Programs envisioned for the Mission Center

Spiritual and social programs

What follows is a summary list of potential ideas that emerged after the initial 2019 St. Ignatius discernment process and subsequent talks with Loyola, its departments and the Jesuit community. What the mission center would actually do would depend on community and volunteer priorities, whether there is a physical location for the mission center (e.g., the St. Ignatius campus or another place) and funding. We will work to prioritize the aims and programs of the mission center, see what the Catholic community is most interested in pursuing and begin to work with those outside the local Catholic community who would be interested particularly in the mission’s corporal works.

The possible programs are of two primary types, focusing broadly on spiritual works on the one hand and corporal works on the other. When members of St. Ignatius were surveyed during the 2019 discernment process, the top priority for programs among Spanish-speaking parishioners was youth programming of various types that could include events in the gym and auditorium. In the Renew My Church process, the continued operation of the food pantry was often mentioned as a goal.

Corporal Works

  1. Food Pantry. The pantry is on pause and can be re-established, either at the St. Ignatius campus, or another location in the neighborhood.

  1. Affiliated Ministries: The rectory adjacent to the church building could be made available for Jesuit-related programs (e.g. Ignatian Volunteer Corps, Ignatian Spirituality Project), parish-related ministries and/or other compatible non-profit organizations. Among the groups most interested in using the residence portion of the rectory is a transitional housing program for Spanish-speaking women who are victims of domestic violence, House of Peace. House of Peace is a 20-year-old program based in Waukegan; there is no similar program on the North Side for Spanish-speaking families.

  2. Community Counseling and Immigrant/Refugee Services including Loyola Community & Family Services (LCFS), The Center for Immigrant and Refugee Accompaniment (CIRA) and the Empowering Counseling Program.

  3. School of Education: Rogers Park, Edgewater, and Uptown Public Schools, Catholic Schools and Community Collaboration. This could include after-school programs, a priority for many in the community.

  4. Other Potential Loyola Programming: School of Law Legal Clinic, Quinlan School of Business Social Entrepreneurship programming, English as a Second Language education, and School of Communication Advocacy and Social Change programming. Through Loyola’s School of Social Work, Catholic Charities has expressed interest in co-locating programming at the Mission.

  5. Community Gathering Space. Although the St. Ignatius campus would provide this even if only the church and rectory were retained, as the church includes two meeting rooms, if the west school building and the gymnasium-auditorium building were kept intact, there would be several large gathering spaces, as well as office and classroom space. If the auditorium/gym building were retained and renovated, the auditorium could be leased to a local nonprofit theater and used for large public events, as well as being offered to local Catholic schools for use.

  6. Extended outreach of existing parish programs of St. Gertrude and St. Jerome. These include St. Gertrude’s Heart to Heart, which serves older residents, and the hot lunch program at St. Jerome, which before the pandemic fed people in need in the area.

Spiritual works

  1. Institute of Pastoral Studies Scripture School

  2. Worship and housing of Shrines: Devotional Groups: Establishing St. Ignatius Church as shrine for Our Lord of the Miracles, (Peru) and Our Lady of the Clouds, (Ecuador), along with a local shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    Monthly gatherings, city-wide (prayer, meal and sharing)

    Regular retreats

    Special support on the respective feast days of each group

    Masses tied to devotions.

  1. School of Prayer

    Spiritual Exercises (19th and 18th Annotation)

    Monthly TAIZE Gatherings

    Workshops: Methods of Prayer

  2. Just-Faith Modules (each would last 8 weeks in duration including immersion)

    Faith and Race

    Faith and Immigration

    Faith and Ecology

    Faith and Inequality

  1. Retreats (weekends, including Masses)

    Men’s and Women’s Retreats

    Couples Retreats

    Retreats for Young Adults

    Family retreats

  2. In-depth Courses:

    On Scripture (e.g., on The Psalms, on the Prophets, on the Four Gospels, on the Pauline Letters)

    On Catholic Contemplative Tradition (e.g., The Cloud of Unknowing, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, Thérèse of Lisieux)

    On Catholic Intellectual Tradition (e.g., making accessible the wisdom of the Catholic Intellectual and Cultural Tradition)

    On Catholic Social Tradition (e.g., focusing on the Catholic concern for the Common Good and for A Consistent Life Ethic)

  1. Lecture Series:

    Meditations on Mary” (during Advent)

    Towards a Theology of the Cross” (during Lent)

    “Spiritual Gifts Inventory” (during Eastertide towards Pentecost)

    “Reimagining the Church in Chicago” (IPS)

    “Catholic Immigrants Conference” (Hank Center, Sociology Dept)

    “Habits of Hope in a Time of Pandemic” (Theology/Psychology Depts)

    “Protecting Our Planet Together” (Loyola’s School for Ecology)

  2. Speaker Series for Young Adults: (like Theology on Tap)

    Promoting a Culture of Encounter

    Jesus as a Community Organizer

    The Work of Racial Justice

    Developing healthy relationships


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