Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

Two weekends ago we published the letter of Cardinal Cupich regarding his five-fold suggestions for responding positively to the disheartening results of violence that we often hear of in the news and on other social media. We are aware that the consistent repetition of crime and violence not only devaluates life per se, but it also takes away from us a sense of unity that makes us appreciate more the beauty of life. In response to the Cardinal’s invitation, our parish will conduct a Prayer Rally for Peace on the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord (on Friday, August 6th). The main intention of this Prayer Rally is to raise the consciousness of our Rogers Park neighborhood that peaceful living is God’s gift which is primarily channeled through our choice to promote non-violence.

This concept of peace is not simply an absence of war or perhaps having a quiet neighborhood where conflict among neighbors does not exist. Being at peace is not simply the absence of noisy vehicles, of a siren blaring from an emergency truck or of loud music from a neighbor’s party. Being at peace is a state of being where one’s heart and mind is united with others for a single purpose of aiming for the common good. We are often unaware that we can also be violent in dealing with one another even though we don’t use any kind of weapon to physically harm someone or take their life. It is a very common reality that in our conversations with others—such as a co-worker, a next-door neighbor or even among the members of our own families—that we use words that are hurtful and demeaning of another person. Love of God is manifested in genuine Christian love of neighbor.

Violence has so many forms and facets which clandestinely appear whenever our ego is challenged. It is during those situations where we need to be more aware of whether our reactions to someone’s behavior generates non-violence. The sad reality of neighborhood shootings, robberies, assaults, use of illegal drugs and the like, are rooted from a deep-seated disorientation of life’s meaning and purpose. To stop violence, one should have an encounter with himself or herself that is conscious of a life purpose aimed at living the Gospel values for the common good.

The Prayer Rally that our parish is organizing is supposed to instill a question that can generate an inspiring answer to us and our neighbors so that each may promote peaceful living. The joint participation of the 24th District Police Department, the 49th Ward Office and Saint Jerome Parish is an initiative that may hopefully bring our community a sense of unity and concern for each other as children of One Creator.

Please consider being a part of this initiative. Make your signs and call others’ attention to promote Peace, Justice and Non-Violence at this Rally. We will start to gather in front of the church at 6:00pm. As soon as the 5:30pm Mass is over, we will march along Clark Street going south to Pratt Avenue and then proceed eastward to up to Farwell Pier by the Lakefront. We will invoke the Lord as we pray for peace and non-violence. I encourage you to also bring your children who are already at the age of reason so that they, too, may be a part of this Rally for Peace.

In the end, I would like to thank you for your constant support and collaboration with our parish life. The choir group who sponsored the Food Sale last weekend did a wonderful job in pulling the event together. The Kermes Committee continues to plan for the upcoming Kermes Festival on August 13th, 14th and 15th. Please make sure to turn in your sold Raffle Tickets this coming week and try to finish the sales as soon as possible in order that we may meet our urgent fundraising goal for the creation of the parish park.  Rest assured that your generosity will always be known by God who blesses us always with an abundance of His grace and protection.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,