Our St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish is partnering with Ascension and St. Edmund Parish to form an organization that is called Migrant Ministry. Our goal is to work toward hosting migrants.
Currently and as of January 2024, we are providing assistance to migrants and asylum seekers at the former St. Edmund School (now St. Edmund Center) located at 200 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park, IL 60302.
VIDEO – WHAT WE ARE ABOUT! – St. Edmund Center in Oak Park provides Services for Migrants
MINISTRY UPDATE – FEBRUARY 18, 2024 – CALLING OAK PARK AND SAINT EDMUND HOME
Last October, at the District 15 Chicago Police Station we met Jose Leandro, an indigenous man from Colombia who was driven out of his village by the drug cartels. With other D15 migrants, Jose moved to the Oak Park YMCA in mid-November. He became a regular visitor to the Migrant Ministry and enrolled in our ESL classes. He was anxious to get a job and settle into an apartment.
On February 10, with the support of Catholic Parishes of Oak Park (CPOP) Migrant Housing team, Jose moved into an apartment in Southeast Oak Park. He will share the apartment with another single man identified through the Migrant Ministry. He has found a job through a connection at the YMCA and can now call Oak Park home.
The Housing Ministry division of our migrant outreach does not receive a lot of media attention, but it is vibrant and growing. In partnership with Catholic Charities, the Housing Ministry is now accompanying six households and seven families. One of the families welcomed a new baby boy this week! The Housing Ministry furnishes the apartment with donated furniture and household supplies and identifies “mentors” who accompany the migrants and help them adjust to life in their new communities, their new homes.
This past Sunday afternoon, six migrant children were baptized at St Edmund’s – a number of baptisms on one day not seen since the 1950s! Thanks to the spiritual and pastoral accompaniment of Claretian Fr. Vittorio Bruscella at Centro San Edmundo, these families and other migrants have found a spiritual home at St. Edmund. They have asked about receiving other sacraments as well, including marriage. A Spanish-language Mass will be offered on Sundays during Lent.
We are honored that our migrant brothers and sisters can now call our community and our parishes their home.
There is an ongoing need for mentors for the Housing Ministry. The goal of the mentors is to move our migrant brothers and sisters to independence by helping them with shopping, navigating transportation, setting up bank accounts, etc. Spanish-speaking ability is desired, but Google Translate works!
ONLINE ITEMS DONATIONS – AMAZON WISH LIST
If you would like to support our ministry, use the link below to visit our Amazon Wish List. You do not need to order the items from Amazon. It is just a list of things we need. Donations of other items not on this list continue to be paused for now.
MINISTRY UPDATE – FEBRUARY 16, 2024 – LATEST UPDATE ON TRANSITIONAL HOUSING FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS
What follows is an update on the transitional housing for asylum seekers at the St. Edmund School building. The update is provided by Jack Crowe, parishioner and Board Member for the Oak Park Family Transition Center. As we learn more about the preparation work and operations of the shelter, we will be sure to share it with you. Thank you for your unwavering support as we continue to help those who need us.
Fr. Carl Morello
St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish
Ascension and St. Edmund Parish
P.S. – Also, CLICK HERE to see an article from the Wednesday Journal on the shelter – OP selects St. Edmund School as asylum-seekers’ shelter – Wednesday Journal (oakpark.com)
Important Update on the Transitional Shelter for Asylum Seekers
You have likely heard the exciting news that last night the Village of Oak Park agreed to open a transitional shelter at the St. Edmund School building for approximately 100 newly arrived asylum seekers beginning around March 1 until June 30, 2024. The shelter’s residents will be families, approximately 60 adults and 40 children, currently staying at the West Suburban YMCA and The Carlton Hotel.
The shelter will be operated for the Village of Oak Park by the Oak Park Family Transitional Center. This is an entity operated by West Side Service Connector, an Illinois not-for-profit and 501c3 created for service outreach in response to the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Renew My Church Initiative for the Oak Park Catholic Parishes. Jack Crowe will be the unpaid Executive Director of the Oak Park Family Transitional Shelter. The board members are local parishioners Kenna MacKinnon, Dan Doody and Jack Crowe. The Archdiocese of Chicago, as landlord, required that a separate corporate entity such as this operate the shelter.
The shelter will reside in the same building with the Migrant Ministry which has been distributing clothing as well as offering meals, English classes, medical services, and pastoral care. This important volunteer-driven ministry also aids in finding permanent housing. The Migrant Ministry and the new shelter will have opportunities to collaborate as we move forward.
Finally, the West Side Service Connector has a separate business operation called The Neighborhood Bridge that is focused on connecting residents of the West Side to high quality social service providers in Oak Park and Austin with an initial focus on serving local school children and their families. Its work is separate from the Oak Park Family Transitional Shelter and the Migrant Ministry.
We will keep you updated as we move along. Thank you for your ongoing support as we provide assistance to this humanitarian crisis.
If you would like to help by donating money toward the purchase of items needed, or if you would like to help defray expenses to provide meals and clothing items for the migrants, you can donate online through the GiveCentral link below OR send donations to St. Catherine-St Lucy and St Giles Parish, 1025 Columbian Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302. Include a note that the donation is for the “Migrant Ministry”.
Thank you for your generous hearts!
The most important needs are housing and jobs. We continue to look for apartments to house families. The families that we are hosting are doing well, and there is a continuing need for mentors to accompany these families. With the new Temporary Protective Status for asylum-seekers from Venezuela, we are trying to find ways to help them complete those applications.
If you are interested in volunteering for Migrant Ministry, the accompaniment of the migrant families we have resettled into Oak Park, or if you know of an available home or apartment, please contact Margie Rudnik at email@example.com, or Celine Woznica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GIA Sponsors Concert at St. Edmund for Migrant Ministry
Join renowned Catholic Composers and Artists for a benefit concert in honor of our New Migrant Neighbors in Chicagoland on February 27 at 7 pm at St. Edmund Church in Oak Park – A free will-donation will be collected to support the efforts of the Catholic Parishes of Oak Park Migrant Ministry.
Bienvenidos, Hermanos y Hermanas!
Click on links below to learn more about our guests!