Illinois’ minimum wage workers

Wednesday we hosted a news conference at St. Pius V to draw attention to the need for better wages for Illinois workers. Governor Quinn was with us, and he called for a new minimum wage of $10.00. Currently a full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes around $16,600 annually, which is below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $17,916 for a family of three.

Along with Pope Francis, I’d like to ask how we can allow this to be. Continue reading

Seeking Posada:

Dear Friends and Families of St. Pius V,

For the families at St. Pius V, Christmas isn’t Christmas without Posadas, an old Mexican tradition that reenacts the drama of that first Christmas Eve. That night Mary and Joseph found themselves homeless in a strange city. Finally a door is opened for them in a humble stable, where they welcome their child into the world. This year our Christian base communities again organize the evening Posada in our church: processing together, praying the rosary, reflecting on the nativity story, and finally sharing Christmas sweets and the delight of breaking the treat-filled piñatas. Continue reading

FORTITUDE: A Christmas Story

Our parishioner Erendira Ruiz has given us her permission to share this reflection with you at Christmastime. Her personal courage and the transformation that she has experienced is an inspiration to all of us. We hope you find her story as inspiring as we have!

My name is Erendira Ruiz and after two years without interruption, I have participated in the HOPE program at St. Pius V Parish. Several months ago, my companions and I, along with our dear counselor, named our group “FORTITUDE.” We call it that because we have learned what it is to live, love, have confidence, respect, healing and wisdom, to name a few. Continue reading

Campaign for Human Development Award for St. Pius V

     At the Catholic Campaign for Human Development awards banquet in October Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George praised St. Pius V for our “commitment to social justice and helping break the cycle of poverty” and service to victims of domestic violence. Receiving the $20,000 award with Fr. Brendan were husband and wife Gonzalo Aguilar and Caritina Temiquel, and Ramon Carreon, who along with his wife Elia was featured in a CCHD video for their inspiring story of healing from domestic violence. Click here to see the CCHD video and Elia and Roman.

CCHD

Father Brendan Curran, OP, and St. Pius V parishioners receive CCHD award from Cardinal Francis George.

St. Pius V: Front-and-center advocate for immigrants

 “The joys and the hopes, the sorrow and the anxieties of the [people] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the sorrow and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”  

     These brief words from the Second Vatican Council shape our ministry at St. Pius V. They especially come to mind when we see the needs of so many immigrants and attempt to assist them. Here are highlights of some efforts made at St. Pius V these past months to address the joys, hopes, sorrows and anxieties of the immigrants we serve and for whom we advocate.

March for Dignity, Respect, and Justice: October 12

More than 100 St. Pius V Parishioners participated in this march organized by churches, labor and immigration rights groups in Chicago as part of a nation-wide week of action to convince Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and end deportations that divide families.

Two million too many

Fr. Brendan Curran, OP, Fr. Chuck Dahm, OP, and members of St. Pius V joined 140 community, faith, and civic leaders who stood in solidarity with immigrant families by blocking access to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office building on Congress Parkway on Nov. 6. The non-violent action drew attention to the 2 million families torn apart by cruel and senseless deportations of parents in the last five years, leaving their citizen children without one or both parents. U.S. bishops have repeatedly denounced this cruel and unjust attack on immigrant families.

Father Brendan Curran, OP, speaks to the media outside ICE headquarters.

Father Brendan Curran, OP, speaks to the media outside ICE headquarters.

License for immigrants

Illinois is poised to issue temporary visitors licenses in order to make our roads safer and allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally. Elena Valdez, our parishioner and a domestic violence survivor, learned to drive in order to free herself from her abusive husband, avoid the gang activity on her block by driving her children to school, and get to her job as a home health care worker for disabled children and home-bound elderly. This legislation is one more way that Elena can keep herself and her family safe. Governor Pat Quinn praised St. Pius V for our work in passing the law creating the licenses. Hundreds attended two workshops we hosted for those seeking licenses, one organized by the Illinois Secretary of State and State Rep. Edward Acevedo. The day applications began, more than 4,000 people made appointments in a few hours, causing the state to halt appointments until more sites and personnel could be mustered. Some immigrant advocates believe the law will also help decrease deportations that separate families, since driving without a license often leads to immigration officials deporting drivers.

Want to help?

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has ruled out any House action on immigration this year. He said the House prefers to address reform piecemeal, rather than in a comprehensive way. This directly contradicts the approach of the U.S. Bishops Conference. For more information visit the U.S. Bishops Justice for Immigrants website. Please phone, email, or write your U.S. representatives to urge them to support comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a pathway to citizenship and keep families together. (202) 224-3121.