To the Editor:
As Catholics begin returning to churches across America, reinvigorated by the efforts and message of Pope Francis, anyone living in the southwest suburbs should consider St. Jude Parish in New Lenox.
When moving back to the Chicago area five years ago, I believe we were blessed to find St. Jude, where my family and I have the opportunity to listen to the best priest I have ever heard speak at Mass. Father Bill Sullivan’s positive and encouraging demeanor, combined with his great knowledge of the Bible and ability to educate his parishioners by providing the history and context of each reading and Gospel story, helps lift some of the mystery of our faith. He is such a great gift to all in the parish, carrying on the true Apostolic tradition and inspiring his flock.
Later, it became clear that the pastor at St. Jude, Father Don Lewandowski, is the key to this unique church. Father Don is a hard-working pastor intent on making St. Jude a great parish. I believe he has accomplished that completely based on the humble church, education and assistance programs, along with his efforts to make the parishioners experience at St. Jude uplifting and inspirational. He has made me appreciate just how difficult it is to lead a parish, while still devoting himself to his duties on the altar.
Father Homero Sanchez is another great gift to the parish. This young priest’s wonderful spirit and energy fills the church at Mass each Sunday. His passion for Catholicism and Christianity is evident. In only a few years, he is already having a positive impact on the lives of many in the pews.
Another aspect that makes St. Jude a special church is the musical director, Tom Labanauskus, a talented musician and singer whose vocals pierce straight through to the soul, filling the church with the most beautiful melodies carrying words of spiritual inspiration.
Tom also directs the church choir, a heaven-sent group of friendly men and women who belt out each song with professionalism, their voices arranged so perfectly, while an equally talented orchestra of trumpets, strings and drums accompany Tom on piano or organ.
Words cannot suffice to share the experience of attending St. Jude so I created a video, which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVb_n5QsykY. Hopefully for those Catholics who have left the Church or non-Catholics who have been considering joining, this will help them take that first step into the pews of St. Jude.