Augustinian

In Memorium: Rev. Gerald J. Van Overbeek, O.S.A. '53

Please join the Augustinians in mourning the loss of Rev. Gerald J. Van Overbeek, O.S.A. who passed away at the age of 84 and was born into eternal life on January 1, 2019.

Funeral arrangements are below:

MONDAY - January 7, 2019

Crown Point, IN
Franciscan Home
203 W Franciscan Dr
Crown Point, IN 46301
Wake: 10:00am
Mass: 11:00 a.m.

Chicago, IL
St. Rita of Cascia High School Chapel
7740 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60620
Wake: 3:00 p.m.
Mass: 7:00 p.m.


TUESDAY - January 8, 2019


Burial: 11:00 a.m. at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, IL

The St. Rita Family Unites with Giving Tree Initiative

As Catholics, we are called to love Christ above all. But how do we show our love for Christ? In Hebrews 6:10, we are taught “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones”. God tells us that through serving, loving, and tending to others, we are serving and loving Him.

Giving Tree Leaders: Ms. Missy Smialek, Eddie Fidler, Isaac Gaytan-Reilly, Dylan Cooney and Diego Carrillo (Not pictured: Jack Esselman & Tadhg Scanlon)

It has been a tradition here St. Rita for the last several years to have our Giving Tree Initiative in the month of December—2018 was no different. The Giving Tree helps Ritamen show that the core values of Caritas and Unitas are not just slogans, but things that St. Rita students strive to live out, especially during the holiday season.

Each year, through the Giving Tree, several St. Rita families are given donations by the St. Rita school community to help offset the ever-rising costs of the Christmas season through food and gift donations.

Hebrews 13:16 teaches “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.” Ritamen were encouraged to make the sacrifice of sharing what they have in an effort to love others who are in need and therefore, love God. Some were able to give more than others, but all were encouraged to look into their own lives and determine where a sacrifice could be made. For instance, some sacrificed vending machine snacks and donated that money, others brought lunch from home and donated lunch money.

In the end, so many Ritamen put money toward those in our St. Rita family who are struggling. The St. Rita community ultimately raised $4,882.85 and helped ten families this Christmas.

St. Rita's Academic Convocation Marks the Beginning of 114th Year

By: Mike Swanson

A convocation is a group of people that comes together, formally assembled for a unique purpose. St. Rita of Cascia High School is a very unique and special institution for many Chicago-area families.

On the morning of Wednesday, August 22, 2018 the St. Rita of Cascia High School community, including parents, gathered in the St. Rita Shrine Chapel for the Annual Academic Convocation that has quickly become a cornerstone ceremony for the members of the St. Rita family. The tone of the day was set by the music which was provided by the legendary St. Rita Band under the direction of Mr. KC Perlberg. The convocation (which marks the official beginning of St. Rita’s 114th academic year) celebrates the school’s academic excellence, ancient and venerable Augustinian heritage and the traditions that developed over the course of the last 113 years the greatest of which is the bond that exists among all Ritamen brothers.

"We are indeed blessed and that is why the theme of this year will be “Thankfulness.” We have been given much and so we must give back much." - Fr. Paul

For this year’s freshmen class, that bond is especially relevant. The 158 freshmen, the Class of 2022, physically signed their names on parchment paper, enrolling them in the sacred “Book of Brotherhood” at St. Rita. After signing, each freshman received from a student government representative his St. Rita chapel tie which is worn each Wednesday for all-school Mass.

The event's master of ceremonies, Dean of Student Leadership Mr. Josh Blaszak '02 introduced three student government leaders, Stedmon Ihejirka, Michael Henze and Liam Ohle who spoke about St. Rita’s core values: Veritas (Truth), Unitas (Unity) and Caritas (Love), respectively.

As the ceremony continued, the crowd heard remarks about St. Rita’s academic excellence and college-preparatory curriculum from Mr. Wes Benak ‘81, Dean of Academics. Mr. Mike Zunica, President, gave remarks about the storied history of St. Rita.

Finally, St. Rita’s Head of School and CEO, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D., gave the crowd an overall “State of the School” address and then took the time to speak directly to the freshmen telling them what is expected of a Ritaman and what the school community has to offer them. At the end of his remarks, Fr. Paul lit the 2018-19 “Lamp of Learning” from the flame of the Easter Candle in the St. Rita Shrine Chapel.

Fr. Paul said, "St. Rita of Cascia High School is a Catholic college-preparatory high school in the Augustinian tradition. The beginning of the academic year is a rite of passage for our freshmen. The Academic Convocation marks this important milestone while teaching new students and families the history and traditions of our school and reminding us all of the unique opportunities that exist here. This is a very exciting time at St. Rita with multiple new construction projects nearing completion and enrollment increasing. The excitement for our future was palpable at the Convocation. People want to be a part of St. Rita. I’m very pleased with the direction our school is headed thanks to our dedicated and talented faculty, staff, parents and students. We are indeed blessed and that is why the theme of this year will be “Thankfulness.” We have been given much and so we must give back much. We must be the example for others to emulate."

After the formal gathering was over, St. Rita parents and students enjoyed a quick reception with light refreshments.

St. Rita’s Academic Convocation is a unique tradition. It’s very important to Ritamen and their families because it is a public statement of all that St. Rita stands for: academic and athletic excellence, student involvement and Catholic, Augustinian affiliation and leadership. The Convocation displays and solidifies St. Rita’s welcoming environment for all to see.

Fr. Tom is Going to Italy!

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By:  John Nee '93

Fr. Thomas R. McCarthy, O.S.A. '83 has been the toast of the Southside for the past 20+ years, but now he'll be taking his talents to Vatican City to serve Pope Francis on the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.  He will serve as the next English-language Official of the Council, which was founded by Pope Benedict. 

The former President and Principal of St. Rita has long been known for his vibrant personality which has made him very popular to all on the Southside.   Whether you were from St. Rita or not, Fr. Tom's popularity had reached "rock-star" status in many of the local parishes where he would say Sunday mass and host his famous parish missions.

Nine years ago, Fr. Tom was pegged by the Augustinians to become Vocation Director for the Midwest Province, during which time he helped foster a surge in young vocations to the Order.  All the while, he remained an important presence at his alma mater, St. Rita, serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors as well as Chaplain.

Fr. Tom has served as an Augustinian priest for over 23 years and has delivered over 200 parish missions in 14 states in the last 19 years.  Currently, he resides on the campus of Villanova University where he works in the Student Life Office for First and Second Year Initiatives.  His new position will require Fr. Tom to relocate to Rome.

“It was with great humility and shock that I received the news of my appointment,” said Fr. McCarthy, “I feel blessed that my preaching ministry over the past 19 years has opened this door for me. I believe wholeheartedly in the approach Pope Francis is taking in reaching out everyone and helping them encounter Christ.”

"I believe this is a recognition of Father Tom's enthusiasm and passion for preaching the Gospel, particularly as evidenced in his parish missions and his years of work at St. Rita High School and at the St. Rita Shrine and his work in Vocation Ministry," said life-long friend and Prior Provincial of the Midwest Augustinians, Fr. Bernard C. Scianna, O.S.A. '83.