Ready, set, sprint!

Dear Parishioners,

I can't tell you how many sprints I've done in my lifetime: sprints throughout grade school and high school for football, basketball, and baseball; sprints in college and then in seminary to arrive at class on time, as well as for sports training; sprints as pastor to answer a ringing phone, to beat traffic across Touhy, to turn on lights in church, to tag a St. Juliana student during capture-the-flag in gym class. So many sprints.

There is a certain level of abandonment when you sprint. You're not contained as when you're jogging. Your leg muscles are fully extended and your arms are literally reaching out as far as they can go. Just one more ounce of abandonment and you'll fall over.

There is also a sense of commitment when you sprint. You're completely in the moment. You can't stop casually. The finish line alone is the object of your focus.

The apostles sprinted to the tomb upon news of the Resurrection—the greatest news in the history of mankind. They abandoned whatever else they were doing and committed themselves to the run. More precisely, they abandoned and committed themselves to Jesus Christ.

It's exhausting to sprint. But there's no better workout. The saints sprinted throughout their lives. When the Catholic Church and its parishes have been strong, it's because they have been sprinting. We are gearing up for the sprint at Saint Juliana. I pray you join us.

As many of you know, Mrs. Margie Shiel announced in December that she will be retiring as our long-time music director on June 30th. Margie has served in this position for 36 years, and has been nothing but gracious and welcoming during her time in the music ministry, her latest act of service being on our music search committee. The search committee and I are pleased to announce Mr. Glenn De Castro as our new director of music! Glenn comes from Mary, Seat of Wisdom, where he served for ten years, enhancing greatly their music program and, in particular, their children's choir, and so much more.

Mr. Fred LaCerra has served for 45 years at St. Juliana in our athletics department. Mr. LaCerra retired as a full-time school teacher two years ago, and now he is retiring as our athletic director. Principal Marshall and I are grateful to Mr. Lacerra for his commitment and dedication to our sports program. We are pleased to welcome Mr. Pat Aylward to the St. Juliana School staff as the Athletic Director for the 2018-2019 school year! Mr. Aylward is a current SJS parent of three, an active volunteer in our sports programs, and a member of the Athletic Association. He will work closely with Mr. LaCerra throughout the spring to ensure a smooth transition and the continuation of a strong athletic tradition here at St. Juliana.

On June 30th, Father Laurent Mhagama will finish his five year term as the associate pastor of St. Juliana. We are grateful to Fr. Laurent for his priesthood and for his ever-present smile, and will pray for him as he moves on to his next assignment. We are also grateful to Deacon Robinson Ortiz for his time here as a transitional deacon. Deacon Robinson will be ordained a priest on May 19th, and on July 1st will begin his new assignment as an associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Libertyville. Our new associate pastor will be a newly ordained priest, Fr. Emmanuel Torres-Fuentes. Deacon Emmanuel will also be ordained on May 19th and will begin his assignment here on July 1st.

Thank you to Margie, Fred, Fr. Laurent, and Deacon Robinson for all the sprinting they have done at Saint Juliana. Glenn, Pat, and Deacon Emmanuel, we look forward to setting you off to the races for the glory of Jesus Christ and his Church.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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