St. Leonard Parish forms and nurtures its parishioners in the Catholic faith and invites people to live out that faith in the world. The guiding question is: How can we live as disciples of Jesus in this concrete place of Berwyn, Illinois. Through the area of Mission and Service the parish responds to needs in our community and provides opportunities for parishioners to put their faith into action.
St. Leonard Parish Food Pantry
St. Leonard Food Pantry is an outreach ministry of the parish. The Food Pantry provides families in need with a bag of groceries containing a variety of foods, including cereal, pasta, canned vegetables and soups. The pantry operates out of the basement of the rectory every Tuesday from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. and is serviced by volunteers from the parish. Clients must be Berwyn residents and present proof of residency. Food supplies are donated by St. Leonard parishioners and local schools and organizations.
- Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD): The GCFD distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 678,000 adults and children in Cook Co. every year. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 66 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat; the equivalent of 135,000 meals every day. St. Leonard parishioners volunteer on the second Wednesday of the month, from 6-9 pm at the Food Depository, located near 41st and S. Pulaski, Chicago. Contact Mary O’Halloran (708) 788-0050 to volunteer. For more information on the GCFD visit www.chicagosfoodbank.org
- West Suburban PADS is the only agency whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in Cook County’s 20 near-west suburban communities. The Emergency Shelter program provides immediate crisis response for 40 to 70 homeless men, women and children every night from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. at 11 rotating houses of worship – from mid-September through mid-May. St. Leonard parishioners volunteer at the St. Mary of Celle site in Berwyn, serving breakfast on the second Sunday of the month at 5:00 am. Contact Mary Adduci (708) 788-8451 to volunteer. For more information on PADS visit www.westsuburbanpads.org
- Cooke’s Manor is a long-term housing and supportive services for Veterans recovering from addiction to drugs/alcohol under the auspices of Catholic Charities. It is located on the Hines VA Campus. St. Leonard parishioners prepare and serve a meal the second Sunday of the month. To volunteer from May to September, contact.
- Home Repairs for Seniors: The St. Leonard Appalachia Mission team has formed a group of parish volunteers who are able and willing to help seniors from our parish in need of small repair jobs around their home. For information about what minor home repair services are offered contact the Parish Office at (708) 484-0015.
Rooted in our baptism, all Christians are called to be missionaries; to follow Jesus and to do as he did. St. Leonard invites its parishioners to put their gifts and talents at the service of others and to experience the Church outside our local community; to respond to the call to mission. When we step into another culture with faith and openness, we meet “the other”; we encounter God in those who struggle, who suffer, who are marginalized, and who are anonymous to a society of power and wealth. We listen to their story and experience God’s Spirit alive and at work. We are reminded of God’s command to Moses as he approached the burning bush: “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Exodus, 3: 5a.
To date St. Leonard Parish has sent close to 100 people on mission to the following places:
- September, 2005, and during the following year, Bay St. Louis, MS; a parishioner couple made various trips to aid the rebuild effort after Hurricane Katrina.
- June, 2007 and 2008, Border Experience, El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Júarez, Mexico with Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Friends Across Borders (2007), www.mklaymissioners.org, and Annunciation House (2008), www.annunciationhouse.org.
- Summer, 2009 and 2010, Home repair project in Appalachia with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) in rural Eastern Kentucky, www.christianapp.org.
- Spring, 2010, Washington, D.C.; a busload of St. Leonard parishioners, together with hundreds from the Chicagoland area, participated in the Rally for Immigration Reform on the Washington Mall. This event was promoted by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, through their Justice for Immigrants Campaign, www.justiceforimmigrants.org
- Summer, 2010, youth group members traveled to a Native American reservation in Cass Lake, MN.
- November, 2006, El Salvador with Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Friends Across Borders
- April, 2008, Brazil, with Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ Friends Across Borders
- November, 2009 and 2010, Trujillo, Peru, with St. Leonard parishioners and Comboni lay missioners Bart and Cynthia Hisgen-Miller, www.laymission-comboni.org