Moving Forward

(back)

It was the place where you got a quality education, help during the depression and where dignitaries came to pay homage to our community of faith. We also developed a strong bond with the priests and nuns throughout the years and considered them a part of our lives, almost like members of our families.

Unfortunately, over the years Corpus Christi has become a shadow of herself. As mentioned in my previous article “Survival of Black Catholicism in Bronzeville” with declining membership, debt, expensive upkeep of the properties, extensive repairs, it became more difficult to maintain her health. We hoped and prayed that Corpus Christi would be spared of its inevitable fate. We prayed for a miracle.

Mourning Our Loss

With the closing of Corpus Christi, we lose a piece of ourselves, It’s like a death in the family. There is a sense of sadness, anger, depression, doubt and fear. We may be afraid of what will happen to us and our faith. We are angry and ask the question “why us?” We want to blame someone. Instead, we should console each other and pray for strength. Then we move forward. In the cycle of life there is a beginning and an end. And so, it is with Corpus Christi. During this mourning phase we need to talk to each other and more importantly listen so we can start the healing process. 

We should pray for our spiritual well-being during this traumatic time and ask God to give us strength to move forward. I prayed this prayer when my parents passed away and I would like to share it with you. It helped me and I hope it will help you as well.

Lord God,
You are attentive to the voice of our pleading.
Let us find in your son
comfort in our sadness,
certainty in our doubt,
and courage to live through this hour.
Make our faith strong
through Christ our Lord. 
Amen.

(Book “Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers,” Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy: National Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Catholic Conference, pg. 276)

But through it all we will eventually heal, but never forget. We can keep Corpus Christi alive in our hearts through our memories and by sharing our stories with each other and to the world. We can preserve our heritage in print and social media. Let us sing the praise of Corpus Christi!

Note: There are preliminary plans in the works to create a Chicago Black Catholic History Museum on the current site of St. Elizabeth, which will be called a Hertitage Center. This is where Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African American priest served as pastor (born April 1, 1854 – died July 9, 1897). Fr. Tolton is in the process of canonization to sainthood. If this museum becomes a reality, we at Corpus Christi hope to contribute our artifacts to it.

Moving Forward

As Black Catholics in Bronzeville we need to find a new place to worship together as a faith community. Isn’t that what “church” is all about? It’s about people not a building. The positive thing about this negative situation is that we have the opportunity, along with the other parishes to create a new parish with new ideas to keep God’s presence in our community. Personally, I will give this new parish a chance and I hope you will too. Pray on it. Ask yourselves “can I see myself worshipping here?” What can I offer and what can the new parish offer me? New friendships? Personal growth? Stronger faith? Can I help make this unified parish a place I can be proud of? Ask this not only about the unified parish, but any parish you are considering. Take the time to reflect and ask God for help in your discernment. 

In the meantime, for the months ahead we’ll show our support by continuing to worship at Corpus Christi in person (follow COVID-19 protocol), conference call or virtually through zoom.com

If you have any questions, suggestions or need clarity, please feel free to ask. Go to corpuschristi4920@gmail.com or mail your comments to: 

Corpus Christi Catholic Church
4920 South King Drive
Chicago, IL
60615

We will keep you up to date on the unification process in the upcoming issues of this website.

May God be with us through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Amen!

 

This is solely the viewpoint of Larry Cope and does not express the views of Corpus Christi or the Archdiocese of Chicago.