Saturday, November 29, 2014

GRREAT Christmas Tree-Lighting Fun

Thanks to everyone at GRREAT (Garfield Ridge Retail Entertainment and Amusement Team), as well as the Chicago Park District and other co-sponsors, for pulling together a Christmas tree-lighting event this evening at Wentworth Park.

Here are a few photos we shot.

Also, a tip of our caps to 23rd Ward Alderman Michael R. Zalewski, who not only was on hand himself to help emcee the event, but brought his children and grandchildren out to stick around and enjoy the event, as everyone else did.

The alderman said he has been privileged to work with the men and women of GRREAT, a grassroots organization attempting to showcase the neighborhood in such a way as to attract new businesses and help keep existing establishments thriving.

Zalewski said the strong turnout at the event reflected the family nature of Garfield Ridge and was a reflection of its strength--young and old, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, and of course, children--coming together to celebrate the holidays and honor traditions.

We agree.

Lots of family fun in one of Chicago's very best neighborhoods!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Snack With Santa" to Be Hosted By Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce will host its
annual Snack with Santa from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, December 6 at the Mayfield Banquet Hall, 6072 South Archer.

Continuing a longstanding tradition for the neighborhood, the event offers a meeting and photo opportunity with the delightful North Pole couple, along with cakes, cookies, fruits, and beverages, as well as entertainment for the children, and  info tables for the adults.

Tickets are necessary for admission and they are free; they are available at most Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce member businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce has been serving and improving the quality of life in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood of Chicago for over 53 years. For more information, call the Chamber office at (773) 767-0014.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sex Offender Caught Creeping Outside St. Rene School Gets Three Years in Jail

Good news reported at the November 25 CAPS Beat 813/833 meeting.

CAPS facilitator Barbara Ziegler, who also leads the CPD Eighth District Court Advocacy effort, reported that convicted sex offender Karl Trujillo, who was apprehended as he lurked outside St. Rene Goupil School back in September, has been sentenced to three years in prison in connection with the crime.

Click here for the Southwest Chicago Post story on Trujillo.

Trujillo will celebrate his 40th birthday behind bars on Wednesday, November 26, in the Stateville Correctional Center.

The Southwest Chicago Post congratulates everyone involved in bringing Trujillo to justice: police, prosecutors, court advocates, everyone.

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Catalytic Converter Thief Gets Two Years

Good news reported at the November 25 CAPS Beat 813/833 meeting.

CAPS facilitator Barbara Ziegler, who also leads the CPD
Eighth District Court Advocacy effort, reported that Erik S. Gholson has been sentenced to two years in prison in connection with the theft of catalytic converters earlier this year in the Vittum Park neighborhood.

Click here for the Southwest Chicago Post story on Gholson.

Gholson will celebrate his 32nd birthday behind bars on December 9, in the Stateville Correctional Center.

The Southwest Chicago Post congratulates everyone involved in bringing Gholson to justice: police, prosecutors, court advocates, everyone.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Crime News Update

Editor's note: The crime news reported by the Southwest Chicago Post---taken directly from Chicago Police Department incident reports---is not by any means an exhaustive catalogue of all crime reported in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District. For example, it typically does not include news of crimes committed in the eastern and southern sectors of the district---because the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage area is primarily the neighborhoods that border Midway Airport and secondarily because including the relatively large volume of crime news from elsewhere in the district would be a logistical challenge. We make this note to offer a little helpful perspective and remind everyone that while crime is definitely a concern in all parts of the district (as it always has been), crime remains relatively low overall in Sector 1. May all of us work together diligently to keep it that way. May all of us also remember that a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

* * *

A 25-year-old Naperville man was arrested and charged with armed robbery after he
Jorge Toledo
allegedly robbed a USPS letter carrier and then a 14-year-old boy.

Jorge Toledo is currently held on $250,000 bond by the Cook County Department of Corrections. His next court date is Wednesday, November 26 (a day after his 26th birthday) in Cook County Circuit Court Branch 48, 155 West 51st Street.

Witnesses told police that at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, November 20, Toledo approached a USPS letter carrier (a 39-year-old South Side woman) in front of 4821 South Hamlin, brandished a black baseball bat and said, "Yeah, b~tch, give me all your money." The postal employee said she responded by saying she carried no cash, and that Toledo then snatched her cell phone and fled on foot.

A witness told police that Toledo got into a red Ford truck and sped away west on Archer. Police said that an off-duty Cicero police officer witnessed the crime and followed Toledo, who then reportedly got into a crash with a taxi cab in front of 5040 South Archer before speeding away west.

Minutes later, Toledo allegedly robbed a 14-year-old boy in front of 4020 West 50th Street. The boy was walking home from school and said that Toledo threatened him with a baseball bat before taking his wallet (which contained $107 cash) and cell phone.

Police curbed Toledo's vehicle in from of 4951 South Cicero, police said. They added that the victims positively identified Toledo. His vehicle was towed and impounded.

* * *

Want to work directly with Chicago Police to prevent crime in your neighborhood? If you live in Beat 813 or 833 (see map), come to West Lawn Park at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 25. Hear updates on crime in your neighborhood and learn how you can work with neighbors and police to make the community safer and better for all.

An armed thug robbed the Aldi grocery store at 4501 South Pulaski at 7:40 p.m. Friday, November 14. According to a cashier, a 32-year-old Archer Heights woman, a man walked in, showed a pistol and said, "If you don't give me the money, I'll shoot you."

She gave him $716 from the cash register and as the criminal was insisting on more money, an Aldi security guard (a 58-year-old South Side man) sprayed the robber with pepper spray. The robber ran out of the store and was helped into a gray or white four-door vehicle, which sped away north on Pulaski. The offenders are described as a Hispanic man age 25-30, 5'9 to 6'1 and 175-195 pounds, olive complexion. The other was described as a Hispanic woman age 25-30.

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4302 West 55th Street
Burglars smashed the front door of Las Rosas grocery store, 4302 West 55th Street, and stole $200 cash from a cash register. The crime was discovered by an employee, a 36-year-old man, at 8:07 a.m. Sunday, November 16.

* * *

An 86-year-old Scottsdale woman who was in her bedroom reading when she heard a home invader in her basement, startled the criminal, who then fled on foot. The crime occurred just after 2 p.m. Thursday, November 13. The victim told police her basement was ransacked, but she was not immediately aware of what, if anything, was stolen. The offender is described as a man age 18-35, 6'0 to 6'2 and 180-200 pounds, wearing a black jacket and black pants.

* * *

Burglars forced open the back door of a home near 81st and Keeler and stole a TV, assorted jewelry and a computer. The crime was discovered by the victim, an 89-year-old woman, when she came home from visiting friends at 1 p.m. Thursday, November 13.

* * *

Burglars forced open the side door of a home near 86th and Keating and stole an undisclosed amount of belongings. The crime was discovered by a neighbor, an 81-year-old man, who called 911 when he saw a gray SUV backing into the driveway of the victim, a 57-year-old man, at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday, November 18. The victim was at work at the time. By the time police arrived, the van and the men inside had sped away.

* * *

Burglars forced open the side door of a home near 83rd and Kilbourn and stole two TVs, an Xbox 360 video game console and a Rolex watch. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 32-year-old man, when he came home from work at 3 p.m. Monday, November 17.

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* * *

Burglars forced open the side door of a home near 61st and Parkside and stole a TV, a Bose entertainment system, two guitars, an amplifier and assorted power tools. The crime was discovered by the victim, a 45-year-old man, when he came home from work at 4:45 p.m. Monday, November 17.

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* * *

A 17-year-old West Lawn boy was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly used what the victim described as an aggressive pit bull to threaten him at his home, an apartment building near 62nd and Tripp, shortly after 8 p.m. Monday, November 17. The victim, a 26-year-old man, told police that the 17-year-old and a group of friends threw a brick through a picture window at the residence. When confronted by the pit bull, the victim told police that he used a knife to defend himself. The dog was stabbed several times and later found dead in front of 6201 South Tripp. The offender was cut on his right wrist and left hand and was transported to Holy Cross Hospital for treatment.

* * *

A 48-year-old Blue Island motorist told police that two men in another vehicle threatened him with a gun near 50th and Cicero at 8:45 p.m. Monday, November 17. The victim told police that while he was on the Stevenson Expressway, attempting to exit at Cicero, he cut off another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle pursued him, rolled down the window and hollered, "You cut us off, you f~ckin' n~gger," while pointing a pistol at him. The victim, immediately took evasive action and was able to lose the vehicle pursuing him, he told police. The men who assaulted him are described only as Hispanic men age 20-26.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Editor's note: We respect your opinion and are privileged to share it via this website. All letters to the editor will
be reviewed before being posted. We do allow anonymous comments, yet we will not allow the Southwest Chicago Post to serve as a forum for bigotry of any kind. We also will not allow personal attacks against anyone, including elected officials and other public figures. On this site, all of us need to keep our tone respectful and our criticisms constructive. That's important as we work together to build better Southwest Side neighborhoods for all. So please join the conversation by sending your letter to

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One question: why were you so down on Dan Lipinski's Halloween parade? It was nice.


Editor's reply: We're not down on the annual Pumpkin Parade at all. We merely reported that it was being moved from its traditional location--of at least the last 25 years--on Archer Avenue in Garfield Ridge--which is what we were told by Alderman Zalewski's staff. If we were down on the parade, would we have covered it as well as we did, with not one but two camera operators? No other newspaper--locally or anywhere in theThird Congressional District--did that. Check it out at and enjoy.

* * *

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for the video of the Pumpkin Parade on Archer. You got our whole family in the shot, saying "Happy Halloween." It's a cool keepsake for us. I like how your video not only showed the floats and marching units, but the people along the parade route. That's a good idea. Please keep it up.

John and Cynthia Soto

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Why are you posting so much about Checkers on the Watchdogs Facebook page. Checkers, Checkers, Checkers! Is that all you can write about? I challenge you to say one good thing about Checkers.

Toni Scalise

Editor's reply: I [Tim Hadac] started one, and only one, thread on the Clearing/Garfield Ridge Watchdogs Facebook page, back on November 4. The other threads were started by others. Why? Because they find the topic of interest. My only concern with Checkers is the mismatch between what they said about hiring local people and what they did. They went out their way to express a commitment to local hiring, but then hired just two people from the 60638 ZIP code out of a staff of more than 50 at their Archer/Narragansett location. Hopefully, they can change that and make a better showing as time goes by.

Say one good thing about Checkers? I'll say five:

** It's good that a taxpaying business is on that site, as opposed to an empty building.
** It's good that the company restaurant now there is well funded and has the resources to stick around for a while.
** It's good that what Checkers built on the site is visually attractive. Others may disagree on that, but I'm a huge fan of the 1950s drive-in look--so for me, the place looks spectacular.
** It's good that Checkers employees are friendly and fast--at least the one time I was there.
** It's good that the food is delicious (at least the bacon cheeseburger, fries and banana shake I had the one time I was there).

* * *


Thank you for shedding some light on the situation at Checkers. I'm glad that the people working there are employed, but what about people who live right here? The numbers don't lie. Checkers obviously did not have any special commitment to local hiring. They won't get my business.

Ann McLaughlin
Garfield Ridge

* * *


I think the thing in this Checkers discussion is how many people from ZIP code 60638 even applied for jobs? If nobody applied, you can't blame Checkers for not hiring local kids. Have they shared that information with you?

Donna Gosselin
Garfield Ridge

Editor's reply: That was one of the questions we asked Checkers corporate officials, and they seemed to indicate they would share that with us, once a computer glitch was fixed on their end. Nearly two weeks later, we're still waiting. Further, a Checkers public relations official suggested that we take a few photos of the place. We said OK and suggested they arrange a ribbon cutting or some similar thing with perhaps the alderman or a chamber of commerce official. We have not yet heard back from Checkers on that.

* * *


Your opinion piece and the people in Garfield Ridge are racism at its finest. An all-white community in an uproar because blacks got job.

I drive by this site every day. Prior to its opening there was a "now hiring" sign posted for two months. I applied and I didn't do well on the assessment test, therefore I wasn't selected.

These spoiled rich Caucasian kids don't have to work, so they didn't apply because mommy and daddy haven't taught them work ethic.

Fortunately my parents did. If it was 50 Caucasian kids working and no blacks we wouldn't be having this discussion. Racisms ugly face still exists.

My question is how many 60638 applicants applied and were denied? What was the basis of the denial. Did they interview? I have spoken to the District Manager about this matter alerting him of this group's horrible intentions. I have his business info if you want to reach out to him directly. Let's get the truth before we spread untruths.



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Monday, November 17, 2014

Homily by Archbishop Blase Cupich

Editor's Note: These remarks were released to the press this afternoon but were embargoed until after 8 p.m. We present them here in the public interest. 



November 17, 2014


It is only polite to begin with an expression of gratitude for the warm welcome I have just 
received in such a personal way from various representative officials of church and state.

But before I do that, I ask your kind understanding as I attend to the important and happy task of publicly recognizing the dedicated service to the Church and to this City, of a native son of Chicago, who has distinguished himself both here and abroad as our Bishop’s Conference President, who always responded with a generosity that motivates and inspires and who has been unfailingly gracious and cordial to me, especially in these days.

The Provincial of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate put it well in a recent letter to his confreres, “we are grateful for Cardinal George’s prophetic ministry in favor of the sanctity of life and dignity of the poor and marginalized. He has faced a broad spectrum of issues…and in doing so he has always brought great intelligence, insight, strong conviction and a pastoral heart to every issue and situation.”

And so, on behalf of all of us, all those whose faith and lives have been enriched by your witness and your ministry, I want my first words on this occasion to be “thank you Cardinal Francis George.”

All of you have warmly greeted me, elected officials, public servants, community leaders and diplomats, ecumenical and interfaith representatives, archdiocesan brothers and sisters representing ethnic groups, various offices and committees, religious women and men, and my own brother bishops and brother priests of Chicago. I am grateful for your welcome to this city and to this cathedral.

In fact, I feel so much at home here that now I in turn welcome you not only to this cathedral, but into my heart. That is the kind of greeting I have learned from the Lakota people in South Dakota, whose welcome always comes as an exchange from one heart to 

We are honored to have our Holy Father Pope Francis with us in the person of our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Carol Maria ViganĂ². Welcome Archbishop and thank you for taking time from your demanding schedule to be with us. He is joined by other brother bishops from across this country and the world. All of your obligations are terribly exacting, especially at this time of the year, and my welcome to you comes with a sincere thanks for the heartwarming gift of fraternal support your presence means to all of us. 

Finally, I welcome my family, my eight brothers and sisters and spouses, nephews and nieces, and extended family members, who for the most part are occupying this entire right side of the Cathedral!


On Saturday, September 20, the day my appointment by Pope Francis was announced, the first question at the news conference was: “What’s your agenda? What are your priorities? What’s the first thing you want to accomplish?”

I really wanted to respond: “Getting through this news conference!”

But, as for my agenda, if I have learned anything over these past four decades as a pastor, I know it is a disaster for me to have my own agenda. That is not because I don’t have dreams and hopes, or that I want to ignore the challenges and trials of life. Rather it is because I have learned that my agenda is always too small; it’s prone to be self-serving, and ultimately unworthy of the people I am called to serve.

No, the agenda has to be God’s, which is beyond our imagining and our abilities. And unlike our priorities, God’s agenda has staying power, it endures.

We see that kind of divine agenda occupying the attention of Ezekiel, a prophet who oftentimes addresses the leaders of the people, pressing them to be attentive to how God is working in the world, so that they can also join in the restoration, the building up and bringing life to the people they serve.

This night, Ezekiel speaks of God’s work in the dryness that not infrequently afflicts human 
existence. His immediate concern is to inspire new life in the people living in exile, by offering a vision of the new city to be built by God. They have suffered the humiliating defeat by Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The people are scattered and disconnected, with hopes broken and barren. They are like dry bones strewn carelessly to rot in an abandoned field under the scorching sun of oppression.

While the circumstances may be different, this kind of dryness is present in our modern times, a dryness that eats away at our hopes and leaves us disoriented. It is the dryness elderly and sick persons can experience when their strength gives way and their bones become unsteady, to the point that they begin to question their worth, their sense of purpose and even the faith that has heretofore directed their lives.

We see that dryness caked in on the faces of the homeless street people, in the fatigue of the underemployed worker cobbling together three or four low paying jobs to make ends meet, but also in the hectic pace of the successful business owner whose long hours in the office leave little time for family meals and sharing, for rest and recreation. 

T. S. Elliot captures all of this so well in his epic poem, The Wasteland, where he describes how our modern lives easily become:

“A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.”

All that’s left is “fear in a handful of dust,” and a life “in rats' alley / where the dead men lost 
their bones". 

We, who are public servants, pastors, leaders know well this kind of dryness that ails the human soul and fatigues both body and spirit. We come face to face with it in the service to our citizens and the ministry to our parishioners.

But, we who serve in public life as leaders also experience our own dryness, 
in the tedium of attending to administrative details, which most often go unnoticed or 
unappreciated, in the frustration we feel as we are called upon to face enormous challenges with limited energies and shrinking resources, and whenever opportunities for real improvement are squandered by petty squabbles and divisive discourse.

We both as church and civic leaders know that kind of dryness. Like Ezekiel we can look over the landscape of our life and service and lament, “how dry these bones are.”

But, the prophet draws our attention to this rather bleak scene, not to chastise or criticize, to 
dishearten or discourage. Rather, by crisscrossing, north and south, east and west through the vast field of dry and scattered bones, this representative, this voice of God, is consoling us with the message that the Lord of Creation, is with us, is walking through this dryness with us, the dryness we face each and every day as leaders.

And so, let us for a moment walk together with Ezekiel tonight and listen attentively as he 
encourages us with the three words he speaks: Spirit, People and Land – three words of comfort, words to encourage, words to help us keep our focus on all that God is doing, so that our ways may be God’s ways.


What should not go unnoticed as Ezekiel speaks in the Spirit over the dry bones is that there is still a responsiveness, a receptivity, a sensitivity in this lifeless heap of bones. There is still something that remains, beyond the dryness and death that has smothered these dismembered skeletons. All that is needed is for the prophet, the leader in their midst, to speak in a way that inspires, to speak to the deep yearnings of the people we serve, because it is God who is keeping alive their legitimate aspirations, even when there seems to be no hope.

That is why it should be beneath our dignity as leaders to speak in ways that appeal to the fears and anxieties of people rather than the hopes and yearnings God has planted in their hearts.

And when it comes to speaking to each other in moments of deep disagreement, this does not mean that we should shy away from stating our position or making our point. “We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity,” as Pope Francis reminds us. But then he adds: “Nor can there be authentic dialogue unless we are capable of opening our minds and hearts, in empathy and sincere receptivity, to those with whom we speak….We are challenged to listen not only to the words which others speak, but to the unspoken communication of their experiences, their hopes and aspirations, their struggles and their deepest concerns…If our communication is not to be a monologue, there has to be openness of heart and mind to accepting individuals and cultures.”

That is a message for all of us, for me, for my brother priests working in parishes and other 
ministries, and for elected officials and public servants.

But, civil discourse is needed not just so we can get something done for the common good, but because of the impact that failing to do so has on society.

Recent studies on the involvement of young people in religion and public life bear out a common factor that discourages their participation – the harsh rhetoric and lack of comity and civility within each group and in the way leaders in both groups treat each other. A good friend of mine, who is with us tonight, advised me when I became a seminary rector, to place a high priority on developing a faculty, a team that modeled to students how adults should act.

As Msgr. Lawrence Purcell, former rector of the North American College put it, “you will teach them more about a collaborative model of ministry in this way than anything you say.” 

It is not surprising that parishioners, citizens and the public become uneasy and disaffected with community and public life when they see leaders speak in ways that incite fears rather than inspire hope. There is collateral damage in such tactics. But, there is an even greater promise of really accomplishing something that lasts, done by God’s grace, when we speak with the deliberate and unified aim of bringing dry bones to life. Such a commitment to civil and respectful discourse is about meeting God half way as He keeps the aspirations of those we serve alive in the struggles they face in life.


Ezekiel also invites us to look for where God is working to build up the people. Notice that the spirit evoked brings about a rattling of the bones, not to assemble skeletons as individuals, but as a vast army. There is a dryness in many people’s lives because they have little experience of being connected in society. For them, the only economy that counts is one that depends on connections they never had and never will. So many are left unconnected because of poverty spread across generations, racism or not having mentors to guide and inspire them about the value of education, hard work, and the self-discipline needed for personal stability. 

Already in the short time I have been here, I have been edified by the great work so many of you are doing through various charities, apostolates, labor unions, the business community, 
government programs, schools, volunteer and civic groups and you should be encouraged to know that helping people get connected, experience being a part of society, is where God is active, working and gracing you in your dedicated ministry and labors. You are using your 
connections to help those disconnected and that is the work of God.

Our aim should be to make sure that everyone has a place at the table of life, the mother needing prenatal and postnatal care and protection for herself and her child, the former inmate seeking a fresh start, the drug addict who needs someone to help her take one day at a time, the father and mother who want their children to have the educational opportunities other families have – this is the vast army God is inviting us to raise up with him.

Central governments in the Church and the state have enormous power to create bonds, stimulate cooperation and motivate people to work together on the local level. That has always been my approach, seeing the diocesan offices as being at the service of our parishes, to animate them while uniting and building bonds among ourselves as one local Church.


The Hebrew term Ha Aretz, is not just about real estate, turf, or dirt, but it refers to the land on which God’s people live with stability, and a sense of belonging. God’s desire to bring about this sense of belonging is present in the aspirations of every migrant and immigrant, and that is why they need to be respected, treated with justice and welcomed. God is at work in giving people a life of stability, a feeling of being at home, and of living in an environment that satisfies the desires God has placed in their hearts. The work of comprehensive immigration reform is not important because it is on my agenda, but because it is on God’s.

But, there are others who feel little sense of belonging and stability. Many youth have no dreams, no real aspirations, no sustaining hope. And so they turn to a destructive world of drugs, gangs, and lethal violence.

There are no easy answers to this, but I am aware that good people within our parishes and in the city are working imaginatively to address this issue. I admire the creativity of bringing gang members together for sports and in other venues to ease growing tensions. I believe that shoring up and strengthening family life and education are also essential ingredients.6
You will find in me a ready partner, but also one who believes that this work is not 
inconsequential, is not an option, because again, it too is on God’s agenda. 


For me it is quite humbling as I come to offer servant leadership to this local Church to be 
associated with lay women and men, clergy, religious and bishops who continue to have an 
enormous impact in society. That is especially so as I now follow two great predecessors, 
Cardinal Bernardin and Cardinal George, both intellectual and spiritual leaders, but most of all pastoral men who both have been models of faith and trust in God in having to deal with serious illness as they valiantly continued to shepherd the people of God.

But, it is also true that United States has benefitted from the talents and leadership of many 
Chicagoans over our nation’s history, contributing common sense Midwestern values in touch with the real lives of people. We are a city that is unafraid to walk through the dry bones. 

Tonight Ezekiel encourages us to continue doing so because that is where God is and where God’s agenda begins. It is an agenda that encourages me as I begin my service to welcome new friendships with other leaders in our parishes, in the business community, labor and government, because I recognize the enormous opportunity and promise that God is putting before us as we use our connections to help the disconnected, all the while respecting each other’s challenges.

It is an agenda that has its origins in the very creation of the world, for God’s plan all along has been to make this tiny speck of cosmic dust in the vast universe a land, a home for us all. Spirit, People and Land – these are God’s words to comfort and encourage, words to help us in this graced time and blessed city to keep our focus on all that God is doing, so that our ways may be God’s ways. 

And, the promise tonight is that if we keep these three words close to our hearts, all the while remembering our proud heritage of contributing to the good of the nation, then not only will we get things done, but we will probably end up rattling some bones. 

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