Thursday, September 24, 2009

A new take on an old Gospel

Last night at the Living Ignatian Evening Mass, Fr. Ken Simpson (pastor of St. Clement Church) gave a wonderful homily focusing on Luke's Gospel. In this Gospel, Jesus sends the Twelve out to proclaim the good news. He tells them to take nothing for the journey and to stay with those who welcome them and shake the dust off their feet as they leave the towns that reject them.

For many of us, this is a familiar story, one in which we take comfort in knowing that God will provide for whatever we need. But Fr. Ken gave us a different message to think about. When Jesus sent the Apostles out, he told them to "take nothing" with them. He then elaborates: "neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic." He is sending them out with absolutely nothing so that they must become beggars. These men who care for the needy must first become needy themselves and allow others to take care of them.

Most of us are willing to care for those in need, but how often are we willing to humble ourselves and let others take care of us?

-Lauren G

"Close Encounters: A skeptic discovers the spirit of community"

When Matt Stevens began a year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer, he dove in expecting to impact the lives of those he was serving. As the year progressed, he found himself transformed and humbled by the Holy Spirit working in the communities where he lived and worked. Click the link above to read about his experience in his article in America.

Matt Stevens is currently a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago.

-Mary Ellen M.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What do the Jesuits and Oprah have in common?

Whether you're an Oprah fan or not, you have to admit that it's pretty cool that she picked a Jesuit author for her latest Book Club book. Fr. Uwem Akpan, SJ wrote this series of 5 short stories each set in a different African country and tackling some of the most difficult topics from poverty to child slavery to genocide. Each story is written from a child's perspective.

Fr. Akpan is a Jesuit from the East Africa Province who also studied at Creighton University and Gonzaga University before returning to his home.

-Lauren G

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cleaning the shelter

On Saturday, a group of young adults from Charis and Old St. Pat's went to the Franciscan House of Mary and Joseph to help clean up the shelter. I've been there for a Service Day in the past, but the thing that always strikes me when I first walk in is the sheer number of beds that they have in a single room. Every night, nearly 170 men sleep in the transitional dorm and another 40 or so sleep in the room for the regulars. The women's dorm houses 37 each night.

During our time there, we swept and mopped each of the dorms, moving beds out of the way to give a thorough cleaning. The dorm that houses the regulars is for those who have a job or who are working with a case worker to improve their situation and eventually move into their own apartments. Everything that these people have is neatly on or under their beds. You can really tell what the guests value by what they choose to keep in this limited space.

One of the things that I learned on Saturday was that the Franciscan House turns more people away each night during the summer than in the winter. I assumed that the opposite would be the case, but the Franciscan House is one of the few year round shelters in the city. Most shelters are just open for the winter.

The Franciscan Outreach Association who runs the shelter is a wonderful ministry that provides many services for the homeless in our community. If you're looking for a way to get involved and serve Jesus through the least of our brothers and sisters, check out what they provide.

-Lauren G

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Continuing the dialogue

For those who were interested in the debate on whether President Obama should have been invited to speak and receive an honorary degree at Notre Dame, here is some follow-up from Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, CSC.

His letter references the welcome speech he gave before Obama spoke. Check his speech out on YouTube.

It's great to continue the discussion and look for ways that we can promote the dignity of life at all phases.
-Lauren G

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Catholic Open House: Success!

This Sunday, Charis joined with a number of young adult Catholic organizations in Chicago for our second annual Catholic Open House at the Ark Café. At the event, we teamed up with representatives from parishes, regional young adult ministries, university program and other social and volunteer organizations to discuss our programs with some of the many young adults that decided to stop by.

Coming back from a long hiatus, the Ark Café greeted a packed house of ministers, representatives and young adult Catholics looking to connect with different groups in Chicago and try the hors d’oeuvres. We had a great time meeting a ton of new people and hearing the enthusiasm so many people have for ours and other ministries.

We really want to thank all our sponsoring partners for the support they gave in putting on the event and for everyone who took the time to come and support our different ministries.

-Jesse K.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Reach out and touch faith..."

The Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House was the scene of The Jesus Retreat, a very deep and profound retreat experience led by Charis. Through witness talks, personal reflection and group reflection, a group of fifty four retreatants walked down the road of truth toward a more intimate relationship with Jesus.

When I reflect on my favorite moments throughout the weekend, I think of all the “ah-ha” moments in my mind. I journeyed through the weekend hearing women and men reveal their very personal and deep relationship with God through struggle and triumph; receiving the sacrament of reconciliation with Eucharistic adoration; participating in Lexio Devina; personal spiritual reading; walking the stations of the Cross; and the many great conversations. I walked away Sunday a more grounded person in the Lord.

As the band Depeche Mode had so eloquently bantered, “Your own Personal Jesus. Someone to hear your prayers, someone who cares. Someone who’s there…Reach out and touch Faith.” A very Personal Jesus was present and alive throughout this deeply spiritual weekend!

-Brian M.