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February 22, 2011 - Strategic Thinking Meeting:  Approve proposal for a social concerns consultation meeting on March 30, 2011. An invitation list of members, staff, and subject area experts is generated.

Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J. poses with young members of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, CA.

Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J. poses with young members of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, CA.

March 22, 2011 - Greg Boyle, S.J., founder and director of Homeboy Industries preaches at the Lent 2011 Speaker Series “Life Without Borders:  Reflections on the Practice of Compassion, Forgiveness, Justice, and Communion.” His presentation is titled: Compassion Without Borders. His reflections significantly shapes the framework for what eventually will become The Kinship Initiative and what we hoped would be our strong and lasting relationship with the people of North Lawndale.

Fr. Boyle said, "We begin with service, service is good but you don't want to stop there. Service is the hallway that leads to the ballroom, but the ballroom is kinship. The measure of our compassion is not in our service of those on the margins but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them. One of the great privileges of my life was knowing Cesar Chavez. I remember once he was being interviewed by reporters and they said, "Wow, these farm workers really love you". He smiled and he shrugged and he said, "It's mutual, it's mutual".

                                                                                                            - Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J.

March 30, 2011 - Old St. Patrick’s hosts a conversation to assess our social concerns mission facilitated by Bob Kolatorowicz. Participants include: Ms. Nancy Hughes, Mr. Graham Grady, Mr. Barry Pollard, Mr. Frank Bergh, Ms. Audrey George, Mr. Arnette Heintze, Ms. Elena Segura, Mr. Mike Ivers, Mr. Roger Hughes, Fr. Tom Hurley, Ms. Kate Rhodes, Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, Ms. Krista Kutz.

The focus question for this consultation is: As a church with 3000 member households, situated on the edge of both the Loop and the West Side; how can Old St. Pat’s best engage in the work of service and social justice? The consulting group concludes that Old St. Pat’s:

  • should continue providing volunteer service opportunities through Outreach,

  • develop new strategies to advocate for social justice,

  • and drawing inspiration from the experience and successes of The Harlem Children’s Zone, Old St. Pat’s should strive  to improve life in the city through relationship building, direct service, and social justice advocacy by focusing our efforts within a particular neighborhood.

April 2011 - Heeding the recommendations of our social concerns consultation, Bob Kolatorowicz proposes that we explore the possibilities of a new North Lawndale (only 17 blocks but, in some ways, a world away from Old St. Pat’s) Initiative. We begin to articulate the values and guiding principles for the new initiative. In short, what emerges is:

  • The new initiative will not be another service project.

  • This initiative is about doing “with” others, not doing “for” others.

  • Fr. Tom Hurley suggests integrating Fr. Greg Boyle’s use of the word “kinship” into our initiative.

  • Relationship building, recognition of our connections, expanding our understanding of kinship with each other, a genuine sense of mutuality, are all to be the hallmarks of the initiative.

  • This will be a long term commitment.

  • We will need to balance our desire for immediate actions/results with the patience and time necessary to grow relationships.

  • This is about how we want to “be Church in the world” at Old St. Patrick’s.

  • A new and ambitious initiative, a new vision of church, will draw from the gifts of the next generation of leaders at Old St. Patrick’s and invite new leaders to develop and flex their leadership and creativity “muscle” in service of the common good.

May 6, 2011 - In a meeting with Bob Kolatorowicz, Mr. John Horan, President of North Lawndale College Prep, expresses his hope for creating a residence serving high school students who are experiencing homelessness. Mr. Horan also invites people from Old St. Pat’s to serve as mentors for NLCP students working on their Senior Project. Volunteers will be needed at the start of the new school year.

June, 2011 - An Old St. Patrick’s Staff North Lawndale Committee is formed. Members include:  Ms. Krista Kutz, Ms. Keara Coughlin, Ms. Beth Marek, Ms. Eileen O’Shea, Mr. Bob Kolatorowicz, Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, Mr. Roger Hughes, and Fr. Tom Hurley.

July 19, 2011 - Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson and Bob Kolatorowicz meet with Ms. Pat Ford at the Steans Family Foundation exploring avenues of engagement in North Lawndale. Mr. Roger Hughes, Bob Kolatorowicz and Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson meet with Mr. Bruce Miller at Lawndale Christian Church Health Center, also exploring avenues of engagement in North Lawndale.

October 17, 2011 - Upon the strong recommendation of Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, Mr. Ed Gemerchak is hired to a part-time position and begins his role as Director of the North Lawndale Initiative.

Sunday, November 6, 2011 - Following the 5 p.m. Mass, 300 Old St. Patrick’s members and friends attend North Lawndale Initiative Town Hall Meeting facilitated by Mr. Ed Gemerchak and Bob Kolatorowicz in the church hall. Mr. John Horan speaks to the needs of the North Lawndale Community as seen from his perspective as President of North Lawndale College Prep. 96 people volunteer to serve as mentors for high school seniors working on their Senior Project at North Lawndale College Prep. Representatives from Mercy Home for Boys and Girls describe their Friends First program. 35 people volunteer to participate in this mentoring program working with young people from the North Lawndale community 103 people indicate their interest in attending our next planning meeting.

November 21, 2011 - Old St. Patrick’s volunteers begin their work as Senior Project Mentors at North Lawndale College Prep.

November 29, 2011 - Meeting with Fr. Larry Dowling, pastor of St. Agatha’s Parish in North Lawndale. St. Agatha’s and North Lawndale College Prep agree to serve as our primary points of contact with the North Lawndale Community.

December 4, 2011 - Second North Lawndale Initiative Town Hall Meeting facilitated by Mr. Ed Gemerchak generates suggestions for engaging with North Lawndale and surfaces a group of volunteers ready to take on leadership roles in shaping the North Lawndale Initiative. The volunteer leaders are:  Ms. Beth Dybala, Mr. James Ratner, Mr. Tom Murray, Mr. Chris Eagan, Mr. Frank Bergh, Ms. Peg Roth, Mr. George Spindler, Ms. Patricia Folland, Ms. Bernie Ryan, Mr. Vince Guider, Mr. William Weimholt, Mr. Mike Schubert, Ms. Keara Ette, Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, Ms. Mary Beth Coleman, Ms. Eileen O’Shea, Mr. Bob Kolatorowicz, Ms. Beth Marek, Ms. Carol Casey.

January 5, 2012 - First meeting of the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative Leadership Team (working title). The meeting is chaired by Mr. Ed Gemerchak. The group continues to meet twice a month. Initial work centers on structuring the Initiative and strengthening relations with North Lawndale College Prep and St. Agatha’s Church.

June 11, 2012 - Leadership of the Kinship Initiative transitions to Mr. Vince Guider.

September, 2012 - Rather than creating a mission statement, work is underway to create a “Kinship Creed” that will articulate the beliefs and values of The Kinship Initiative.

January 13, 2013

First Annual Kinship Gathering was held at the Old St. Pat's Rectory Dining Room. The reception attracted key leaders from each of the new Kinship Partner Organizations and members of Old St. Pat's.  It was the first physical gathering of a large number of people from both communities and a sign of what could be as the partnership would evolve over time.

April 6, 2013 - The Leadership Team meets for a Visioning Retreat and develops a strategic plan for the Kinship Initiative.

Spring & Summer, 2013 - Sparked by the announcement of the Cook County Land Bank Project and the launch of the Old St. Patrick’s Church The Journey Forward Capital Campaign, Bob Kolatorowicz re-engages Mr. John Horan around Mr. Horan’s vision for creating a residence serving high school students who are experiencing homelessness. In a meeting with Mr. Roger Hughes, Bob Kolatorowicz proposes that The Journey Forward Campaign include setting aside funds to help create a supportive housing facility in North Lawndale for high school students experiencing homelessness.

October 22, 2013 - Initial meeting exploring the feasibility of creating a supportive housing facility for Lawndale students experiencing homelessness.

January 2014 - A  two-tier governance structure is implemented. The Heart Steering Committee focuses on vision and strategy. The Kinship Advisory Board offers direction and opportunities for engagement of Old St. Patrick’s members and friends within the North Lawndale community.

2016 Annual Hip Hop Revival, a street fair at North Lawndale's  Firehouse Community Arts Center

2016 Annual Hip Hop Revival, a street fair at North Lawndale's  Firehouse Community Arts Center

February 2014 - The Second Annual Kinship Partner Gathering occurred at the Firehouse Community Arts Center hosted By Pastor Phil Jackson.  The event drew a wide collection of Kinship partners and featured music, food, tours of the facility and presentations.  The event marked a one-year milestone of the inter-community partnership being a reality.  

March 2014 and beyond - The Kinship Initiative continued to grow and evolve thanks to the Holy Spirit ad the commitment and engagement of many people in the North Lawndale neighborhood and Old St. Pat's Church.

NOTE: Check the MILESTONES Page of this website to see highlights beyond 2014