The parish had arranged for me to stay with a lovely woman who lived less than a mile from the church. I had, almost literally, nothing, just my clothes and guitar and a few odds and ends. Recently divorced, I had come to try to make a fresh start. At St. Jerome, my former parish in Phoenix, I had tried really hard to make a go of it, and most of the people there were very understanding and tried to help us all through the difficult time. I had had an apartment about a mile from the church and about a mile from the house still occupied by my children and their mother, we were all trying to make that work as best we could. Then, a new pastor was assigned at St. Jerome, and shortly after his "I, me, mine" homilies began there, I knew the handwriting was on the wall. (He was subsequently chased out of the parish, and later indicted in another parish on numerous counts of misusing church funds. Lovely man.)
So we had a deal. I was amazed. The reason I'm writing all this is because this is a great parish, and it's in a great little town, and I count my blessings so often that I ended up here of all places.
|Best. Fourth. of. July. Parades. Ever.|
The church where I work in Barrington is about a block from the Metra (commuter rail) station. Like many communities in Illinois and around the western US, Barrington was a railroad stop, a farming and horse ranching community, before it became a bedroom community for upscale Chicago
This is life for a lot of people in this part of the midwest, a neighborhood where you don't really need a car to get around. It's a good thing, too, because for part of my tenure here we only had one car, and Terry needed it to drive to her job in St. Charles. On top of all that, and if that weren't enough, about two years after I arrived, the church had bought a couple of houses to expand their green space in anticipation of our building project which culminated in the new church being built in 2000. They let us rent the house right across the street from the church, so all the benefits of village life were ours, too, benefits which we could definitely never have afforded if we were actually paying what the place was worth in rent or mortgage. The rent we pay was certainly less than a lot of our neighbors' property taxes. In 2009, we bought a house a few miles north of Barrington in Lake Zurich, which is about halfway between Barrington and Terry's teaching job at Carmel Catholic High School, where Desi attended school before tripping off to be a Cornhusker.
|Our home from 1996-2009, the once and|
future (current) rectory on Franklin Street
Still, while it lasts, it's a good job among wonderful people. I have wonderful, committed colleagues who love ministry and we do our best to announce the gospel in our little corner of creation and move people to take care of each other. To get paid for doing something you love is a blessing for anyone. To be able to make music for worship, to work with people for whom faith matters and who want to make a difference in the world, is a treasure. To be able to do that in a little town "where everybody knows your name" and everything is a five-minute walk away, that's just off-the-chart brilliant. As the old song goes, "I don't know what tomorrow holds/ But I know who holds tomorrow." I'll keep my nose to the grindstone and see how this plays out, in Barrington, Illinois, 60010.