July 24 — The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels – Mission Trip

In the year 1205, a young man was praying in a Church. As he was praying, he was looking at the Crucifix and from it heard Christ say to him, “Rebuild my church, for as you can see it is falling into ruin.”

Looking around and noticing that the church building needed much repair, he began to gather supplies, and clean up, repair, and rebuild that church building.

However, he eventually realized that Christ’s words spoken to him didn’t mean merely a physical rebuilding but a spiritual rebuilding; that is, a renewal in the church, a spiritual revitalization of the Christian people. Four years later, at a church called Our Lady of the Angels, he founded a community of brothers committed to the mission of revitalizing through preaching the Gospel with their words and with their lives, through embracing a life of simplicity, poverty, and care for the poor.

This man’s name was Francis. And the community he started would later be known as the Franciscans. And their way of life has continued to inspire people all the way down to our modern day.

In 2010, in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago, there was a church building that had been closed for over a decade. The church building needed much repair, many said it should just be torn down. But a priest and a group of young people decided to begin gathering supplies, and clean up, repair and rebuild that church building. Then then used this church site to be the site for their mission of outreach and care for the poor and proclaiming the Gospel in a neighborhood that had fallen into ruin. Thus, the group known as the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago was born. And the church that was ruined and repaired and became their mission center just so happened to have been known as Our Lady of the Angels, the very same name of the church where St. Francis had begun his little community.

It was to this very Mission of Our Lady of the Angels to work with the Franciscans of the Eucharist that a group of youth from our parishes spent a few days this last week. It was a joy for me to go with them and watch them experience the work of this mission. And it is beautiful to reflect how we share on God’s unfolding work that began 800 years ago, echoing all the way down to a poor our own day in a poor neighborhood in Chicago!

Thank you all for your prayers this past week for the youth, myself, and the chaperones who went on this mission trip. Be watching the bulletin and newsletters for pictures from the trip and for more information about when the youth who went will be speaking about their trip!


— Fr. Kevin