All of Us – #185

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     Fr. Larry Lisowski Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish Catholic Church in Chicago

Faith, Service, and Knowledge

This Sunday marks the beginning of Catholic School’s Week for the Archdiocese of Chicago. We welcome many of our students and their parents to the 11:00 a.m. Mass as we celebrate and give thanks for the faith, service and knowledge that is encouraged and fostered through Catholic education. I have asked our students to wear their school uniforms this Sunday so that our parishioners could identify our school families. 

Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph School has grown into a financially self-sufficient, vibrant school with strong enrollment and expanded facilities. Our school is a thriving and academically excellent learning environment that has prepared our students to be successful young leaders at the most prestigious high schools in Chicago.  

Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph school continues to grow, increasing its enrollment and staff each year. Currently, there are 445 students enrolled for the 2016-2017 school year with over 60 faculty and staff members. It is recognized as a strong pillar of the Near North Community. 

Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph school is unique in many ways. Our school families represent over 25 different zip codes. 53% of our school families are registered at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish. 86% of our students are Catholic. Over $100,000 is allocated for tuition assistance for families with financial need. Over $500,000 is generated through various fund-raising activities; with the most notable event being Sparkle taking place in a few weeks. This helps to balance the school’s Operating Budget that is $5.1 million. The school is not dependent upon a subsidy from the parish.

The success of our school is rooted in the sacrifice and dedication made by the faculty, staff, families and parish. Great schools don’t fall out of the sky. They are created, supported and sustained by many who volunteer their time and talents. 

I am grateful for Katie Sullivan and Maria Hill, our co-principals, for their outstanding leadership and commitment to Catholic education. It is obvious that they pour their hearts and souls into helping our children learn and grow. 

If your family would like more information about our Parish School, you can visit the school website or call 312-944- 0304 and our staff would be happy to assist you. 

Come Holy Spirit Come

We welcome Bishop Frank Kane who will administer the sacrament of Confirmation to the 40 students enrolled in either our Religious Education Program or our School at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish. Also, joining our celebration are the Confirmation candidates from our neighboring parishes; 13 students from St. Teresa’s, and 5 students from St. Michael’s in Old Town.

We are proud of these fine young men and women; and their willingness to be disciples of Christ today. They have prepared well by taking time for prayer, service and learning about their faith. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit empower them to build the Kingdom of God. Please keep them in your prayers as they try to actively live out their faith, and give witness to Christ, in the world today. As we know, this is no easy task, and we certainly need the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us. 

Welcoming the Stranger

One of the corporal works of mercy is to welcome the stranger. This has been a hallmark of Pope Francis’ papacy from the start and also of our recent celebration of the Year of Mercy. 

In a message for the 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said: “Migrants trust that they will encounter acceptance, solidarity and help, they will meet people who will sympathize with distress and tragedy experienced by others, recognize the values and resources the latter have to offer, and are open to sharing humanly and materially with the needy and disadvantaged.”

The good news is that several of our parishioners have taken this challenge to heart. They have in the past few months organized a committee to work with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago in sponsoring a refugee family that will be coming to the United States. These families have been displaced by war, sectarian violence and economic hardship. During the month of February, our Refugee Committee will explain the details of the refugee program through bulletin articles, and a simple presentation at our Sunday Masses by a representative from Catholic Charities. (note: due to actions on immigration taken by the White House since this article was written, ICSJ's plans are on hold; Catholic Charities has issued this statement.)

The stories of the families that have been helped by Catholic Charities are amazing. They have come to our country with practically nothing to their name, and have been able to find a new start to their life. If you are interested in helping in this project, please contact Betty Woodward.

Forever Grateful

Our recent To Teach Who Christ Is capital campaign has been very successful. The financial graphic in today’s bulletin shows that we have surpassed our enhanced goal, and now we are in the process of collecting the funds to pay-off our $12 million debt, and provide resources for the future. It is wonderful to finally be free of this heavy burden that we have carried for many years. 

As a sign of appreciation to all our campaign donors, a memorial limestone brick will be installed in the courtyard that is adjacent to the school cafeteria at our Hill Street campus. Every donor will have the opportunity to create a personal inscription that will be engraved upon the brick. The memorial bricks are compliments of the parish.

Please call the office if you have not yet received this information directly through the mail. We want to make sure all our donors are recognized and appreciate for their generosity and support.

– Fr. Larry