So what do you know about our Sharing Parish?  hmm...
What's a Sharing Parish?  well, sometimes I see a line item for St. Agatha's on my envelope...  
someone should really get some faith sharing going with them...  I hear they have a good choir   oh, is that what that Give Central fund (https://www.givecentral.org/location/80/event/414) is for?  I think I gave them something from the Giving Tree last year...
 
Our Sharing Parish is St. Agatha's, in Lawndale, around Roosevelt and Kedzie (3147 W. Douglas Blvd.), South of the Eisenhower, close to Douglas Park.  St. Agatha's is a vibrant, welcoming community with about 400 faithful and engaged parish families.  Sounds like St. Josaphat!  But not so JosaFAST!! St. Agatha's provides vital social services to the
it's neighborhood, which has the highest percentage of grandparents raising grandchildren in the nation, and many single-parent households.  About 70% of the area residents are ex-offenders, and 80% of those arrests are due to drug charges. Unemployment is 40-45%, and the average household income is at the poverty line.  Even with relevant skills and wanting to do the right thing, having a criminal record makes it very difficult for these folks to get a job. 

St. Agatha's is attempting to turn this tide.  The mostly lower-middle income parishioners support parish programs for community members, mostly non-Catholic, for all ages.  They offer two food pantries, and free legal services once a month.  On the second Saturday of the month, St. Agatha's offers a community dinner for all who would like to attend.  They support The Learning Center in the old Blessed Sacrament church space, which provides a GED and ESL programs, as well as a Youth Center.  The parish grade school will be closing after this school year (except for PreSchool), but will continue to use the space for their comprehensive SAFE (St. Agatha Family Empowerment) Program which provides tutoring and other activities to 75-90 kids every day after school.  In the summer, SAFE hosts a 7-week Summer Camp for about 100 kids.  The cost is $280, which may seem like quite a bargain, but it is a hardship for many of these families. St. Agatha's is also working on peace initiatives in the local high school, and a job training and clearinghouse for adults. For more information on the parish and programs, take a look at their snazzy website at http://www.st-agatha-chicago.org/
 
...
 
According to the Archdiocesan Office for Peace and Justice, the mission of the Parish Sharing program is to "link parishes to mutually benefit from each other by sharing spiritual, community and financial resources."  Sharing Parish matches were most often formed when priests at both parishes established an informal relationship years ago, and many of these relationships still continue today long after those priests have moved on.  Between St. Josaphat and St. Agatha, that relationship is currently a financial one.  Money collected from St. Josaphat parishioners through envelopes and Give Central is sent directly to St. Agatha once a month.
 
St. Josaphat parishioners also offer support through purchasing gifts for needy St. Agatha families through the Christmas Giving Tree Program.  Fr. Larry Dowling, Pastor of St. Agatha's, is grateful for the opportunity to interact with these families that the gifts provide.  In order to enter the Giving Tree Program, families must attend a half-day program focusing on parenting and conflict resolution.  There are also other touchpoints throughout the year to give these families support.
 
St. Agatha's welcomes St. Josaphat parishioners to Sunday masses at 8 am (low key) and 10:30 am (Gospel Choir), and Fr. Larry assures us that we will be warmly welcomed with a hug at the church entrance.  He has also invited us to their "Mass on the Boulevard" on Sunday, June 14 at 10 am, with a cookout for all who attend afterwards.
 
So, should we build our relationship with St. Agatha's?  How?  If you are interested in further discussion, please contact Christine Frech at Christine@frech.org.

 

Coaches Needed!
Girls Volleyball & Basketball
If you are interested--even if you're not sure if you have time to commit--in coaching during the 2015-16 school year, contact Mary Hermanek, Athletic Director at mdrill@att.net!

Youth Group
Sunday, May 3
6 pm in the Gym
All youth 7th Grade through High School are invited!

Concert: 
Bach B Minor Mass
Sunday, May 3
3 pm in the church
The Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Choir performs Bach's B Minor Mass under the direction of
James Kallembach.
$10 suggested donation for all  St. Josaphat Parishioners (the regular ticket price is $20).

Mothers' Day Cards
Mothers' Day Cards for enrolling living and deceased mothers in the masses offered throughout the year and on Mother's Day are available at the doors of the church.

Please fill out the intention envelope in the collection or drop it off at the rectory office. Keep the card and other envelope for your mother. If you have any questions please call the rectory (773.327.8955).


Save the Date!
Vacation Bible School
June 15 - 19, 2015


Visit or help with our school garden!
We are planting some spring seeds!  
The garden is for all of the parish to enjoy so please take time to check it out and reap what we sow!  If you would like to get involved with the garden please email Jim Gramata at  jim@jimgramata.com