December 13, 2015

As Advent rushes past (It’s the pink Sunday already?), I wanted to provide a round-up of a few of the December happenings at the Cathedral.

Last weekend’s Giving Tree program was a huge success. According to Mary Wollgast who coordinated the program, we sent out more than 500 gifts to five different social services agencies.  Several of the groups we help are only served by the Cathedral parish at Christmas.  It is good these organizations know they have friends here.

Mary has already re-upped for next year (gotta love that!) and will actively work to expand our outreach a bit.  If you happen to know of a group or organization that could use some Christmas cheer next year, please reach out to Mary directly at 815-252-2405.  We’d love to find a few more underserved organizations to work with next year.

Huge thanks to all who purchased gifts and helped out with this wonderful outreach!

Last Thursday, we hosted the annual Christmas  luncheon for the senior priests of the Diocese.  This is a Diocesan event, but it has been held here at the Cathedral since Fr. Stanley Orlikiewicz came up with the idea.  It was originally aimed at the retired priests, but as people like Fr. Jim Lennon can attest, our “retired” priests are still very active in ministry.  Hence it’s now known as a senior priest event.

 It’s a festive afternoon, and the fraternal spirit is strong.  The men enjoy a nice plated lunch and the chance to catch up with one another as well as Bishop Conlon, Bishop Siegel, Vicar for Priests, Fr. Bill Dewan and our own Fr. Brad.

They also receive a gift card from the Diocese.  A few years ago, we started attaching the gift card to a tin of homemade Christmas cookies just to fancy it up a bit.   Well let me tell you, they like the gift card. They LOVE the cookies.

This year, our bakers outdid themselves and each priest went home with a full-to-the-brim tin of cookies.   I know all of our bakers loved sweetening the priests’ holidays.

Thanks to Anna Foreman, Patty Eggen, Rosie McCune, Renee Gambino, Karen Slattery, Beverly Reeves, Kim Baker, Kathy   Staracinich, Sonia Dominguez, Jennifer Groves, Kelly Alt, Amy Holbrook, Mary Grady, Kellie Bailey, Bonnie Petak, Kathy DelRose, Liz and Madeline Odeen, Angela and Dale Simpson, Pam and Joey Cannestra, Joan Featherstone, Heather Offerman, Laney O’Connor and Kristina and Lukas Klein. 





Later this week, a merry band of elves will go out to area nursing homes and senior living facilities to take poinsettias to some of our parishioners.  This is a great way to stay in touch and spend some quality time with folks who don’t get to the Cathedral much these days.  Our thanks to Pat Rolih for coordinating everything and to Rosemary Lux, Kathy DelRose, Isabel Voitik, Sandy Grynevich, Jim and Jane Murphy, Mary and Jacque Wheaton, Pete Pluth and Kathy and Annie Staracinich for making the visits.

Last Sunday I wrote about Art and Joan Siegel and the incredible work they do decorating the Cathedral for Christmas.  (Remember, you can get in on the fun—1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. SUNDAY.)  After all that work, we don’t have the heart to ask them to work their magic on the gym for the 4:00 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve.  So, the parish staff has taken on this project.

For some of us, this is a bit out of our comfort zone.  Way out.  But over the past few years, we have become a smooth operation.  We have  become  pretty adept at assembling the large nativity crèche, fluffing trees and creatively draping things so it looks less gym-y.   The end result is a lovely space for 450 more people to celebrate Christmas with us. 

Now a word on the parking lots: They are definitely bigger than last Christmas, but they are not limitless.  If you want to assure yourself a spot in the lot (and a pew or a chair for that matter) for the 4:00 p.m. Masses on Christmas Eve, come early.  If you are planning to attend Mass in the gym, consider using the Douglas Street teachers’ lot.   Our outstanding ushers will be working their own magic to get everyone a seat.

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez



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