Adult Education & Faith Formation » Stay-at-Home Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic

Stay-at-Home Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic

Upcoming Spring Programs 2021
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The Foundations and Future of Ministry


A series of three evening programs for lectors, Eucharistic ministers, choir, and all parishioners interested in the liturgy, with Father Bob Hutmacher, OFM and Vicky Tufano


How do we understand the Church where we minister? How does scripture support our conceptions of ministry today? How might we view ministry in the future, particularly as we look forward to the end of the pandemic? As we begin a process of transformation through Renew My Church and think about new ways of being the Church, we consider the past, present, and future of ministry in service to God’s people. How can we best revitalize ministry today for the Church of tomorrow?


These three evening programs will be livestreamed and recordings will be available for all Oak Park parishes. The first session will review scriptural foundations for service to God’s people and will provide a broad understanding of ministry. The next two sessions will address the future of ministry and offer new, revitalized ways to view service in ministry.    


Presented on Thursdays, April 22, 29, and May 6, 2021:

  • Livestreamed online at 7:30 pm
  • In-person at Ascension Catholic Church


Registration is required. To register, please send an email to and put “Ministry Series” in the subject line. In the body of the email, put whether you would prefer to attend online or in-person, or if you have no preference. If you don’t indicate a preference, we assume you will attend online. Those attending online will receive an email before the first session with a link to the online livestream.     


Thursday, April 22 – Scriptural Foundations of Church and Ministry


Thursday, April 29 – Ministry in our Post-Covid Church


Thursday, May 6 – Revitalizing Liturgical Ministries


Father Bob Hutmacher, OFM, has been part of the Ascension community since 2012. He is a liturgist, composer, and guardian of the Franciscan community at St. Peter’s in the Loop.  Vicky Tufano previously served as pastoral associate and director of liturgy at Ascension.  She is a frequent writer and speaker on liturgy and Christian initiation. 


Jesus Before Christianity


For Lent this year we will be reading and discussing the book Jesus Before Christianity by Albert Nolan, O.P. led by Donna Ioppolo. Who was the historical Jesus and what can that person teach us about our lives in the 21st century? What choices did Jesus make in his life that led him to death in Jerusalem?


This portrait of Jesus introduces us to the man as he was before he became enshrined in doctrine, dogma, and ritual, a man deeply involved with the real problems of our time as well. As the author says, “Nothing about Jesus will be presupposed or assumed….My interest is in the man as he was before he became the object of Christian faith.”


Books are available in print or e-book format from Amazon and can be obtained at The Book Table in Oak Park. 


This series has been extended with an additional session on the Wednesday after Easter, and will continue on Wednesdays, March 10, March 24, and April 7 at 7:30 pm.    


Registration is required. To register, please send an email to and put “Lenten discussion” in the subject line. The sessions will be presented online over the Zoom platform.


This discussion program will be led by Donna Ioppolo, a member of the Parish Pastoral Council and the Lifelong Learning and Adult Faith Formation Committee. She is currently a student in the Seminars in Ignatian Formation and a Service Corps Member in the Ignatian Volunteer Corps serving at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep.


Reading & Discussing Spiritual Classics

We invite you to join us for book discussions on spiritual classics. To participate, just send an email to with the name of the book title in the subject line.  You’ll receive a return email before the discussion with a link for the Zoom meeting and further instructions.  Reading the book before the discussion is ideal, but feel free to join even if you haven’t finished it.  

The next Spiritual Classics book discussion will be on Tuesday, April 6 at 8:00 pm to discuss On Loving God by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This is the makeup session for the March discussion that was postponed. 

In On Loving God, St. Bernard surveys four types of love that Christians experience as they grow in their relationship with God: loving one’s self, selfish love, loving God as God, and loving one's self in God. St. Bernard reminds us that God gives us life and gives us himself, so we should love God because God calls us to love.

Bernard was Cistercian monk who founded 70 monasteries.  He taught that to know God we need to be devoted to him in poverty, simplicity, and solitude.  Bernard’s classic explains how we grow and develop in the perfect love of God which has come to us in Jesus Christ.

The work is available for free online at Christian Classics Library, Catholic Spiritual Direction, and Gutenberg Online.  Electronic and hard copies are also available at AmazonRegistration is required; to participate just send an email to with the name of the book title in the subject line.  You’ll receive a return email before the discussion with a link for the Zoom meeting

We have scheduled upcoming spiritual classics for future monthly discussions:

May 4, 2021:  The Holy Rule of Saint Benedict by St. Benedict

June 1, 2021:  Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

These Spiritual Classics discussions are led by Jeff Wood, a member of Ascension and chair of the Lifelong Learning and Adult Faith Formation Committee.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have read and discussed The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross, Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich, The Cloud of Unknowing, Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux, The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander, and The Way of the Pilgrim.