January 24, 2016

Just before the holidays, we began a dialogue about how we will celebrate the parish Centennial which is coming in 11 1/2 short months. 

From the get-go, we knew we wanted this celebration to be more than just a party. We want to be sure celebrating our Centennial is a means through which we’ll advance our discipleship, evangelism and charity.  We want our celebration to be all-encompassing--to touch our worship, our faith  formation, our education outlets and our service outreach.  And we want to be sure there’s something for just about everyone.

Yup, this is more than just a party.

I love the free flow of ideas and suggestions that have come in so far (keep ‘em coming!).  Based upon input from various folks, we have started to develop an infrastructure for the year. Nothing is written in stone yet, but we need to start somewhere and these first two concepts seem like pretty good ideas to me.

Homecoming Weekend.  Our actual parish founding day is July 1, which happens to be a Saturday in 2017.  The plan is to have a two-day multigenerational festival on Parish grounds.  Think live music, games, good food, a beer garden, fun from mid-day to mid-night.  Think also a special Mass with all of the native sons and daughters who made a vocation as clergy or religious invited back home to worship with us.  Think a big crowd of not only the parishioners and school and religious education families of today, but past parishioners and alumni as well...and perhaps, we’ll be blessed with newcomers who get a taste of our community and decide to stick around.

There’s no doubt that this is going to take some serious effort.  In the next month or so we’ll start assembling a large volunteer team.  I suspect we’ll model this committee on the well-oiled machine that is the Oktoberfest committee.  If you are  interested in being a part of this, please shoot me a call or text. 

This is a more-the-merrier, no-experience-required kind of thing. Hard-working, fun, dependable, creative, handy, enthusiastic.  If some (or all--we love overachievers!) of these words describe you, we need you! This is a once-in-a-century event, so you will want to be a part of it! 

(As an aside, I know folks tend to hold back thinking “they don’t mean me.”  Rest assured, WE DO MEAN YOU!  Please speak up and let us know you want to be involved!)

Speaker Series.  Fr. Brad first came up with the idea of doing a speaker series in 2017.  The thought is to bring in speakers on a variety of topics that would appeal to many different sectors of our community.  And the second thought is that because we are Cathedral just outside Chicago with space to seat 1,000 people, we might be able to draw big names. 

So far, we’ve reached out to Matthew Kelly (author of our Christmas giveaway book and a dynamic Catholic voice) Bishop Robert Barron (author and narrator of the Catholism series on PBS) and Chris Stefanick (creator of the Chosen program that we use for Confirmation prep and a huge draw for the youth audience).  Bishop Barron sent his regrets  because he’s tied up being the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, but we are still in the mix with the other two.

So where else should we cast our net?  Who would you like to hear speak?  Who would inspire you to ask a friend to come along?  We are happy to pursue any suggestions you may have.  Again, give me a call or send an email.

Every once in a while I catch myself thinking we are so far ahead of the game, but 2017 is NEXT year, so it’s time to get some things firmed up.  It’ll be here before we know it

Looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development
815-722-6653, ext. 242



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