By Gordon Nary
Gordon: When did you join Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC)?
Linda: We joined in the Fall of 2005 when our son, Edward, started preschool.
Gordon: You volunteered to serve on the Parish Transformation Committee. What impact has the committee had on Our Lady of Mount Carmel and what are some of the initial programs that have proven most popular?
Linda: Parish Transformation Committee has had a significant impact on OLMC, getting people involved more in the parish and providing a lot of opportunities to build our community. Some of the more popular programs have been through the Communio committee and its social gatherings; with Youth Ministry and its trip to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis; and the Spirituality Committee, with its faith development. We are still getting off the ground in a lot of ways and laying the foundations for future events and activities. It is taking a bit of time, but it will help us stay on track and really focus our efforts in the best ways.
Gordon: Could you comment on the Archdiocese of Chicago's help in advancing the OLMC Parish Transformation Program?
Linda: The help we received from the Archdiocese was wonderful. It was such an interesting process and relies so much on the trust of everyone in the parish: trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us, trust that ideas and plans and people will all come together at the right time to make things happen. We had good guides from the Archdiocese who gave us direction and information, but let us find our own voice and needs.
Gordon: Are there any Parish Transformation initiatives planned for the future that you are looking forward to implementing?
Linda: I am most interested in finishing the Parish Activity Center. We need a large space to gather for events, speakers and activities, and the children need a gym. Right now our parish lacks that linchpin space that lets us be together outside of Mass. It is going to make an enormous difference to all of us when it is finished, and in ways that we can't even imagine.
Gordon: You once taught math to the now closed St. Barbara's High School. We are faced with the closing of so many Catholic schools over the years that some of us may not appreciate the extraordinary importance of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy (OLMCA). What are your views on the importance of Catholic school education?
Linda: I went to a small Catholic grade school and high school in Nebraska. When we had our boys I wanted them to have that same kind experience, even though we are in a big city. We are thrilled to be at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy. Catholic schools are amazing places where children can get a good academic education, but more importantly they get a good spiritual and civic education Catholic teaching emphasizes love, acceptance, kindness and service.
OLMCA, like other Catholic schools, is a great community of parents, students and staff that work together on nearly every aspect of school life. Families are expected to volunteer and contribute to the community, and children see that example of giving back and incorporate it into their own lives. Together we raise wonderful children who are generous, hard-working, and good citizens.
Gordon: You are a very talented writer. If an OLMCA student expressed an interest in a writing career, what advice would you give them?
Linda: Thank you, that's very kind. I would tell students: write every day. Write letters. Keep a journal. Find quiet time to read and write And then go be in the world. Find other things that interest you because those things will color your writing and give you something to write about.
Gordon: I thought that in closing some of our readers should know that the name Linda has an interesting origin. It is derived from the neo Latin language (Italian, Spanish or Portuguese) word linda, which is the feminine form of lindo, meaning "tender, beautiful, and pretty".
Linda: Thank you!