Update from Fr. Gary

TO OUR PARISH FAMILY – OUR LADY OF THE HEIGHTS:
I am pleased to introduce to our parish family, by way of this article, the newest member of our parish family and parish staff. His name is Martin Atilano, and he is our Director of Life Long Formation. This position is relatively new and an integral part of the Renew My Church process.
Martin’s most important role is to organize our Religious Education program for both Our Lady of
the Heights and Lord of Mercy Parishes. Over 600 children and teens have already registered, with
one remaining registration date at St. Kieran on August 26th. Martin’s larger role is to assure that
the ministers within all of our ministries have the appropriate formation to be successful in their service to our Parish.
Fr. Juan Carlos Gavancho is our Associate Pastor and is primarily responsible for the pastoral activities in Harvey at Lord of Mercy Parish. Regretfully neither Fr. Juan Carlos or I have been present
to celebrate weekend masses in English since we are covering the masses in Spanish here in Chicago
Heights and all of the weekend masses in Harvey…but we are truly blessed to have Fr. Bill O’Mara
and Fr. Tom Kasputis in our weekend rotation. By or after August 28th, we will be extremely blessed
to welcome Fr. Ed Shea to our weekend celebrants’ schedule. Fr. Ed is a Franciscan Friar who
resides at St. Peter’s in downtown Chicago. Fr. Ed is bilingual and we will then be able to rotate
between all 13 masses in the Heights and Harvey.
Relative to Chicago Heights and Harvey, the Cardinal has asked that a single pastoral and administrative staff serve both the Our Lady of the Heights and Lord of Mercy Parishes. Other than sharing certain staff members, the parishes are still separate entities. The Cardinal and Bishop Perry are
both hopeful that our Church can develop to be an important resource for the faithful in each community.
Thank you for your understanding during this past year while we have combined legacy parishes,
and for your incredible generosity to make our new parish successful in its mission to build God’s
kingdom here and now! We continue to operate under the guidance of the Cardinal’s Renew My
Church team. Near-term priorities include finalizing our first Annual Financial Report as a combined parish and then creating a new Parish Council and Finance Committee.
Finally, I have asked our Pastoral Associate, Margie Wegrzyn to lead a reflection during our Parish
Feast Day prayer service to describe who Our Lady of the Heights is. These descriptive words will be
used then in helping Margie and our Liturgy Team to create the image of Our Lady of the Heights
that will accompany our parish logo. That prayerful process will be the central part of our prayer
service on August 21st at 2:00 PM at St. Kieran. Please plan to attend our first Feast Day
celebration!
Fr. Gary

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