Welcome to St. Vincent de Paul Parish, which serves Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. When first established, our Church was on the fringe of the city, but for 137 years both Chicago and our parish have grown tremendously.
“We must love our neighbor as being made in
the image of God and as an object of His love.”
– St. Vincent de Paul
From the Pastor
In the Church calendar, we are now on the 33rd week of Ordinary Time. After today, there are only two more weeks before the calendar turns over with the beginning of Advent. This is one reason why the month of November is linked with remembering and praying for those who have gone before us. During this time, the readings begin to focus on “the last times” and judgment. After beginning with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, the month ends with the end of the year — liturgically speaking. We can see death and decline all around us as well. The days are getting shorter, darker and colder. The leaves are quickly falling from the trees. Outdoor plants have gone for the winter.
Our readings today speak about death, resurrection and the end of days. Perhaps the ultimate mystery of human existence is death. Even though it is not something that enters our mind on a regular basis, or something that we talk about in polite conversation, it is a reality that each one of us will die one day. When, where and how it happens are not answers that anyone knows. This harsh reality is also what gives rise to some of the most soul-searching questions. It is what gives rise to myths and legends about living forever. It fuels medical advances that seek to keep us living longer and longer. Most of us, in some way or another, believe that we can somehow control everything, including death.
As frightening and unknown as death is (What happens to me? Where do I go? What will I feel?), our readings today are intended to give us comfort and support, to allow us to give up the need to control everything and trust in God. All of our readings speak about the hope that we have that death is not the end of the story. They speak about our belief that God will make all things new, that “the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament” as the Book of Daniel from the first reading said, that Jesus will “gather his elect from the four winds” into the everlasting Reign of God.
God is a God of life. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God has shown that there is more to life than death; God has shown power over all things, even death. We imitate Christ in our lives by our daily dying to self and sin and rising to new life. And one day when our earthly pilgrimage is done, we will rise again to eternal life as children of God. In the meantime, let us seek to live each day to the fullest, loving and serving our faithful God and our brothers and sisters. Let us remain firm in hope that God has the last word, and that word is one of hope, life and love.