January 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Fr. Francis Scanlan!    January 26 marks the 142 birthday of our beloved founding pastor.  He was born in 1875 in Killaloe, County Clare, Ireland.  (I always thought of him more as a County Cork guy, but the archives are clear.)  I thought I’d share a little of his story before he came to Joliet.

While we don’t know much about his childhood, we do know he began studying for the priesthood in 1893—fresh out of high school. At some point, he immigrated to the United States where he   completed his seminary work in Baltimore and was ordained in 1900.  It’s  pretty impressive that the move to America  didn’t significantly delay his studies….He  finished in seven years.

After a quick assignment in Delaware, Fr. Scanlan moved to Chicago where he was briefly assigned to All Saints Church and then to Holy Cross Parish on East 65th Street.  I couldn’t find either parish on the Archdiocese’s website, so I called their  archivist.  A wonderfully   helpful lady named Meg  confirmed that both churches have closed.

(Meg also mentioned that they have parish annual reports on file and likely some from  St. Raymond Parish.  The two reports we have (1920 and 1925) tell us so much about our early parish…anything additional the Archdiocese has will be wonderful to read.  We’ll be heading to the city soon.)

When Fr. Scanlan went to Holy Cross, the congregation was  predominantly Irish immigrants, so he fit right in.  His assignment there lasted 14 years  during which time, they built a new church.  He must have learned a great deal through that process since he was able to build our first church in 13 months during wartime.

The photo at left is of Fr. Scanlan at our groundbreaking. It’s amazing to me that this photo was taken in 1917, and we still have it in 2017. We wanted to use this photo for the Heritage of Faith    display in the Commons hallway but when the picture was blown up to nearly 8-feet in size, Fr. Scanlan was ghosted.  With the slow shutter speed of the day, the camera caught his movement, and he had three heads.   We were so disappointed that the photo wasn’t usable.

A few weeks later, we found another photo of Fr. Scanlan—same hat—and photoshopped the head and shoulders on the original photo.  I’m sure Fr. Scanlan would have approved the ingenuity.


A few calendar updates for the week.

Don’t forget the Homecoming Festival planning meeting on Saturday, January 28 at 9:00 a.m. in the Commons.  We  truly need help, and this is a great way to get involved.  I promise we won’t give you more than you can handle, and I promise it will be fun and rewarding.  If you have any questions (or you can’t make it but want to be involved) please call or email me this week.  I’m looking forward to meeting new people through this process.

And lastly, next Sunday is the kick-off day for our annual Catholic Schools Week celebration.  The school community will come together at 9:00 a.m. Mass followed by the annual pancake breakfast. Visitors are encouraged to come experience St. Raymond School during our open house from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

I share this as a reminder to all parishioners to encourage friends, relatives—anyone with pre-school or grade-school aged children to come see what St. Raymond School has to offer. All of the marketing information for the school starts with the sentence below. 

At St. Raymond School, we uniquely challenge every student with a 

rigorous curriculum, but more importantly, we teach children to be

kind, compassionate and to share Christ's love with the world.

Isn’t that the kind of education we want for our children?

Have a great week!
Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development
815-722-6653, ext. 242












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