When we hear of Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, for Baby Boomers, our first thought is the tragic fire over 62 years ago that killed 92 children, three nuns and hundreds who walked away with significant injuries in West Humboldt Park. Today, school fires of this magnitude rarely exist because of major fire reform. The Our Lady of Angels parish, that we knew, closed in 1990. But today, an amazing, gracious, community of young men and women serve and live at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. Side by side, with the angels who help them, they continue offering their assistance during the economic impact of COVID-19. Those that believe everything was lost …then and now…maybe not. Gods love never stops.
The school was a charter school until 2017 when given back to the Franciscans at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels . Fr. Bob Lombardo came to Chicago in 2005, at the special request of Cardinal George, to set up a mission outreach to help the poverty- stricken neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. Fr. Bob has functioned as the founder/ director of the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, founder/ superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, a newly established religious community of young men and women living and serving at the Mission of Our Lady of Angels.
The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels is currently taking food donations. Their monthly food pantry provides food to about 1000 families a month. They provide fresh produce, non-perishable food, clothing, and household goods to about 250 families every Tuesday at their Mobile Pantry. On St Patricks Day, they transitioned the pantry outside and served 260 families. And, yes, the pantry will remain open.
Presently, they are concerned about food supply streams and are welcoming all donated food still! They have also partnered with the Chicago Police Department to bring food to home bound seniors. The mission is asking individuals to call before dropping off food donations in person at its West Side location. People can also buy food for the Mission’s pantry on the Amazon wish list.
In times of greatest need, we turn to prayer. The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels continues to pray for the children, families and friends lost in the tragic fire decades ago. Their prayers are constant for all of us as we face a new crisis. In many places, public masses have been suspended in an effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus. However, masses our being streamed and the mission will rise to every challenge they meet. As one nation under God, let’s continue to pray, spread the word, donate and purchase what we can so that the Mission can provide food security to the increasing need in our communities. Acts of compassion are greater than any hardships we can ever face.