Mission

“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” -1 Timothy 6:18-19

The Parish Sharing Program strives to create unique bonds between parishes that will enrich the parishes involved, while creating an environment of love and generosity that will flow from the parish communities into our larger community of Chicago.

What is Parish Sharing?

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:40

Unique to the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Parish Sharing Program builds bridges between parishes that differ in race, ethnic backgrounds, economics, and geography.

The Parish Sharing Program provides a vehicle for Catholics to experience our unity as children of God by responding to the call of Jesus. It offers a concrete way to live out what Saint John Paul II calls, “the virtue of solidarity.” This program opens people to the beauty of the many unique cultures and ethnic groups we are blessed to have in the Archdiocese of Chicago by recognizing and cultivating the unique gifts we all share to uphold the dignity of all.

The Parish Sharing Program embodies the spirit of the earliest Christian community by providing a means for the people of God in the Archdiocese of Chicago to share their gifts and talents in order to have their needs fulfilled.

History

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
– Hebrews 13:16

Officially beginning on Holy Thursday, 1976, the roots of the Parish Sharing Program reach back to the late 1950’s. These early “twinning relationships” continue and are still models for Parish Sharing today. In fact, some partnerships span these decades, and represent some of the most vibrant current parish relationships.

In May of 1996, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin wrote a Pastoral Statement in which he said:

The roots of Parish Sharing are set firmly in the early Christian communities. The early Church also experienced differences that divided it. St. Paul pointed out how important it was for sharing to occur between rich and poor, Gentile convert and Jewish convert, Hellenistic Christians and Palestinian Christians so that one communion (koinonia in Greek) would be realized. Paul also emphasized that different local churches possessed different resources for sharing. The material wealth of some filled needs among the poorer communities, who in turn shared their spiritual wealth with those who were in need of it.
. . .
In our metropolitan area, vast gulfs exist among people, even within our Catholic Church. Housing segregation remains a fact of life, separating races and ethnic groups. Economic disparities are enormous, even though the geographical distance separating some of our region’s wealthiest people from the poorest can be negligible. Ethnic groups are also divided by language and customs. The Church has the mission to bring unity from this diversity, and to make possible the sharing of the gifts and talents with which God has blessed his body, the Church.
. . .
I encourage every parish to do what it can to enhance Parish Sharing. For some, this will require invigorating partnerships that have had little vitality. For others, it will entail parishes’ sharing their experience and expertise, gained after decades of strong and faithful relationships, with other parishes that can benefit from these examples. And for all, it will involve a commitment to invite parishioners to learn the faith dimension of this interparochial program.
— Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, "Building Bridges between Communities of Faith"

Focus

The Parish Sharing Program can be described as:

  • Faith-Centered
  • Relational
  • Reciprocal
  • Vital to the life of the community

Activities that can become fruitful in a Parish Sharing partnership:

  • Sharing Liturgies and Receptions
  • Pulpit and Choir Exchanges
  • Shared Retreats
  • Study Groups
  • Youth Group Interactions
  • Tutoring and Scholarships
  • Material and Financial Aid
  • Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens

Contact Us

Lori Felix
Administrative Coordinator
lfelix@archchicago.org
312.534.3894