SUNDAY 7:30AM, 9AM,  10:30AM, 12 NOON AND 6:30PM

Taking A Risk: Is This a Part of Our Faith Journey?
By Joe Accardi, Director of Alumni and Annual Giving

 Today’s Gospel story of the Canaanite woman seeking Jesus’s help for her troubled daughter gives us an important lesson regarding perseverance and taking a risk regarding our faith.  The faith that the Canaanite woman expresses is an affirmation of and confidence in God’s abundant mercy.  Yes, salvation comes through Israel, but it overflows for the benefit of all.
     The woman cries out for help, and Jesus will not even talk to her. The disciples demand that He tell her to go away because she is a trouble-maker. And He seems to agree with them. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” He says. She is from Canaan, not from Israel.  Finally the poor woman walks right up, does “homage” to Jesus and says, “Lord, help me!”   Jesus would never ignore such words, at least so we believe. Nor should we ever be deaf to words like this in our own daily lives.  But no. He says, “It is not right to take the food of the children [Israel] and throw it to the dogs [Canaan].”
     This response is so hard for us to understand. It is so unlike Jesus but He surely senses that this woman is taking a risk with Him. The woman’s quick wit provides a wonderful and humble response that wins Him over. “Even dogs eat scraps that fall from their master’s table.” It is an honest comeback and Jesus loves it. She is saying, “It does not matter what a person’s status is as long as they believe. And I do believe.”  Jesus probably smiled a great smile as He told her how great her faith was. Maybe He laughed at her fast comeback. And of course He gladly gave her what she asked; He cured her daughter.
     Perseverance had triumphed.  The Canaanite mother took the risk to come before the Lord and place her prayer before Him.  But should our faith journey be also about taking a risk?  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has provided both example and reflections on risk-taking.  He made a point in a recent homily to explain that encountering Jesus means taking risks; “authentic faith must be ready to take risks and that real hope is the reward”.   Following Jesus, the Pope went on, “isn’t easy, but it’s wonderful! And it’s always a risk”. There are times, he said, when we risk “being ridiculous”. But we achieve what counts: “our sins are forgiven”.  Beneath whatever request we are making, whether it be for good health or for a solution to a problem, “there’s the desire to be healed in spirit, to be forgiven”. All of us know we are sinners, said Pope Francis, “and that’s why we follow Jesus: to meet Him. So we take risks”.  “Let’s ask ourselves, concluded Pope Francis: “Do I take risks, or do I follow Jesus according to the rules of my insurance company?” Because “that’s not the way to follow Jesus. That way you don’t make a move, like those who sit back and judge others”.
     As soon as he began his papacy, Pope Francis has led by example and taken risks. He made unprecedented claims and unconventional decisions. Pope Francis didn’t revise Catholic doctrine, but his leadership style offered a refreshing new perspective to many who might have previously felt shut out of the Church.  In our world today, many leaders are blinded by the fear of failure. Big changes are hard to make–they take time, and often many people, to institute–but messages are easy to change. Still, risk is vital to a business’s growth and to the development of a leader. Risk can help one rise, even though it sometimes leads to failure. But it will always prove a worthy teacher.  
     Here at St. Benedict Prep, we have reached a time for some risk taking.  Now as we transition from a Preschool-Gr. 12 institution to PreK-Gr. 8 over the next two years, we are preparing for a new school year, the 115th of the Elementary School and the 67th of the High School.  Risks are all part of the plan.  Through a diligent and exhaustive hiring process, the administration has brought on new teachers and support staff to augment our current faculty and staff.  There is always a risk involved with bringing on new staff members.  The way we seek to guide, mentor, and provide support will diminish the risk of having a bunch of “lone rangers” and grow a community of colleagues dedicated to the mission.  This was the goal of this past week of orientation and meetings for the entire faculty.  This is the way to ensure that the new strategic plan for our school will also be successfully implemented.  Technological advances and integration of a one to one program beginning in Kindergarten, grade 3 and grade 6 will be a new challenge and taking a risk.  But an important one if we are to promote modern learning practices.  We have placed our trust in the implementation of the strategic plan by the administration; staff will be trained in this new program; and also supported by our new innovations coach, Mr. Phil Siegel.  We trust in divine providence and seek to provide our students with a modern educational experience that has a strong Catholic identity.
     Can we learn from the Canaanite woman, from Pope Francis?  Perseverance in growing closer to Jesus will prove fruitful.  Our encounter with Christ while on earth will reap the answer to many a prayer as we seek to reach our goal of peace in heaven after a job well done.
     Want to hear more about Pope Francis’ leadership style: Taking Risks?  I invite you to view Redemptorist Father John Kingsbury video on YouTube.

Dear St Ben’s parishioners. 
I’m so grateful to all of you for what you have taught me and the time that we shared together. 
It was a great experience living in a powerful parish community who encouraged me to do my best, to learn more about this culture, and to serve, as many of you do, in the Catholic Church. I just moved to St. Mary of the Lake University/Mundelein Seminary to continue my journey towards the priesthood. I will begin my first year theology and I hope this time is going to be full of blessings for all. Please keep me in your prayers as I promise to keep you in mine.  Feel free to keep in touch and visit me at the Seminary. God bless you. 
Daniel Villalobos
1000 E. Maple Ave, 
Mundelein, IL 60060

Benedictine Children's Chorus

Transformation, Collaboration, and a Bright Future

Jeremy Kiolbassa & Hannah Stapleton

This Sunday’s Gospel tells us the familiar story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. In Matthew’s account, Jesus transforms from his human form into a bright, shining figure, his clothes as white as light. Whether it be bread and wine in the Eucharist, the changing of the seasons, or simply making a positive change to better oneself, transformation is a necessary part of our lives. In order to grow, we must change. We cannot move forward by standing still, nor can we expect to succeed if we don’t adapt to the world around us. It is fitting that today’s Gospel speaks of change, as one of our parish choirs is about to undergo a transformation all it’s own. We are excited to announce the formation of a new group: The Benedictine Children’s Chorus. This choir will be made up of young musicians in grades 3-5, and will take the place of our parish children’s choir. Here is an overview of some of the changes that will define the future of this choir.

Our Mission

The Benedictine Children’s Chorus strives to develop and strengthen the vocal talent of our elementary students, to serve the church, and to glorify God in song. We aim to create a professional-level children's program that grants a high quality musical experience to our children.

Service Through Musical Excellence

The chorus will serve our community in numerous ways. We will provide music for Sunday Mass once a month, as well as weekly school Masses. We will participate in regional and nation children’s choir festivals, including the Pueri Cantores national federation for catholic children's choirs. We explore a wide range of repertoire from antiquity to the present day.

Rehearsal time change

One of the pieces of feedback that we have received consistently over that past few years is that the rehearsal time (Monday at 4pm) was inconvenient for a myriad of reasons. The children’s chorus will now meet before school at 7:15am every Monday. We will rehearse until 8:30am, then the children will be dismissed to their classes after Mass. We feel that this will better accommodate the schedules of our elementary school families while simultaneously eliminating conflicts with countless other after-school clubs and activities.

Collaboration Between School & Parish Staff

The children’s chorus will now be co-directed by Hannah Stapleton and Jeremy Kiolbassa. We have already been working closely over the past year, and this collaboration just makes sense on so many levels. It is our hope that our shared talent and musical knowledge will allow our children’s choir to grow, and that we can create a powerful educational experience for our children. It is our vision to make this ensemble something much more than a “typical” children’s choir. We want to get beyond just making the kids sing, and to start to form them into real musicians. We will achieve this by building on the music education they already receive in their classroom and continuing to develop their musicianship through literacy and repertoire. In other words, they won’t just learn to sing, they’ll learn to think like musicians.  

How Can My Child Participate?

There are 30 spots available during our pilot year. Choir members must be enrolled in grades 3-5 at St. Benedict Preparatory School. There is a one-time fee of $75 that will help cover the cost of sheet music, festival registration, and a t-shirt for the year. Registration will be done on a first-come-first serve basis. There is no formal audition, but all potential choristers should have a love for singing and a desire to learn. We will host a meet and greet on August 21st during our school open house.

We are so excited to embark on this next chapter in our musical life here at St. Benedict Parish & Preparatory School. All of the music faculty and staff have been working very hard over the past several years to create and excellent program and pave the way for this next step in our journey. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to move forward and grow together!

St. Benedict Ladies Society September 6th

Hopefully, you have had an enjoyable summer and are looking forward to gathering together again. As a member of the Ladies Society, you have the opportunity to make new friends by your attendance at our meetings.  We gather in Beaven Hall on the first Wednesday in the months of September, October, November, December, March, April and May. For the first meeting of the year on September 6th, we will gather in Beaven Hall at 9:30 am.  Come and enjoy Coffee and Sweets and a few games of Friendship Bingo as we plan the upcoming year.   Join in the fun, share your ideas.  SEE YOU SEPTEMBER 6TH !

Chicago Catholic Scripture School – Classes Begin Thursday September 14th!

There is still time to sign up for the Chicago Catholic Scripture School! Classes will be held here at St Ben’s starting Thursday September 14th at 7PM.  The first course will provide a general introduction to the Bible and its first five books, the “Pentateuch” (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), which give context to the origin and foundation of the People of God.  With a primary focus on the Book of Exodus, students will better understand the concepts of liberation, covenant, the people of God and the law. You can register for the course and find out more information on the site of Loyola University: You can also contact Elaine Lindia. Pastoral Associate with questions at (773) 509-3806 or via e-mail at

SAVE THE DATE – OKTOBERFEST 2017   is just 2 months away!  
September 29th to October 1st

Weekend-long Fall German Festival held in the courtyard - Carnival rides for the kids – Weekend Mega Pass along with daily ride specials, German food by Himmel’s Restaurant, beer, and oom pa pa music to add to the festivities!

New to St Ben’s? Looking for ways to get involved? Volunteers Needed!! OktoberFest is a great event to get to meet parishoners and neighbors. It takes approximately 100 volunteers from our school and church community to make this event enjoyable and successful. We are seeking a volunteer coordinator for Ride Mega Pass Sales. Volunteering is a fun way to experience the fest, and there are several positions to fill so your help is greatly appreciated!

Drop us a note for more details Young adult and youth ministry folks are welcome!

Sponsor OktoberFest: We really need your support to continue this long-standing parish event. There are several levels of sponsorship available. To our parish clubs  and ministries consider sponsoring a keg or event banner. For more information, please visit to download the sponsorship application.

Are you a crafter or a small business owner and thinking about Christmas?

Join us in December for a Christmas Craft Fair!
The St. Benedict Home and School Association is hosting a day of shopping and holiday cheer for the whole parish to mix, mingle and get a few items checked off of those holiday lists. We’re looking for crafters, parish groups or small business owners to participate in the event. It’s also a great opportunity for your group to fundraise by selling crafts or offering other holiday services (photo booths, gift wrapping, etc). The possibilities are endless!
Date: Sunday, December 10th (after Sunday Masses)
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Place: St. Benedict Gymnasium
Cost: $25 for an 8’ foot exhibit table
($50 after August 31)
For more information, email Vickie Thornley at


Since the two ‘in pew’ commitment weekends that we hosted for our Capital Campaign, pledges have still been coming into the rectory!  Thank you!  That puts us at $4,604,683 pledged toward our Capital Campaign total need of $6.2 Million dollars.  This is so unbelievably generous and will make a huge impact on our future.  Thank you for your generous support of the Campaign!  And thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard on the campaign to make us such a huge success.  I am so grateful for your generous spirit that has drawn us together tightly as a parish community.  Everyone pitched in to make this campaign a success; old, young, long time parishioners, new parishioners, single parishioners, families, families with kids in our School, families with kids in our Religious Education, large amounts, small amounts, everyone pitched in!  Thank you!! 
    As successful as we have been, this pledged amount includes only 15% of our registered parishioners to date.  For sure a good number of parishioners have been through one, two, three, or four previous Capital Campaigns and might feel a little ‘campaigned out’.  This is certainly understandable.  But what about the hundreds of households who have never contributed to an extraordinary Capital Campaign like this?  Won’t you please consider a gift to this Campaign that secures our future so boldly?  Pledge cards are located at the St. Benedict Shrine near the Campaign banner.   Your gift will go a long way to make us secure for the future.  Please pray about your gift!  
    May God continue to bless you and those you love.  Please pray for me as I pray for you daily.  God bless, Fr. Jason

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Campaign Details

As many of you may know, last week we announced Forward in Our Faith, a capital campaign for our parish and preparatory school. This campaign will help us address the following needs:
1) Maintenance and upgrades to the church and campus facilities ($2,785,000):
        a. A new roof and complete tuck-pointing of the church
        b. New windows and tuck-pointing for the Leavitt-facing side of the school
        c. Resurfaced parking lot and upgrades to the playground
        d. Upgrades to the boiler room and tuck-pointing for the convent
2) A two-story addition to the elementary and secondary school ($2,750,000)
        a. Multigenerational and multipurpose campus learning center
        b. Three new classrooms
        c. Four preschool classrooms, to replace the secondary school library
3) Stewardship to our wider Church ($440,000)
        a. Our contribution to the Archdiocese’s To Teach Who Christ Is capital  campaign, for Catholic education and faith formation
        b. An educational endowment for our sharing parish, Our Lady of the Snows

To support these projects, we have set ourselves a minimum goal of $4,500,000  and a challenge goal of $6,200,000.

These projects will help us to accomplish a number of goals:
First, maintenance and upgrades to the church and other campus facilities will allow us to preserve our historic church and ensure that our facilities are safe and comfortable places for us to gather and grow together. 

Next, a two-story addition to the elementary and secondary school will allow us to begin implementing 21st century learning spaces, thus strengthening the quality of the innovative Catholic education we already offer our students, as well as affording us valuable extra space for our many gatherings and activities!

Finally, as a parish dedicated to Catholic education and to teaching others in the faith, we are proud to accept the call to stewardship and support Catholic education and faith formation throughout the Archdiocese through the To Teach Who Christ Is capital campaign, and to support Catholic education at Our Lady of the Snows.

Once again, many thanks to our Campaign Executive Committee and the members of our faith family who have already given so generously. We look forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming months!

Calling Interested Retirees in the Parish! Become a volunteer at our beloved parish school!

Did you know that the parish Catholic school welcomes retirees to volunteer in the school? We have several retired parishioners who help out on a regular basis in the school. Some activities include working with young students in early childhood classrooms, receptionist subs, tutoring, classroom assistants, library assistant and advancement secretarial work. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ms. Rachel Gemo, Head of Parish School for more information. We think it is a great way for retirees to stay active and for our students to experience intergenerational learning. Call Ms. Gemo at 773-463-6797 ext 404 or email her at


Offering our Time, Talent and Treasure to our Parish
And to God who has blessed us abundantly!

Our first hour of our time goes to God every Sunday in the Mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

Please CLICK HERE to download the Ministry Volunteer Form and let us know what ministries to which you are interested in offering your time. Thank you!

New Procedures for Requesting Graphic Design Work or Communications Requests:

When Requesting E-blast Communications, Facebook Postings, Website Assistance, Graphic Design Work and the Like...

We are fortunate to have several talented people in our Mission Advancement Office who can help design and create communications and graphic design work for school needs. Maria Tubay, our Director of Communications for the Parish and School,  Joe Accardi, our Mission Advancement Officer, Janet Gallagher, our Director of Admissions Grades K-5 & Fund Our Future Appeal Coordinator, as well as Erik Petersen, our Director of Secondary Admissions.

Our goal is to use the time of each member of the Advancement Staff as wisely as possible. Smaller project requests can be done by most members of the Mission Advancement Staff, while Maria Tubay can take on much more sophisticated design projects (as well as do the weekly parish bulletin).

In order to help prioritize projects and use staff members in thoughtful, purposeful ways , ALL REQUESTS for communications or graphic design work, will be submitted by an electronic ticketing system. These requests will be funneled through either Fr. Jason for PARISH COMMISSION requests, or Joe Accardi for EDUCATION COMMISSION requests, who will then parcel out the assignments as needed depending on the Advancement Team’s work load.  If you have any questions about this, please contact Mr. Joe Accardi at Thank you so much!

Click here to submit PARISH COMMISSION project requests

Click here to submit EDUCATION COMMISSION project requests