Latest Pastor’s Messages
UPDATES DURING THE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS
UPDATE AS OF APRIL 6, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Rita Parish,
Holy Week has arrived, yet this is a unique Holy Week in our lives. Reflecting a little on what we are living and how we will live our most important week, the most holy week of the year, I wonder whether the first disciples were just as afraid as we are, after Jesus ascended into heaven and left them “seemingly” alone.
Christians between the years 33 and 313 AD were persecuted and considered as enemies of the Roman Empire, the same empire under which Jesus died. Christians of the early centuries of the Church were constantly living in fear, because they were persecuted, imprisoned and martyred. However, even with fear they gathered to celebrate Easter, the Eucharist and loved each other so much that people said “look at those Christians, see how they love one another.”
Today, thank God, in most of our American continent, we are no longer being persecuted and we can practice our faith freely. However, this year we cannot gather, because of an enemy who sets a trap for humanity and we are condemned to the disease and death of the present, COVID-19. But even so, we have faith, and we can celebrate that Christ LIVES in the midst of us, and that he has left us his Holy Spirit, the Spirit that helps us to not be afraid, because we know that he is with us “every day until the end of the world.”
Now it is up to us to celebrate as a true family, at home, without going out to the street and without gathering in the Church during Holy Week. We have made much progress since the Christians were persecuted in the 4th century – now we have the fortune to have Facebook, Internet, websites, etc., where even in the distance we can see and celebrate the Eucharist and other acts of piety together. Now, it is also the time to remember that we are all priests consecrated in our Baptism. Now, in this Holy Week, it is up to you as head of the family to preside over the celebration of Easter.
In these Holy days we can celebrate Holy Week together in the distance, from our homes, with some particular actions:
- On Holy Thursday, I invite every head of family – father, mother, uncle, aunt, grandmother, grandfather, etc. – to read the passage of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, sit at the table and the head of the family bless the table and the bread, tortillas, and food.
- On Good Friday, let us pray, the Stations of the Cross, abstain from excessive noise and meditate on the Passion of Jesus.
- On Holy Saturday afternoon, let us turn off the lights of our house and keep a candle lit while we pray and see how the light of the candle illuminates the house, just as Christ illuminates our lives.
- On Easter Sunday, let us rejoice and put a white flag in our houses in a sign of hope, knowing after death follows life. This will be the sign of knowing that after this quarantine the life of Christ that is in us will continue with much more joy.
Brothers and sisters, let us have the firm faith that Christ accompanies us in our fears and anxieties, let us trust that he heals our lives. Remember that after death there is always life. The darkness of disease and epidemic will never defeat the Life, Christ himself who is our hope.
Christ lives and together with him we will also live without fear and in peace.
Your brother in the Resurrected Christ,
Fr. Homero Sánchez, OSA
Pastor of St. Rita
We know that these are difficult times for everyone and that money is scarce in many families in our community, especially for those who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to the pandemic. We are at your service to accompany and guide you looking for accessible resources to alleviate this extreme situation. Do not hesitate to call us. We will assist you with all the information at our disposal.
Firstly, I want to thank those of you who have signed up and given electronically during these past weeks or have been mailing in your envelopes. To the best of what you are able, I ask that you help us with your little bit that will allow us to continue serving the parish community during this difficult time. CLICK HERE to donate electronically through Give Central. It is safe and secure to use it. You can create a profile, or donate as a “guest.” Further, you can donate one time or sign up to donate automatically every week. Opportunities to donate for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, all the other regular collections can also be found on the Give Central page. Or, if you prefer, you can mail your collection envelope with a check or with this PDF Form to the rectory (Do not mail cash).
Thank you for your continued generosity. Please be assured that we will continue to pray for you and your families. Join us in our Masses, prayers and other resources through Facebook and on this website page. You can send us your mass intentions online also. Just because we need to practice “social distancing” does not mean we are isolated from each other. Please reach out to us. We are here for you.
God bless you!
Fr. Homero Sánchez, OSA
Pastor of St. Rita
UPDATE AS OF APRIL 2, 2020
Dear Parents of Religious Education and all Parishioners:
I hope that in the midst of so much anxiety, the peace of knowing that Christ is with us is a comfort and support. Remember that in the midst of so much chaos and change of routine, that you are the first educators of your sons’ and daughters’ faith.
I recommend that within this religious education that you can offer from your homes, you become accustomed to continuing to participate in the Mass, either through this website or our Facebook page every Sunday at 10 am in English and at 12 pm in Spanish.
Also remember that we are still working spiritually for each of you. Please pay close attention because the date for the First Communions has changed to Saturday, June 13, 2020. Again, the First Communions will be Saturday, June 13, at 9 am.
For the moment, Confirmations remain on the same date scheduled – Saturday, May 2, at 3 pm. If there is any change on the part of the bishop we will let you know, as soon as we know something. It is very difficult at this time to know what will happen in a month, but we will confirm with you as soon as the Archbishop of Chicago allows us to open the church.
Remember that St. Rita is the “advocate of impossible cases.” Please continue to pray that through her intercession this pandemic will end soon.
Remember also that Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday. We have adorned the church with palms on the railings. If you want to come to take one, you can do so on Sunday after 8 am, remembering to maintain social distancing when you are here.
God is with us at every moment in our lives. Let us not lose hope and stand firm in faith.
Fr. Homero Sánchez, OSA
Pastor of St. Rita
UPDATE AS OF MARCH 27, 2020
We all know how difficult and complicated a situation we are all living through right now. Many of you may no longer be working or receiving an income. We are also isolated in our homes, which goes against our very nature as social beings. We need to maintain some connection with one another and social media is one way the parish will continue to do so.
We will continue to broadcast private Masses celebrated by our priests on Sundays at 10am in English and 12pm in Spanish. You may view these Masses live on this website homepage or our Facebook page. They will remain online to also view during the week. If you would like any prayer requests for these Masses, please submit them BY CLICKING HERE no later than the Friday before the Mass.
Besides the Sunday Mass, Deacon Oscar is also doing Facebook live bible study and reflections in Spanish every day at 12pm.
We will also have many other announcements and resources there every day. Please “like” the parish Facebook page if you have not yet.
Finally, if you currently do not receive our weekly newsletter, we urge you to please sign up HERE and provide your name and email address so that we can send out notices to you with information.
For any important business or emergency, you may still call the office at 773-434-9600 and leave a message. We have the capability to listen to our messages while we are away from the office. You may also email us at email@example.com for any other needs or questions and one of us will return your message as soon as possible.
We pray that things will be able to return to normal soon. It will indeed be very sad to not celebrate the holiest and most important days of our faith together. We had many plans and wanted to have a wonderful collaboration with our brothers and sisters of St. Clare Parish during Holy Week. But you can be assured that once this is over, the celebration will be unforgettable! While it will be much longer than three days, we are in the tomb with Jesus right now. But we all know the incredible joy and glory that came with his Resurrection. Do not lose hope! And do not fear!
Thank you for your cooperation and your generosity. Our prayers are with all of you, the members of St. Rita Parish.
St. Rita of Cascia, patroness of impossible cases, PRAY FOR US!
Fr. Homero Sánchez, OSA – Pastor of St. Rita of Cascia Parish