Non-Parish Offsite Community Events

The Well Spirituality Center – Laudato Si’ Opportunities

Entire Laudate Si’ Program Brochure (PDF)

The Well Spirituality Center, a ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph, is offering Seven Opportunities to CONTEMPLATE and ACT UPON THE CALL of LAUDATO SI’ – What difference can it make: in your life? for the sake of our world?

These multiple retreats / programs are being offered by Pat Bergen, CSJ, around Pope Francis’s encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”

  • “Contemplating Laudato Si’ Action Platform for the Sake of the World: Retreat for Religious Women and Men” invites participants to “listen to the cries of Earth and her people” in order to transform “the world into the Communion of Love” – The retreat will be presented January 10 through January 12More Information
  • “Transforming Your Life in Light of Laudato Si’ Action Platform” is a retreat directed to pastoral associates and adult faith educators and will be offered January 23 through January 25More Information
  • “Caring for Life in Light of Laudato Si’” is directed to religious leaders of all faiths and will be offered on January 31More Information
  • A film screening and discussion of “The Letter,” whose title references the Laudato Si’ encyclical, will take place on February 6 and 8More Information
  • “Living as Ambassadors for Christ: Lenten Retreat for Catechists” will be offered on February 25More Information
  • “Our Reality: Integral Ecology” is a program that will focus on the truth that we live in a spiritual world where everything in interconnected and will be presented on May 4More Information
  • “Summer Guided Retreat with Option for Direction” – The retreat’s theme is Laudato Si’ and will be offered June 4 through June 9More Information

To find out more/register, visit: or call us at 708-482-5048.

Oak Park Catechist Enrichment Day

Presenter – Christine Ondrla

Sunday, January 29, 2023

11 am – Mass at St. Edmund Church

12-2:30 pm – Lunch and Presentation in Murphy Hall, St. Edmund Church

We are excited to invite ALL Oak Park catechists, catechist aides, confirmation mentors, and any interested future catechists to celebrate the Eucharist at the 11 am Mass at St. Edmund Church. At 12 pm, join us in Murphy Hall for lunch, fellowship, and spiritual enrichment with the locally beloved and nationally recognized catechetical leader, Christine Ondrla.

Please RSVP by Thursday, January 19, 2023 – Use the button below or email at to RSVP. Thank you!

Christine Ondrla has been involved in religious education for over forty-five years as a parent, catechist, director of religious education, national trainer and author. Christine Ondrla was the 2006 recipient of the Religious Education Excellence Award given by the NPCD in Atlanta, Georgia.


Free Film Screening of “The Letter”

“The Letter” is a dynamic new feature-length film by Laudato Si’ Movement in partnership with Off the Fence Productions. It was released in October 2022 in collaboration with the Vatican. It brings Pope Francis’ vision of integral ecology to life.

The film follows individuals from around the world as they are invited to meet with Pope Francis to discuss how climate change is impacting on their lives and the steps they are taking to tackle it. Their journey is transformative.

Join us on Tuesday, February 7, from 7 to 9 pm in St. Edmund’s Murphy Hall, 188 S. Oak Park Avenue for a free screening of “The Letter”. Refreshments will be served; please contact Laura Kelley at if you’d like more information or to volunteer with the event. The film is appropriate for those ages 16 and up.

Registration is requested. Please use the link below to register.


Spiritual Classics – Thomas Merton’s Contemplation

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton is the Spiritual Classics choice for our next discussion on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:30 pm over Zoom.

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky in the middle of the twentieth century and wrote many books about his spiritual path. New Seeds of Contemplation seeks to awaken the dormant inner depths of the spirit neglected by modern society, and to nurture a deeply contemplative and mystical dimension in our lives. This book continues in the meditative tradition of St. John of the Cross, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the medieval mystics.

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 discussions on spiritual classics, use the button below. Reading the book is not required in order to join the discussions – feel free to just come and learn about Thomas Merton and his spirituality. All Oak Park parishes are welcome.

CLICK for More Information

Oak Park Homelessness Coalition Website


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: