Monday, June 12, 2017

We're Outta Champaign

We’re Outta Champaign
Province decides to withdraw from ministry in Champaign, Illinois 😢
Photo by Dave Devall
In mid-May the Salesians of the Eastern Province announced that the Salesians would withdraw from their ministries in Champaign, Ill. The decision was made after months of prayer and discernment, in dialog with the diocese of Peoria.

Since 2013 two Salesians have staffed Holy Cross Parish and one has served on the pastoral staff of the Newman Center at the University of Illinois’s flagship campus (about 45,000 students).

The June 10-11 weekend was the Salesians’ last weekend in the parish. The parishioners offered all three Salesians a farewell reception on May 21 after the 4:00 p.m. Sunday Mass.

Photo by Dave Devall

Blogger doesn't remember who used his camera to take this shot.
Photo by Dave Devall
In his letter announcing the province’s decision to the parishioners and members of the Salesian Family, Fr. Tim Zak wrote that the decision was guided by priorities set by the Salesian Congregation at world level, reiterated by the province’s 2016 provincial chapter.

Those priorities include both apostolic effectiveness and the fraternal life of the Salesian communities throughout the province.

Fr. Zak’s letter noted that the 4 Salesians who were assigned to Champaign between 2013 and 2017 have all loved the people they served and worked hard to minister faithfully to them, and they have known the parishioners’ and students’ love, support, and appreciation. The Peoria Diocese and local clergy likewise appreciated their ministry.

Those 4 Salesians were Fr. Dave Sajdak, pastor (2013-2017), Fr. Bill Bucciferro with the Newman Center staff (2013-2017), Fr. Joe Santa Bibiana, director and parochial vicar (2013-2016), and Fr. Mike Mendl, director and parochial vicar (2016-2017).

The Salesians leave a physical legacy with the parish and its parochial school: a stronger preschool program with a new building and various building renovations. They leave the spiritual legacy of devotion to Mary Help of Christians and St. John Bosco, and of the Preventive System. The Salesian Cooperators remain to keep Salesian spirituality alive in Champaign. The confreres found many trusted and valued friends and hope those friendships will endure.

The Salesians have assured Holy Cross’s parishioners of their prayers during and after the transition and encouraged all concerned to look to the Risen Jesus as the source of our life and strength.

Here’s a photo collage from the 2016-2017 pastoral year.
When FMA Sisters Theresa Lee (kneeling) and Loretta DeDomenicis visited Champaign in the winter,
the Kisting family hosted a social for the local Salesian Family.

On the feast of St. John Bosco, the Salesian Cooperators hosted a modest social for the parish after the last Sunday Mass. Included was a little skit about Don Bosco's multiplying breakfast rolls one morning, and a Salesian finding his vocation by witnessing that. Fr. Mike plays DB, Bailey McMahon is a penitent, and Mary Shelden brings word that there's no bread in the house. Photo by Sue Berndt.
The Easter Vigil is the high point of the Church's liturgical year. At Holy Cross this year, Deacon Bob Ulbrich assisted Fr. Dave Sajdak with the paschal candle. Photo by Dave Devall.
We had a terrific RCIA class this year. At the Easter Vigil, 4 new Christians were baptized by Fr. Dave (including one 8th grader from our school), and 7 were admitted into full communion with the Catholic Church. All 11 were then confirmed and made their 1st Communion. Here, Fr. Dave baptizes Angie Schweighart, one of our preschool teachers. Photo by Fr. Mike.
Between September and March, Fr. Mike and Linda Atherton led 5 Boy Scouts from Troop 9 thru the Ad Altare Dei program. Kaleb Leininger, Jack Williamson, and Anthony Frasca were ready to receive their medals and certificates at a parish Mass on April 23. Ian Clapper and J.D. Sexton received theirs a few weeks later, also at a parish Mass. Photo by one of the parents with Fr. Mike's camera.

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