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Hospitaller Region - Chicago, IL

Hospitaller Region - Chicago, IL

Recent Articles

Service Recap: Chicago Malta Coat Distribution Effort a Success

Don Hempson, KM
12/11/2021

On the consecutive Saturdays of 4 and 11 December, members of the Chicago Region distributed a total of 315 coats to individuals of Chicago's "street dwelling" homeless community.  

On 4 December, in partnership with Featherfist, Inc. (https://featherfist.org), which runs an outreach program for Chicago's homeless "street dwellers," three independent convoys consisting of Malta and Featherfist transport vehicles, volunteers, and delivery trucks were guided by our streetwise Featherfist teammates to known street dwelling encampments throughout Chicago and distributed coats to 250 genuinely grateful and friendly individuals ...

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NIGHTLY ROSARY: WHAT BEGAN AS A TEMPORARY WAY TO GATHER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC IS NOW A NIGHTLY RITUAL FOR MANY

10/21/2021

What started as a short-term Zoom and phone gathering of Chicago Region knights and dames to pray the Rosary when the pandemic began has since become a treasured nightly ritual for confreres and friends of the Order.

Since spring 2020, the nightly Rosary has brought together anywhere from a handful of participants to more than 50 praying in community. Regardless of the number of participants, the 8 p.m. (CT) Rosary happens Monday through Friday evenings and unites confreres and friends of the Order from Chicago to Ohio to Virginia ...

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Chicago Region Class of 2020 Investiture Celebrated Locally in 2021

Maria Kelly, DM
5/22/2021

The Chicago Region welcomed four new knights from its Class of 2020 in an Investiture Mass attended by approximately 100 people on May 22 at The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago.

While a great departure from the Investiture Weekend in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Region's Class of 2020 set themselves apart in terms of their resilience, dedication and gratitude, regardless of where Investiture took place.  Friends and family filled the pews at Our Lady of Pompeii to support their loved ones as they made their ...

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Service Recap: Chicago Malta Coat Distribution Effort a Success

Service Recap: Chicago Malta Coat Distribution Effort a Success

12/11/2021 12:00:00 AM EST
a month ago

On the consecutive Saturdays of 4 and 11 December, members of the Chicago Region distributed a total of 315 coats to individuals of Chicago's "street dwelling" homeless community.  

On 4 December, in partnership with Featherfist, Inc. (https://featherfist.org), which runs an outreach program for Chicago's homeless "street dwellers," three independent convoys consisting of Malta and Featherfist transport vehicles, volunteers, and delivery trucks were guided by our streetwise Featherfist teammates to known street dwelling encampments throughout Chicago and distributed coats to 250 genuinely grateful and friendly individuals who, that very night, began facing the challenges of a Chicago winter in ways that we can only imagine. 

On 11 December, in partnership with Matthew House, Inc. (https://www.mhchicago.org), which runs a daytime shelter and breakfast/lunch service for Chicago "street dwellers" who spend their nights on city trains and buses, we distributed coats and socks to 65 thankful and affable individuals who shared a breakfast of sausage and grits after spending one of Chicago's coldest and wettest December nights navigating the city's transit system to find a warm, dry place to sleep. Matthew House clients have been returning to the shelter proudly wearing their coats, and new arrivals have been asking for the coats since our departure.

Smiles, accompanied by "Gracias" and "Thank you so much," are examples of the simple, deeply sincere, and dignified expressions of gratitude that every member of the teams received from those whom we served. As Chicago's "street dwelling" population continues to become younger in age (the number of 18-24 year olds dwelling on the streets is increasing at the fastest rate seen by our partner organizations), we hope that our "hands-on" distribution efforts not only warmed the bodies of Mary, Raul, Andrew, Hakeem, Maria, Gene, Joy, Eli, Isaiah, 

Cornelius, and all the other 300 plus people we met who live on Chicago's streets, but will also warm their hearts and their souls in ways intended in our Daily Prayer of the Order--and that members of our Order have gained insights into the nature and magnitude of homelessness in our community and an appreciation for the service that we have begun to provide this Christmas Season.

NIGHTLY ROSARY: WHAT BEGAN AS A TEMPORARY WAY TO GATHER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC IS NOW A NIGHTLY RITUAL FOR MANY

NIGHTLY ROSARY: WHAT BEGAN AS A TEMPORARY WAY TO GATHER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC IS NOW A NIGHTLY RITUAL FOR MANY

10/21/2021 12:00:00 AM EDT
3 months ago

What started as a short-term Zoom and phone gathering of Chicago Region knights and dames to pray the Rosary when the pandemic began has since become a treasured nightly ritual for confreres and friends of the Order.

Since spring 2020, the nightly Rosary has brought together anywhere from a handful of participants to more than 50 praying in community. Regardless of the number of participants, the 8 p.m. (CT) Rosary happens Monday through Friday evenings and unites confreres and friends of the Order from Chicago to Ohio to Virginia to Florida to Puerto Rico, and beyond.

"We started at the suggestion of one of our chaplains, Father Richard Fragomeni of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago," said Rick Klein, Chicago hospitaller. "Father Fragomeni was very helpful in the initial organization of the structure that we adopted for the Rosary and the pattern of involvement for our members."

Father Fragomeni felt it important that a nightly Rosary follow the model set out in St. John Paul II's apostolic letter, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae.”  "If we are going to pray the Rosary together, then let's do it the way that John Paul II asked us to do it​," said Father Fragomeni. After he found a variety of scriptural Rosaries and shared them, the nightly Rosary "took off," he said. 

The Rev. David Turner, Deacon Ed Gronkiewicz, KM (now deceased), and Father Fragomeni served as Rosary leaders each evening for the first several months. There have also been “guest appearances” by Msgr. Michael Boland, the Rev. Jay Woods, and Bishop Bob Lombardo. Occasionally, guest speakers address participants for 30 minutes prior to the Rosary. To date, speakers have included Fra' James Michael von Stroebel, who provided an abbreviated history of the Order; Tom Wessels from Malteser International; and Doug Sandvig from Prison Ministry. Fra' Tom Mulligan is also among the nightly Rosary leaders, along with Father Fragomeni and several members of the Order who rotate spots.

"Praying the Rosary with friends has added a new dimension to my faith life that never really existed," said John Lemker, KM, of the Chicago Region. "It helps keep me connected to our faith when everything else seems to be focusing our attention away from it. Those whom I have never met, and then meet, feel like friends."

For Suzanne Nelson, DM, Chicago Region, leading the nightly Rosary "teaches the importance of community prayer, specifically of the Rosary, a much-needed tool for battle with the current times."

The nightly Rosary has also brought members closer to the Order. "Participating in the Rosary with the Order has helped me communicate with members and developed the essence of the Order being my spiritual home," said Richard Mena, KM, Columbus Region.  Richard's son, who lives in Innsbruck, Austria, has been influenced by his father's participation in the nightly Rosary and is now involved with a local Rosary group in Innsbruck.

A portion of Rosary participants gather​s to pray Compline immediately prior to the evening Rosary. Early in the pandemic, a Saturday afternoon cohort of confreres met in the Zoom room for a virtual night out with friends.

New participants--confreres and friends of the Order--are always welcome to join the Rosary, Monday through Friday evenings, at 8 p.m. Central Time. Participants may either join via Zoom or call in without a video presence.  

The zoom information is accessible by viewing the 'opportunities to pray schedule' located on the Members Only section of the Federal Association website. If you have trouble logging in to your Member Profile, please contact the Executive Office for assistance. 

Chicago Region Class of 2020 Investiture Celebrated Locally in 2021

Chicago Region Class of 2020 Investiture Celebrated Locally in 2021

5/22/2021 12:00:00 AM EDT
8 months ago

The Chicago Region welcomed four new knights from its Class of 2020 in an Investiture Mass attended by approximately 100 people on May 22 at The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago.

While a great departure from the Investiture Weekend in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Region's Class of 2020 set themselves apart in terms of their resilience, dedication and gratitude, regardless of where Investiture took place.  Friends and family filled the pews at Our Lady of Pompeii to support their loved ones as they made their commitment to the Order. Afterward, a joyous celebration took place until the wee hours at Erie Cafe, a favorite haunt of members of the Chicago Region. 

The Chicago Region welcomes Basil Damukaitis, Gibran Espinoza, Patrick Kelly and Tom Leverso to the Order. In a reflection about his path to joining, Tom Leverso, K.M., shares his thoughts below.

“Having a local Investiture for the Chicago Region Class of 2020 was a necessary part of my path, and I am grateful for it.

“I will not belabor the reader with everything about the uniquely long formation period for my class; it is already well known. However, the story of the deep, contemplative discernment of what it meant to be a knight lasted for me until the day of Investiture. The Order’s local service initiatives reinforced my continued contemplation. The Investiture ceremony itself and the dinner reception afterward provided definition.

“In the five days preceding the Investiture, I prayed about whether I was finally ready for the Order. I did not pray about “Investiture,” but rather the idea of seeking to enter the Order. Unexpectedly, though, my prayer arrived at concrete thoughts on how to improve myself—a part of my personality that I recognized, but with which I struggled.

“Through both Investiture and preparation for it, the opportunity to improve presented itself. Call it the Holy Spirit’s intervention, saintly intercession, or finally just applying the common sense that God bestowed upon me, but the Order revealed itself to be my path.

“Yes, true of any Catholic school boy, I needed “Nun Time” to solidify the prayer and realize why the Order made absolute sense; serving the poor is truly part of who I am. On the day of my Investiture, I went to volunteer at one of our local service partners, the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Upon arrival, one of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin was waiting with a task to perform with her as well as with one of the dames, both of whom I have grown to consider as my family. I worked for three hours, comforted by the sense that my efforts were assisting the poor, not just the toiling in a garden.

“I belong helping those who do not have the means to help themselves.

“The significance of my Investiture was further supported by the fact that the Chicago Investiture Mass was held at The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii—the parish of my great-grandmother and a spiritual home for the Chicago Region.

“Our hospitaller, Rick Klein, took care to ensure that the Investiture Mass replicated the details within the Mass of the Investiture usually held in Washington, D.C., and to which knights and dames are accustomed.

“For me, while the Investiture Mass generally marked a moment in my spiritual growth, the Mass represented, on a much larger scale, the culmination of years of contemplation and discernment for me.”

Chicago Region Reunites for Service After Pandemic Hiatus

Chicago Region Reunites for Service After Pandemic Hiatus

10/22/2020 12:00:00 AM EDT
1 years ago

Knights, dames, and members of the auxiliary in the Chicago Region recently had the honor of helping the sisters at Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) clear debris from the OLA campus and gardens, an effort that brought immediate results and raised spirits. In August, confreres assisted the sisters in distributing school supplies to neighborhood families.  
 

Doug O'Brien, KM, shared his thoughts about serving the sisters: “The work clearing the overgrowth of weeds and debris from around OLA was tough and left my back pretty sore. But as we drove home, my son turned to me and said how proud he was that we had done something to help a community in need, and how impressed he was by the sisters and their work. He wants to know when we can go back to OLA."

Federal Association Grant Funds Renovation Project at Food Pantry

Federal Association Grant Funds Renovation Project at Food Pantry

9/1/2020 12:00:00 AM EDT
1 years ago

At St. Thomas of Canterbury Food Pantry, Chicago confreres began the work of emptying a large storage area that will be reconfigured to accommodate a new, grocery-style approach to the food pantry. This project has been funded through a generous grant from the Federal Association.

Chicago Region Prays the Rosary Together Nightly

Chicago Region Prays the Rosary Together Nightly

7/15/2020 12:00:00 AM EDT
1 years ago

With confreres in the Chicago Region unable to gather face-to-face to pray for an end to the pandemic and share special intentions, Chicago Hospitaller Rick Klein acted quickly in mid-March to set up a nightly teleconference (now zoom) to allow callers to gather virtually and pray the Rosary together. This effort has been growing in popularity each week.

 

Every night, Monday through Friday, at 8 p.m. Central Time, knights and dames from Chicago are joined by confreres from Milwaukee, Ohio, Washington, D.C., New York and beyond.  Malades have been invited to join, as have friends of confreres and interested members of a local Legatus region.  

 

Typically, anywhere from 25 to 35 individual callers (many with family members joining) are led in the recitation of the Rosary by Deacon Ed Gronkiewicz, the Rev. David Turner from St. Procopius Abbey, Malta chaplain Msgr. Michael Boland or the Rev. Richard Fragomeni, who will be invested as a chaplain for the Chicago Region this September. Volunteers assist each evening by completing prayers for each decade of the Rosary.

 

All are welcome to join the Rosary calls Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. Central Time.

Call-in information is as follows:

For Video + Audio, or Audio only:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86128889403?pwd=N1I0c0JMcG1QU0hnYWRGWE5WQk90dz09

Day of Recollection in Chicago

Day of Recollection in Chicago

3/19/2020 12:00:00 AM EDT
1 years ago

"Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope."  1Peter 3.

In January, 27 members and prospective members from the Chicago and Milwaukee regions considered these words as the Rev. Richard Fragomeni, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, led retreatants in the 23rd Annual Day of Recollection in Chicago.

A blustery winter day set the backdrop for warm fellowship, stimulating talks and discussions, and time for prayer and Confession, all culminating in the celebration of Mass in the historic shrine. During Father Fragomeni's explanation of the new Order of Christian Initiation of Adults, retreatants were challenged to be able to explain the reason for their hope as Catholics and given opportunities to reflect on what God is calling them to be as members of the Order.

Members of the Chicago Region will celebrate Father Fragomeni becoming a new associate chaplain of the Order during Investiture Weekend in September in Washington, DC.

Healing Mass in Chicago

Healing Mass in Chicago

10/10/2019 12:00:00 AM EDT
2 years ago

This September marked the second healing Mass held by members of the Chicago Region for local malades at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica National Shrine. 

The annual Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Michael Boland, chaplain of the Chicago Region and the Rev. Frank Falco, director of the Basilica. Father Falco reminded those in attendance to remain open to the Holy Spirit and invite him into their hearts in order for healing to take place.

Known for its shrine to St. Peregrine--patron saint of those who have cancer—Our Lady of Sorrows was founded in 1874 by the Servites and houses one of seven replicas of the Pieta known to exist in the United States.

Father Falco provided an historical overview of the church before Mass and shared stories of miracles and healing powers attributed to St. Peregrine. After Mass, all in attendance enjoyed a bountiful lunch.

Members of the Chicago Region also took part in a weekend retreat for knights, dames, spouses and candidates at Mundelein Seminary.

Upcoming events in the Chicago Region include:

•             First Friday Mass on October 4, followed by breakfast in the boardroom at Catholic Charities;

•             Service at Our Lady of the Angels Food Pantry; and

•             Our annual Mass for the Sanctity of Life and special recognition event honoring Msgr. Boland.

Winter Shoes Donated To Needy

Winter Shoes Donated To Needy

11/4/2017 12:00:00 AM EDT
4 years ago

The Chicago Region donated $1000.00 to the Polish American Association for the purpose of buying winter shoes for the homeless men that come to their shelter. 8 clients from the Polish American Association and members of the shelter staff went to Wal-Mart and bought shoes As you can see from the photos the men have thin running shoes that are no protection for the harsh winter cold we are now experiencing in Chicago. As many as 25 men will benefit from the donation. The donation was arranged by Ted Makarawycz, KMOb.

Annual Day Of Recollection: January 4, 2014

Annual Day Of Recollection: January 4, 2014

1/4/2014 12:00:00 AM EST
8 years ago

Please join us for our Annual Day of Recollection at The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii at 1224 Lexington Ave, Chicago, IL on this Saturday beginning at 9:00 AM.

The event will be ministered by Fr. Richard Fragomeni. The theme this year will be Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium.

We will all gather for an extraordinary luncheon at noon in the parish hall and will end with Mass at 4:00 PM. Robes will be worn for Mass. The music will be performed by Paul French along with an accompanying choir. Please contact Joan Trandel and let her know you will be attending.

Rick Klein
Regional Hospitaller

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

About

In the Chicago, Milwaukee and Central Illinois areas, The Order has increased its presence with a growing membership and its participation between the various locations all assimilating into one common theme of hands on service. Rick Klein is the Regional Hospitaller for the area, succeeding Sam Cicarrelli, Fra' Thomas Mulligan, Ted Makarewicz and Dr. Art Malinowski. Mr. Makarewicz was elected to the Association’s Board of Directors in 2000, and Eugene Croisant was elected to the Board in 2007. Frank Gembala of the Chicago Region served on the Federal Association's Board of Directors from 2010-2016. Fra' Tom Mulligan currently serves as the president of the Board of Directors of the Federal Association.

MONTHLY MASS

Celebrated on the First Friday of the month at 8:00 AM at Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii is located at 1224 W. Lexington St., Chicago, IL  60607. Street parking is available. Breakfast follows.

Assisting the Sisters at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels

Members of the Chicago Region volunteer every third Saturday of the month at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.  During the pandemic, the number of people served by the Sisters has increased fivefold.  Recent projects in which we have participated have included: Organizing non-perishable foods in the food pantry, restocking outdoor food tables and pallets for those in the neighborhood, taping and preparing the second floor for painting, weeding flower beds and property around the church and convent, and assisting in any way needed.

If you would like to serve with us on the third Saturday of the month, please contact Rick Klein for further information. The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels is located in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood at 3808 W. Iowa St., Chicago. Street parking is available.

 

MONTHLY SOUP KITCHEN

Every third Tuesday of the month, members and friends of the Chicago region support the food pantry and soup kitchen at St. Thomas of Canterbury by making sack meals for take away, serving meals to guests and cleaning up afterwards.  Having received a grant from the Federal Association in 2020, members of the Chicago Region were able to make these funds go extra far, demolishing a storage area and constructing a grocery store style shopping area for homeless guests. This innovative shopping area is scheduled to open in summer 2021.

In May 2021, the food pantry was renamed the Monsignor Michael M. Boland Food Pantry, in recognition of Monsignor Boland's tireless advocacy and commitment to improving the lives of the homeless while helping them maintain their dignity while working towards greater independence.

Please consider serving with us on the third Tuesday of the month.  St. Thomas of Canterbury is located at 4827 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago.  Parking is available in the lot across the street. Contact Rick Klein, if interested.

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

Members of the Order (and their families) who are interested in participating in one of these activities should contact the Regional Hospitaller.