Migrant Ministry Volunteer Sign Up

Migrants Showers Ministry
The Catholic Parishes of Oak Park have teamed up to provide an important service to our migrant sisters and brothers who are currently sleeping on the floor at the nearby District 15 Police Station in Chicago.   No showers are available for the migrants at the station.  The St. Catherine-St. Lucy Rectory is currently serving to fill this need.  On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, our guests walk over from the station – rides are available in inclement weather.  Volunteers report at 8:15 AM to monitor shower lines, provide and serve breakfast, play with children, unpack donations, and set out clothes and other items for our guests to select as needed.  Volunteers are also needed for set-up at 8:00 AM and to help with clean-up at about 10:30 AM.
Please use the link to volunteer.  Join us as we provide this moment of refreshment and some needed services!  Spanish language skills are welcome but not necessary.   Use the link below to sign up.  (You may need to click on the pen icon to fill in your name on the chart.  If this is your first time volunteering, please write your email below your name).
Many thanks!

The Holy See has declared today, Sept 24, 2023, is the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) with the theme “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.”  Every year since 1914 the Catholic Church honors the lives of those who had to flee their homes because of poverty, fear, or desperation.  In his message on behalf of the WDMR, Pope Francis asks us "to see in the migrant not simply a brother or sister in difficulty, but Christ himself, who knocks at our door.” Acknowledging the “complex challenges” in addressing migrant needs, the Holy Father summarizes our response in four words: welcome, protect, promote, and integrate.  
Right now in Chicago we are experiencing a migrant crisis and the Catholic Community of Oak Park is working to welcome our brother and sisters migrants with food, clothing, bedding, showers, and other immediate care responses. Their protection, promotion, and integration take a longer and more systemic response, but we can do it. The Village of Oak Park will be seeking a $7.5 M grant to fund a joint public and private effort to resettle and integrate asylum-seekers into our community.  Keep yourselves informed about this effort by reading our local newspapers and following the actions of our President and Board of Trustees. https://www.oak-park.us/your-government/elected-officials.
Let’s think of how we can, as the Catholic Community of Oak Park, be part of this effort. Let’s match the courage and determination of our migrants with the opportunities they need.  For more information about other ways to help in this ministry, contact Celine Woznica and Margie Rudnik at [email protected]
The Catholic Parishes of Oak Park’s migrant ministry continues on a variety of levels, from meeting the immediate needs of the migrants sleeping on the floor of the District 15 police station to helping resettle migrants into their own apartments and advocating for a broader, community-wide response to this humanitarian crisis. 
It’s getting colder and there have been days of constant rain. We are grateful for the many donations we have received of warm bedding, pillows, winter clothes and shoes. Financial donations have helped deal with our high water bill resulting from the migrants taking showers at the St. Catherine-St. Lucy rectory. The funds also help cover the costs of setting up the apartments for the families we are helping to resettle. Volunteers are always welcome for Shower Day and to help bring meals to the migrants at the station.
Our efforts are commendable but not sustainable, and the migrants cannot continue living on the floor of the police station when winter sets in. For that reason, we are advocating that the Village of Oak Park apply for state funds to partner with local institutions, nonprofits, businesses, and faith centers to be truly welcoming Sanctuary City.  Village leadership seems interested. This could be our moment! We can be a national model for welcoming our asylum-seeking brothers and sisters just as we were in the 1960s promoting Fair Housing and racial integration. We have done it before and we can do it again!

Talk it up among your neighbors and friends. We can do this!
For more information, contact Celine Woznica and Margie Rudnik at [email protected]
Monetary donations are most welcome to support the various migrant ministries. Please send donations to St Catherine-St Lucy and St Giles Parish, 1025 Columbian Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302. Include a note that the donation is for the “Migrant Fund.”