Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living Ignatian Series Lives Online!

Many of you are already familiar with our Living Ignation Series. To follow St. Ignatius' instruction to "find God in all things" we've offered service events, speaker presenations and worship opportunities.

Did you happen to miss Claire Noonan in October or Mike Hayes in February? Well, now you can catch up by enjoying these podcasts.

Finding God in the Every Day: Claire Noonan
Click to listen >>> Part I & Part II
Claire Noonan of the Siena Center of Dominican University talks about finding God in our every day experiences, and leads us through an Examen. Her talk is posted on, a new online resource for spiritual media, in two parts. We're excited to be a part of this new online Catholic community!

Finding God in the Crossroads: Mike Hayes
Click to listen >>> Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8 / Part 9
Ok, so Mike Hayes of split up his talk into MANY different parts. But it's video! The talk is posted on good ol' fashioned YouTube.

Let us know what you think! Email us with your opinions of the talks themselves and the podcasts.

Don't miss our next speaker, Fr. Pat McGrath, SJ, as he talks about Finding God in the Hard Questions on April 23.

-Lauren B.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Part of a Larger Piece

I had a chance to catch up with our friends in Pontotoc, Mississippi the other day. Quite a lot has been going on since we left in July! Despite the hard times, Habitat for Humanity has stopped work at all.

When our group departed in last July, we were pretty proud of the fact that we framed the whole house, put up walls and put together the roof. But our work was only one piece of the puzzle. Thanks to the staff and many other volunteers, the skeleton of a house was completed in just last month. The new home is complete with cabinets, painted walls, windows, the whole nine yards - all sorts of things that many people worked hard to finish.

We were lucky enough to meet the Chaperno family before we left Pontotoc, and we're delighted to see and hear about the house dedication ceremony. So much work, so many people, so much time - and Habitat for Humanity keeps on doing it.

If you'd like to have this kind of experience this summer, find out how to sign up for the 2009 Pontotoc Service Trip.

I think you'll find that it's wonderfully overwhelming to be part of something larger than yourself.

-Lauren B.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A morning in Humboldt Park

On Saturday morning, a group of young adults from Charis Ministries and Old St. Pat's braved the rain to help out at the mobile food pantry at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. We started by serving breakfast to the neighbors and chatting with them while they ate. Then the truck arrived from the Greater Chicago Food Depository and we were able to sort through the food and then help the neighbors select their produce and pack it up to take home.

There were so many volunteers from different organizations that over 200 people had breakfast and picked up their food in less than two hours. After we were done, Fr. Bob Lombardo, CFR, the founder of the Mission, gave us a tour of Kelly Hall and described all the programs they offer to the neighbors. They provide everything from basketball programs to after school tutoring to a workout facility for the elderly. As one 27 year resident of the neighborhood put it, "the Mission is restoring hope to a neighborhood that has been through a lot."

It is truly amazing to see what has been done in just a few short years through the partnerships between the Mission, different organizations, and the neighbors. Go to the website to check out the programs and volunteer opportunities they have available and join us for our next Service Day!

-Lauren G

Monday, March 9, 2009

Were You There ... ?

Many of us commenced our Lenten journey on Saturday at the Catholic Theological Union during Charis Ministries’ annual Lenten Day of Reflection. Fr. Joseph Brown, SJ, expert theologian specializing in African-American spirituality, history, and culture, guided us through a day of challenging and consoling grace. Paralleling the suffering of Christ to that of slavery in this country, Fr. Brown’s spirited and animated presentations challenged us to answer the Gospel’s call to work for justice in a country and world riddled with discrimination, inequality, and suffering.

The day was centered around powerful live-performances of African American spirituals, ranging from a moving solo of “Motherless Child” to an upbeat version “This Little Light of Mine." Fr. Brown reflected that these spirituals characterize the dignity and faith upheld by the slaves, despite the cruel oppression and abuse to which they were subjected. The music and reflections encouraged us to be moved and humbled by this dignity as we are by the dignity of Christ’s life, suffering, and death.

As Fr. Brown reminded us, Jesus’ persecution and sacrifice resulted from his commitment to overturning the social order and liberating the oppressed. Lent calls us to bear witness to the love and commitment to social justice personified in Jesus’ life, suffering, and death. May this witness move us to recognize our responsibility to follow Christ’s example of liberating the oppressed and marginalized in our world today in the hope of creating the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

Many thanks to Fr. Brown, the awe-inspiring musicians, and our co-hosts Catholics on Call and The Tolton Scholars Program, without whom the day would not have been possible!

-Mary Ellen M.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Charis Ministries Cross-Listed

Isn't technology wonderful?

On February 19th our friend and buddy Mike Hayes from joined us as the next speaker in our Living Ignatian Series. In fact, Mike is so talented that he posted a portion of his talk on his blog, Googling God. Take a peek.

"Finding God in the Crossroads" is how we titled Mike's talk. Where is God when we face decisions? How can we hear where God is leading us? Can we be honest with ourselves about what drives us, what we're capable of, and where we're willing to go? Mike walked us through the path he ended up on that led to BustedHalo, along with all the successes and pitfalls. We hope to get all of Mike's presentation available to you, and we'll let you know how that goes. (This presentation one again confirmed that my personal calling does NOT involve being good with technology.)

That may be trite, but little bits of knowledge about ourselves can lead to great things - and as the Jesuits will tell you, for the greater glory of God!

- Lauren B.