23 Sep

Seminarian Hank Lyon

In one of my classes that prepares us for the Deaconate, we had a lay minister from the Archdiocese come speak to us about evangelizing through the role as deacon at the Mass. She steered our conversation to the importance of pointing to Jesus, through our prayerful gestures and the words we will speak as deacons. She emphasized that the true aim of evangelization is not simply to know about Jesus, but to know Him personally.

This necessity was evident to me this summer as a chaplain at a hospital, ministering to patients of various faith traditions. I was nervous beginning this new ministry. I did not wear the Roman collar; I did not have Holy Communion to bring to them. I had only a listening ear and an invitation to pray at the end of the visit. As I became more comfortable praying, I remembered something else I could give to them, the Name of Jesus. When I would pray “in Jesus’s Name” with all the Christian patients I was met with a surprise. Invoking the Name of Jesus stirred their hearts more easily, particularly more easily than before when I did not invoke His Holy Name.

Remember St. Peter, who told the lame man that he had nothing to give him, except his faith by invoking the Name of Jesus Christ. Another “Peter”, Peter Kreeft, comments with some humor that the Name of Jesus spoken in conversation will silence any cocktail party. The Name of Jesus has power that can awaken the heart. Tragically though, Our Lord’s Name is slandered and used when invoking anger in most TV shows and movies. What can we do? Answer back in prayer. Recall how we pray in the Our Father, “hallowed (to bless) be Thy Name.” Point to the sacredness of Jesus’ Name when it is slandered, by saying, whispering, or silently praying, “Blessed be His Holy Name.”

Hank Lyon is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago studying at Mundelein Seminary and assigned to Saint Juliana for his pastoral formation.

06 Sep

Janet Gonzalez

“Acorn from God”

Over 20 years ago, I was riding my bike in the forest and noticed an acorn lying in my path.  It was too beautiful to leave behind, so placed it in my bike purse.

One very hot summer day, I stopped to watch a soccer game.   I noticed a parent, her name is Boe.  I had met her once before. We talked about art.  But on this day, she was just shining with God’s light as she was lugging around a very large cooler for all of the children, despite her daughter not playing that day.   The Holy Spirit said to me, “Now that is who I want to be friends with.”  So I approach Boe, inviting her to join me in making an art entry for the ”Niles Art Bench Stop Project.”  Then, with much belief and feeling, I begin to explain that God wants to bless her by doing this project and that I am positive she would be selected.  Despite her doubts, she agreed to try. 

In the weeks that followed, the Holy Spirit was very persistent reminding me to call Boe to be sure she made her entry.  Overjoyed and blessed, we were both selected and we painted happily for hours in the garage. During this time, my husband replaced my old bike, and while emptying my bike purse I found that acorn. Unable to part with it, I placed it by our art supplies.

After our benches were completed, Boe and I had to work on a little bio of our lives, but instead I was filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to confess about the soccer game, God’s love for her, and then boldly expressed why she needs to go to church.  Boe sadly responded that she did not deserve God’s favor; that she is still married yet separated, thus unable to attend church. 

 I resumed working on the bio, asking Boe about her past with art.  Boe explained with much fondness her first art project as a little girl in Poland, making little people out of acorns.  In an instant, it was so clear: that acorn is for Boe from God!  After telling Boe about the acorn’s journey over 20 years to get to her, Boe began to weep. 

Today Boe has her acorn proudly labeled “Acorn from God” in her home.   Boe has returned to church with her children. Thank you God.  ( You can see her 2 bench entries at the Niles Village Hall and in front of the Costco Gas station on Touhy in Niles.) 

Janet Gonzalez is a wife and mother, and has been a Saint Juliana parishioner for 10 years.

02 Sep

Kathleen (Kathy) Grace

I was born in the south of Ireland in a little town called Tipperary. I was raised in a very strict
Catholic household. My mother was never without a prayer book or rosary in her hands. Every
Sunday for Mass we had to dress up in our best clothes out of respect for God’s house. I have
fond memories of having to wear a scarf or hat!

I came to this beautiful country in 1952. It seems long ago. I initially lived with my uncle
on the south side of Chicago. Thirty-eight years ago I moved into St. Juliana parish where I live
today. I’ve met so many wonderful people and clergy along the way. They have all enriched my
life and have made my time in the parish seem to fly by.

I retired from my last job at Resurrection Hospital (Food Services Department) in 1997. I
made up my mind that I was going to stay active in some way and not just waste away sitting
around the house. I feel it’s critical to living a long, healthy life.

I enjoy getting up every morning to attend Mass and receive the Blessed Sacrament. I
took on duties to care for the main altar in the church and chapel. This has been a personally
rewarding experience for me. I felt a much closer connection to Jesus and the Blessed Virgin
Mary. I’ve hopefully contributed in some small way to the success of our vibrant parish!

I also started visiting with dear friends and family that were living in nursing homes in
the area. I did what I could to help them by assisting with meals or to just sit and talk and let
them know someone cared. My husband Pat spent five years in a home once he lost his ability to
walk. I tried to be there for him every day. I brought him some home-cooked meals and helped
the staff to care for his needs. Pat was a very religious man and went to Mass everyday as long as
he was able. He went to be with the good Lord in 2007. I miss him still.

The United States of America has been everything I could ask for and more. It is truly the
greatest nation on earth. My hope is that everyone can mutually respect each other.

I hope you enjoyed my story. I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote:

The Prayer I dreamed
If at times life seems unfair
It dishes out more than you can bear
Just stop awhile and say a prayer
And God will keep you in his care

Long live St. Juliana Parish! God bless you all.

Kathleen (Kathy) Grace is a retired employee of Resurrection Hospital and has been a
parishioner of Saint Juliana for 38 years.