St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mother Teresa Parish,
Greetings of Christ’s peace to all!
In the midst of a global pandemic, we have experienced a national civic unrest crisis. We all agree that the death of George Floyd calls for racial justice and for systemic change. However the violence and looting came alongside the peaceful protesters have caused much fear and destruction in our city and neighborhoods. Many roads have been blocked by Chicago police and state troopers and many businesses have been closed their doors again. We are against violence, but for peace and justice.
For the past ten days, every day we are confronted with news of riots and warnings of possible violence in our neighborhoods. This might continue for the near future. Amid all this, you probably also have heard by now that our churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago are allowed to reopen as early as the weekend of June 6 and 7. While this is good news, a sign of hope, we are still in the middle of two global and national crises. With abundance of caution for the safety of our parishioners and for others, after some prayerful consideration and consultation, taking seriously the words of our Bishops—“it is more important to reopen right, rather than fast,” I have come to the following decision for our parish’s reopening for public mass:
St. Barbara Church reopens on the weekend of June 20 and 21 for public mass. By then, our Church would be allowed to have about 250 people for each mass (20% of the seating capacity). We will resume all three of our Sunday masses (5pm, 6am and 9:30am). Based on our attendance before COVID 19, we should not have any problems with the limited number of people that our Church is allowed to have.
St. Therese Church will reopen on the weekend of June 27th and 28th. We will have our 8am and 10:30am mass. We will not have a problem with the number of people attending the 8am mass. We will closely monitor the 10:30am mass by using both an email and a phone reservation system.
Public weekday masses will be resumed on Monday June 22nd. The schedule remains the same: 8am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at St. Therese and 8am Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at St. Barbara.
Below are a few more pointers you need to know:
- Catholics are still absolved from Sunday obligations.
- We will continue to offer online masses until our churches are fully reopened.
- Our Parish Reopening Leadership Team is working to be certified for phase II.
- Our Liturgical Minister Coordinators are working to schedule ministers.
- Our staffs are prepared to resume our weekly bulletins.
- Barbara Church will be open again on Sundays June 7th and 14th from 9:30am to 11:30am for PRIVATE PRAYERS. Volunteers from our Reopening Leadership Team will be present to help and serve.
- People over 65 and/or with preexisting health conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home until the CDC relaxed its recommendation.
- Wearing facial masks and social distancing are required in Church.
Stay safe and well. You and your loved ones are in my prayers. Please keep me in yours.
Fr. Francis Li
Our St. Mother Teresa Parish Reopening Plan
First and foremost, it is important for everyone to understand that our efforts will prioritize the safety and wellbeing of all while maintaining due respect and reverence for the sacraments and liturgical norms of our faith.
I will assemble a Parish Reopening Leadership Team with parishioner co-captains to lead our efforts. Together, we will attend required training from the Archdiocese to ensure that our parish reopening plan conforms to the guidelines developed by the Archdiocese in collaboration with civil and healthcare authorities. We will also receive a starter kit of protective and cleaning supplies, as well as guidance on purchasing/maintaining supplies ongoing.
We will need volunteers to assist with various aspects of our parish reopening plan. Importantly, leadership team members and volunteers must not be part of a “vulnerable population” (that is, not over the age of 65; no underlying medical condition such as diabetes; lung disease; undergoing cancer treatment, etc.). I ask all of you who are younger than 65 and healthy with no underlying health conditions to consider assisting with one of three reopening teams:
- Set-up team. Sample duties include ensuring that all supplies needed for each sacramental celebration/gathering are ready for use, entrances and exits are marked and propped physically open prior to attendees’ arrival/departure, windows are opened, etc.
- Greeting team. Sample duties include assisting in managing the flow of congregants as they enter the church, making sure attendees use hand sanitizer upon entering, are wearing a mask, and are reminded not to enter if ill; directing people to appropriate seating/waiting areas, etc.
- Cleaning team. Sample duties include maintaining and cleaning essential and trafficked areas of the church before and after the church has been used. Masks and gloves will be provided, if you do not have your own, in addition to approved cleaning/disinfecting supplies.
The Reopening Leadership Team and I will make sure that all volunteers and properly trained. Please send us a message by replying my email or at email@example.com to indicate your willingness and ability to volunteer. From those that step forward, we will also request that some act as volunteer captains to help lead each of the three teams.
Timing for Our Reopening
As I mentioned, the Parish Reopening Leadership Team members and I will need to complete required training, which will take place the week of May 17. Once we complete the training, we will need to review and complete tasks assigned to all parishes as part of a reopening certification process to be approved by the Archdiocese. Therefore, the soonest that any parish in the Archdiocese will realistically open for sacramental celebrations, private prayer or Eucharistic Adoration is likely the weekend of May 23. However, our parish, like all others in the archdiocese, will move forward at a pace and timing appropriate for its own situation.
Following our training and certification approval, at St. Mother Teresa Parish, we will only open our church once the Reopening Leadership Team and I feel confident that we have the right volunteers in place to make it possible to reopen. Again, the need for parishioner assistance cannot be overstated.
The guidelines and measures required to reopen are designed to protect our wellbeing and that of the our broader community. As Cardinal Cupich has noted, from the first pages of Scripture we learn that we indeed are “our brother’s keeper.” Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, “that they all may be one” (Jn 17:21) and commanded us “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34). Our collective patience, willingness to help and the care we take to reopen is a demonstration of our unity and love for one another.
May God grant you His peace during this difficult time and may He manifest His love and presence to you in abundant ways. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 312-842-6777.
Wish you and your loved ones stay well and healthy!
With prayers and peace!
Fr. Francis Li
Cancellation of Mass is leading to significant losses in our offertory income, which is placing all our ministries and operations at significant risk. Many people in our parish and community depend upon your regular, weekly offertory contributions and, during this current challenge, they are needed more than ever.
Please consider giving online at Give Central (see giving button on the bottom of this website) where you can make a weekly offertory contribution to our St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish/St. Barbara Church family and keep the vital ministries and services we provide going. We ask you to prayerfully consider maintaining your regular weekly donation level or even increasing it during these times.
If you prefer to make an offertory donation through check, please mail it to parish office.
The fact that this pandemic is occurring during our Lenten journey offers each of us important reminders about the role of faith, hope and charity in our daily lives and in whom we place our trust. I believe we are being called by Jesus Christ to a renewed sense of solidarity. This is a time for unity in prayer, not for isolation; it is a time for hope, not despair; it is a time for generosity, not self-focus. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).
May God grant you peace during this difficult time and may He manifest His love and presence to you in abundant ways.
Thank you for your continued support of our Parish.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Francis Li
Lenten Regulations (from Feb. 26th, 2020, Ash Wednesday, to the Paschal Triduum) Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years old and older on Ash Wednesday and on all the Fridays of Lent. Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those who are bound by this may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one‘s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. The special Paschal fast, as well as abstinence, are prescribed for Good Friday and encouraged for Holy Saturday.
Our parish has a new name—
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta!
With humility, joy, and deep gratitude to God, Cardinal Cupich and the Renew My Church Team, I am pleased to share with you that our unified parish is named St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Name symbolizes new relationship, identity and mission. Mother Teresa is loved by all and continues to inspire all to do good. With this announcement, I invite us all to learn a little more about Mother Teresa’s life and to reflect on how her life can inspire our community to focus on the mission that Jesus has entrusted to us.
A Life Well-Lived—Getting to know Mother Teresa a little more:
Mother Teresa was born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. Moved by a love for Jesus and missionary service, she traveled to Ireland at the age of 18 and joined the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto; there she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Three months later, she departed for India to begin her missionary work as a teacher in Calcutta, India. Six years later, she made her Final Profession of Vows and came to be known as Mother Teresa. She continued to teach for the next decade, but she was always troubled by the poverty found outside the school’s walls. On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa received her “call within a call,” with months of hearing Jesus imploring her to “Come be my light” to “radiate [my] love on souls” by forming a religious community to love and care for the poorest of the poor. After two years of testing and discernment, dressed in her signature white and blue sari, Mother Teresa departed from the convent and entered the world of “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.”
Mother Teresa spent the next two years working in the slums of Calcutta; inspired by their teacher’s love for service and for the poor, her former students also began to join her ministry. On October 7, 1950, the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. From there, Mother Teresa sent sisters to other parts of India and eventually all around the world. Today it comprises active and contemplative branches of sisters and brothers, a branch of priests, and lay volunteers known as the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa. In addition to providing education, food, and other services to the homeless and ministering to the poor, they also provide relief after natural disasters and care for refugees, former prostitutes, the mentally ill, sick children, abandoned children, lepers, people with AIDS, the aged, and convalescent. For inspiring and organizing these good works, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the highest civilian honors from India, the US, and other countries around the world. Less than two years after her death, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization in 1999, and she was beatified in 2003. On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Inspiration for our parishioners individually and collectively:
Most of us actually remember a time when Mother Teresa was alive, and we witnessed at least the last parts of her evolution. Her name was changed from “Gonxha Agnes” to “Sister Mary Teresa” to “Mother Teresa” to finally “Saint Teresa,” and her workplace changed from the classroom to the slums to the world. Now, the communities of St. Barbara and St. Therese are being called to imitate the example of Mother Teresa by:
1. Cultivating a greater love for Jesus.
2. Having a greater consciousness of the global realities we live in.
3. Striving to serve, particularly the poor and the needy.
4. Being a missionary disciple by sharing the Good News with all we encounter.
5. Living simply so that others might be able to simply live.
Finally, I had the honor of meeting with Sr. Justus, Superior of the Missionaries of Charity in Chicago. We had a wonderful exchange. I am truly impressed by her and her Sisters’ humility and love. The following three things I invite you to participate:
1. Sr. Justus has graciously offered to lend our community 20 panels depicting the life story of Mother Teresa. These panels will be displayed at St. Therese Worship site for the weekends of Aug. 17-18 and 24-25 and at St. Barbara Worship Site on the weekends of Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and Sept. 7-8. I invite you and your family and friends to take advantage of precious opportunity to know more about Mother Teresa.
2. You are invited to pray the novena to St. Mother Teresa beginning on Aug. 27th. Copies of the prayers will be available at the Church entrance table.
3. September 5th is the feast day of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta; join us in a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Barbara Church at 10am with Bishop John Manz. This will be a historic day for our entire faith community.
“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”
St. Mother Teresa, pray for us and our faith community.
Fr. Francis Li
Greetings and a warm welcome from the SS. Barbara and Therese (Interim Name) Family!
Through Renew My Church, St. Therese Chinese Catholic Church and School, and St. Barbara Catholic Church and School have been united into one canonical parish and school. “We are no longer two, but one.” With so much history and tradition, our unified parish is a unique and welcoming Roman Catholic Parish in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown, and Bridgeport neighborhoods. As two of the oldest Parishes in Chicagoland, both of our historic and well-maintained worship sites are over 100 years old. Recently we installed air conditioning and a church lift for people who have difficulty handling stairs at St. Therese church, and updated our famously designed and spacious sanctuary at St. Barbara as well.
I invite you to explore our parish’s websites, get to know our communities, check out our calendars of events and new mass schedules. We look forward to meeting you in person at one of our celebrations. As we continue both the rewarding and challenging journey of Renew My Church, I humbly ask you to keep us in your prayers as I continue to pray for you.
I look forward to meeting you in person.
Father Francis Li
NEW MASS SCHEDULE Effective July 1, 2019
St. Barbara Church
Weekends: Saturday: 5:00 PM, Sunday: 6:00 AM & 9:30AM
Weekdays: 8:00 AM Mass on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
St. Therese Church
Weekends: Sunday 8:00 AM & 10:30 AM & 12:00 PM (Twice a month)
Cantonese Mass, 1st Sunday, 10:30 AM; Indonesian Mass, 2nd Sunday, Noon; Mandarin Mass, 4th Sunday, Noon.
Weekdays: 8:00am Mass on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
All pre-requested Mass intentions for the 5pm Vigil Mass at St. Therese will be transferred to the 5pm vigil Mass at St. Barbara site unless you call the parish office to make other arrangements. The pre-requested Mass intentions for the 11:30am Mass will be transferred to the 9:30am Mass unless you call the parish office to make other arrangements.
We thank you for your prayers and support as we continue to journey on our calling together as pilgrims to build the exciting new reality the grace of our Lord offers each of us through Renew My Church.
Fr. Francis and Fr. Arthur
St Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Celebrating over a Century of Faith and Education
St. Barbara Parish is a Roman Catholic community celebrating a century of faith in Chicago’s Bridgeport area. Our faith community welcomes all people, helping them grow spiritually through liturgy, prayer, and education, and socially through activities for all ages. Our school takes great pride in fostering these values in our children. We give witness to our faith by sharing with each other our God-given gifts and talents. We nourish and sustain our faith as a family by celebrating the Sacraments and the presence of the risen Lord among us in the Eucharist.