Three suburban parishes find inspiration in each other
A spirit of cooperation prevails in three area Catholic parishes that snagged the highly sought-after speaker, liturgist, musician and author, the Rev. Richard Fragomeni, for their Lenten mission.
A professor of liturgy and preaching and chair of the Department of Word and Worship at Chicago's Catholic Theological Union, Fragomeni also is rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, an Italian-American spiritual center in Little Italy.
The three churches - St. Marcelline and Church of the Holy Spirit in Schaumburg and St. Hubert in Hoffman Estates - collaborated on an upcoming three-day mission for their combined parishioners and the community.
The idea arose several years ago, said Holy Spirit pastor the Rev. Bill Tkachu.
"The shared resources make it possible to get a top-name presenter who might not be affordable for one parish alone," Tkachuk said. "Further, it gives us the opportunity to experience ourselves as part of a mission in Christ that extends beyond the arbitrary 'boundaries' of parish."
A proponent of shared ministry for nearly 20 years, St. Hubert pastor the Rev. Robert Rizzo said it only makes sense.
"We are limited in priest personnel and finances and it is important to be proactive and not wait until we have no other options in the Schaumburg-Hoffman area," Rizzo said.
He said it's also good for Catholics to see the parishes are not in competition with one another and can work together.
"Staying in one parish encourages us to be myopic and competitive," he added.
The Rev. Denis Condon, pastor of St. Marcelline, said nearby parishes already share Advent and Lent reconciliation.
"It is my hope we further this cooperation to other ministries and even liturgical schedules," Condon said. "Since each has only one priest, cooperation among parishes seems logical, perhaps even necessary."
Following the theme "Preparing for Easter in the Footsteps of Paul," the mission will be at 7:30 p.m. Sunday to Tuesday, March 15-17 in Church of the Holy Spirit, 1451 W. Bode Road, Schaumburg. "Rejoice in the Lord," "A Call to Discipleship" and "Only Christ Can Free You" are the progressive topics.
Holy Spirit Deacon Ray Dowd, Mike Keenan of St. Hubert and Tom Ophus of Marcelline combined their efforts to plan the mission.
"We are in easy reach of each other and if we work more closely we can be a pool of service for area Catholics," Condon said. "Perhaps we are witnessing the birth of a new way to be church."