A Sunday Whim and St. Teresa of Avila, Chicago

Last night when I was trying to sleep, I thought about where I have an opportunity to explore in my life, and I realized it’s within my faith. Right now, I have Sundays off. I know I’m Catholic– that’s not changing.

Truthfully, if I could do anything I’d be a missionary. But to do that you need a lot of freedom. You need to have the money and the health. I’m not there yet. But it’s a good motivator.

But I don’t have to limit myself to my current parish.

As much as I enjoy bringing Holy Communion to the family I bring it to, it limits me.

I’m grateful for this family, because they brought me deeper into my faith. They made me commit to Mass, because I had someone else counting on me. But It’s also hard because Mass has become goal-oriented for me. It’s about making sure I remember to bring my pix and get the hosts, so that I won’t let them down.

And not every parish will give Holy Communion to a stranger with a pix– some priests need to know who you are and what your intentions are. I’ve been denied for that reason. Once I explained after Mass, he took me inside and did give me the hosts.

Lately I’m feeling restless in this parish. Not as connected as I was in the beginning.

I realized that I want to see some other parishes. Other liberal Catholic parishes that celebrate diversity.

In this town, Joliet, there are plenty of Catholic parishes. You can find a Mass all day long. But they’re mostly the same. Conservative. Mostly white parishioners who are upper-middle class, well-dressed, mostly families.

And I’m always looking for more Catholic friends. I’d like to meet some more people my age. I’d like to explore Chicago!

I realized too late that I hadn’t brought my pix when I got on the road. I almost turned around and resigned myself to the 7 p.m. Mass at a local church.

But I needed to see a new side of the Catholic church– for my own faith. There’s so much bad press out there. I had made this promise to myself last night, and I wanted to honor that.

Hopefully I can make the 9 a.m. Mass at my local parish, usually held in the rectory, so I can bring Holy Communion as scheduled tomorrow. But I’m not sure that Mass will be held as scheduled, since a few times I’ve showed up and waited and no one’s answered the door. The schedule isn’t rock solid.

Tonight I went to the 6 p.m. Mass of St. Teresa of Avila in Chicago. And I loved it!

It was under construction, and they met in the parish hall. Which is ORANGE inside!! I liked the bulletins and the heavy read Gather missal books, arranged on a shelf. I walked around taking pictures of the art, details I liked, and the building, because I just got a new camera app for my iPhone and I’m photographing everything. I think because of that, people noticed me. A few parishioners approached me and all were very nice. I asked if it was okay that I park in the parking lot– there was a sign about towing. Twice, I’ve had bad experiences with being towed in Chicago! They assured me it was legal and thankfully, my car was still there afterward.

Sister Sandra Ann Silva spoke about her missionary work, and her voice was gentle. She had a quiet, smiling manner. She talked about the harsh conditions these families live under–without shaming. She was seated near me, and her presence reminded me of the nuns I grew up around, the Sisters of St. Joseph.

It was more like being in a Non-Denominational church, because everyone sat in folding chairs. After the Mass, everyone quickly picked up their chairs and put them away. It was the fastest Nicene Creed ever! I couldn’t even remember it fast enough to keep up, so just prayed silently most of it. I really liked that Fr. Frank has his own blog. There were copies of a Catholic magazine, Extension, freely available. There was a good mix of people– families, singles, different ages and racially diverse. I perused the plans for the new church being built, and it looks wonderful. It’s designed around being transparent, so people on the street can see inside. Big windows.

I asked Fr. Frank why St. Teresa was their chosen patron– he said because the original church broke ground on her Feast Day.

Fr. Frank is leaving tomorrow to participate in the Catamino De Santiago. A blogging priest. That’s pretty rad. Check out his blog here! http://frfrankscamino.com/, and his previous blog, at http://www.frfrankscamino.blogspot.com/. I just followed his newest! Also, he’s short. I like short people.

He had brought the backpack he’ll be wearing. I took a picture of him in it, and told him I’m a blogger, too! I told him my address and he said,

“Are you unrelenting?” I laughed and confirmed so. He said when he gets back, he’d follow my blog. It was amazing to feel connected to a priest because we both have a blog about our faith. Mine was started during Lent in 2011, and is still going!

So I am unrelenting. An unrelenting Catholic and an unrelenting blogger.

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2 comments on “A Sunday Whim and St. Teresa of Avila, Chicago

  1. Thank you for visiting our parish. We are very proud to put our faith into action and welcome everyone to worship with us. Sister Sandra’s visit was a wonderful experience for us and we hope to support her mission serving the poor. Peace. Tom Kinsella

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