is the first time I am writing this kind of
letter to you.
The reason for this letter is that I
have made a brief analysis of our parish,
and I would like to share some information
with you. We recently celebrated our 90th anniversary, and
have successfully begun our 91st
are on the right path towards celebrating
our 100th anniversary in 2012.
With this in mind, I would like to
share a few things as I look back upon the
past and forward to the future.
parish has a proud and rich history.
People have always felt at home here.
This is a place of prayer,
gatherings, and joy.
Here families and individuals created
friendships and found happiness.
Here is where generations of our
people made history with their lives, their
participation in this community, and their
unselfish love. We must continue the journey
of faith begun by our ancestors whose love
and sacrifice made possible the parish we
enjoy today. They established our strong
sense of identity as members of St. Jerome
Parish. When we flip through the pages of
our books and bulletins, we realize how much
St. Jerome Parish is a part of our
the very beginning, St Jerome Parish
maintained and fostered Christian and
When I read what my fellow
Franciscans wrote of the events in the
parish over the decades, I was proud that
the various organizations gathered people
together and kept the community together.
Some of them are no longer in
existence, but others still are very active.
To belong to someone, to be a part of
something, and to know that someone belongs
to you is a basic human desire and need.
Man must belong to someone; he must
find a home somewhere.
Belonging is a basic part of human
With this in mind, I ask you to join
some of our societies, clubs, and
Give something to the organization,
because through giving you will experience
the joy of living.
Our parish has a variety of societies
and clubs. Join some, invigorate these
organizations, and bring someone with you as
above-mentioned organizations and their good
works are especially evident in the archives
of our parish.
This past year, in preparation for
our 90th anniversary, we updated
our parish archives.
Now all of the bulletins, yearly
reviews, parish photos of various events,
various documents, declarations, and
correspondence are located in one place. The
archives are organized and ready for use in
the celebration of our 100th
anniversary. This makes it much easier to
locate and gather information than in the
extend a sincere thanks to all who helped in
any way to make this possible.
parish has two schools: St. Jerome School
and the Cardinal A. Stepinac Croatian
St. Jerome School is doing well, and has made particularly great
strides during the past two years.
I think that all of us can be very
satisfied with the administration, the
faculty, and especially the curriculum.
Much is offered to the students, much
more than in previous years.
Music, drama, computers, and foreign
languages are some new components of the
curriculum of our school.
Thank you to all who unselfishly give
of your talents and time for the good of the
students and the school.
This school has a beautiful tradition
of over 80 years of good education in a
I hope that the school will continue
to move forward in the years to come.
The future of the school has always
depended on the love of the parents and on
those who are involved with the life of the
school. Here I would especially like to ask the parents to be more
open-minded and make their motto, “what
can my family and I give to the school”,
not only “what can the school give to my
child and me”.
Unselfishness leads to the common
good of the organization.
Yes, the school is doing well, but
one issue lies heavily upon my heart, and
that is the fact that it is pointless to
send children to a Catholic school if the
parents do not show them how to live by
setting a Christian example!
A good example is more valuable than
This is why I especially urge you,
while we offer them a good education all
week long and work hard to give them all we
can, when Sunday comes, let’s gather
together in church and thank God for all the
blessings and good we receive.
To be a part of this parish means to
participate in the Sunday Eucharist and to
be active in the community. Dear Parents, do
not miss Sunday mass. I ask every family to
make a commitment to attend Sunday mass
each week (particularly the special
monthly 9:30 A.M. monthly family mass). Yes,
This is the only way that it all
● Cardinal Stepinac Croatian School has been in existence for 30
The children learn the Croatian
language, history, and culture.
I know that many of you sacrifice much
so that your children can attend our school
and learn something important.
The school is important not only
because of what is learned, but also because
of the social dimension.
The Croatian School is a meeting
place for all generations and an
organization of which we are proud.
Parents, please be responsible, take
Croatian School seriously, and understand
that it is an honor to be a part of this
parish and school.
I hope this
school will continue to grow, and the number
of students and the participation by the
parents will increase.
The number of complete Croatian
costumes increases each year.
The performances outside of school
are better and more frequent. The children are included in Sunday mass readings because
through this they become active members of
our community. I ask the parents to be more
active and more responsible.
When we speak of discipline in our
school, I believe that there can be no
compromise with the parents or the children,
because discipline is the mother of
Discipline is not an option; it is
the only path to learning!
Croatian Catholic Radio “The Voice of St.
Croatian Catholic Radio program has been in
existence for a few years.
Even though this program is only a
half-hour long, it has a good number of
listeners. Since we switched to 750 AM the
signal now reaches St. Louis, Detroit,
Milwaukee, and Rockford.
We are happy to be able to come to
those who cannot come to us.
Thank you to all of you who support
We invite your comments and opinions,
because that is the only way to make it
State of Our Community
is the state of our parish?
Am I satisfied?
Maybe my answer lies somewhere in the
I think that the Sunday mass
attendance is better.
We Franciscans have always tried to
convince people that there is no substitute
for gathering in church each Sunday.
I think that we have had a good
number of spiritual retreats, talks, guests,
and special masses during the past few
Our parish has welcomed many guests
ranging from Cardinal George to local
bishops, Croatian bishops, charismatic
priests, and missionaries, etc.
I think that each of our guests, in
his or her own way, has given much to us so
that the ears of our souls were opened and
our souls refreshed.
is especially important for parents who have
children in our school to show by example
how important the sacraments are. Teaching,
through their own example, how important it
is to encounter Christ is the best way.
seems to me that at times our people do not
know as much about the sacraments and our
faith as they should.
That is why we have catechism
booklets in our pews as reminders.
The sacraments are not to be regarded
as a formality.
They are the spiritual content of our
year, the number of engaged couples who had
been living together before marriage
especially saddened me.
Why is this taking place?
How do the parents influence this
Do the parents just overlook this,
and if they do, then why?
principles and values have been in existence
for years. We cannot overlook or ignore them
and time cannot change them.
St. Paul says, “Christ is the same,
yesterday, today, and tomorrow”.
you choose godparents, sponsors, and
marriages witnesses, then please choose
individuals who are practicing Catholics.
The sacraments are about witnessing
our faith, not about gifts, money, or
mass schedule is 5:30 P.M. on Saturdays and
7:30, 9:30, and 11:00 A.M. on Sundays. Is this satisfactory? Is
the schedule just an excuse for some to miss
mass, or does something else get in the way?
I think that just as the Eucharist is
a sacrifice, so is it a sacrifice to come to
are called to leave everything and come to
Are you satisfied with the
spirituality of our parish community?
What should be changed, added, or
improved? Please tell us. We
Franciscans always welcome and value your
input. What do you think? I am not talking
about complaints, but rather about
constructive criticism for the good of all,
and especially for the generations to come.
Velika Gospa celebration is our main parish
I take this opportunity to ask all of
you to participate in the planning for this
Many times all the work falls on the
same group of people every year.
This is our great feast and
celebration, and we are proud of it.
If everyone helps in some way with
the feast, it would be fantastic.
offer the opportunity for Adoration of the
Blessed Sacrament every Thursday from 7P.M.
to 9P.M. Several
times a year we schedule Evenings of
Reconciliation in addition to the regularly
scheduled times for the sacrament of
Please avail yourselves of this vital
sacrament regularly. We also have two
novenas at our parish, the St. Anthony
novena in June and the Velika Gospa novena
These are beautiful days when we can
draw closer to the saints, the people who
have already traveled our earthy path and
whose lives remain inspirations to us.
catechism instruction program (CCD) is held
in our school each Sunday morning during the
school year for those grammar school age
children who do not attend Catholic schools.
This program is staffed by volunteer
parishioners and is always happy to have
We also ask you to consider offering
your time and service as mass lectors or
Everyone is invited to become
involved in these church ministries.
year we had monthly seminars featuring
various interesting topics.
This year we will try to continue
input on topics for the seminars is welcome.
work has been done in our parish over the
last 6-7 years.
We have been very busy with
I would say that the restoration is
more or less complete.
has a new look.
The exterior of the church has a new
façade and a new roof.
The stairs and entrance have been
redone with a quality and classic look.
I still hope that we will get the
sculpture of St. Jerome (a work by Ivan
Mestrovic), but the administrative process
and documentation necessary for this
undertaking to be realized is taking a long
interior of the church has a new look:
floors have been installed throughout.
pews have been refinished.
kneelers have been reupholstered.
church walls and ceiling have been
redecorated with paintings of the apostles,
angels, the Franciscan coat of arms, and
symbols of the Holy Spirit.
The painting of Jesus in the garden
of Gethsemani has been retouched and
It is the only painting that remains
from the original church that was built in
statues of the saints have been painted in
bathroom has been built in the back of the
vestibule has been remodeled.
The drop ceiling was removed and two
paintings above the entrances were added
(the coat-of-arms of the Chicago
Archdiocese, established in 1843, and the
coat-of-arms of the Croatian Franciscan
Custody, established in 1926).
carpets of excellent quality have been
installed in the aisles.
church balcony has also been renovated with
new paint, refinished pews and kneelers, and
organ has an improved sound.
Throughout the past year maintenance
was done and an electronic system was added.
The organ is certainly in the best
possible condition ever.
recently received our new marble altars,
which are truly beautiful works of art.
year, through the generosity of Fr. Zlatko
Sudac, we received a beautiful painting of
Blessed Cardinal Stepinac.
are still awaiting the communion rail, two
pulpits, and a baptismal font.
carpeting on the floor of the main altar has
been replaced with new black and white
frames for the pictures of Our Lady of Sinj
and Blessed Cardinal Stepinac, which grace
the two side altars, will be replaced.
detailed account of the finances involved in
the restoration of the church and all parish
property will be published as soon as all
work is completed.
school building has a new roof.
The hall was remodeled six years ago.
A few months ago windows where
installed in the kindergarten class.
A modern, energy efficient lighting
system has been installed throughout the
building, giving us 10% more light while
using 20% less energy.
kitchen was outfitted with new dishes and
shelves for storage.
school was painted a few years ago.
windows, new central heat and air, and new
floors were recently installed.
We also remodeled a room to serve as
a library to house Croatian and English
books and the parish archives.
The parish has a nice selection of
books, videos, and audiotapes, that are
either of a spiritual or ethnic nature.
rectory has computers and Internet
Our web site is www.stjeromecroatian.org,
and it has many visitors.
New information is updated on a
Our pages are visited not only by
Chicagoans, but also by people from all over
the country and Europe.
computer program has been created to keep
track of the weekly donations as well as
other financial data.
rectory has a new roof and the basement has
been organized and outfitted with shelves
for storage of various items needed for
Velika Gospa, bingo, and other celebrations.
kitchen has been remodeled.
will soon receive a beautiful Franciscan
Fathers coat-of-arms made of copper, which
will be placed on the exterior of the
sacramental records of baptisms, first
communions, confirmations, marriages, and
the deceased are in the best shape possible.
The records of the deceased date back
to 1912 and are now computerized. We hope to have all other records computerized this year.
few years ago the small halls (1st
and 2nd floors) were completely
The first floor is beautifully
decorated and is a nice gathering place for
second floor is also very handsomely done,
and features a big screen television for
showing movies and other needs.
The 2nd floor serves
mostly for seminars, discussions, and
meetings of our clubs and organizations.
The second floor also has a space for
storage of the Croatian school costumes as
well as other materials used by the school.
Our “Croatian Catholic Radio”
studio is on this floor.
there are no more Sisters living in our
I hope that the time will come again
when there will be enough sisters so that
they can return to us.
In the meantime, the interior of the
building has been redone with new paint,
windows, and carpeting.
A new roof was installed recently.
There are two floors in the convent.
The first floor serves as St.
Jerome’s pre-school and the second floor
is temporarily unoccupied.
The basement of that building serves
as a computer lab equipped with 25 computers
for use by our school children.
Lady’s Oasis of Peace
6 years ago, a small shrine featuring the
statue of Our Lady of Medugorje, was built
between the school building and the convent.
It is nice to see many people
stopping by throughout the day to say some
prayers and to reflect.
parking lot is what it is. Unfortunately, it
is too small to meet our needs.