“Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for Me (Matt 25:40).”
” . . . the poor have the Gospel preached to them (Matt 11:5).”
These words of Jesus underlie why St. Francis was motivated to serve the poor, and why over 800 years later we continue to follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Francis. Pope Francis is fond of saying how the Church must not only be for the poor, but must be poor. As Franciscans of the Eucharist, we take the teachings of Jesus and the Church seriously, and we strive daily to serve the least among us, while living in their very midst. Our goal is not only to provide for their bodily needs, but also for their souls, so that they may know in their own lives the meaning of Jesus’ words, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full (Jn 10:10).”
Our work with the poor includes an ongoing commitment to provide for the physical needs of those whom we serve. Through a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) and countless parishes and other Christian communities, schools, businesses, institutions and people of goodwill we are able to provide over 700 families each month with food, clothing and household good.
Our partnership with the GCFD and the Metro Chicago YMCA enables us to facilitate Kelly Hall, a beautiful community center and YMCA that provides much needed after school, sports and other youth programing to help keep our kids and teens off the streets and assist them to succeed in school. We are also able to care for the seniors in our neighborhood. These men and women have worked hard throughout their lives and now in their golden years can share friendship and faith with one another through our weekly Senior Program, which includes a Bible Study and lunch.
We also host community dinners in the beautiful Our Lady of the Angels Church and Basement Hall. We begin with a simple prayer service and provide a healthy meal for the families and individuals who attend, working to foster a spirit of community and Gospel values among the men, women and children who come. Throughout the year we hold special events including a Thanksgiving Breakfast and Christmas Party, providing Thanksgiving dinner to nearly 200 families and over 5,000 gifts to needy children and their families.
We look forward to all the ways the Lord will continue to grow what we are able to provide for these beautiful people whom we serve. It is our honor to live in this neighborhood and experience the tragedies and joys which our neighbors know each day. We strive to provide a sense of hope for the future, through the grace and mercy of God, which is the source and strength of all we do.