Ask Him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues…

St. Vincent Ferrer

Introducing the Alpha Course

The acclaimed Alpha Course will be offered at St. Vincent Ferrer Church starting October 2nd, 2016!

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The Alpha Course is Now Here in the Near West Suburbs!

The acclaimed Alpha Course will be offered at St. Vincent Ferrer Church, 1530 Jackson Avenue, River Forest, IL, beginning on October 2, 2016. The course is intended for anyone wanting to deepen their faith: Catholics, those baptized in other denominations, those who are not baptized.

What is the Alpha Course?

The Alpha course seeks to explore the basics of the Christian faith and is described as “an opportunity to explore the meaning of life”. Alpha courses are currently being run in churches, homes, workplaces, prisons, universities and a wide variety of other locations. The course is being run around the world by all major Christian denominations. Alpha gives everyone the opportunity to explore the meaning of life in a relaxed, friendly setting. The Alpha course meets once a week for 10 weeks, including an optional weekend away. Each evening begins with a dinner followed by a short DVD presentation that looks at a different aspect of the Christian faith each week. This is followed by a time of discussion in small groups where everyone is welcome to contribute their opinion and ask questions. There is no charge for attending the Alpha course and, of course, there is no homework or examinations.

Who is Alpha for?

Alpha is for anyone and people attend from all backgrounds, religions, and viewpoints. Participants come to investigate questions about the existence of God, the purpose of life, the afterlife, the claims of Jesus, and more. Some people want to get beyond religion and find a relationship with God that really changes life. Others come for the close, long-lasting friendships that are built during the Alpha course. Some guests may have never been to church, others may have attended church occasionally but feel they have never really understood the basics of the Christian faith. Everyone is welcome.

What is discussed?

Over the 10 weeks of the Alpha course, participants explore the following topics: Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus die? How can we have faith? Why and how do I pray? Why and how should I read the Bible? How does God guide us? Who is the Holy Spirit? How can I resist evil? Why and how should I tell others? Does God heal today? What about the Church?

History of Alpha

Alpha was started in 1977 by the Reverend Charles Marnham, an assistant at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in London. It began as a course for church members on the basics of the Christian faith but later was used as an introduction for others interested in the faith. In 2008 over 33,500 courses were offered in 163 countries by Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches. Over 15 million people worldwide have attended an Alpha course.

Is the Alpha course approved by the Catholic Church?

Yes, in fact the leaders of the Alpha Course in France were invited to the November 2012 synod of bishops in Rome on the New Evangelization at which they spoke to all the bishops assembled. For Catechetical Sunday in 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published on their website an article entitled, “A Review of the Best Evangelization Methods and Resources Available for Parish Outreach Efforts” by Fr. Anthony Krisak in which Alpha is recommended.

How can I join the Alpha course?

Alpha started at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in River Forest in the summer of 2013. Three courses have now been successfully completed. Alpha will start again on Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm in the Cabrini Room at St. Vincent Ferrer Church. Subsequent meetings are on ten successive Wednesdays at 6:30 pm starting October 5. Because a meal will be served, interested parties must register by phoning the SVF parish office: 708-366-7090 or emailing a member of the Alpha team at ebellockjr@aol.com.

Testimonies from those who have taken Alpha

My spiritual life before taking Alpha was in limbo. I thought I was spiritual by just thinking about God and praying to Jesus from time to time when things weren’t going my way. Nothing was really happening when I prayed. It’s like I wasn’t really communicating with God. I didn’t have a sense that He was listening to me. I decided to come to Alpha because It allowed me to ask questions about God, Jesus, Religion, other faiths, and anything else pertaining to the Bible. I wanted a forum where I could question others’ beliefs and their faith as well as my own. I believed that accepting God on faith was not enough. I needed proof. And having faith was like fooling yourself. Like it was all make believe. What I appreciated about the Alpha course was the lack of pressure. I never felt that I was forced to stay or believe in anything what they were saying or explaining throughout the course. In the discussion groups I felt comfortable to ask my questions without being judged. It was a platform where I could express myself and question beliefs and find answers to my questions. It was an exciting part of the course. Through Alpha, I came to realize that faith is not about make believe, it is about trusting God. To get my answers, I need to trust God as the basis for my answers. I now have a personal relationship with God through Jesus and have never felt more at peace.

-Andrew Del Rossi

Jubilee 800 Order of Preachers

Amoris Laetitia (on love in the family)

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Upcoming Events

Dominican Laity Meeting

October 1 @ 8:30 am

Wedding

October 1 @ 12:00 pm

Wedding

October 1 @ 3:00 pm

Religious Education Class

October 2 @ 10:30 am

Baptism

October 2 @ 12:00 pm

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From the pastor, Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP

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Announcing Our New Multipurpose Hall

Fr. Kyte Multipurpose Hall Rendering

On the weekend of March 1, 2015, the Pastor announced at all the Masses the parish’s plan to build a multipurpose hall in memory of our late associate pastor Father Michael Kyte, OP. An architect’s rendering of the hall appears above.

The hall will connect with the north end of the parish center and run parallel to the church with a gap of approximately 30 feet between the two buildings, ending at about 2/3rds of the length of the church. Connecting the hall with the church will be a spacious foyer with an adoration chapel, restrooms, and a possible small book shop. No parking spaces will be lost as new parking spaces will be created on the west side of the hall along Lathrop.

The hall will accommodate about 450 people without tables, and 360 with tables. On weekdays it will be used as a lunch room for the school and at other times will be used by the parish for adult education programs (such as Bible studies), religious education classes, parish breakfasts and dinners, for youth meetings, men’s and women’s groups, Mimosa Sundays, etc. The Fr. Michael Kyte Hall would help to extend the parish’s mission by making it easier for parishioners and friends to come together and meet one another.

The Fr. Michael Kyte Hall is the parish’s special project in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s overall capital campaign for Catholic education and the other needs of parishes like ours. We were given a target goal of $1,125,000 which, by the grace of God, we have already surpassed thanks to our generous parishioners and friends. We have approximately $2,500,000 raised in pledges. Approximately 40% of our target ($450,000) will go to the Archdiocese for the education of deserving children in Catholic grade schools and high schools as well as for the ongoing formation of volunteer catechists in religious education programs. The remaining 60% ($2,050,000) will go to St. Vincent Ferrer Parish.

Constructions is expected to begin by the end of June 2016 and to be completed in nine months. To make a contribution, please call the Parish Office at 708-366-7090 or email the Pastor, Fr. Tom McDermott, OP, at tmcdermott@svfparish.org. You can also make your contribution online by clicking below. Please keep this project in your prayers. Thank you!

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The Pastor answers frequently asked questions about the new Fr. Michael Kyte Multipurpose Hall

– by Fr. Tom McDermott, OP

Q. I’ve noticed that the plan for the new building has changed. Why?

A. The change was recently made at the recommendation of the Development Review Board of the Village of River Forest. The original plan was that the new building would jut out at a right angle from the southwest corner of the church, with both buildings forming a gigantic L. The Development Review board was not inclined to grant us our request for an exemption so that the new building could extend closer to the Lathrop Avenue than the Village Code allows. Instead, they strongly recommended that the new building run parallel to the church with an approximate 30’ gap between the two buildings, creating an outdoor gathering place like a plaza. I, perhaps naively, did not expect the Board to make any changes to our original plan, but I now believe that the new plan will be more pleasing to the eye.

Q. Is the new building going to block the sunlight on the west side of the church?

A. Not at all. The new building is just one-story tall and the church is approximately four-stories tall. Also, the new building will be located about 30 feet from the church. So sunlight will continue to stream in through our beautiful stained glass on the west-side of the church.

Q. Is the new building still going to be used as a lunchroom for the school?

A. Yes. The new plan still allows the school children to walk from the school into the multipurpose hall without going outside.

Q. Why do you think that this new building is needed? How is the parish going to maintain this building in the years ahead?

A. First, it’s our hope that the new multipurpose hall will allow us to have more programs (church groups, Bible studies, youth groups, etc.) and thereby attract more people to join the parish. Already meeting spaces are in short supply here, with some groups having to meet off-campus. Second, the parish has received several inheritances in the last two years amounting to approximately $1 million. Absolutely none of this money is going to be used for the new building but is going to be kept in reserve for maintenance of our buildings and grounds.

Q. I heard that the parish has received a large inheritance. I don’t think it’s wise to put that money into building a new multipurpose hall.

A. Yes, and I agree 100%.

Q. How were parishioners consulted before the decision was made to construct a multipurpose hall?

A. In the summer of 2014, I scheduled two meeting with members of the Parish Pastoral Council, past and present, and other leaders of parish organizations. We began by asking the question, “What are the physical needs of our parish?” Besides the usual list of boilers, new windows, tuck-pointing, etc., the need for a larger meeting space surfaced. We wondered if the Pine Room, under the gym, could be thoroughly renovated. The consensus at these meetings was that it would be better to put money into a new building than into the old basement – a project that would require the installation of an elevator and would still be some distance from the church. In the spring of 2015 we held a series of receptions on the proposed site of the new building. All parishioners were invited to voice their opinions.

Q. How has the fundraising gone?

A. Very well. Within a few short months, parishioners and friends donated and/or pledged approximately $2.5 million to the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign. Of this amount $450,000 was reserved to fund Catholic education in the Archdiocese. The remaining $2.05 million will be used to fund the hall. In Chicago, our parish is now well-known for the generosity of its parishioners and friends.

Q. Do you have to go outside the church to get into the new building?

A. No. There will be a foyer which will connect the church and the new building such that one can walk from the present southwest-door of the church into the foyer and into the multipurpose room. It will also be possible to enter the multipurpose hall from the outside.

Q. How much is this going to cost?

A. At this time, the cost estimate is $2 million. To date we have a little over $2 million in pledged funds to be used.

Q. When will construction start?

A. By the grace of God we hope to begin this summer and finish within nine months. Please keep this timeline in your prayers.

Q. Who is going to supervise the project?

A. A Building Committee has been set up to advise me. It consists of members of our own parish, who are experts in the field of engineering and construction. Mr. Kris Zadlo, a professional engineer and parishioner, will chair the committee. Members will include; Mr. Walter Kosch, SVF School parent, lawyer and businessman; Fr. Matthew Srabala, OP, associate pastor; and Mrs. Jean Finnegan, CPA, our business manager.

Q. How much longer are you going to be our pastor? Are you going to leave in the midst of this big project?

A. I have been your pastor for 3½ years and the ordinary first term for a pastor is six years with a possible extension of three more years. I love the parish and do not foresee my asking for another assignment or being given one until this project is finished.

Q. How many parking spaces will the parish lose once the building is finished?

A. None. While the new building extends north from the north-end of the parish center, occupying some present parking spaces, a new parking area will be created on the west side of the new building with the same number of spaces.

Q. The exterior of the new building, as seen in the architect’s rendering, doesn’t seem to match our church. Right?

A. No. There is a limit to what the architect’s drawings can show us. The new building will have a cast stone base which will closely resemble the limestone exterior of our church with architectural stucco above.

Q. I’m not in support of this project.

A. That’s fine. As we’ve made clear, everyone is free to contribute or not contribute to this project. Regardless, everyone will be accorded the same services and attention by the parish and myself and the other priests. Having said this, I see this moment as critical in the future of our parish. Yes, the new building will somewhat change the appearance of our church but the Church is for the sake of mission or growth and is not a museum.

The Dominican Central Province of the USA

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Parishes

St. Pius V
Chicago, IL
St. Vincent Ferrer
River Forest, IL
St. Albert the Great
Minneapolis, MN
Holy Rosary/Santo Rosario
Minneapolis, MN
Blessed Sacrament
Madison, WS
St. Dominic
Denver, CO

Campus Ministry

St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center
Purdue University
St. Paul Catholic Center
Indiana University
St. Thomas More Newman Center
University of Missouri-Columbia

Education and Spirituality

Fenwick High School
Oak Park, IL
Aquinas Institute of Theology
St. Louis, MO
Dominican Ecclesial Institute (D+E+I)
Albuquerque, NM
Shrine of St. Jude
Chicago, IL

The Dominican Jubilee

Prayer for the Jubilee

God, Father of mercy, who called your servant Dominic de Guzman to set out in faith as an itinerant pilgrim and a preacher of grace, as we prepare to celebrate the Jubilee of the Order we ask you to pour again into us the Spirit of the Risen Christ, that we might faithfully and joyfully proclaim the Gospel of peace, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
www.op.org/en/jubilee
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Weekly Schedule

Mass

Saturday

8:00am
5:30pm

Sunday

7:30am
9:00am
11:00am
5:30pm

Monday – Friday

7:00am
12:00pm

Confession

Weekdays

11:30am

Saturday

4:30pm

and by appointment

Eucharistic Adoration

Monday and Tuesday

12:30pm to 8:30pm

Entrance to the chapel is via the southwest door of the church

Office Hours

Monday – Friday

8:00am – 12:00pm
12:30pm – 7:30pm

Saturday – Sunday

9:00am – 1:00pm