By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
Ernie Banks played shortstop and first base for the Chicago Cubs. He was a Hall of Fame baseball player and a Hall of Fame individual.
Ernie always remembered the way his father worked and sacrificed to give him a chance to play baseball. Every day his father left the house before dawn and got home after dark. He worked so many hours, he hardly ever saw sunlight. When Ernie signed his first contract with the Cubs, he sent a three-word telegram to his dad; “We did it!”
“We did it!” Yes, we worked many hours to prepare “The Theology Residence” for the arrival of the seminarians. The list of volunteers goes on and on. The contractors did their work – painting, plumbing, electrical, plastering, carpentry, carpet and tile. Many people in the parish participated by making generous donations toward the furnishing of the rooms. We purchased all new furnishings – sheets, towels, blankets, comforters, etc.
Now we are ready for a final ‘clean up.’ On Thursday, July 27th we will have our work day. We want to make each room as attractive as we can, just like they do at the Marriott. Whether you have signed up or not, you are welcome to help us on the 27th.
Then, over the weekend of July 29-30, we will have open house.. Some of the people who have volunteered said that they never saw the inside of the house. After each Mass on the 29th and 30th folks are welcome to see what the back rooms look like, or what kind of rooms are on the second floor. Everyone who helped furnish a room with donations will be able to see how their contributions were used.
Congratulations to all who helped. Now, let’s welcome the seminarians.
Now, let’s take a look at what will be happening next spring. Surely we have all heard the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign. The Campaign is being called: !Andale! Many of us probably used that word to tell someone to “hurry up.” The Campaign is translating the word to ‘On the Way.’ We are ‘on the way’ to become a growing Archdiocese that cares about people, that reaches out to the marginalized, that is present to the young people on college campuses, that helps the disabled, and is preparing for the rapid growth of the populations. New parishes will be opened. Older parishes will be updated. Our goal for the campaign is 60 million.
The parishes in the Archdiocese have been divided into four groupings. These groupings are called ‘Waves.’ Rather than having every parish in the Archdiocese conduct their capital campaign at the same time, we are divided into four different time periods. The Pilot Wave is currently having their campaign. Then follows the first wave, followed by the second wave and finally the third wave. We at St. Gerard are listed in the second wave. We will conduct our campaign next spring.
There are many fascinating aspects to this campaign. First of all, we must be aware that the last capital campaign the Archdiocese conducted was 60 years ago. The Steier Group consultants from Omaha Nebraska will assist each parish in conducting the campaign. the Group will help each parish with the planning, printing and implementation. All the mailings will come from the Archdiocese. A portion of the money raised will go directly to the parish. If the parish has a construction project planned or in progress, 30 to 40 percent of the money raised will be returned to the parish.
St. Gerard will have a construction project. With the seminarians occupying “The Theology House,” we had to find space for our parish activities – meetings, Parish Faith Formation classes and social activities. We will be dividing the large classrooms in school to accommodate the smaller religious formation classes on Sunday morning. Getting into the school and going from floor to floor requires going up and down steps. We will be looking into the construction of an elevator so that the elderly and the disabled can get to the classrooms without climbing up steps.
There are two ways in which I want to prepare for this campaign. First of all – prayer. We will be including the campaign in our prayers at Mass. Secondly, information. I will try to keep you well informed every step of the way.
On June 26th the pilot wave was seven weeks into the campaign. At that time they have raised $12,385,583.
As we look ahead, let our minds, hearts and souls be filled with hope: Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst. Hope opens doors where despair closes them. Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot. Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of human nature. Hope regards problems small or large, as opportunities. Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism. Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks. Hope pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit. Hope puts up with modest gains, realizing that ‘the longest journey starts with one step.’ Hope accepts misunderstandings as the price for serving the greater good of others. Hope is a good loser because it has the divine assurance of final victory.
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.