[Friday, Jan. 1, 2016] This is the feast of Mary, the Mother of Christ. By vote of the people, Mass today is at 10 a.m., as on Christmas. Other holydays, as voted on, have Mass at 7 p.m.
[Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016] At 10:30 a.m., at St. Cajetan's, on the South Side, we celebrate the funeral of Stella Ziemba, a resident of Brookdale, Olympia Fields.
At 5 p.m., the Sons of Italy celebrate a Mass especially for the deceased members of the group. We begin by singing Mira il tuo populo, a hymn to Mary, in Italian. Giacomo Mancini reads the first reading in Italian, from the Mass for the Dead. Servers are Pasquale Sabino and Rino. They hold candles at the Gospel. The Prayer of the Faithful is in Italian and English. During the preparation of the gifts, we sing a hymn about San Rocco, aka S. Roche, as well as Benediteci. Members of the group bring forward the bread and wine and help with Communion. Although they often gather at the Amaseno Lodge, the Sons of Italy represent a separate group. Both men and women are members. After the Mass, all gather at Balagio's, in Homewood, for a family-style dinner.
[Wednesday, Jan. 27] Birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
[Friday, Feb. 5] In the St. Anthony Hall, on the east side of the main parking lot, we celebrate Carnevale, "farewell to meat." This is a pre-Lent celebration, often taking place on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This Tuesday is called Mardi Gras ("fat Tuesday"). The cost for the San Rocco Carnevale is $40. Reception begins at 6 p.m.; dinner is at 6:30. For further information and to make reservations, call Priscilla Fushi at (708) 747-5117. You can also send her a check for $40 per person, at 20620 Hutchinson, Chicago Heights IL 60411.
[Sunday, Feb. 7] At 11:15, after Mass, we celebrate the baptism of Nicholas Antonio Medina. The parents are Nicholas Medina and Monica Ochoa; the godparents ae Caroline and Jose' Villlarreal.
[Wednesday, Feb. 10] At 5:30 p.m., at Prairie Green residence on Dixie Highway, there is a Liturgy of the Word, with distribution of ashes, for the beginning of Lent. This liturgy is about 20 minutes long. At 6:10 p.m., at Brookdale-Olympia Fields and at 7 p.m., at San Rocco, there are similar Liturgies of the Word.
[Friday, Feb. 12] Stations and Vespers are celebrated at 7 p.m. and the following Fridays of Lent. Good Friday has its own, special liturgy.
[Sunday, Feb. 14] On the Sundays of Lent, in accord with Church law and tradition, we do not use the organ or the piano. During Lent, special songs are sung, to highlight the special character of the Lenten season. Before the First Reading, the choir sings Holy God/Svyaty Boze; at the preparation of the gifts, we sing We Look for Light. At the end of Mass, during the final blessing, the choir sings Blest Be the Name of the Lord.
[Thursday, Feb. 18] Today, we celebrate the funeral of Joseph Panici, 75 years old. Born in Amaseno, Italy, he came to the U.S. in the 1950s. Ever since, he was a faithful member of the San Rocco community.
[Saturday, Feb. 27] Today, we celebrate the quinceañera of Cherish Trevino, daughter of Arturo and Amy [Cantu] Trevino. The family is from Steger, St. Liborius parish. The Mass is celebrated entirely in English. We sing the Responsorial Psalm, the Gospel Acclamation, the Memorial Acclamation, the Great Amen, and a post-Communion hymn, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. Cherish is the first quinceañera girl at San Rocco to read the Epistle during the Mass; she reads from I Corinthians 13. Today, the church is specially decorated, with flowers by the altar. At the south edge of the pews, there is a floral bower, atop the middle aisle.
[Sunday, March 13] In the early afternoon, the DiGiovanni clan gathers for its annual reunion, in Steger, at St. John's Lutheran church. Father David Simonetti says grace before meals, about noon. A St. Joseph's Day table is part of the event.
[Tuesday, March 29] Today, we celebrate the funeral of Armando Zomparelli. A visiting cantor and pianist is Sue Powalk; she accompanies several songs on the piano. Armando is survived by his wife, Giovanna, nee Panici. John Luca serves for the Mass. Armando's grandson, Michael Sanfrantello, gives a eulogy before the First Reading. The first two readings are then proclaimed by family members. The church building is filled to overflowing for this Mass. Committal is at the crypt, at Assumption Cemetery. During the Mass, the people sing Eternal Rest, I Lift My Soul, On Eagle's Wings, Amazing Grace, Father Make Your Mercy Known, One Bread, One Body, May Saints of Old, and May God Welcome Him in Glory.
[Saturday, April 30] At 1 p.m.: Quinceañera of Kimberly Mora. This liturgy is entirely in Spanish.
[Saturday, May 14] At 11:30 a.m., we celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of Gino Alisiani, 95, the uncle of Fred LoBue.
[Wednesday, May 18] The San Rocco finance committee meets at the rectory, in South Holland.
[Sunday, May 22] At the Amaseno Lodge, the Sons of Italy host a complete dinner. All are welcome.
[Sunday, May 29] At Brookdale residence, the 10 a.m. Mass is a memorial liturgy for the late John Robinson, who was a resident there; his son is Michael.
[Saturday, June 11] In the afternoon, a baptism preparation session is held in South Holland, for two families. In the evening, the Amaseno Lodge holds its annual scholarship dinner at Balagio's Restaurant in Homewood. Four students will be awarded help in their ongoing education.
[Sunday, June 12] After the 10 a.m. Mass, we celebrate the baptism of Emmanuel Landra, born June 2, 2009, in Chicago Heights. Emmanuel is well dressed, in fact, wearing a white suit. He and the other children present are able to follow the Mass, in English, and the baptism, entirely in Spanish.
The parents are Manuel ("Manny") Lira and Emma Landra. Godparents are Xavier Marin and Oyeramena Landra, sister of Emma. For the baptism, people participate through singing Alleluia for the blessing of water, Amen for the pouring of water and the anointing, and Te rogamus, oye nos, for the petitions. At the end of the liturgy, as usual, we gather around the altar for the Padre Nuestro and three blessings.
Since the family is present for Mass, the baptism is abbreviated, for example, with Scripture readings omitted.
[Friday, June 17] At 2 p.m., at Homewood Memorial Gardens, we celebrate the committal of Patricia Pagoria.
[Sunday, June 19] In the Christian East, many Catholics and Orthodox celebrate this Sunday as Pentecost, because they follow the Julian calendar, as opposed to our Gregorian calendar. For the first time since the councils of 787 and 843, all Eastern Orthodox Churches are invited to send bishops to a "holy and great council" in Crete. There are fourteen such Churches, now meeting for the first time in over a thousand years. Let us hope and pray that all fourteen participate and that the Holy Spirit will guide the deliberations of these bishops. This gathering is much briefer than the Catholic Second Vatican Council, which transpired over several years (1962-1965). Nevertheless, in some respects, one goal is similar, aggiornamento. What is important for the Orthodox is a consensus of all the Churches involved.
[Wednesday, June 22] At 11 a.m., we celebrate the funeral of Americo "Racket" Mascitti, 98 years old. Racket was an usher at San Rocco for over 70 years. He was consistently friendly, hospitable, and gracious. His son Ronnie survives him.
[Tuesday, June 28] At Steger Funeral Home, in the evening, we celebrate the funeral of Charles "Chuckie" Johnson, who grew up in San Rocco parish. Charles is survived by his mother, Carmella (Notoriano) Johnson, and his aunt, Fran Pena, as well as his sisters Carrie Cruz, Lisa Alcott, and many nieces and nephews. Both Carmella and Fran are at San Rocco every Sunday, faithfully. As with many funerals at San Rocco, we sang May Saints of Old, Alleluia, before the Gospel, Lord, we beg you, hear our prayer, for the Prayer of the Faithful, and May God Welcome Him in Glory, for the final commendation. The eulogy was given by Debbie, a niece. She recalled many good memories from Chuckie's life. Father Gilligan presided at a Liturgy of the Word, with an Old Testament reading from Maccabees ("It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead.") and a reading from the Gospel of Matthew ("Come to me, all you who are burdened."). Charles was only 48 years old. After the liturgy, Chaplain Bob Brouwer gave a sermon, citing many Scripture texts, especially Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd.") The funeral home had standing room only.
[Saturday, July 2] At 2 p.m. we celebrate the baptism of Montserrat Aldape, the daughter of Sara Gomez and Edgar Aldape. Godparents are Benito Cortez and Stephanie Verdin Cortez. In the same liturgy, we celebrate the baptism of Camilla Julia Aldape, daughter of Juan Aldape and Karen Lozano. Godparents are Kevin and Yahaiva Lozano.
[Saturday, July 23] In San Rocco church, we celebrate the quinceañera of Mireya Gonzalez, daughter of Roberto, with a brief Liturgy of the Word and blessing. Mireya has six chamberlains. Afterwards, family and friends gather in St. Anthony Hall, to continue the celebration.
[August 4th through 7th] At the Amaseno Lodge, we celebrate the 42nd festa di San Lorenzo. This annual celebration features good food from local Italian restaurants, Italian ice, bingo, and raffles. There are also live music performances by The Walk-Ins, Replay Diamonte, and Frank Rossi.
[Sunday, Aug. 7] The San Lorenzo procession begins at the Amaseno Lodge, about 11 a.m.; Mass takes place at the church about 11:40. This is a great celebration, in honor of St. Lawrence and St. Rocco. The church is overflowing with people, with enthusiasm and vigor. Judge Panici leads the singing of several songs in the Italian language. Later, Mass is celebrated at Brookdale at 2 p.m.
The Amaseno Lodge is located at 2418 Union Avenue, in Chicago Heights, about half a mile southwest of San Rocco church. Every year, people come from miles around for this festival, even descendants of the original San Rocco parish, from the early twentieth century. On this Sunday, Mass is celebrated not only in English but also in Italian and even some Latin.
Afterwards, at 3 p.m., at Brookdale, a funeral is held for Edmund Grossman, 65, who passed away suddenly of a heart attack. He is survived by his father, Bill Grossman; they lived together at Brookdale. Ed was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. In his youth, he was active in the boy scouts, reaching the rank of Life Scout. He was a software engineer. In tribute to his life, a good number of friends and Brookdale residents came for his funeral. Also present were Ed's brother, James, and his wife Carol, as well as his younger brother Matthew, with his wife Janet. In this Liturgy of the Word, after Amazing Grace and an opening prayer, two Scripture readings were proclaimed by Kaya Tynis, then a solo song (Standing on the Moon) by Raina Tynis. Both are great granddaughters of Bill. The Scripture texts were from the Book of Isaiah and the Gospel of John. The liturgy concluded with the sung blessing (Blest be God) and the final commendation from the Catholic funeral rite.
[Saturday, Aug. 13] At 10 a.m., we celebrate the funeral Mass of Lydia Newquist, generally known as "Lee." There are seventeen people present, including the cantor, Celeste Jones. However, Lee made it to 95 years. She passed away Tuesday evening in hospice, in Chicago Heights. The first reading is proclaimed by Wesley Wall, a grandson. The second reading is proclaimed by Mary Catherine Wall, a granddaughter. Lee's sister, Evelyn Marcozzi, prays with us at this Mass. As usual at San Rocco, we sing May Saints of Old and May God Welcome Her in Glory. Both hymns were sung at the wake on Friday evening, at Heartland Funeral Home on Otto Boulevard. Lee was the mother of Jackie Graham; she and her husband John are regulars at San Rocco Oratory; Lee came to Sunday Mass with them often. She lived by herself and kept working until about a month before her death. Lee was an accomplished pianist; for 50 years she was bookkeeper at Chicago Heights Construction Company. At that website, you can see her photo, with the Bergin family.
At 11:15, we celebrate the baptism of Nathaniel Alfred Renteria, 7 years old. His parents are Nathaniel Hull and Brenda Renteria; his godparents are Pascual Munoz and Maria Castro. Nathaniel is dressed in a beautiful white suit; he also wears a golden cross. He seems happy and involved. The baptism is celebrated largely in Spanish. Nathaniel says that he understands the language.
At noon, we celebrate the baptism of Alina Marin, firstborn of Salvador and Daisy Marin; her godparents are Pamela Carmona, sister of Daisy, and Pedro Zamora. The entire liturgy is in Spanish.
[Tuesday, Sept. 6] At St. Anthony Hall, Carol Morris of the real estate office of the Chicago Archdiocese, meets with local personnel, namely, Father Gilligan, Jack Hynes (City of Chicago Heights), Kevin Marzalik (Chicago Archdiocese), Bishop Perry, and Father John Siemanowski (City of Chicago Heights). We discuss the hope of NuFarm to install a retention pond in the field north of 21st Street, to help prevent flooding in the area. Jack Hynes gave an extensive presentation, according to which the city would purchase the property. Engineers will determine what is needed, and appraisals will be sought.
[Monday, Sept. 26] In South Holland, at the rectory, the San Rocco Finance Council meets. We welcome a $l,000 donation from the Amaseno Lodge. We also discuss in detail the report of Jack Hynes and the use of what is currently a soccer field. Grouping of local parishes is discussed, as well as online evaluation of the rector. The use of Give Central is also encouraged by the finance council. The parish bulletin will provide a detailed report of this meeting.
Local priests (the "deanery") met at St. John's parish in Glenwood; the meeting was hosted bythe pastor, Father Karol Tybor. Of interest to San Rocco members would be new personnel for the diocese. These are Valerie Jennings, the "parish vitality" coordinator and Juan Castillo, the "lifelong formation" coordinator. Both individuals introduced themselves and explained how they hope to help local parishes, including, of course, San Rocco. Catholic Cemeteries also made a brief resentation, explaining benefits available to people. The representatives explained how they are willing to visit a parish and explain these benefits in a short talk, at the end of Mass. Afterwards, they would be available in the vestibule, with further information. Finally, Bishop Perry said that the "Renew My Parish" program hoped to finalize groupings of parishes, by the end of 2016.
[Friday, Sept. 30] We celebrate the funeral of Betty Lagone, 74, who was active in the former San Rocco parish. Her son, Bob, gives the eulogy. Other family members are also involved. Her grandson, Tom, helps with Communion. Burial is at Homewood Memorial Gardens.
[Saturday, Oct. 1] At noon, we celebrate the quinceañera of Emily Martinez, niece of Beatriz Romo. At 2 p.m., we celebrate the quinceañera of Jacelyn Ayala. Both liturgies are in the Spanish language. At St. Joseph's in Homewood, we celebrate the funeral of Marilyn Jacobs; she was a regular at Sunday Mass at Brookdale.
[Sunday, Oct. 2] After 50 years, Ron and Priscilla Fushi renew their wedding vows at Sunday Mass; the couple receive a special blessing. Many family members are present, including daughters Elizabeth and Nickki.
[Tuesday, Oct. 4] At the request of Bishop Cupich, pastors in the diocese meet, to discuss the Bishop's program, "Renew My Church." This program is intended to consolidate parishes in the diocese, for more efficient use of personnel and resources. The program begins this year, with local groupings of parishes. San Rocco is currently to be grouped with St. Paul, St. Agnes, St. Kieran's, and St. Irenaeus (in Park Forest).
[Saturday, Oct. 8] We celebrate the quinceañera of Juliana Lopez; her aunt, Evelia Lopez, is making the arrangements. At 2:30 p.m., we celebrate the baptism of Michael Adam Ramirez, son of Jose' Ramirez and Marlen Perez Ramirez.
[Sunday, Oct. 9] After Mass, people gather at St. Anthony's Hall, for coffee and donuts.
[Saturday, Oct. 22] At Balagio's in Homewood, the Sons of Italy celebrate. Scholarships are awarded at this dinner.
[Tuesday, Nov. 1] For All Saints Day, we celebrate Mass at 7 p.m.
[Sunday, Nov. 13] From Catholic Cemeteries, Cindy Madrigal visits both San Rocco and Brookdale. She speaks on services provided by Catholic Cemeteries, for example, pre-planning. She also offers a discount to the people. After Mass at each location, she makes literature available and answers questions. Cindy is well received; her ministry is welcome.
[Saturday, Nov. 19] At Brookdale, we celebrate a Liturgy of the Word, in memory of those who passed away in the previous twelve months. This service is ecumenical and interfaith, so all present can easily join in. Patriotic songs are used, readily familiar to everybody. There’s a full house in attendance. John Ziemba reads both Scripture readings. After the First Reading, from Maccabees, we sing a Responsorial Psalm, as usual. The readings and Psalm are from the ACP Leaflet Missal prayerbook, from a preceding Sunday.
[Thursday, Nov. 24] For Thanksgiving, we celebrate Mass at 9 a.m. There are 14 people present.
[Saturday, Nov. 26] At 1 p.m., we celebrate the baptism of Melina Reyes, daughter of Humberto and Briza Medina Reyes.
[Monday, Nov. 28] At 9 a.m. we celebrate the funeral of Evelyn Marcozzi, 91 years old. She was the niece of Jackie Graham and the sister of Lydia Newquest, whose funeral at San Rocco was on August 17.
[Thursday, Dec. 8] At 7 p.m., we celebrate a Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
[Saturday, Dec. 10] At 1 p.m., we celebrate the quinceañera of Scarlett Roho, daughter of Elizabeth Avila Gonzalez. The Mass is in Spanish.
[Sunday, Dec. 25] This Christmas Day, the choir is augmented by Mary Jones, Kasia Kulchawik, and Tom Panici. Having had seven rehearsals, the choir does an excellent job. Pointsettias in front of the altar are provided by a new bulletin advertiser, Christopher John. This flower shop provides free delivery.
[Friday, Dec. 30] We celebrate the funeral of Mike Prisco, 36, known as “Mikey.” He was the son of Mike Prisco, Sr. and the late Lucy [DiGiovanni] Prisco. His older sister is Mary Rodriguez. San Rocco Oratory is completely filled for this Mass, even the side aisle pews. Paul Rodriquez and Mike Pena give two extensive eulogies, before the First Reading. Scripture is proclaimed by Pauli Rodriguez, Jr., and Mike Pena, Jr., nephews of the deceased. Several ministers help with Communion: Sam DiGiovanni, Marilyn Jobbe, and Nick DiGiovanni. Jeanette Dandurand accompanies songs on the organ, sang verses of Psalms, and sang Ave Maria by Schubert. At the end of Mass, before the final commendation, Mary Sredin, a cousin, reads a poem. As at other San Rocco funerals, the congregation sings May Saints of Old, God Calls Us Home, and May God Welcome Him in Glory.