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Friday, November 25th,  2017 *  Volume 15  *  Issue 18

Dear SBPS Families: 

I pray that you all had a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving Holiday - no matter if you enjoyed a traditional feast with your family, ran the Turkey Trot or had some out of town adventure. Regardless of how you and your family gave thanks for God's blessings, I also pray that you return back to us safe and healthy on Monday. 

WE DID IT!!  Congratulations and THANK YOU! We surpassed our ANNUAL SCHOOL FUND GOAL of $150,000 (pretty close to $160,000 actually) in only three weeks! We will do one final push on GIVING TUESDAY, so if you haven't given yet, there will still be an opportunity. Last week's video featured Father Steve and Mr. Seigel on how the Annual School Fund helps to support Catholic Identity and Faith Formation of our students. Did you get a chance to see it? If not, you can check out the video by clicking here. We still hope for each family to gift to this year's Annual School Fund. Each gift makes a difference. Thank you to Bill Yankowski, Robyn Parker, and Joe Accardi for their work on this year's efforts! And again, thank you for your generosity! 

Speaking of generosity, last week's parish bulletin featured the 2016-17 Annual Parish Report featuring many of the accomplishments from last year, as well as financial highlights and a brief outlook on the coming year. If you didn't get a copy, please click here to view the online version. Thank you to all those who helped make last year a successful and memorable year in so many ways. We are certainly blessed to be a Catholic parish who is able to run in the black, have a savings and continue to move forward on our capital campaign plans. 

We are starting the second trimester when we return from Thanksgiving vacation. Report cards will be sent out the first week of December, so please look out for them. Can you believe a third of the school year is already gone? We are looking forward to the next months, however. December brings about many wonderful opportunities to celebrate our parish and school community. We hope you can join in. 

We begin ASPIRE testing (interim tests) for grades 3-8 this week. Our teachers will use this information to inform our instructional plans for the next several months. Please be sure your children get a good night's sleep as always. 

Have a great weekend! 

Peace - Ms. Rachel Gemo, Head of Parish School 


  • Holiday Movie at the Davis for kids and for adults - final Mass and Gala After Party
  • Important November and December Dates to Know
  • A Message of Thanksgiving from Cardinal Cupich as well as a plea to send a Thank You to Senator Cullerton
  • Annual St. Vincent DePaul Advent Food Drive begins soon
  • Java with Gemo on November 29th
  • New Scholarship Opportunities for Catholic Schools -  Tax Credit Scholarships
  • November Lunch Menus  
  • Time to Order the 2017-18 School Yearbook 
  • Check out all the St. Benedict Parish Events to enjoy! 

Here are November and December Dates to Keep in Mind –

  • November 22-24th - Thanksgiving Holiday Break 
  • November 27th - First Day of Trimester 2 
  • November 27th - St. Vincent DePaul Advent Food Drive Begins (see below) 
  • November 27th - December 1st - ASPIRE interim exams grades 3-8 
  • December 2nd - 8AM Catholic High School Entrance Exams (Good Luck 8th Graders!) 
  • December 3rd - Advent Begins - First Week of Advent - Week of Hope 
  • December 3rd - Holiday Movie at the Davis Theatre (see below)
  • December 4th - First Trimester Report Cards Emailed Home (or sent home Preschool) 
  • December 7th - Secondary School Christmas Show 7PM
  • December 8th - Feast of the Immaculate Conception - Masses at 8:30AM and 1:30PM
  • December 9th - High School Winter Ball 
  • December 10th - HSA presents the 2nd Annual HSA Christmas Craft Fair 
  • December 10th - Annual Scholastic Book fair begins and lasts all week 
  • December 13th - HSA Annual Faculty and Staff Christmas Luncheon 
  • December 15th - Parish Christmas Concert (see below for details) 
  • December 20th - Preschool Christmas Concert 10AM 
  • December 21st - Kindergarten and First Grade Christmas Concert 5:30PM
  • December 21st - Grades 2-5 Christmas Concert 7PM 
  • December 22nd - Advent School Mass 9:30AM
  • December 22nd - January, 8th - Christmas Vacation 
  • TUESDAY, January 9th - School RESUMES

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Join Us For A Special Holiday Movie Showing at the Davis Theatre

Join 59 other St. Ben's students and 35 parents who have already signed up for a fun Mass and Gala 2017 After Party at the Davis Theatre (4614 N. Lincoln Avenue) on Sunday, December 3rd.  See the description below from the Mass and Gala Auction Catalog:

KIDS PACKAGE: $30  (70 spots left)

ADULT PACKAGE: $40  (only 26 spots left)


Get in the holiday spirit with a showing of the hilariously funny Christmas movie "Elf" at the Lincoln Square jewel, Davis Theatre, which recently underwent a five million dollar renovation. Kids will be treated to a concessions box of goodies, including the Theatre's custom gourmet popcorn, M&M's and a soft drink, while adults get their pick of a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or House craft beer. Don't miss this wonderful holiday family outing!

Time: Arrive between 9:15 and 9:30am, movie begins at 10:00 am sharp


A Message of Thanksgiving from Cardinal Cupich 

During this Season of Thanks, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich would like to offer his gratitude to our Catholic school parents. He would also like to thank our legislators for their support of the recent tax credit scholarship effort. Please read this letter from Cardinal Cupich.  Know that you are in his prayers during this Thanksgiving, as well as in the thoughts and prayers of all of us in the Office of Catholic Schools.  

Please Send a Message of Thanks to Senator Cullerton 

As Cardinal Cupich indicates in his letter, as we enter this season of thanksgiving, we have much to be grateful for: bright students eager to learn, inspiring teachers excited to teach, and engaged parents willing to help.

This year we have something else to add to our gratitude list: the new Tax Credit Scholarship program set to begin on January 1 for the 2018-2019 school year. You will be hearing more details in the coming weeks on how to apply for scholarships for your children.

Please take time to either call or write the Illinois lawmaker listed here who represents this school at the state Capitol and showed leadership needed to pass the Tax Credit Scholarship. Thank you! 

Senator John Cullerton  1726 W. Belmont  Chicago, IL  60657

Phone: 773.883.0770


Java with Gemo and Friends 

Wednesday, November 29th at 8:15 AM in Secondary School Library

Topic: New Family Feedback Session - All Families New to SBPS are Welcome

Java with Gemo is a monthly Parent and Friends Coffee where guests gather in the library to enjoy breakfast treats and coffee provided by the school. We begin the presentation around 8:15 AM and usually go for about an hour with time allowed for Q & A. We schedule Java's first thing in the morning so that people may attend for as long as they can before they head off to work or other plans. Small children may also attend as long as they are relatively quiet and occupied.

On Wednesday, November 29th, Janet Gallagher, Director of Enrollment & Marketing, will be facilitating a New Family Feedback Session along with Ms. Gemo. All new families (PK-Grade 12) are invited to participate. Last year, we learned a lot of invaluable feedback from our newest school families. We hope you can join us.

Here are the remaining Java's for the Year to put in your calendar:

  • January 17 - Inclusion Program and Family Support with Ms. Enriquez, Director of Inclusion
  • January 31 - The 7 C's of Catholic School Excellence at SBPS - Book Club Kick Off with Ms. Gemo and Ms. McMillan
  • February 21 - High School in Chicago-Don't Panic your child will go to high school! with Dr. Mickelburgh 
  • March 14 - Early Childhood and STEM, with Ms. Waldron
  • April 25 - State of the School and Strategic Planning Update with Ms. Gemo 
  • May 23 - TBD 

ADVENT FOOD DRIVE FOR PARISH NEEDY - The NHS, NJHS and ES Student Council will be conducting the food drive for the parish St. Vincent DePaul Society

Please support our St. Vincent DePaul Society at St. Benedict Parish Annual Advent Food Drive. We would like the whole PK-12 school families and all the RE families to participate.  

Each year, the St. Vincent DePaul Society collects food donations from the families of the parish and school to create generous food baskets for those in our families who are in need of food. Please consider donating food and/toiletries. The school classrooms will be collecting for the first three weeks of Advent. In order to make families' lives easier, we have assigned certain categories of food and products to the different grade levels. Please consider donating items that are assigned to your child's grade level, but we are happy to take any donations. Any items not used in the Christmas food baskets will be donated to the Common Pantry. Please ask your child's homeroom teacher for more details. 

Advent Food Drive Assignments

Preschool - Meat Soups (200), Chicken Soups (200), Vegetable Soups (200), Chili (with or without meat) (100)

Kindergarten - canned green beans (100), canned beans (pinto, kidney, black, etc.) (100),

First - Canned spaghettios (and similar) (80), Fruit Cocktail (80), Canned Meat (50)

Second - Tuna (100) and Mac and Cheese (200)

Third - Canned Corn (any kind) (100), White Rice (100)

Fourth - Canned Peaches (100), Pears (80) Pasta noodles (any kind) (100)

Fifth - Canned Peas (100), Vegetable Oil (50)

Secondary by HOUSES (each house has a specific item)  - Canned pork and beans (100)(all),  

Toothpaste (80), Bede

Toothbrushes (80), Boniface

Hand bar soap (80), Scholastica

Hand Lotion (80), Gregory

Deodorant (80) - Hilda

Hotel Travel Sizes are also welcome

New Catholic School Scholarship Opportunity for 2018/19 School Year

Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” the state of Illinois has created a new way to fund scholarships for children from low-income households who want to attend private schools. The tax credit scholarships offered through this program could cover up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for eligible, low-income students. Not all families will be eligible for the new scholarships, but we want to make sure all Catholic school families are aware of the program. Program details are still being finalized, but you can find information on the scholarships, the application process and review the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s website, If you have any questions about tax credit scholarships, please contact the Archdiocese at or 312.534.5321.

Parents! Give your Children this Amazing Keepsake!
Order Your St. Benedict Elementary School and/or Middle School Yearbook Today!





The tree will be available the weekend of November 18 and 19. 

This year our Giving Tree will support several organizations:

  • Maryville Academy – a home and a haven for abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Begun in 1883, Maryville provides a host of services for children in need, including long-term care, short-term care, diagnostic care, medical care, therapeutic counseling, vocational training, special education, and emergency shelter services.
  • St. Joseph Village – A Senior Living community sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago which includes short-term rehabilitation, residential and healthcare options.
  • St. Paul’s House – A Senior living community which includes short-term rehabilitation, residential and healthcare options.

Please take a tag from the tree, purchase the gift listed and return it unwrapped, with the tag affixed to the outside. All gifts should be returned to the Rectory (2215 W. Irving Park) on or before December 11th. If for some reason you take a tag and don’t participate in the program, please call the parish office so no one goes without a gift.

For more information about the Giving Tree, please call Elaine Lindia at (773)509-3806.

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The St. Ben’s Christmas Trolley is Back!  Sunday, December 17th!

Warm up your pipes and come warm your hearts this year by joining our Christmas Caroling Trolley with stops at Lincoln Park Zoo, Water Tower Place and Kris Kringle market in Daley Plaza. $30 per person, seat confirmed upon payment/checks can be left at the rectory. 21 and over only! Trolley boards in front of church with a prompt departure at 6pm. Wear something RED! Questions? contact  Seat confirmed on payment.


Pope Francis has often called the church to “go, do not be afraid, and serve.” Are you looking for a unique way to do just that?

Join the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls' Heroes team for the Oct. 7, 2018, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and transform the life of an abused child in Chicago.

Mercy Home has been a solution for kids in crisis since 1887. By joining our Heroes team, you will make it possible for us to provide a safe home, emotional healing, and academic opportunities for children who have suffered abuse, neglect, poverty, and abandonment. Running a marathon as a Hero will be life-changing for the countless children you will help, and for you as well.

Hebrews 12:1 calls us to "run with endurance the race that is set before us." Is this your race? Join us as a Mercy Home Hero, where we believe "No distance is too far to save a child." Don’t let fear stop you.

Go to to sign up, or contact Jim Harding at or 312-738-9381 with any questions. Join before Nov. 30 and receive a special dri-fit Heroes in Training shirt. Use promo code “CHURCH” for $5 off.

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PRAYER CORNER -  Prayer for Peace 

Father of Heaven and earth, 
hear my prayer and show me the way to peace. 
Guide each effort of my life 
so that my faults and my sins
may not keep me from the peace You promised. 
May the new life of grace You give me
through the Eucharist and prayer 
make my love for You grow
and keep me in the joy of Your Kingdom