“I’m talking about my heart.”

The Rosas family receives and gives back to parish, community

Antonia Rosas sits with her husband Rudolfo in their modest Pilsen home and declares “When I talk about St. Pius V, I’m talking about my heart.”

She makes this impassioned declaration because of the role St. Pius V has played in her family’s joys and sorrows – both of which have been plentiful. She and Rudolfo say that the support they received from St. Pius V during the difficult years after their immigration from Mexico kept their marriage and family together.

It started when they arrived in Chicago in 1995 with their toddler son. Antonia’s aunt invited her to join the parish Christian base communities. She accepted, she said, but participated only halfheartedly until parish staff member Dolores Tapia encouraged Antonia to give more of herself. She joined the parish leadership program, which, she says, taught her about her faith, about the principles of Catholic social teaching, and, perhaps most importantly, that she has her own voice she can use for good.

Antonia began using that voice to strengthen her family. Her participation in the parish women’s group helped her see that she and Rudolfo needed support as a couple. Though Rudolfo was initially resistant, they both say now that the programs helped them to understand each other, to improve their relationship with their three children, and to grow spiritually and emotionally. When Rudolfo brings out photographs taken on their wedding day – almost 25 years ago, Antonia says “Without the help of the programs at St. Pius V our marriage would not have lasted all these years.

“Your daughter has been shot.”

With the help of St. Pius V Parish, Antonia and Rodolfo faced a challenge this spring that they met with uncommon grace and strength.

On a mild March afternoon Antonia answered the phone and heard the words no mother should have to hear: “Your daughter has been shot.”

Sixteen-year-old Mireya, a leader in the parish youth group, was walking with a friend in Pilsen’s business district after school when a gunfight erupted between two gangs. She was caught in the (See page three) hail of bullets. Miraculously, the bullet that struck Mireya passed through her body without hitting a vital organ. While in the hospital, she was concerned about informing the principal that she might miss some classes. After a few days she was back in school.

On Memorial Day weekend mother and daughter spoke publically about the importance of programs in the faith community to curb violence. At a summer kick-off for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Faith and Action Initiative, Antonia expressed her gratitude for the life of her daughter. And Mireya? With her characteristic selflessness, she stood before the crowd and said, “I was so terrified. I thought I wasn’t the only one that got hit. I thought there were more.”

Mireya and her mom speak out against violence as Fr. Brendan listens.

Mireya and her mom speak out against violence as Fr. Brendan listens.

Speaking at the event Fr. Brendan Curran OP, St. Pius V’s pastor, pledged the parish’s support for the mayor’s efforts saying “Pilsen will be a model. We pledge that each and every Friday we will celebrate with block parties and join one another in prayer with Mass on the street. We commit ourselves to making our streets safe and we invite other communities to do the same.”

Later that week, at home with her parents, Mireya reflected on the values her parents share with her. She says she is “into” her faith in a way many teens aren’t because of her parents’ example and the support of the faith community at St. Pius V, and she outlined a plan for her future: a degree in social work and a lifetime of service — to give back to the community what she has received.

Creating a Path to Citizenship is a Moral and Pragmatic Concern

Photo courtesy of DePaul University.

Cardinal Francis George (l) and former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert address the business community in support of fair and just immigration reform at DePaul University. Photo courtesy of DePaul University.

Fr. Brendan helped create and now serves on the steering committee of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC) which in February sponsored a panel at DePaul University. Panelists included Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George and former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. A Republican, Hastert called for legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the country. “My own party must acknowledge and embrace ever-growing Latino and Asian constituencies,” he said. “We should provide them with a path to citizenship.”

Cardinal George made the moral case for immigration reform and deplored increases in deportations. “Our churches have too many families torn apart by our immigration laws, too many good people who only want to be Americans, to work and be safe in their homes. I know that our nation’s soul requires that we treat them fairly.”


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

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The domestic violence service providers of the city of Chicago kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a noon rally at the Thompson Center Plaza downtown yesterday.

Dolores Tapia, Sister Virginia Jung, OSB,  and Fr. Brendan Curran, OP, of HOPE at St. Pius V family ministries shared the podium with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and leaders of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, which coordinated the event.

The speakers called for more action to protect victims from

Rally participants dramatize domestic violence-related deaths in Chicago.

violence within their own homes and families, while Dolores and Sister Virginia shared the story of how St. Pius V Parish developed services for immigrant women victims, their children, and for other family members.

The rally included a procession of masked figures representing the 57 victims in Chicago who were murdered in domestic violence crimes in the past 18 months.

More information about the domestic violence programs at St. Pius V is available here.


Volunteers needed in St. Pius V food service

Will you help?

We serve people in need of food on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. On Tuesdays we offer a food pantry.  And we are looking for your help.

We need volunteers to help prepare and serve meal each Monday, Friday and Saturday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Food pantry help is needed  on Tuesdays from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.  Please come to the church basement during those hours to volunteer.