Friday greetings from Chicago, where the sidewalks are loaded with ice, the trees are laden with fresh snow, and most noses are sniffling.
Many of you know that I am originally from Massachusetts. Fortunately, my parents spend the winter in Florida, but my four siblings all live just north of Boston, where this blizzard apparently will be focused. I will be keeping their safety in mind and in prayer today and tomorrow. For all of you on the East Coast, please be safe.
I have the sad distinction of being on the "demolition committee" for my parish, Saint James, here on the near South Side of Chicago. We have received word that the church building must be demolished and probably will be in the early part of April. We have received bids for the removal and storage of the historic Roosevelt pipe organ and for the removal and storage of the bells in our bell tower. Moving through this committee work is so bittersweet. Yesterday it hit me that this is really going to happen; that spire that has signalled a Catholic presence in the Bronzeville neighborhood for over a century will soon be no more.
But we remain hopeful that the new Saint James church, which will hopefully be built in the same neighborhood, will continue to be a place of refuge and outreach for the poor, as well as a place where God is given thanks and praise.
Please, let's pray for our friends and family on the East Coast, as well as for the people of Saint James Parish.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.