Non-Parish Offsite Community Events

The Lifelong Learning and Adult Faith Formation Committee for Oak Park Parishes

is pleased to announce the following series:

Peter O’Leary

In a letter to his patron Can Grande della Scala, the great poet Dante identified four ways of interpreting scripture: the literal, the moral, the allegorical, and the mystical (or anagogical). Dante intended for his patron to use these same approaches to understand the masterpiece, Dante’s Commedia, that Can Grande had sponsored. But these approaches have persisted as illuminating ways for readers and scholars alike to read scripture.

“Interpreting the Four Gospels” will consist of four lectures, one apiece on each of the four gospels in their chronological order, matched with one apiece of Dante’s four interpretive approaches. Each lecture will present one of the gospels in its context, considering when it was written and for whom, along with examples of the interpretive approach in action.

These lectures are meant to be informative and fun, and to open up your sense of how you can read the gospels. No expertise or special training is expected, only your curiosity.

Our lectures will begin at 7:30 pm and run till 9 pm. You may want to bring your own Bible to mark passages or just to follow along at times. Here is the schedule for the lectures:

  • Monday, September 26, 2022 – The Gospel of Mark and literal reading – Location: Pine Room of Ascension School (Not handicap accessible)
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022 – The Gospel of Matthew and moral reading – Location: Pine Room of Ascension School (Not handicap accessible)
  • Monday, October 24, 2022 – The Gospel of Luke and allegorical reading – Location: McDonough Hall on the St. Giles Campus at 1101 Columbian Avenue, 2nd Floor
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022 – The Gospel of John and mystical reading – Location: McDonough Hall on the St. Giles Campus at 1101 Columbian Avenue, 2nd Floor

Please mark your calendar for these dates. Unfortunately, we will not be able to Zoom or Livestream these events. So, we may get an idea of numbers in attendance, please email to let us know of your interest.

Dr. Peter O’Leary is an alumnus of the University of Chicago. (AB’90 (English), AM’94, PhD’99 Divinity School). A Catechist and member of Ascension-St. Edmund Parish in Oak Park, O’Leary teaches at U. Chicago and the School of the Art Institute. Peter has published five books of poetry and five chapbooks. His latest book, The Hidden Eyes of Things, is a book length poem through the Cultural Society and completes a trilogy. This is Peter’s third offering to adult learners in our local parish setting.


Have you ever wondered what motivated Mother Teresa to care for the poor and destitute in India? Or have you wondered what it’s like to be a Missionary of Charity? Our first spiritual classics selection for the new school year is Mother Teresa’s beautiful book, A Simple Path, describing her remarkable spiritual journey. We’ll discuss Mother Teresa’s lifelong ministry and book of spiritual wisdom on Tuesday, October 4, at 7:30 pm over Zoom.

Registration is required. To participate, just send an email to with the name of the book in the subject line. You’ll receive a return email before the discussion with a link for the Zoom meeting. For more information, links to obtain the book, and details for the upcoming monthly discussions on spiritual classics, go to Reading the book is not required in order to join the discussions – feel free to just come and learn about Mother Teresa and her missionary work. All members of Oak Park parishes are welcome.

Mother Teresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her lifetime work serving the poor, discusses how her personal credo of “love in action” has shaped her life and shows readers how to build a similarly strong and charitable foundation for their lives. A Simple Path also tells the story of the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, their purpose and practice, and the results of their tireless work. Through faith, surrender, and prayer, the missionaries live to serve others; they have improved the lives of countless souls and given dignity to the dying.

These spiritual classics book discussions will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, October through June (except for January). We’ve lined up an exciting selection of classic spiritual works by Thomas Merton, Teilhard du Chardin, St. Louis de Montfort, Dorothy Day, and others. These book discussions are sponsored by the Lifelong Learning and Adult Faith Formation Committee.


Catholic Charities is working on a pilot program to provide food pantry delivery one Saturday per month to pantry clients 65 and older who live in Cicero and Berwyn. We are looking for volunteers to do the deliveries, which will be from 10 am to 2 pm one Saturday per month. The starting date is still to be determined, but we hope to begin by the end of April. Volunteers will have to undergo a criminal background check and take an online driver awareness course.

If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact Claudia Andrade at or 708-329-4023.

from Black Saints and Popes presentation

Father Augustus Tolton was the first black diocesan priest in the United States, the son of slaves of African descent. After studying in Rome, because no American seminary would accept him, he was ordained for the Diocese of Quincy, in southern Illinois, and later came to Chicago to start a parish for black Catholics. He died young, at only 43 years of age.

Fr. Tolton’s cause for sainthood was introduced in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2010 by Francis Cardinal George, OMI.

“Tolton’s story is one of carving out one’s humanity as a man and as a priest in an atmosphere of racial volatility. His was a fundamental and pervasive struggle to be recognized, welcomed and accepted. He rises wonderfully as a Christ-figure, never uttering a harsh word about anyone or anything while being thrown one disappointment after another. He persevered among us when there was no logical reason to do so.”

– from Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago – Diocesan Postulator for the Cause of Augustus Tolton

What Can I do to Help the Cause of Canonization of Father Augustus Tolton?

You can pray the special prayer for his canonization that simultaneously presents to God a request for healing or other special intention.

O God, we give you thanks for your servant and priest, Father Augustus Tolton, who labored among us in times of contradiction, times that were both beautiful and paradoxical. His ministry helped lay the foundation for a truly Catholic gathering in faith in our time. We stand in the shadow of his ministry. May his life continue to inspire us and imbue us with that confidence and hope that will forge a new evangelization for the Church we love.

Father in Heaven, Father Tolton’s suffering service sheds light upon our sorrows; we see them through the prism of your Son’s passion and death. If it be your Will, O God, glorify your servant, Father Tolton, by granting the favor I now request through his intercession (mention your request) so that all may know the goodness of this priest whose memory looms large in the Church he loved.

Complete what you have begun in us that we might work for the fulfillment of your kingdom. Not to us the glory, but glory to you O God, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are our God, living and reigning forever and ever.


– from 2010 Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Imprimatur Francis Cardinal George, OMI – Archdiocese of Chicago

Other ways to help the Cause for Sainthood of Father Tolton would be to attend the various events sponsored by the Archdiocese for the promotion of the Cause, or to help with your donations, used strictly to support the Cause.

To report any spiritual or physical favors granted through prayer in Father Tolton’s name, please write:

Office of the Cardinal – Archdiocese of Chicago
835 North Rush Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611

To request the prayer card for the canonization of Father Augustus Tolton, call or write:

Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Phone: 312.534.8376
3525 S. Lake Park Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60653


“Let us work together to find concrete solutions to help the poor, refugees, victims of modern forms of slavery, in order to promote peace.” – Pope Francis

Support of critical funding is needed for migrants and refugees overseas. The final figures for this life-saving aid have yet to be determined, and Congress has until December 7 to pass a final bill. It will help migrants and refugees around the world meet their basic needs, and addresses factors, like violence, hunger, and lack of economic opportunity, that force people to migrate. Your voice makes a difference. Raise it today!

ACTION: Oppose cuts to foreign aid and ensure Congress is funding these life-saving programs at the highest levels possible. Visit the USCCBs site for ways to contact your officials.

For additional ways to advocate for immigrants and refugees visit: