“‘Priesthood’ is a noun, but ‘Priest’ is a verb.”
This line was delivered by Maryjeanne Burke as she and her husband Richard were honored as the Christo Gloria award recipients at the 2017 Celebration of Mundelein. Mr. Burke served on the Board of Advisors for Mundelein Seminary for over 17 years, and both he and Maryjeanne served with Catholic Charities and have dedicated their lives to bringing the Glory of Christ to their communities.
“I think the most important virtues for a priest to have are a deep faith, openness to people and willingness to meet them where they are, and a dedication to reaching out to the community,” said Richard.
Father Ron Lewinski, Co-Director of Parish Vitality and Mission for the Archdiocese of Chicago, was honored as the 2017 As Those Who Serve award recipient. In addition to serving on Mundelein Seminary faculty, he introduced the Parish Transformation initiative, built a new church and pastoral center for Saint Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Mundelein, growing the parish from 200 to 1,600 members, and continues to be a leader in parish engagement and revitalization.
“Allow yourselves to be surprised,” Father Lewinski said to the seminarians in attendance, ” You’ve responded to the priesthood, but God will deliver you to the shores of your mission. Nearly all of my most meaningful experiences were things I didn’t initiate, but they bore fruits beyond my prediction.”
Cardinal Blase Cupich and Father John Kartje welcomed the friends and families of our honorees, along with hundreds of Mundelein supporters to the Celebration. Allison Rosati of NBC5 Chicago graciously served as the charming, witty emcee for the event, held every year at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
In a letter to attendees, Cardinal Cupich said, “As we give thanks for our honorees, let us also celebrate the dedication of our seminarians studying with us at Mundelein. With you, I thank the Lord for the gift of their vocations and pray that they will one day be ordained as priests of Jesus Christ who ‘know the smell of the sheep’ as Pope Francis envisions.”
The honorees were delighted by a surprise presentation of a Mayoral Proclamation delivered by the Dean of the Chicago City Council, Honorable Edward M. Burke, Alderman of the 14th Ward.
Tom Brown, Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Mundelein Seminary, brought the evening to a close by reminding everyone of the mission of Mundelein and the need for prayer and financial support to continue forming future parish priests that will renew and serve the Church for years to come.
Cardinal Cupich thanked everyone for their dedication to forming parish priests, saying “Mundelein is not just a place, or a one time event, but an ongoing celebration of the people who carry on the vision of Cardinal Mundelein. All of our supporters play such a vital role in the future of the Church, for without your encouragement, financial sacrifices and prayers for the men at Mundelein, it would not be possible for them to Answer God’s call to the priesthood.”