The Ministries of St Agatha
Blessed Sacrament/ S.A.F.E.
Blessed Sacrament/ St. Agatha Family Empowerment (S.A.F.E.) is an afterschool and summer camp program for youth ages 6 to18 years old. Activities include homework/academic enrichment, arts and crafts, health and nutrition, dance, computer lab, sports and recreation. S.A.F.E./Blessed Sacrament operates six days a week. A seven week Summer Camp offers added activities such as Swimming, sports, field trips and cook-outs.
From Stressed to Blessed: Support for Peaceable Parenting
From Stressed to Blessed is a 12 hour/ 4 session program conducted each week designed to teach parents a method of parenting and problem solving that will help their children to meet life’s challenges, building communication skills and peaceful conflict resolution strategies in families. It teaches an “active” parenting approach in contrast to a “reactive” approach, discipline vs. punishment. A small meal and child care is provided during the sessions. Upon completion of the course, participants are awarded a certificate and gift card.
Y.E.S. – Youth Encounter the Savior Youth Ministry
Y.E.S. is held the first and third Saturdays of each month and is a faith-based program for youth and teens ages 7 to 18 years old. The program mission is to nurture Faith-based discipleship; Create a safe and sacred space for children and teens to gather; Recognize and nurture the gifts of youth to benefit the wider St. Agatha Church Community and North Lawndale Community; and to do all of this Centered in Faith, Family and Community. Other activities include age appropriate Bible study, dance mime, life skills training, youth choir and activities to nurture the body, mind and spirit of youth.
St Agatha Parish offers a Community Dinner on the second Saturday of each month. Each dinner is sponsored by a ministry of St. Agatha. Community members are invited to partake in a hot nutritious meal and fellowship with community and church members. Participants are encouraged to dialog about ways to improve the North Lawndale community.
Adult, Youth and Child Religious Education Programs
Religious education and formation classes are offered for pre-K through 12th grade students every Sunday from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. A special breakout Liturgy of the Word is offered every 2nd and 4th Sunday during the 10:30 Mass. Adult Religious Education Sessions and 6-Week Bible Studies are offered throughout the year.
Restorative Justice/ Peace Hub
St. Agatha, as part of its ongoing mission outreach into the North Lawndale Community, has worked with funds from Cook County and other donors to minister to the community through the use of Restorative Justice practices. Our Restorative Justice work involves engaging youth, parents, and youth and parents together, in building ways to better communicate and peacefully resolve conflict in the home, in schools, and on the streets. Through our RJ Coordinators, Parenting Instructors and Volunteers from the parish community, we have been able to work with youth and adults on our streets, in a few of our local schools, and even in Cook County Jail, to move people away from systems that are about retribution, currently reflected in our criminal justice system and in the system of punishment and zero tolerance, rather than structured discipline, in our homes and schools. We do this in the spirit of Matthew 18: restoring relationships where possible, thus strengthening individuals, families and the community.
St. Agatha Poetry and Drama Club
The St. Agatha Poetry and Drama Club engages parishioners of every age to participate in dramatic readings for special occasions throughout the year. They will present readings during Black History Month, as well as special productions of plays two to three times a year.
St. Agatha’s Food Pantry, in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, offers a food pantry every Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Fresh vegetables, meat, canned goods and other items are provided free to North Lawndale residents and others in need of food. We also coordinate a second Food Pantry at Blessed Sacrament at 2153 S. Millard on Wednesdays.
St. Agatha News School
After-School and Summer School program for high school students to develop writing and critical thinking in order to become citizen journalists. After-school courses are offered in 8 week classes Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 5:30. Summer program runs for 7 weeks Monday through Thursday, 8:30 – Noon. Each class creates a Community Newspaper by the end of each course. Students are given a stipend at the end of the completed course work, a certificate of completion and a Press Pass.
Free Legal Assistance
St. Agatha offers free legal assistance one Saturday each month for non-criminal cases. Lawyers donate their time as part of our kinship partnership with Old St. Pat’s Parish.
Partnership with M.U.S.I.C., Inc.
St. Agatha currently provides space for this program which teaches youth from 1st grade through 8th grade how to learn violin and cello. In September, 2017, St. Agatha and M.U.S.I.C., Inc. will partner to add students from our S.A.F.E. after-school program into music training.
Partnership with The Learning Center
The Learning Center provides free GED, pre-GED and ESL classes throughout the year. The Center is located at 2153 S. Millard in the old Blessed Sacrament Rectory. Classes are offered in conjunction with Malcolm X City College. The Center also offers health and wellness classes in conjunction with St. Anthony Hospital. The space for the center is provided by St. Agatha.
Christmas Basket Outreach
Every year for the last 25 years St. Agatha has offered parents and seniors the opportunity to apply for specific needs they have for their children and themselves. Through the generosity of parish partners in the suburbs, families are provided with most of what they ask for at Christmastime. The process for applying involves participation in a 3-hour Talking Circle where we can discuss hopes and dreams, pains and struggles that families have, as well as discuss values that we seek to pass on to our children. The goal of these sessions is to encourage ongoing parent involvement in parent support groups that St. Agatha coordinates.
Collaboration with the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Peace Hub and North Lawndale Restorative Justice Community Court
For over two years St. Agatha has been a part of this collaboration of 30+ social services and other organizations to best align our supports to maximize our outreach to local youth and families. Fr. Larry Dowling serves as one of 7 community members on the Steering Committee for the soon to open first Restorative Justice Community Court in the nation.