This past week Cheridan, S+L cameraman Dave Le Ross and I were in Chicago to attend and film DePaul University’s World Catholicism Week. We met many wonderful students, administrators, professors and guest lecturers, who shared their thoughts with us about the conference and spoke about the meaning of Catholic education in our society today. The university truly is a place of warmth and hospitality.
We also had the great privilege of speaking to Fr. Robert Barron of Word on Fire Ministries and his Eminence Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago. They are two exceptionally gifted pastors and intellectuals, and after each interview Cheridan and I just looked at each other and said “Wow!”
But perhaps the most moving experience of our trip was the day we spent with Fr. Bob Lombardo at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. The Mission, situated in the middle of Humboldt Park on Chicago’s West end (one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city) is an inspiring place and a powerful sign of the New Evangelization.
The Mission feeds about 700 families per month, hosts 130 children every day in their after-school program, assists a few dozen seniors in weekly exercise, computer, and arts programs, and conducts a Bible Study which has become very popular in the community.
During our stay we met Sisters Alicia, Kate and Stephanie – young, energetic women whose love for Christ and the Church is absolutely contagious (photo). The Mission is so alive with the spirit of St. Francis, who was known for his simplicity and perpetual happiness. A young family and a neighborhood boy came to visit the Sisters while we were there, and they shared their deepest gratitude for Fr. Bob, the Sisters and the Mission – for building a church and building up a people in a seemingly broken community. What a place!
You can learn more about Fr. Bob and the Mission at www.missionola.com.
Photo: Cheridan Eygelaar interviews Sr. Alicia