This has to be a complete response by the Church, not just part, but all of us have to be engaged and proactive.
– Bishop Shawn McKnight, Jefferson City, Missouri

Still wondering about the Upper Room Initiative? – Originally, Cardinal Cupich invited a listening session of our Deanery in response to the ongoing crisis in the Church. Fr. Carl invited a group of parishioners to participate. Anger and disappointment were expressed at the seemingly endless clergy sexual abuse and lack of clerical accountability of the institutional church.

In addition to the shame and outrage at the crisis, the experience of sexism, racism, and exclusion in the church was clear. We the St Giles delegation found ourselves a very diverse community, of old and young, male and female, black and white, gay and straight, big church and Family Mass. We realized meeting with His Eminence enkindled our passion and emboldened our faith.

The Upper Room was born out of that sharing to develop a personal and pastoral response to the brokenness of our church. The Initiative is developing a variety of offerings to deepen understanding, engaging opportunities for inclusion, healing, accountability and transparency while deepening our faith and developing leadership into the future.

We need your participation, insight and gifts to actualize the vision.

A New Initiative For Our Parish: The Upper Room

Following the convening of the of the Catholic Partnership Summit by the Leadership Roundtable in February of this year, Cardinal Cupich hosted a number of listening sessions throughout the diocese to address the twin crises of clergy abuse and leadership failure in the Catholic Church. St. Giles hosted a listening session with the Cardinal for the Oak Park-area parishes, and 100 invited parishioners attended. After the listening session, Fr. Carl decided to commission a working group, representing St. Giles parishioners, the Family Mass Community, and members of the Pastoral staff, to explore ways we as a community of faith can address the dual crises. “This has to be a complete response by the Church, not just part, but all of us have to be engaged and proactive,” said Bishop Shawn McKnight, Jefferson City, in the Catholic Partnership Summit report, Heal the Body of Christ.

The Upper Room is that working group, formed to identify ways to work against clericalism, build accountability, and develop opportunities for transparency, truth, healing, and restoration within the greater context of our Parish life. We are using a multi-dimensional approach to offer opportunities for speakers, shared reading, healing rituals, prayer and sacraments, social justice/service opportunities, and activism, which will be interspersed in the Parish and Family Mass Community calendars. We gratefully embrace the St. Giles Parish Pastoral staff’s theme of Together We Heal.

The apostles, deeply traumatized and uncertain, ran away and hid after the crucifixion. It was in the “upper room” where their faith was most frail and fragile. It was in the “upper room,” in the depth of their mourning, that the Spirit burned and the risen Lord became known. We ask our Community of Faith, St. Giles Parish and the Family Mass Community, for your prayers and participation as we together develop a pastoral response to address the dual crises of Clergy Abuse and Clericalism while restoring and transforming our Church.

Please know that you are included and welcome. Additional details and information will follow.