DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD,

What a Great Weekend!

It’s Parish Picnic Weekend, and we welcome Bishop Alberto Rojas, the Episcopal Vicar of our area, to be the Presider at our 10:00 AM Mass. He will join us as we enjoy our Picnic Lunch together after Mass. Please join us for the Mass and Picnic even if you worshipped with us at another Mass. Parish Picnics have been a tradition here for many, many years. My mother used to tell me about them with great joy; she used to attend them as a little girl (she would be 109 this year.) The actual original picnic site was where we have our picnic now on the grassy slope near our present Church. When I was a child the women of the parish would prepare and serve ham dinners on the picnic day. There was a large garage that was transformed into a beer tent on that day each August. A car raffle would be the highpoint of the day. In the late afternoon we would go home to do our chores and feed the animals, and then come back to continue partying.

Also on this day we are celebrating the Music Ministry leadership of Bernie Oberdick over the past 27 years. She will be conducting the choir who will be leading us in worship at our Picnic Mass today. This week she will begin her well deserved retirement from the position of Liturgical Music Director of St. Patrick Parish. But her retirement does not mean that her connection with us will terminate. As a parishioner, Bernie will be involved at St. Pat’s, especially in the ministry of our Light of the World Retreats which is very close to her heart.

When I first accepted this pastoral appointment from Cardinal Cupich, Bernie was the first staff person that I met with (over a delightful breakfast). Because music is so important to me personally and is such an important part of my spiritual life, I was delighted that she was the Music Director here. That sentiment continues to this day. This parish’s liturgical life is so wonderful here that I so look forward to presiding at worship each weekend; music certainly makes our liturgy the source and summit of our very existence and purpose as God’s people.

After interviewing possible Music Director applicants I have not found a person for that position who would be a good fit. I will continue to look. In the interim, I will be utilizing the musical skills of persons already involved in our Music Ministry here. I have asked Judy Zimmer, Dale Janetka and Lee Noren to collaborate with me in planning and executing our liturgical Music program as we enter a new program year. They are talented musicians whom I highly respect and love to work with. All our various music groups will be continuing to lead us in worship each week. I invite you to consider being a part of our music program especially as a choir member and cantor if that is your special calling; your presence and talent will be especially welcomed. How wise it was of St. Augustine to instruct us that, “To sing is to pray twice.”

What else is happening?

During the past weeks several projects have been progressing. They are as follows:

1. The elevator/lift in the Historic Church has been replaced. We now have a new elevator that will serve us well for many years to come. This will enable us to make better use of both the Church and Fr. Slattery Hall.

2. Our Parish School opened for another school year in the past week. The School’s Ministry among us provides academic excellence and faith formation for our many children who attend. The profit from our summer rummage sale enabled us to initiate a new reading curriculum.

3. The roof on the original school building has been replaced. That part of the school has served us well since the school was opened in 1956 (when I was a student here in the sixth grade.)

4. Our Church renovation committee has met twice to begin to plan for needed renovations/replacements in our Main Church which has been such a beautiful setting as a worship space for us since 1991. For 28 years we have been privileged to celebrate the Eucharist here on both weekends and weekdays. We replaced the Church roof last summer. And now other parts of the building need to be replaced or maintained for the future.

5. In September we will be highlighting the various Ministries that are active at St. Pat’s. For three weekends we will all have a chance to learn about them and become involved in them.

6. I have interviewed and hired a person for the staff position of Director of Faith Formation. This position has been vacant since before I came here. I will be introducing that person to you in the near future. Faith Formation at all levels is at the heart of what it means to live out our baptismal commitment to be a dedicated follower and servant of the Lord.

As a new program year begins for us, are you ready to enter fully into a new time of prayer, to worship and serve as the People of God at St. Pat’s?

Fr. Merold