Work Samples

  • Megann Horstead

Homer churches unite for Knowledge and Prayer Series


Untold amounts of people find themselves shackled and confined at the core of their existence by slavery in today’s world.

The issue remains pervasive in its reach, bleeding through the fabric of modern-day America. At the heart of this matter comes the question of the meaning that life holds, which was the topic presented before the community as part of the Knowledge and Prayer Series at Our Lady of the Woods on Feb. 18 in Orland Park.

Rev. Thomas Loya, of Byzantine Annunciation Catholic, said having a program on modern-day slavery works for the cooperative on a large level for those in the communities the parishes serve.

“When you talk about anything having to do with the morale of human life, it crosses all cultures and nationalities,” he said. “Even though we don’t think it affects us here, these topics align us to humanity.”

Loya said when it comes to addressing social and global issues, it is important to acknowledge them and be vigilant.

“These things have a way of bleeding into and crossing borders,” he said. “To know that this stuff [slavery] is coming over, awareness and being proactive is one of the most important things we can do.”

The basis for the program was conceived about four years ago. Underneath the leadership of Mary Lee Noonan, founder of the program, five parishes—St. Bernard’s, Our Lady of the Woods, Byzantine Annunciation Catholic, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Michael—have formed a partnership allowing for education and prayer experiences on respect life issues for those in the community.

Noonan said what makes the program formidable to her is its ability to transcend across different dioceses.

“We cross dioceses – Orland Park of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Homer Glen of Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet—That’s sort of unique,” she said. “[It’s] not that common to our knowledge. This [cooperative] is sort of organic. We just started working together.”

Loya said it helps that they are aiming to keep the program as a grassroots operation.

“It’s an excellent collaboration probably because it’s not bureaucratic,” he said. “There’s no complexity to it. It helps the parishes to bond.”

Extending the reach of the program is one matter the cooperative’s volunteers view as both a challenge and strength.

Noonan said they’ve received inquiries from other parishes about being in their group. She said the hope is they’ll form their own cooperative, others follow suit and the idea keeps spreading.

Organizers for the program meet on a monthly basis as a group to choose topics, based on input gathered. Speakers are selected based on their knowledge of a topic, and schedule availability, among other factors.

Upcoming Knowledge and Prayer Series events are set to address the state of marriage in America, as well as talks on invitro fertilization and the Pro-Life Concert and Retreat with Steve Agrisano.

Noonan said the hope is the community responds positively to the program offerings.

“We reach who we reach,” she said, noting how the cooperative is now five years in the making.

#HomerGlen

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