San Rocco Oratory

of the Archdiocese of Chicago



Jones Center of Chicago Heights
Jones Center of Chicago Heights, on the East Side.

News on St. Anthony Hall

Note that our hall, named after St. Anthony, is available for rental, for special occasions, such as baptisms, first Communions, quinceneras, weddings, and funeral luncheons. Even people who are not regular members of San Rocco Oratory are welcome to rent the hall. Your contact person is Yvette Betancourt at (708) 654-7497 or dyvetteb18@yahoo.com. This hall is at 330 East 21st Street in Chicago Heights. The entrance is on the east side of our main parking lot, east of the church building.  A full kitchen is available. As you wish, you can prepare your own meal or obtain catering from a local restaurant, such as Glenwood Oaks or Scrementi's.


At the annual St. Joseph's Day Table, Pepe DiGiovanni addresses the multitude.
At the annual St. Joseph's Day Table, Pepe DiGiovanni addresses the multitude.

The DiGiovanni clan, in the hundreds, wears red.
The great DiGiovanni clan, in red, takes part in grace before meals and the blessing of the St. Joseph Day Table.

As you can see, today everybody wears red.

Easter Sunday, 2012, San Rocco Oratory is filled.
Easter Sunday, 2012, San Rocco Oratory is filled.

The Easter Sunday choir sings in full voice.
The Easter Sunday choir sings in full voice, directed by Celeste Jones, at the piano. We have seven women and three men.

August Anzelmo proclaims the First Reading.
August Anzelmo proclaims the First Reading. Earlier, he obtained the Easter lilies you see in front of the altar.

For the Responsorial Psalm after the First Reading, Mary Jones sings the verses.
For the Responsorial Psalm after the First Reading, Mary Jones sings the verses. She is in her fourth year at Milliken.

Father Gilligan proclaims the Gospel.
Father Gilligan proclaims the Gospel. As usual, the introductory dialogue and the conclusion are both sung. On the left is Ryan Wess; on the right, Mike Pena. Both hold candles, in honor of Christ who speaks in the Gospel.

The priest sings the petitions of the Universal Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Faithful.
As usual, the priest sings the petition of the Universal Prayer, the Prayer of the Faithful. In the back, you see the banner of the risen Christ, displayed during Eastertime, up to and including Pentecost Sunday.

The choir sings with the people,
With the people, the choir sings after each petition, "Lord, we beg you, hear our prayer." While the people sing in unison, the choir sings in four-part harmony.

The people bring forward the bread and wine, in procession.
At the beginning of the preparation of the gifts & altar, the people bring forward the bread & wine, as well as the collection.

During the Our Father, many people raise their hands in prayer.
During the Our Father, many people raise their hands in prayer, as recommended in the 1984 Italian sacramentary. This is the traditional "orans" posture for prayer, today still used by the priest, at Mass and at the Liturgy of the Hours.

Communion is given at every Sunday Mass, under both forms of eating and drinking.
As on other Sundays, Communion on Easter is given under both forms of eating the consecrated bread and drinking the consecrated wine.

Paul Rodriguez reads the First Reading.
April 29, we celebrate confirmation and First Holy Communion. Here, Paul Rodriguez reads the First Reading. Paul is the sponsor of Michael Pena, who today receives confirmation and Communion. The deacon, Dennis Robak, is on the left. He coordinates the ceremonies of the liturgy.

The confirmation choir supports the people, in their singing.
The confirmation choir supports the people, in their singing. Today, we are blest with nine women and four men. The choir's four-part harmony is strong and vibrant.

Before confirmation itself, Bishop Perry says a prayer to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Before confirmation itself, Bishop Perry says a prayer to God our Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Above, Konrad Pater holds the sacramentary for Bishop Perry.

Here, Bishop Perry congratulates each person just confirmed.

Bishop Perry with those confirmed
Above, from the left, are Father Gilligan, Stefani Molinaro, Jovan Gutierrez, Kristopher Kalch, Bishop Perry, Michael Pena (back row), Vincent Kalch, and Sofia Pena.

Bishop Perry says a blessing, quietly.
At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Bishop Perry says a blessing prayer quietly: "Blest are you, Lord, God of all creation..." This prayer is comparable to Jewish grace before meals.

Bishop Perry begins the incensation of the altar, as a sign of honor to Christ.
During the preparation of the gifts & the altar, Bishop Perry now begins to incense the altar itself, as a sign of honor to Christ. While swinging the censer, he walks around the altar. After our fire in 2007, this is the new altar that Bishop Perry himself blessed, when he came here.

Bishop Perry, incensing the image of the risen Christ.
While walking around the altar, Bishop Perry stops and incenses the banner of the risen Christ.

As he leaves, Bishop Perry greets individuals.
As he leaves, at the end of Mass, Bishop Perry greets individuals with a handshake. Deacon Rozak, on the left, walks immediately behind the presider.

The following hymn is sung by all the people, as the main element in the final commendation.

1. May God welcome her in glory,

and the Father's praise increase,

for the blessings given her at birth,

for the love we shared with her on earth,

God, grant her rest and peace;

God, grant her rest and peace.


2. O Lord, we will surely wander;

yet, wherever we might roam,

we remember how she laughed and cried,

how her faith was firm and never died.

Lord, bring her safely home;

Lord, bring her safely home.


3. The life we have lived is ending,

and the world we know will cease.

Yet the love we lived in our eyes,

and the hope of heaven never dies.

God, grant her rest and peace;

God, grant her rest and peace.

Copyright (c) 1992 American Catholic Press. All rights reserved.


San Rocco Hall, named in honor of St. Anthony
St. Anthony Hall, part of the San Rocco complex, on the east side of the main parking lot.

DiGiovanni Gathering in the new hall
DiGiovanni family gathering, in the St. Anthony Hall of San Rocco Oratory.

January 1, 2012: San Rocco Oratory receives a thank-you letter from the Jones Center in Chicago Heights.  Each December, we collect food for the poor, which is then passed on to the Jones Center on the east side of town.

Sunday, January 15, 2012:  From the Coleman Group, Jordan Good comes to San Rocco for Sunday Mass.  Afterwards, he gives a short, video presentation on GiveCentral.com, a program that provides for electronic giving.  This program is recommended by the Chicago Archdiocese for every parish and oratory.  Bishop Perry says that the bugs have been worked out and that the program works well.  Instead of checks or cash, donors simply have a regular amount transferred from their bank account to that of San Rocco Oratory.  After Jordan's presentation, people asked several questions; there was considerable interest in GiveCentral.com.  About a year ago, after the Rector consulted St. Lawrence O'Toole and Infant Jesus of Prague parishes, San Rocco Oratory began to use Parish Pay.  However, Give Central seems to have several advantages; that's the program we use now.

February 18, Saturday:  Mia Brames, daughter of Brian Brames and Jill Jacobucci, celebrates her first birthday, in St. Anthony Hall.

February 22, Ash Wednesday:  For the traditional Liturgy of the Word on this day, with distribution of ashes, the San Rocco choir participates; their rehearsal immediately follows, in the church building.  Celeste Jones, director, has already selected new music for Eastertime.

February 24, Friday: As in previous years, we celebrate the Way of the Cross (Stations) in church, followed by Vespers.  We follow the order given in the Leaflet Missal prayerbook.  In Vespers, everything but the Scripture reading is sung. During Lent, we gather every Friday, for Stations and Vespers.

Mary Varallo

March 2, Friday:  In the church building, at 11 a.m., we celebrate the funeral of Mary Varallo, mother of Louise Davis and Marge Petrelli.  At Assumption Cemetery, at 1:30 p.m., we celebrate a funeral Mass for Halina Koswenda.  Her son, Matt, is married to Theresa Lauteri.

March 9, Friday:  Father Gilligan concelebrates the funeral Mass of Tina Lavezzorio, held at Misericordia Home on the North Side of Chicago.

March 18, Sunday:  The great DiGiovanni clan holds its annual St Joseph's Day Table, laden with foodreunion, with a St. Joseph's Day table.  The event takes place at Immanuel Lutheran church hall, in Steger.  That hall has a bigger kitchen than ours.  Everybody wears red.

In the San Rocco bulletin today, people are encouraged to make advance reservations for use of the St. Anthony Hall, to avoid any conflict.  As in many other parishes, we have to do this in a spirit of cooperation and generosity, well ahead of time.

Joe Costello

March 23, Friday:  At St. Agnes Church, Chicago Heights, we celebrate the funeral of Joe Costello.  He and his wife Marie have been loyal members of the San Rocco family all their lives; they lost their son Sam last September.  The funeral Mass was held at St. Agnes because of the large number of participants, around 270.  At the end of the Mass, all joined in singing Notre Dame Our Mother, traditionally sung after every game at ND.  Joe was a loyal alumnus, a "domer."  Father John Siemanowski presides at the liturgy and preaches.

March 24, Saturday: At Infant Jesus of Prague parish, we celebrate the funeral of Paul Rodriquez II, father of Paul III, grandfather of Paul & Nikko, long-time servers at San Rocco.  The deceased was a member of IJP.

 March 30, Friday: Father Gilligan gives his yearly report to Bishop Perry, on the state of things at San Rocco Oratory.

March 31, Saturday: Sofia Andreatta is baptized at San Rocco Oratory.  She is the daughter of Brian Andreatta and Kimberly Wilbur.

Kevin Marzaik

April 3, Tuesday: A priests' day of reflection is held at Holy Name Cathedral.  At 10 a.m., the day opens with a presentation on financial matters, led by Kevin Marzalik, director of finance.  Priests are "strongly encouraged to attend this important address."

April 14, Saturday: Kathryn Mantoan, soprano in the San Rocco choir, is married at Infant Jesus of Prague Church, Flossmoor. Her husband is James LaMear.  The wedding features a string quartet and extensive choral music.  The celebration concludes with the Ode to Joy (from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), sung in German.

April 21, Saturday: Gabriel Ayala is baptized. He is the child of Gilbert and Anna Ayala.

April 29, Sunday: Bishop Perry comes to give confirmation to six children and First Holy Communion to four of them.  He presides at the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass. Afterwards, he spends time with people, over at the St. Anthony Hall.

Tuesday, May 15: The San Rocco finance council meets in South Holland, at the rectory.  The budget for 2013 is reviewed.

Monday, May 21: At the Heartland Funeral Home, on West End in Chicago Heights, Father Gilligan presides at a funeral Mass for Jack Qunell.  He was the brother-in-law of Phyllis Petrongelli.

May 27: For the Pentecost liturgy, the full choir sings SATB music by Dimitri Bortniansky, George Handel, Mark Patterson, and Antonio Vivaldi.  For this last Mass of Easter, we also sing Mass XVIII, the Missa de Angelis, in Greek and Latin. Celeste Jones directs. Her daughter Mary, a soprano, is back home from school.

July 18: Yvette Betancourt organizes a meeting in St. Anthony Hall in the evening.  About ten men are present, each the head of a soccer team, making use of our field to the north.  The meeting is largely in Spanish.  We agree on a set fee per team, as well as several other norms.  Father Gilligan has the secretary of St. Paul's parish, Lourdes Lopez, communicate our invitation to Father Rene Beltran, the pastor.  The people of St. Paul are always welcome in our grotto and field, for religious devotions and services.

Sunday, July 29:  Manuel and Luz Maria Lopez celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in the church building, with a Mass in Spanish.  Afterwards, they continue celebrating, over in St. Anthony Hall.

August 9: Father Gilligan meets with Father Tom Jackson, O.P., of Holy Name of Mary Parish, in Chicago. Like San Rocco Oratory, this parish has also long made use of the Leaflet Missal prayerbook.

Father Max Ssekiwala

August 11: Father Max Ssekiwala hosts a meeting of his "circle of friends," at the Meyer Center at 35th & Lake Park Avenue.  He was formerly master of ceremonies for Bishop Perry.

August 12: The San Lorenzo Festival brings an overflow crowd to San Rocco Oratory.  The church building is filled, even the vestibule.  Everybody sings.  The choir has seven women and four men, with a joyful sound.  We sing the memorial acclamation from the Roman Missal, in Gregorian Chant.  People are happy, in part because the sermon is brief.  The prayers of the Mass, including the Eucharistic Prayer, are in Italian.  The First Reading, in English, is read by Marilyn Jobbe.  The Second Reading, in Italian, is read by Teresa Bravo.  This year, the president of the festival is Tony Panici. He wears a splendid sash. 


The San Lorenzo Festival includes a big procession on Sunday morning.
The San Lorenzo Festival includes a big procession on Sunday morning. On the left is the flag of Italy; on the right, that of the U.S.

An antique car leads the procession.
In 2012, an antique car leads the procession.

The procession arrives at the San Rocco church building.
The procession arrives at the San Rocco church building.

St. Lawrence is the center of attention.
At the head of the middle aisle, the statue of St. Lawrence is the center of attention.

The church on this day is overflowing.
On this day, the San Rocco church building is overflowing. President Tony Panici is on the right, with the sash. Note the full vestibule in the back.

Here again, you see the overflowing congregation.
Here again, you see the overflowing congregation. On the back wall is an image of Christ, ascending to heaven; this painting is from the church of St. Joseph, formerly in Chicago Heights.

August 15: At 6 p.m. a crowd of about 100 people, mostly younger, gather in front of the statue of Mary at San Rocco Oratory. They then move in procession down 22nd Street, to St. Paul's. They say the rosary and sing in Spanish, led by a passenger in a truck, with two large loudspeakers. Some first communicants take part, dressed in their white garments. The people carry a festooned statue of the Virgin Mary. (See the images, immediately below.)

After the 7 p.m. Mass at San Rocco, Father Gilligan meets with Father Rene, over on 24th Street and Butler.







Saturday, August 25: Carla Vasquez celebrates her quincenera with a Mass organized by her parents, Miguel and Trina; except for the sermon, the celebration is entirely in the Spanish language. Carla's court of honor includes six damas and six chambelanes.  Antonio, one of the chambelanes, reads the First Reading, from 1 Corinthians 13.  His father helps with Communion.  At the end of Mass, Carla presents a bouquet of flowers to the Virgin Mary.  The celebration continues next door, at the St. Anthony Hall.

Sunday, September 2: At 10:50, towards the end of Mass, we celebrate the 103rd birthday of Angeline Cipolla.  Her son-in-law is Lawrence; her daughter is Rosemary Pignotti.

At 5 p.m., we celebrate the baptism of Marco DeAngelo, son of Lynne and Rocky. Roderick, the brother of Rocky, comes in today, from Dubuque, Iowa, just for this baptism.  Rocky takes note of the fact that the cornerstone outside the church building bears his name:  Saint Rochi. 

Ann Nardoni

Saturday, Sept. 8:  At 11 a.m. we celebrate the funeral of Ann Nardoni, 91, mother of Francine Kaberna and the late Dennis Nardoni.  Ann was the wife of the late Frank Nardoni. Jeanette Dandurand sings the verses of the Psalms at the beginning and during Communion; she also leads the singing and plays the organ, as needed to support the people. The First and Second Readings are proclaimed by Jim & Frank Kaberna, grandsons. The gifts are presented by Anne & Kate Kaberna and Alyssa, Newling, granddaughters. In the Eucharistic Prayer, we commemorate the late Frank Nardoni, Dennis, Brian, and young Dennis. Jean Ciambrone helps with Communion. At the end of the funeral Mass, the eulogy is given by Ann Nardoni's great granddaughter, Amanda Newling. As usual at San Rocco, at the final commendation, we sing May God Welcome Her in Glory.

Saturday, Sept. 15: We celebrate the quincenera of Blanca Ruiz; her family comes in from South Bend, Indiana. Except for the sermon, the entire liturgy is in Spanish.

Saturday, Sept. 22: With a Mass, we celebrate the third birthday of Alexis Ramirez, daughter of Jose'; afterwards, people gather nearby, in the St. Anthony Hall. In Mexican tradition, people make a "presentation" of their child to the Church, around the third birthday. There is not usually a Mass, just a prayer and/or a blessing. Today, however, we have a celebration of the Eucharist, in Spanish.

Saturday, Sept. 29: At 11 a.m., we celebrate the funeral of Dawn Moreno, daughter of Carl & Celia Baur, wife of Brian Moreno.  She died Tuesday at Silver Cross Hospital, New Lenox.  At the end of Mass, the local VFW gave her a special tribute.  Afterwards, people gathered at the Baur home in Chicago Heights.  Dawn was only 48 years old. Dawn is survived by her sons Joey and Jeremy, as well as her sister Robin and her brothers, Brian and Jason.  There are also six nieces and nephews.

Sunday, Sept. 30: At 1:30 at The Park at Olympia Fields, after Sunday Mass, we hold a funeral for Jenny Newton, 104, who died August 25.  She was a Louisiana native and a long-time resident of The Park.  She was happy to participate in Sunday Mass at The Park, until the week she died. Her son, Michael, survives her. 

Monday, Oct. 1: At 11 a.m., we celebrate the funeral of Judith Panici ("Judy").  She died Wednesday, also at Silver Cross Hospital. At the family's request, Jeanette Dandurand leads the singing and plays the organ as needed, to support the people's singing.  Judy was 67.  She is survived by her husband Joseph, her son and daughter-in-law, Joseph and Diana, as well as grandchildren, in-laws, a niece, and a nephew.  Judy was a retired deputy of the Cook County Sheriff; at the end of Mass, there was a special tribute to her, on the part of the sheriff's representative.  Police also were present for the funeral itself. 

Wednesday, Oct. 3: The San Rocco finance committee meets in South Holland, at the rectory there.  The group reviews the annual report and adds their signatures.  The report is sent to Cardinal George, Bishop Perry, and Kevin Marzalik, director of finance for the Chicago Archdiocese.  Because of a substantial grant from Father John Canary, Vicar General, we are in the black.  Recent expenditures included necessary repair and even replacement of one air conditioning unit.  Sept. 30, the Amaseno Lodge also made a generous donation to San Rocco Oratory.  

The finance committee also reviews procedures for use of the St. Anthony Hall and the soccer fields outside.  With regard to the hall, we examine a draft of signs to be posted.  We also want to improve communication with the hall manger, Yvette Betancourt; people have to reserve their dates and schedule with her, well ahead of time.  With regard to the soccer teams, we agree to have written agreements in place, before the season begins next summer.

Friday, Oct. 5: The Faith and Friendship discussion group meets in South Holland, in part to consider the 14th chapter of Matthew Kelly's book, Rediscovering Catholicism.

Thursday, Nov. 1:  Mass for All Saints' Day is at 7 p.m.  Choir rehearsal immediately follows.

Nov. 4: A benefit for Bishop Perry's Zacchaeus House is held at St. James parish, Lemont. In addition to dinner, there's a raffle and a silent auction.

Sunday, Nov. 4:  A spaghetti dinner is held in St. Anthony Hall, from noon to 5 p.m.  The fee is $12 per person; children under 6 are free.  All day, crowds of people come; the event is a great success. Locally, the Midwest Motet Society gives a concert, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Chicago Heights.

Today, too, a table of remembrance is set up in the vestibule of the San Rocco church building.  This table displays photos, holy cards, and a book of the deceased, all during the month of November.  Sincere thanks to Helen Herbst and Jeanette Dandurand, for their work in setting up this table of remembrance.

At the end of Mass, Mayor Ciambrone makes a special announcement. A barrel is set out in the vestibule, for food for the poor, to be given to Jones Center, on the east side of Chicago Heights.   People are asked to put canned food etc. in this barrel. Rosann Ciambrone helps organize this ministry.

Nov. 10: We celebrate the funeral of Josephine (Perry) Berlinski, aunt of Lou Aguzzi.

Nov. 19: At St. George, Tinley Park, we celebrate the funeral of Father Bill Curran, classmate of Father Gilligan. Presider is Bishop Frank Kane, also a classmate.  Father Bill's sister, Kathleen, survives him.

Thursday, Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Mass is at 9 a.m., a time chosen by vote of the people.  It is said that they need to start cooking the bird early.

Nov. 24: Yoalli Arabella Guzman, daughter of Mararita and Fabian Guzman, is baptized today at San Rocco.  The liturgy is in both Spanish and English. The movable chairs in front of the baptistry are arranged in a semi-circle, for the brief celebration of the Word, in the first part of the liturgy.

Sunday, Nov. 25: The Feast of Christ the King ends the season of Ordinary Time. During the longer Gospel procession, the choir sings the Madrigal Alleluia. Incense is used for the Gospel and during the preparation of the gifts. The choir sings Sunday Morning.  After Communion, the choir sings Soon and Very Soon ("We are going to meet the King."). 

Sunday, Dec. 2: The bulletin reports that $828 has been deposited in the San Rocco checking account; these are funds generated by the recent spaghetti dinner. 

Today, the First Sunday of Advent, as usual in this season, the choir sings the Trisagion, We Look for Light, and Blest Be the Name.  The choir director, Celeste Jones, has been rehearsing with the choir several new selections, especially for Advent and Christmas.

Saturday, Dec. 8:  Mass for the holy day is at 11 a.m.  The Chicago Archdiocese asks that evening Masses today be arranged for the Sunday, tomorrow, not the holy day, today.

Sunday, Dec. 9:  Coffee and conversation are shared after Sunday Mass, over at the St. Anthony Hall, on the east side of the parking lot. Mayor Ciambrone organizes this gesture of hospitality.  About 100 people participate, having crossed the parking lot from the church building.

Sunday, Dec. 16:  Having been out of commission for several weeks, the Wurlitzer organ is now repaired and fully functional.  Chris Marshall, recovering from knee surgery, is the technician who had to replace the power supply.

Inside the St. Anthony Hall, Yvette Betancourt and Father Gilligan post the signs approved by the finance committee Oct. 3.

Christmas Eve:  The great DiGiovanni clan gathers in the St. Anthony Hall for a family reunion. 

Christmas, Dec. 25: Mass is at 10 a.m.  Carols by the choir and people precede the celebration.  In the afternoon, the Venditti clan gathers in the St. Anthony Hall for their family reunion.

Saturday, Dec. 29:  At 11 a.m. we celebrate a memorial Mass for Jim Petrongelli, 46, the son of Joseph and Lorraine.  Jim's widow and five children are in town for this Mass. Sally McDonnell, Jim's sister, gives a eulogy after the opening prayer.  The First Reading is proclaimed by the oldest son, Jimmy; his sister, Alyssa, proclaims the Second Reading.  Celeste Jones plays the organ; her daughter, Mary, sings the verses for the opening Psalm, the Psalm after the First Reading, and the Communion Psalm; she also sings Ave Maria, by Schubert, at the beginning of the preparation of the gifts.


The Venditti Family at their Christmas reunion, in St. Anthony Hall
The Venditti Family, at their Christmas, 2012, reunion in the St. Anthony Hall of San Rocco Oratory. In the center of the second row, note Leonard Venditti, Marilyn Jobbe, and Sandra Ziccardi, siblings.

At the Memorial Mass for Master Gunnery Sargeant Jim Petrongelli, his flag and photo were placed in front of the altar, on a table.
At the Dec. 29 memorial Mass for Master Gunnery Sgt. Jim Petrongelli, his photo and burial flag were on a table at the head of the middle aisle. The cause of Jim's sudden death was left artery disease (LAD), i.e., occlusion.

Assembly for the Jim Petrongelli Memorial Mass: east side of church. More people came in, after this photo was taken.
East side of church, for the Jim Petrongelli memorial Mass. After this photo was taken, more people came in and filled the building completely.

West side of church
West side of church. On the right are Jim's parents, Lorraine and Joe Petrongelli.

Christmas Manger 2012
Christmas Manger, 2012. The photo on the left is that of St. Padre Pio.




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