engaging, accessible style, George Weigel leads us through these and other questions into the truth of Catholicism: the truth about a God passionately in love with his creation, the truth about a love that creates a vast, liberating terrain on which to live a fully human life.
What is the Moms' Group?
The St. Mary of Perpetual Help Moms' Group is designed to support and encourage mothers raising Catholic families. Join us and meet other moms in our community for faith, fellowship, and fun! Please come as you are to our regular meetings, any time you can—children welcome!
The Moms' Group meets on the third Tuesday of the month. This is a great time to build relationships in the church community with other mothers and for your children to develop relationships with other children. It's also a great time to share your faith, pray together, and enjoy food and coffee, so feel free to bring something to share. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. and held in our new St. Mary Gathering Room located in the East Sacristy of the church. Feel free to bring a friend! If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Tess Barber, and check us out on facebook.
Gentlemen, are you interested in deepening your faith and helping the parish grow? If so, then the Knights of Columbus may be for you. The Knights are the largest Catholic Fraternal organization in the world that serve their parishes and communities through charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism. Our Council at St. Mary of Perpetual Help has started to form our own traditions based on the four core principles of the Knights. We have attended a White Sox game, helped at parish events such as the Parish picnic and started a once-a-month faith formation for men. We currently meet twice a month.
- The first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. as a normal business meeting. We meet in the school commons.
- On the second Thursday of each month we have our faith formation and social meeting, which any Catholic male is welcome to join. It begins at 6 p.m. with a meal followed by our faith formation at 7 p.m. These gatherings take place at the church office.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional right, in a long-awaited decision that will have sweeping and unpredictable consequences for U.S. jurisprudence, cultural norms and religious freedom. Catholic leaders, legal scholars and marriage experts reacted with dismay to the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases. But they also expressed resolve that the decision would not discourage their efforts to preach and teach the truth about marriage and to advance respect for the institution as a union of one man and one woman committed to the care and education of children.
“The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on marriage is not a surprise. The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today’s action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, in a statement marking the decision. “The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women and the truth of God’s word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision. Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that, from the beginning, marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman."
Here at St. Mary of Perpetual Help, we will be running a series of articles in the bulletin and on our website to help us better understand how this decision will impact the Church, families and society. The articles will also help us better educate ourselves on the true nature of marriage so that we can form our children and families according to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church.
See a full series of articles on marriage and the family.
Also, watch these excellent videos on the Authentic Meaning of Marriage and Family from the Humanum Series.
Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles started a website called Word on Fire in 2000, and over the years it has evolved from a simple way to share his weekly homilies to a place that attracts millions of visitors who can browse thousands of resources by topic, Biblical verse, Catechism paragraph, liturgical reference, and more. The site was recently redesigned, so check it out at WordOnFire.org. For a peek at some of the newest features, watch the video trailer below:
"Twenty-three years ago, under the pseudonym Catherine Maurice, a woman wrote a book about recovering her small daughter from autism. Still in print, the book is called Let Me Hear Your Voice, a quotation from the Song of Songs, God’s love song to humanity. In 1993 autism was not the byword it is today, and the author weaves into her story general information about the illness: its spectrum of symptoms and possible causes, the challenges of diagnosis, and the history of treatment, including treatments available at the time the book was written.
Very quickly, in her daughter’s case, Maurice stumbles upon what is still the gold standard for the treatment of infantile autism: an intensive course of behavioral therapy called applied behavioral analysis that was developed by psychologist O. Ivar Lovaas at UCLA in the 1970s. Following Lovaas’s protocols, employing part-time therapists but also giving herself wholeheartedly to the work, in a little over a year’s time she recovers her daughter to the point that she is indistinguishable from her peers."
Read the full article from First Things.
St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish has formed a Prayer Tree ministry. A prayer tree consists of a small group of people quietly praying behind the scenes for their fellow parishioners, their families and our community. They pray for successful surgeries, medical needs, misfortunes, physical and spiritual challenges and so much more. There are no meetings, no minutes and no reports. All are welcome.
Prayer by many people can work miracles—and the prayer tree is a great way to accomplish it. If you are interested in joining the Prayer Tree or are in need of prayers, please contact Lucie Weir at 773-908-6046 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prayers can also be written in our book of prayers located by the Marian Shrine.
A new Catholic Bible app called "Truth & Life," available for free for smartphones and other devices, brings the eternal words of the Bible to life with a radio-drama style audio presentation. The production features a forward by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The free version of the app includes the entire written text of the New Testament, made easily searchable, and a two-hour dramatized audio presentation of the Gospel of Mark. More audio is available for a fee.
Go to downloadjesus.com to try it out.