THE HOLY TRINITY HUGS HER
Lent has begun. Many Holy Name parishioners and several other folks who work downtown, as one of their Lenten spiritual practices, attend daily Mass at the Cathedral. Mass is offered Monday through Friday at 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00am as well as at 12:10 & 5:15pm. On Saturdays, the daily Masses are said at 8:00am & 12:10pm. Strengthen your soul with the proclaimed Gospel; feed your soul with the Eucharist. Come to daily Mass during Lent at Holy Name Cathedral, where Chicago goes to pray.
During Lent, three extra hours of confessions are available each week. In addition to Saturdays (3:00-5:00pm; 6:15-7:15pm), a confessor will be in the Reconciliation Room on the lower level of the Cathedral from 4:30-5:30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays until Holy Week. Special Holy Week confession hours will be posted later. Will the sacrament be offered face-to-face or anonymously behind a screen? Both. How will I know that the confessor is in the room? If the red light on the wall is on, he is hearing someone else’s confession; wait in the hall. If the green light is on, walk in. What if it has been a long time since I last went to confession? I promise we will welcome you back. In preparation, pick up one of the small booklets outside the Reconciliation Room during the confessions hours. What if I forgot the Act of Contrition? Look it up on line and memorize it again. Until you get time to do that, know that the Act of Contrition is printed out on the wall of the confessional, next to the screen. Any other questions, see me. Otherwise, go to confession. You will be ready for Easter.
This weekend we pass a second basket after Communion for the benefit of CASA JESUS and BISHOP ABRAMOWICZ SEMINARY, our neighbors on the Cathedral campus at Chicago & Wabash. Each of those institutions is a formation house for young adult men, CASA open to natives of Latin America, ABRAMOWICZ to Polish-born, with all students entertaining interest in the Chicago diocesan priesthood. The men spend a year improving their English-language skills; learning the way-of-life in our Midwestern, urban environment; familiarizing themselves with the American Church; praying; and benefitting from the good examples of the priests assigned to the seminary full-time, Father Octavio Munoz and Father Jacek Wrona. CASA and ABRAMOWICZ came to the Cathedral in 2006, but they have both been productive pieces of the local seminary system for some time. The seminarians themselves will help with the collection, will serve most of the Masses, and will be available for you to meet them after Mass. I hope the Cathedral can raise a good amount of money for the seminaries. One of these men in the very near future might hear your confession, officiate at your wedding, preach your Sunday sermon, anoint your loved one, or pastor your parish. Please invest in the future of our local Church by contributing to BISHOP ABRAMOWICZ SEMINARY and CASA JESUS.
We missed an anniversary last week. March 1 marked the 8th year of Holy Name Cathedral’s sponsorship of the Thursday and Friday night suppers for 130 hungry people served at Catholic Charities in our neighborhood at LaSalle and Superior. Feeding the hungry is very basic Christian work. Our parish’s Human Concerns Commission organizes the volunteers, contacts area restaurants who provide the food, buys supplies, and makes our parish look very good. Let me thank all the HCC members who have been a part of that apostolate over the years, the other volunteers, the restaurants, the bakers, the benefactors who have given so generously over the years, those who have continued to work on the suppers even after their Commission term was over, those who started the mission, and associate pastor Father John Boivin, the staff liaison to the HCC, who has been dedicated to this corporal work of mercy. If you are interested information about the Thursday/Friday Suppers, contact Father Boivin at 312-787-8040.
Michael Fitzsimmons, a Holy Name Cathedral parishioner, died on March 12, 1932 – a week and a day after Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated President of the United States beginning the first of the record-setting 13 years FDR would hold that esteemed office. Before he retired in 1928, Michael Fitzsimmons held his noble and renowned office during the Presidencies of Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland (again), William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Over 40 years and 13 Presidencies, Msgr. Michael Fitzsimmons was pastor/rector of Holy Name Cathedral. Nine priests have held my job since our Cathedral opened its doors in 1875 (when U. S. Grant was President). Chronologically, Fitzsimmons was #3; I am #9. In years of service, however, Michael Fitzsimmons is #1 (17 years longer than #2, the beloved Bishop Timothy Lyne). I moved up this year to #5 with 12+ years and the meter running. Msgr. Fitzsimmons shepherded Holy Name through complicated capital projects; he was a respected priest, also serving the Archdiocese as Vicar General during Archbishop Quigley’s term and as Administrator of the Chicago Church in the months between Quigley and Archbishop (later Cardinal) Mundelein. He was the pastor of Holy Name who invited the BVM Sisters to care for the parish’s schools, a mission they continued for 102 years. (They will be remembered this summer when we renovate the courtyard.) At Msgr. Fitzsimmons’ funeral, was he eulogized as a builder? No. Was he remembered first as an Archdiocesan official? No. Was he first honored for his vision of children’s education? No. Msgr. Francis O’Brien, preaching the funeral homily, wrote the epitaph well. “As a pastor of souls, Msgr. Fitzsimmons did his work well.” No greater compliment can be paid to a priest. This Wednesday, the 82nd anniversary of his death, say a prayer for an important priest of our parish’s past, a pastor of souls, Msgr. Michael Fitzsimmons. He was one of us.
I still have one of my baby teeth. Now in its seventh decade, it shows no sign of going anywhere. Last weekend I remembered my baby tooth when a parish couple wheeled their little one in her stroller to say hello to me. I baptized Camille, and I offered the wedding Mass for her parents. Not yet two years old, Camille has a mouthful of baby teeth, and she shows them off with her frequent smile. Just about every Sunday, their family has a place at the same Mass. Carrying little children to Mass can really be a challenge. Attempting to bring a child so regularly is one of the inspiring ways Catholic parents hand on the value of our faith and its practice to their little ones; it is also an avenue to earn my admiration for the way they take seriously their title “first and best teachers in the ways of the faith” pronounced over them at the end of the baptismal ceremony. This year in the Archdiocese, the local Church has highlighted various ways that the faith is passed on. As if regularly bringing little Camille to Mass were not an obvious enough example, this tiny girl’s mom prompted her to show me another mark of faith Camille already has learned from dad and mom. Mom pronounced slowly, “In the Name of the Father…” as the girl’s right hand rose to her forehead. “And of the Son…” The hand dropped to her heart. “And of the Holy Spirit…” Camille sort of completed the gesture before she and I broke into applause. How many times will she make that Sign of the Cross in her lifetime? Already, she realizes that the Holy Trinity hugs her.
Msgr. Dan Mayall