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Merry Christmas from
Bishop Bob and Mission OLA!

The Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago
L to R, Top- Br. Matt, Sr. Stephanie, Sr. Alicia, Sr. Kate, Sr. Laura, Bishop Bob, Sr. Jess, Sr. Macey, Sr. Jaime, Sr. Emily.
Bottom- Jen, Mia, Maggie

 

Christmas 2023

Dear friends, 

Greetings from Chicago! We remain deeply grateful for your friendship and support as we round out a record-breaking Thanksgiving season for our food pantry distributions. In recent months, our pantries have served as many families as they did at the height of the pandemic. In the month of October alone, we served 4,478 families - which is at least 13,434 individuals! This number is almost exactly double the number of families we served in October 2022. We expect the incredible need to only keep rising, as the current migrant crisis continues to hit Chicago especially hard.

In other news, our community, the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, has continued to expand and strengthen our catechetical and evangelization outreaches. Over the past year, our new retreat center has hosted many Eucharistic and service themed retreats. We led two 250+, multi-parish/school Confirmation Retreats, and successfully launched a bi-monthly young adult group to help support the many parishes in our area that are not able to sustain their own young adult ministry. 

Sr. Jess speaking to ~225 confirmation candidates in Elgin  

In the teaching apostolate, Sr. Laura, Sr. Jess, and Sr. Stephanie continue to teach religion and provide overall faith-formation assistance at three local Catholic elementary schools. This year, our teaching sisters have also been collaborating with the Archdiocese and their individual schools to offer Eucharistic-themed ongoing professional development for school teachers and administrators. Finally, in very exciting news, we are preparing to expand our public hours of Eucharistic Adoration in 2024 to invite more people to join us in praying for vocations and for peace in our neighborhood, our city, and the world.

Speaking of praying for vocations, we are happy to share that this year the Lord has sent us three more young women to join our community. Maggie, Jen, and Mia officially began postulancy, the first stage of formation in religious life, on September 17th. During postulancy, members begin to integrate into the community, learn the basics of religious life, and receive support in deepening their prayer life. It has been a joy to welcome our new postulants and to support them as they begin their new lives as Franciscans. Please continue to keep them in your prayers, and be sure to introduce yourself to them if you come by to visit the Mission!

2023 postulants- Maggie, Mia, and Jen  

As of this writing, we also have two more young women who are applying to enter our community in Fall 2024, hopefully with more to follow. In light of these exciting new and upcoming additions to the women’s branch of our community, it has become very clear that we are now officially in need of a second location! This new convent will be the home of our future sisters in early formation as well as the more senior sisters who will serve as their formators. While these future postulants and novices would still come to help serve the poor and assist in evangelization and retreat activities at the Mission, having a separate formation house will enable them to better focus on developing their life of prayer, classes, and human formation, which are all essential parts of initial religious formation.

The currently vacant convent building at St. Hyacinth Basilica (about a 15-minute drive from the Mission) is an ideal second location, and, with some TLC, will be able to meet the needs of our growing community. The building was built in 1917. An attempted renovation project was started, but then abandoned, several years ago. In good news, that attempted renovation successfully gutted the upper floors of the building, but the building still needs a tremendous amount of work. The original 1917 boiler and electric system need to be replaced, the kitchen will need to be completely redone, and a new HVAC system will need to be installed. The basement has major waterproofing concerns, and the entire building likely needs new windows. Most importantly, the top floors that were gutted need to be completely redesigned and rebuilt. As you know, I love a good challenge, and plans are already in the works for how this building can be transformed to serve as the future home for our sisters in training. Despite the many challenges that lie ahead in taking on yet another large renovation project, we feel confident that God is inviting us to take this next step and trust that He will continue to provide. We will be acquiring the building over the next few months and hope to begin renovations in Spring 2024.

We are so grateful for the generosity and support you have shown to our community and the Mission during our past major renovation projects, and we know that we cannot complete this new project without you!  Please prayerfully consider making a donation towards the St. Hyacinth Convent renovation project. You can donate online:

  Donate  

Or make out a check to the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago and mail it to 3808 W. Iowa St., Chicago, IL 60651. 
More details and updates on the project will be forthcoming in future newsletters and on our website.
Please know of our continued prayers for you, your families, and your intentions this Advent and Christmas season. Please always feel welcome to send us any prayer requests or questions at olamission@gmail.com, linked here:

 

Prayer Requests / Stay in Touch

 

Thank you and God bless,



 

Bishop Bob Lombardo CFR and the
Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago

PS - Other Updates:
Join Us for the 1/7 Volunteer Mass and Brunch Check out the Amazon Wish List Run the Chicago Marathon

Our Contact Information
Mission of Our Lady of the Angels
3808 W. Iowa St.
Chicago, IL 60651
773-486-8431
http://www.missionola.com
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