• Father Frank Latzko
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Listen to an audio recording of Father Frank reading this letter:

One hundred twenty-five years ago, on October 15, 1889, the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, the mission of this parish was born. Gospel irony was at work from the very beginning: A German Catholic people established a parish dedicated to the great mystic from Spain, Teresa of Jesus.

Over the decades many dedicated priests and sisters have led the parish and taught at St. Teresa of Avila School; the school was established by the Sisters of Christian Charity upon their arrival and remained open until 1996. These priests and sisters were instrumental in forming the lives of thousands of adults and children. A unique part of our identity is that we are a parish without specific boundaries, one of the parishes in the archdiocese that can make such a claim. For reasons unknown, perhaps due to its origin as a German parish, St. Teresa Parish developed without clear boundaries of who was in and who was out. We are indeed a Catholic community that has tried to push the boundaries further into the horizon, giving our mission a call to welcome those who are at the periphery of culture and even church.

St. Teresa Parish has been at the corner of Armitage & Kenmore for 125 years, and has witnessed the neighborhood take on a number of transformations. From its German roots to its growth as a Puerto Rican community and many Central and South American cultures, to its young adult and college population, the parish allowed its mission to change as the neighborhood has changed. Through all its various transformations, the “parish without boundaries” has been home to more and more parishioners who choose to drive significant distances to call St Teresa Parish their “home.” While we are anchored in Lincoln Park, our identity as a Catholic community has roots in other areas of the city of Chicago and many suburbs. We have become a destination point, an intentional Catholic community of faith.

As we celebrate 125 years as a vibrant Catholic parish, and as we remember the 500th anniversary of the birth of our patroness, St. Teresa of Avila, we have lived one of her greatest prayers, allowing Christ to be the “word made flesh” in our flesh and blood:

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which He looks Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

At the heart of St. Teresa of Avila Parish is our love for Christ, who gathers us week after week in the Eucharist; who molds us with Word and Sacrament; who calls us outside of ourselves to reach those who don’t belong; who don’t feel welcome; who have no voice.

The poor will always be at the heart of our mission, reminding us that we are a Catholic parish with no boundaries. We are to take our place outside of the boundaries of life, a place where we are guaranteed an encounter with Christ.


Fr Frank Latzko