Musings (and often updates) from Mary Catherine


 As you read this, I will be readying my mind for (finally!) having my full right knee replacement.  Thanks to all who have wished me well and promised prayers.  Recovery time will be essential with follow-up physical therapy appointments and all that entails and I expect the first week will be the toughest.  But then I will begin my remote work with email and phone calls and zoom meetings, a few days at first and then gradually increasing.  And while I am recovering, I have a project in mind that involves you: our amazing, faithful parishioners of Ascension and St. Edmund parish.  I hope that you will feel called to support it!
Many years ago after I had been the Pastoral Associate of St. Giles parish for a few years, I began a Lenten project called “Path to Prayer.”  It was a day-by-day booklet for the season of Lent and the Octave of Easter written by parishioners and some Staff members.  This book was not meant to be a commentary on the Scripture, but rather was a commentary on the intersection of the Scripture with an individual’s faith life.  A telling of a story that took place in the ordinary day-to-day experiences when one might have an “aha” moment of connecting a story or phrase from Scripture with an encounter or experience of the divine.  It was meant to develop community by helping our parishioners get to know other members of the community and to connect more deeply with the Body of Christ through story.  It brought together all the members of St. Giles which included Galewood and Oak Park folks, “Big Church” and the Family Mass Community, school families and religious education families.  A separateness had begun to creep into the whole of St. Giles Parish and this seemed like one way to help us get to know one another better and to celebrate our faith experiences on this sacred journey of Lent.  We were fortunate to have a printer/publisher in the parish who, after I collected all the 54 individual reflections and edited them as necessary, I passed them on to Ed Garvey who created the booklet and delivered them the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  This project continued for the 5 remaining years I was there and Sr. Luanne Wilhelm, SLW, continued it through to its 15th anniversary.  Because of its success, I repeated the endeavor at Our Lady of Victory and again at St. Michael in Old Town.  By the time I was at St. Michael in Old Town, however, it was no longer the physical printed word, but each day we sent out the reflection of the day to email addresses so folks could start their day, stop in the middle of their day, or reflect before bed on how the Scripture had affected a fellow parishioner and increased their faith which leads to an increase in the faith of us all.  And pray by name for that person, a fellow pilgrim on a path of prayer.
It is a work of love, for sure, but I will have the time to do it and it can easily be done remotely.  What I need are volunteers.  Don’t be shy!  On occasion I’ve ended up helping with the writing as people told me their story; they didn’t think they could put it down on paper and their stories were so beautiful, it would have been a shame to miss them!  It’s their words; I’m just the secretary.
Please volunteer for this beautiful project to help us get to know one another through our stories of how we are affected by and responsive to Scripture; where we embrace our discipleship in the everyday realities of our encounters.  Some stories that people write are from years ago as the Holy Spirit allows the Scripture of the day to evoke a memory of challenge or pain or healing or joy. Some stories are as recent as yesterday.  But all reflect FAITH.   This is a call to all parishioners of our newly merged parish.  If you are willing to participate, please send me an email: [email protected]  I will then send you the Scripture for one of the days of Lent/Easter along with an example of someone else’s writing and a suggested format.  It can be challenging writing during Advent/Christmas season for Lent/Easter, but I have faith you can do it!  And if I am short writers, you know I’m not shy about asking you personally.
Please keep me in prayer this week and I will do the same for you.
Mary Catherine