Thursday, January 27, 2011

Celebrate Valentine's Day at Old St. Pat's with a Renewal of Vows Mass and an Afternoon of Reflection

Join historic Old St. Patrick’s Church for an Afternoon of Reflection and Renewal of Vows Mass as we celebrate your marriage and love. The Afternoon of Reflection will make your romantic Valentine’s Day plans all the more rich as you share with one another the special moments that gave birth to your love. To celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage, also join us for a Renewal of Vows Mass immediately following The Afternoon of Reflection.

The Afternoon of Reflection will be held on Saturday, Feb.12 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., and the 
Renewal of Vows Mass will begin at 6 p.m.

Jack Berkemeyer is the director of marriage ministry and can be reached at 312.798.2386 or email him at Cost: $35 per couple for the Afternoon of Reflection.

Afternoon of Reflection: on the Old St. Pat’s campus in the 
Fr. Jack Wall Mission Center, 711 West Monroe in room 25. 

Renewal of Vows Mass will be held in 
Old St. Pat’s Church, 700 West Adams Street.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are You Ready to Reduce Stress and Gain Awareness?

Life is full of stress. From balancing work and life challenges to going through health issues or experiencing separation or divorce, it's hard to get away from the stresses of life. Learning how to cope with stress is the greatest challenge of human existence. Join Old St. Patrick's Church as they host an innovative eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979. 

This intensive training program is highly respected internationally and has been featured in Bill Moyer's PBS series Healing and The Mind, on NBC's Dateline, ABC's Chronicle programs and the Evening News, as well as on The Oprah Winfrey Show plus in various national print media. This program is also the subject of Dr. Zinn's best selling book, Full Catastrophe Living. Since the founding of this program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, thousands of people have completed the eight-week course and learned how to use their innate resources and abilities to respond more effective to stress, pain, and illness. 

"Mindfulness quiets the mind and integrates Spiritual Practice into daily life. Thirty years of research has shown that developing 'Present Moment Awareness' can lead to greater overall health and well being as well as a deep sense of peace," said Holly Nelson-Johnson, MSN, APN/FNP-BC, RYT, a nurse practitioner and certified yoga teacher who specializes in Primary Care-integrated Medicine. 

Ms. Johnson has trained with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and maintains an ongoing collaboration with the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. She will lead the eight-week program at Old St. Pat's Church. She has a background in Theology and Inter-Religious Dialogue that includes an emphasis on the development of Spiritual Practices for over 25 years. 

Those who commit to this intensive eight-week training program are asked to practice mindfulness meditation and yoga daily and will receive 30 hours of instruction, a full-day Mindfulness retreat, a Mindfulness Program Manual complete with meditations, practices, poetry, and resources as well as a set of four Mindfulness practice CD's.

"I've always loved the scriptural line, 'Be Still and know that I am God'. But it took on a whole new meaning after I participated in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Daily practice in meditation helps me experience God's very real presence in my daily life - regardless of what joys, calamities or surprises any day may hold in store for me. I highly recommend this course," said Peg Roth,  a member of Old St. Pat's Church and a client in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. 

Participants will meet every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 17, 24; March 3, 10, 17, 24; April 7, and 14. Plus, a full-day Mindfulness Retreat will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2011. 

The course fee is $475. Attendance is also required at one of the Mindfulness Information Sessions: Thursday, Feb. 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; or Sunday, Feb. 6, from 9 to 11 a.m. or 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. Sessions are held at 711 West Monroe, 2nd Floor, room #25c.

If you'd like to learn more about the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and how to gain a greater sense of peace and balance as you face the challenges of everyday life, then contact Holly Nelson-Johnson at either or 847.840.0708 or Tammy Roeder at or 312.798.2350. Class size is limited, and early registration is suggested.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Mind

The mind is a mystery
Where thoughts travel like the speed of sound
Drifting in and out of our imaginary thoughts
Where reality sometimes seems like a dream
Our thoughts flow down that stream
And catch memories in our path that
Forever live in the mystery of the mind

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Myth of Having it All

As a young girl I grew up wanting it all. I watched my mom, a working mother before the phrase was coined, work in a factory while taking care of three kids and a husband. Sure, we were latchkey kids, but she always had food for us in the oven and snacks galore. She made it look easy. 

I watched The Cosby Show, my favorite sitcom in the 80s. I wanted to be Claire Huxtable. She was a beautiful, articulate, intelligent black woman with five beautiful children and a black husband who was a doctor. Her hair always looked great and her clothes always fit well. She appeared to be a perfect size 6 and her teeth were purly white. What T.V. doesn't reveal are the difficulties of getting through college, paying those steep tuition bills and struggling for years with a Bachelors degree to get a foot hole into opportunity.

T.V. never shared how hard it is to find a decent man of whatever race, but particularly a black college educated man who would be loyal and kind. I didn't come across that man until I met my husband at 27-years-old. This was after the stalking boyfriend or the lying, cheating boyfriend. No one ever told me that I'd be married for six years only to discover that my husband was reluctant to have children. Or that no matter how great a job is, it will never be perfect. I had no idea I'd give birth to twin daughters, but not be able to afford to stay home with them for longer than four months. I know, some women actually get six weeks home with their child, which is really ridiculous. If men gave birth to children, that law would quickly change. I would have liked being home for at least a year before I began to work full-time again. However, that dream was not possible because I wasn’t Claire Huxtable the lawyer, married to Cliff Huxtable the doctor. My husband and I are two college-educated people living a very middle class life. But it could be worse. I’m very aware of my blessings. My parents, brothers, husband, and in-laws became my village. I’ve needed their help juggling it all through this parenthood journey. For those without a supportive family (village), I can’t imagine how they do it.

You definitely need a village to raise children, help pick them up from school since most jobs ask you to work until 5 or 6 p.m. while most schools let kids out at 3 p.m. What is a parent to do? I was lucky that my parents had retired and were willing to be my village. I was lucky that my brothers and I enjoy a close relationship, so they sometimes watch my girls. I’m lucky that my husband took to the role of fatherhood beautifully –doing the 10 p.m. and midnight feedings, changing diapers and now watching them whenever I need a night out with a girlfriend. He might have been terrified to take the leap into parenthood, but he’s adjusted to the changes well.

Yes you can have it all, but not without an understanding company that allows you to be available sometimes for your children, loving parents that want to be grandparents and do what they can to make whatever arrangement you have work for everyone. Or great childcare or a nanny you can trust. A loving husband not filled with drama that wants all the things you desire. Now that I've reached my mid-forties, I've found all those things but I'm still climbing, learning new skills, reinventing myself and my relationships. It's an uphill climb to have it all and a never-ending battle to survive but with patience, hard work, understanding and love it’s a life that is achievable, but will never be perfect.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


With time, there are changes
With love, we are relieved
We go through all these ranges
But still we believe
Through hard work we can achieve
In life, we sometimes feel lonely
With love, we all want more
Through life's changes, we seem to grow
With all tragedy, we claim we know