Mother of the Americas Parish hosts street Masses for unity, peace

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Mother of the Americas Parish hosts street Masses for unity, peace

Mother of the Americas Parish in Little Village holds its second street Mass Aug. 13, 2021, at Francisco Avenue and 25th Street. The traditional street Masses are being held as a way to unite the newly formed parish as a result of Renew My Church and to pray for peace in the community. Associate pastor Father Martin Marulanda was the main celebrant of the Mass and was assisted by the pastor Father Thomas Boharic. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Altar servers lead the opening procession for the street Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A parishioner proclaims a reading. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Marulanda delivers the homily. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
As the sun goes down, the congregation celebrates Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Neighbors attend Mass from their porches. In the days before the Mass, parishioners knocked on doors in the neighborhood to invite people to Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Divina Niño that would be blessed after Mass are on display next to the altar. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Neighbors attend Mass from their porch steps. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Fathers Marulanda and Boharic pray over the bread and wine. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Marulanda holds the host. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Marulanda raises the host during consecration. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A woman kneels on the street during the eucharistic prayer. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Members of the congregation hold hands during the Our Father. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A woman bows her head in prayer during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Marulanda blesses the children and youth who attended Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The congregation extends their hands during a blessing of all the children and youth who attended the Mass. The blessing is a tradition during street Masses in Latino parishes. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Marulanda sprinkles holy water over children and youth following a blessing from the congregation at the end of Mass. The blessing is a tradition during street Masses in Latino parishes. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The group prays over the food they would eat following Mass. After each Mass the congregation partakes of light refreshments. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

On the sunny evening of Aug. 13, parishioners of Mother of the Americas Parish, 2226 S. Whipple St., gathered at 25th Street and Francisco Avenue for a street Mass. They gathered in part as a next step in their unification process and in part to pray for peace on the streets of Little Village.

It was one of three street Masses the parish planned for August.

Mother of the Americas is the united parish of Our Lady of Tepeyac, Assumption BVM and St. Roman churches. It was created during the pandemic, so there have not been many options to bring everyone together in person.

Now, with things opening back up, the parish wanted to resume the tradition of holding street Masses, said Father Tom Boharic, the pastor.

“But it is also to let people know, ‘Hey, you belong to a new parish. It’s Mother of the Americas. Here’s our Mass times,’” he said. The parish also let people know that it has an elementary school, a high school for girls and other services available.

“We wanted to be intentional about being in the different territories of our parish,” Boharic said. “And obviously, for the summer we’re praying for peace. That’s a big part of it as well, and why we have to be on the streets themselves.”

He said the parish is planning other Masses to specifically pray for peace on streets where there has been violence.

The parish is in the evangelization part of the Renew My Church process and it has incorporated that into the Masses.

“I just really think it is important to be out on the streets as much as possible just for us to get to know each other and for them to see the priest and people from the community on the streets is really important,” he said. “I can’t tell you the times when we’ve been knocking on doors, all the families we’ve talked to who, for different reasons, haven’t been to Mass or people who were just asking for prayers.”

The street Mass effort is for non-Catholics as well.

“That’s what I said at the end of Mass. ‘Even if you’re not Catholic, the fact that you live in the territory of our parish, we’re praying for you. We’re here for you and I’m responsible to God for you,’” Boharic said.

It has been hard uniting three churches, but there is hope, he said.

“I’m very proud of the parish. This [Renew My Church] process has been difficult, of course, for everybody. But as a pastor it’s so edifying to see people who are moving out of their comfort zone, who are really responding as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ,” he said. “It’s been very inspiring to see so many of the leaders, so many of the parishioners in the parish having this desire to bring more souls to Christ.”

Parishioner Carolina Barrios said she is grateful to be able to participate in the outdoor Masses.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling that we could have the Mass here. It’s so sad that in other places there are people that are asking to receive the Eucharist and they can’t do it. And we are able to receive Christ in the Eucharist,” she said. “Our faith is going to grow stronger by showing other people in our surroundings to receive the Eucharist. People should come out of their houses. It has a great meaning to me personally.”



  • renew my church
  • anti-violence

Related Articles