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Church Clips by Dolores Madlener

Dolores Madlenera column of benevolent gossip

  • On needles and pins —

    Every stitch in a prayer shawl is a prayer.

    Yes, Virginia, there IS a Prayer Shawl Ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Palos Hills! And they want Clips readers to hear about their work and joy. The group is fairly new — just three years old — but it has more than 30 active members who have made more than 1,200 shawls for parishioners, family and friends. They’ve also gifted Little Company of Mary Hospice, Palos Hospital Psychiatric Dept., Palos Infusion Therapy Dept. (dialysis and chemo) and Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Prayer” shawl means every stitch is a prayer for the future recipient and for each other.

    The group also hosted an ecumenical retreat day last year, with 72 Protestant and Catholic women. (It was presented by the two women who founded the ministry in 1998 in Connecticut.) Their mini-retreat this year was Feb. 26. The Sacred Heart stitchers have shared their experience by helping two other parishes start their own prayer shawl ministry.

    Twice a year Sacred Heart parishioners donate to this local labor of love and the ladies give any extra yarn to a nearby church. If you’re a group of women who would like tips on starting a ministry like this, a parish group that’s already established, or an individual who wants more information, call Diane O’Brien at (708) 824-1362.

  • Help a vet —

    Honor Flight Chicago” is an organization that treats WWII veterans (and others) to a flight to Washington, D.C., a full day of visiting its patriotic monuments, and a hero’s return to Chicago, all expenses paid. There are still about 21,000 World War II vets in the Chicago area, average age 88. Time is fleeting. It’s a VIP flight with one-on-one assistance, wheelchairs, the whole nine yards. If you have a relative who’s a vet, check it out at honorflightchicago. org. Everything is donated by patriotic citizens who love our vets, and 92 cents of each dollar goes to the vets’ flights. There are also projects surrounding the event that can involve school kids and average Chicago volunteers who greet the vets as they return after a day of remembrance of their military service and of their fallen comrades.

  • Searching —

    A committee of parishioners from two former parishes in the arch St. Peter Canisius Church (W. North Ave.), 1932- 2007, and St. John of God (W. 52nd St.), 1913- 1992 — are planning a combined reunion in 2013. They’ll celebrate and support the construction of St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Lake County. St. Peter Canisius’ statues, pews and other interior details and the facade of St. John of God Church have come together in an architectural triumph to form the newest church in the arch. To be on the reunion mailing list, email your vital information to Barbara Barrett at bbarr30874@aol.com.

  • Let’s hear it for the pope —

    Pope in Ephesus, Turkey, 2006.

    Comments on the papacy these days range from sublime to scurrilous. Andrew Klavan, mystery writer, humorist, political satirist, non- Catholic, offered a sincere tribute to Pope Benedict, his theology, and his books (specifically his Jesus of Nazareth series) in a recent online column. He says this pope may be “the last great man Europe will produce.” Klavan uses one of the popular nickname/ accolades for the holy father, “B-16.” Pope Benedict has also been lovingly known as our “German Shepherd,” “Papa Ratzi" and my favorite, “Big Ben.” . . . Father George Rutler, pastor, author and EWTN lecturer, tells the story of Benedict the Brave: “Rather like St. Francis of Assisi going to meet with the caliph of Egypt clad only in simplicity, Benedict XVI refused to wear a bullet-proof vest when he went to Turkey [in 2006], turning the anger of many to respect.” . . . Stay tuned to Relevant Radio (950 AM) for Vatican news you can rely on. Father Rocky Hoffman says consider the station your “smoke detector” during the upcoming selection of our new pontiff.

  • Today’s martyrs —

    Bishop Fulton Sheen coined the terms: “wet” and “dry” martyrs. “Wet” are those who shed their blood for their faith. “Dry” martyrs are those tortured by totalitarian regimes, whose “Each day, hour and minute was a profession of faith.” One such victim is 65-year-old Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly in Vietnam. He has spent more than 15 years in prison as a human rights activist, with brief periods of freedom. His current sentence is eight years for starting an Internet petition for human rights. Father Van Ly has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize by US members of Congress Chris Smith and Zoe Lofgren. Pray for him, and other persecuted Christians — many of them “wet martyrs” in Africa and the Middle East. See a video of Father Ly at: www.youtube.com/watch?v =StSZc6h7s1M.