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Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights - July 2015



Assumption Spotlights - July 2015


By:  Fr. Joseph Chamblain

No, this picture has not been photoshopped! That really is our own Fr. John Pawlikowski making a point with Pope Francis. Fr. Pawlikowski, a member of the Servite community at Assumption for more than two decades, a sometimes Sunday morning Mass Presider, and a long-time Professor of Social Ethics at Catholic Theological Union, was in Rome for the annual Conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews.  Fr. Pawlikowski first attended this Conference back in 1968, and he has played a significant role in the activities and leadership of the group for the past fifteen years. The International Council grew out of the Vatican Council document of 1965, Nostra Aetate, or the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, which set a new tone for the Catholic Church’s approach to the Jewish community: “Since Christians and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this sacred Council wishes to encourage mutual understanding and appreciation . . . .The Church deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism leveled at any time from any source against the Jews.” Because this is the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the meeting was held in Rome and included a private reception with the Pope at the Vatican on June 29.


By:  Morris Reeves

They were married at Assumption.  Ella, who is off to college this year, was also baptized at Assumption.  As 22 year parishioners they have seen the parish grow and change over the years.  According to Jerry and Ann, one of the biggest changes they have seen at Assumption is the increase in the number of children who attend Mass.  Early on Ella was one of the few children in attendance.  Being new parents they were concerned that baby Ella would disturb the Mass.  Then Pastor, Fr. Paul Cullen, reassured them that little Ella was very welcome.   Fr. Paul, a native of Ireland, brought his Irish good humor and openness to his role as pastor of Assumption and made then feel right at home.

Both Jerry and Ann moved to Chicago from other areas of the mid-west.  Ann is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana and arrived in Chicago 35 years ago.  Jerry moved to Chicago 45 years ago from neighboring Kenosha, Wisconsin.   They both attended John Marshall Law School at night and met in a legal bar review course.  They became friends and that grew into love and marriage.

Their decision to get married led them to Assumption.  Assumption was not their first choice.  They planned to marry at Old St Pat’s.  However the church was booked but they were offered the basement for their ceremony.  Needless to say that would not work.  The church secretary at Old St Pat’s suggested they call Assumption.  They did and have been here ever since.  The fact that they commute from the northwest side of Chicago shows their commitment to Assumption.

Two other long time parishioners, Jim and Maryanne Kevin, played a big part in keeping them at Assumption all these years.  While Jerry was raised Catholic, Ann is a convert.  Maryanne was Ann's sponsor.  They found a home at Assumption especially after RCIA with Fr. Brown. .Jim Kevin has passed away but Maryanne still attends Assumption regularly and has remained a close friend of Jerry and Ann.

Both Jerry and Ann are lectors at the 10:30 Sunday Mass.  How they came about being lectors involves a story which says as much about Fr. Paul as it does Jerry and Ann.  There was no lector for Mass and Fr. Paul volunteered Jerry by pulling him from the audience and asking him to read.  What makes the story all the more interesting is that this happened on Palm Sunday.  Jerry skillfully read the Passion without practice for his first time as lector.  After that Fr. Paul gave him the job.  Coincidently Ann’s first reading was also on Palm Sunday but she was better prepared than Jerry.  They both like to say that Fr. Paul drafted them for the roles they now enjoy.  In the past they have worked on the monthly hospitality coffee and volunteered at the annual church dinner.  Because they will soon be empty nesters they see their roles at Assumption increasing.  Assumption is and will continue to be an important part of their lives.


By:  Lynne Japp

Where do you go to find direction in your life?  Marcia Whitney-Schenk has twice turned to pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela for hers.

From 1993 to 2001 Marcia, who has a Master’s degree in Art History, was creator, publisher and editor of “Christianity and the Arts – America’s Guide to Christian Expression,” a quarterly publication of Christian art, poetry and writing.  It was a beautiful, glossy magazine focusing every quarter on different aspects of Christian faith expressed through works of art and written word.  She saw a need to resurrect the place of art in Christian worship which she felt had been in decline.

In 2001 she decided to discontinue the publication of the magazine and needed to find a new direction for her life.  This is when she made her first pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela where she walked three hundred miles.  She stopped in Avila at the Carmelite convent where St. Teresa lived.  There Marcia had the inspiration to celebrate the women of Christianity as role models by creating a narrative about their lives in which Marcia would portray the saint.  She has portrayed St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux and Mother Cabrini for numerous church groups including Assumption Church during our Lenten Mission.

In 2014 Marcia completed her second pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, this time walking five hundred miles.  Now she is working on a novel and has written several other books, one of which is a publication of her photographs of people around the world in Christian prayer and worship along with excerpts of prayers, songs and Biblical citations.  She has traveled extensively with her husband who is a retired hand surgeon to underserved countries where he performs surgeries and Marcia teaches English to the people in the villages they visit.

Marcia has chosen Assumption as her parish because she finds Fr. Joe’s homilies so succinct, for its artistic beauty and because the statues of Mother Cabrini and St. Therese of Lisieux, those closest to her heart, are closest to the altar.  Marcia was one of the hosts of our Lenten Longings series this past year and is a great advocate of small groups coming together to share their faith.  She says that research shows that parishes that show the greatest growth are those that promote small group faith sharing.

Here is an excerpt from Marcia’s recent book of photographs of people in Christian prayer.  It is the Hail Mary in pidgin English from Cameroon:

“Hail Mary, you get plenty gracias.  God live with you.  You big pass all woman, and bless live with your pekin, Jesus.  Holy Mary, beg God for we bad people just now and the time where will go die.  Amen.”