Haunted Archer Avenue, Chicago Illinois, Cook County.

They say that paranormal energies would also be attracted to this magnetism and this would explain the hauntings in the area. The author also mentions that the area may be so haunted because of its proximity to water. Archer

Avenue is nearly surrounded by water sources like the Cal-Sag Channel, the Des Plaines River, the Illinois-Michigan Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal and even Maple Lake, which reportedly is the scene of “ghost lights” activity.

But no matter what the reason, Archer Avenue may be the most haunted street in Chicago! The Indian trail that it used to be was turned into an actual road in the 1830’s. Irish workers on the Illinois-Michigan Canal completed the construction. Most of them lived near Lemont, at the southern end of Archer Avenue. Here is located the St. James-Sag Church and burial ground, which dates back to around 1817, a few years before Archer Avenue was built to follow the route of the canal. Most of the men who worked on the road and canal moved out of Chicago and became parishioners of the church.

Legend has it that they settled into a small, nearby community, which was cursed by an early rector of St. James-Sag because the residents were lax in their attendance at services. The story has it that the curse caused the community to die out and no trace of it can be found today.

Supernatural events have been reported at St. James-Sag since the middle 1800’s. It was around this time when the first sightings of the “phantom monks” took place here. These stories continued for decades and there were many reliable witnesses to the strange activity. One of them, a former rector of the church, admitted on his deathbed that he had seen ghosts roaming the cemetery grounds for many years.

One winter night in 1977, a Cook County police officer was passing the cemetery and happened to turn his spotlight up past the cemetery gates. He claimed to see eight hooded figures floating up the cemetery road toward the rectory. He pursued what he first thought were pranksters into the graveyard but while he stumbled and fell over the uneven ground and tombstones, the monk-like figures eerily glided past without effort. He said that he nearly caught up with them when “they vanished without a trace”.

Another, earlier legend of the graveyard concerns a phantom hearse that is possibly the same vehicle seen on Kean Road and at nearby Archer Woods Cemetery. The description of the vehicle is the same, from the black horses to the glowing coffin of a child, and was first reported back in 1897. According to a report in the Chicago “Tribune”, two musicians spent the night in a recreation hall that is located at the bottom of the hill below the St. James-Sag rectory. They were awakened in the early morning hours by the sound of a carriage on the stones outside. They looked out and saw the macabre hearse. They became the first to report the eerie vehicle, but they would not be the last.

And in addition to the many alleged haunted houses, businesses and graveyards along this stretch of roadway, Archer Avenue has also become home to one of Chicago’s longest standing tales of diabolical delight. It was to a ballroom along Archer Avenue where the devil himself came to dance many years ago. Local tradition in the Bridgeport neighborhood recalls that this supernatural event occurred at Kaiser Hall, just west of Loomis Street on Archer Avenue.

The story recalls that a young woman became entranced one night with a handsome and dashing stranger that she met on the dance floor. As they danced the night away, she happened to glance down at the stranger’s feet – turning her cries of pleasure into a horrified scream! Assuming that the stranger had made an inappropriate advance toward the girl, the neighborhood men angrily pursued the man, who quickly fled from the room. He refused to fight and instead managed to get himself cornered near a second-story window. Suddenly, he leapt out of the window and surprised everyone by landing on his feet on the sidewalk below. When the crowd rushed to the window to peer after him, they discovered him running away.

The folks from the neighborhood followed the man outside (wisely using the staircase) and were amazed to see the real reason for the young woman’s scream. Pressed into the concrete, just where the stranger had landed, they found the unmistakable mark of a hoof print!

What is it about this strange and haunted place called Archer Avenue? Is it really connected to the world beyond, or is there a natural explanation for the ghost sightings linked to the region? Are they truth or legend? That remains to be seen, but there may be more to this seemingly innocent roadway than meets the eye!

Day of Recollection

Please pray for our friars at St. John the Baptist Friary, Joliet IL. Today we will be having our day of recollection. You will all be in our prayers during this special day when we brothers take time out of our busy lives just for each other and God. Blessings on each of you! Pray for us, Brother Ed.

PS: We will be at Mt. Assisi in Lemont, IL

Friars from St John the Baptist presented their Guardian with a plant and gifts for his ministry as guardian.

Lord, now let your servant go in peace

The Guesthouse Retreat mansion, Dallas City Illinois

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”  Luke 2:29-32
On this, the fifth day of the Octave of Christmas, we are given the witness of the prophet Simeon.  This holy man was promised by God by a personal revelation that he would actually see, with his own eyes, the Savior of the World.  Throughout his life he would have anticipated this moment.  He would have longed for it and hoped for it.  And then, one day the moment came.  Simeon would have woken up that day, going about his normal routine like any other day.  However, the moment that Mary and Joseph brought their newborn Child into the temple, Simeon knew in his heart that this Child was the promised Savior.
His words are powerful.  He says, “Lord, now You can let Your servant go in peace…for my eyes have seen the salvation You have prepared…”  In other words, Simeon realized that his life was now complete.  He was ready to die because he had now been privileged to actually see the Christ.  He held Jesus in his arms and gave glory to the Father for this moment.
We should strive to learn from holy Simeon.  No, we are not a prophet in the Temple some 2,000 years ago, but we are privileged to see the Christ each day in numerous ways.  The Child Simeon held was God indeed.  But He was God under the veil of the flesh of a little Child.  Simeon, nonetheless, saw Him for who He was and rejoiced.
We must strive to perceive the presence of the Savior all around us and rejoice with Simeon’s joy.  Christ is present in every heart that is given to God, every Sacrament of the Church, every reading of the Holy Scripture, and He is especially present to us within our hearts.  Our hearts must be that temple in which we discover the presence of the Christ Child and we must take Him into our lives rejoicing in how close He is.
Reflect, today, upon that scene of Simeon taking the Child into his hands and seeing the Savior under the veil of the flesh and bones of this Infant.  Seek out Christ in the same way that Simeon did and ponder the many ways that He is present to You.  Know that He is near and that He wants to fill your life with His peace.
Lord, I thank You for the great witness of Simeon the Prophet.  Thank You for Your fidelity to Simeon in letting him see You as a little Child.  May I always imitate his great faith and seek You all my life, waiting for You to come to me in veiled ways so that my heart may rejoice in Your presence.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Describe Christ’s presence in your life.

Today’s Reflection

Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, Holy One, Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace is born! By any name, we welcome the greatest gift of all: God’s presence with us. From the moment of Creation, God’s image has been embedded in each and every human being. Even so, God realized that we needed a more tangible way of understanding what it means to live into the fullness of God’s image within us. We needed a Light among us to follow. God sent Jesus to light our path, to show us what it means to live fully, and to encourage us to love God, ourselves, and one another.

Today’s Question

Describe Christ’s presence in your life.

Today’s Scripture

And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:10, NRSV

Homily for Mass during the Day at Christmas—Cycle C—2018

December 21, 2018

Homily for Mass during the Day at Christmas—Cycle C—2018

FIRST READING Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King! Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.

SECOND READING Hebrews 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”? Or again: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”? And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”

GOSPEL John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

Christ is born for us! On this Day Mass of Christmas, we always hear from the Gospel of John. It is a very different account of the birth of the Lord Jesus: the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory. There are no details about the birth but only a reflection on how this birth has changed our world entirely. John is completely confident that all that is in the world has come to be in Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ, who is born for us this day.

Messengers, like John, are important. Being a messenger is not the exclusive purview of the angels. Although over the past weeks we have read many examples of angels acting as messengers to Manoah and his wife about the birth of Samson, to Zachariah and Elizabeth about the birth of John, and to the Virgin Mary preceding the glorious birth of our Savior, Jesus, which we celebrate today. Practically speaking today’s readings speak to us about messages and messengers.

Messages are important, so too is the act of sending and receiving them. Most of us have experienced the joy of sending and receiving Christmas cards which may include: pictures of growing children or families, letters to friends and families about the traditions of Christmas or the summary of the year, short notes of endearment scribbled in the margins (giving the card a personal touch). What joy there is in receiving greetings from dear ones, even postal carriers are thanked in special ways during Christmas! Their feet carry good tidings to us.

The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, tells us: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings. Whose feet? The feet of our Lord. The feet that at His birth were the feet of a baby! The message we receive powerfully is that God becomes totally helpless and at the mercy of our humanity. God becomes powerless even though He is all powerful. The striking contrasts of this day should be in our hearts: God is a baby. God is human. God is weak and at our mercy. God hands his love over to our sinfulness. God loves us always even when we do not love in return, almost like a refused receipt of mail. Can you imagine how it would feel receiving a previously sent, carefully chosen Christmas card in the mail with the inglorious stamp RETURN TO SENDER? Such an exchange falls far short of the full message God wants to share with us.

The Letter to the Hebrews describes how God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors. Similar to internet greeting cards that communicate in partial ways to technologically challenged recipients! Likewise, for some people holiday gatherings can be too large to navigate and to interact with all the participants with in-depth exchanges in a week, let alone in a short couple of hours in a parish hall, office, or school. In a direct and intense way God sends His Son, who is the refulgence of His glory, the very imprint of His being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. This is different from previous ancient messages, but do we consistently receive the message?

When we look at and hear Jesus we are always put to the test. Jesus is God but is meek and humble. Jesus is the reflection of the glory of God and yet is humiliated and punished for our sins. Jesus sustains all things by His mighty word. At his birth His word was the simple cry of an infant.

The mystery of the birth of Jesus can captivate our hearts and lead us to follow Him. We began with CHRIST IS BORN FOR US! And we know His message has changed our world. Let us receive the messengers and the message, and let it “not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend” (Is 55:11). May we demonstrate how His birth and His message has changed our commitment to the poor, to our neighbors, and how we manifest our gratitude to our merciful and loving God. Have a joyous Christmas!

Evening prayer

Lord, at the angel’s message Mary, the immaculate Virgin, became the temple of God and was filled with the light of the Holy Spirit when she received your divine Word. Grant that, after her example, we may humbly and steadfastly follow your will.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



By  Herald-Whig

Posted: Dec. 18, 2018 10:25 pm Updated: Dec. 19, 2018 9:47 am

QUINCY — It wasn’t until the end of Rocky Murry’s speech about her contribution to the Quincy Neighborhood Federation that Tracy Kiefer realized she was the recipient of the organization’s 34th annual Theda Jansen Award at the Eagles Club.

“I’m still sitting here just shocked,” she said moments after the announcement. “I think I’m the most shocked person in here. … I love kids, and I love to help out.”

Named after Theda Jansen, a former Quincy Police Department juvenile officer and neighborhood booster who watched out for the welfare of children, the award is given each year to a person who helps underprivileged children in the Quincy area. The award was created in Jansen’s honor after she died in 1983.

Before announcing Kiefer as recipient, Murry discussed all of the things that people had done. It wasn’t until he mentioned a specific story about Kiefer taking photos of a girl whose mother was incarcerated that Kiefer realized she was being honored.

“I didn’t have a clue because so many help,” she said “Until he said that, I just had no clue.”

Murry told a room of volunteers and law enforcement officials that Kiefer took photos of a girl who was dressed up for the YWCA awards banquet, printed them out and gave them to the girl’s mother, who was incarcerated.

“I don’t look at what I’m doing as anything that’s special,” Kiefer said. “I mean, you’re helping people, and that’s why we’re put on this earth. I’m just sitting her and I’m just blessed to be able to go out and help.”

But Murry said that Kiefer earned the award for more than just that event. He said that she regularly donates food to the Federation’s pantries and often checks on them to make sure they are well-stocked and helped out preparing young women for the YWCA banquet.

“Tracy is truly a person who deserves to be recognized for all she does,” Murry said.

An insurance agent at O’Brien Insurance Agency, Kiefer said she got involved in the Quincy Neighborhood Federation about 10 years ago through her friend Kim Straube.

“She’s the one that got me involved, told me about the centers,” Kiefer said. “Call her my partner in crime because she hollers and I run. We help each other out.”

While the award is kept secret until the announcement, Kiefer said that her friend had known that she was the recipient.

“She said she couldn’t look at me,” Kiefer said.


aperture of God’s expansive view;
prism through which all true Light breaks,
illuminating paths and patterns,
ways and wanderers.
Refract our shortsightedness
that we may look to the East with distance vision
and find our Advent way.
Come, O Hope,
focus our blurred
and distracted sight
that we might see clearly the One who is coming.


Today’s Scripture

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3:14, NRSV


“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

From the Gospel Luke 5: 17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”


Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”  Luke 5:26

They were “astonished” because Jesus cured the paralytic after he was lowered through the roof of a house in which Jesus was teaching.  Jesus cured him and they were amazed.

But this was not what amazed and astonished people the most.  What was most astonishing was that Jesus also said to the paralytic, “As for you, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).  Jesus then confirmed that He had the power to forgive sins by performing this physical miracle.

True, most people went home that day speaking first about the physical healing.  But you can be certain that, as they pondered this experience, they were even more deeply moved by the forgiveness of sins.  Perhaps they did not fully understand what this all meant.  But, nonetheless, His words of forgiveness were quite powerful and transforming.

Reflect, today, upon your desire to receive God’s forgiveness in your life.  Do you long to hear these words spoken to you?  Do you long to experience the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus in your life?  The reason He came from Heaven to Earth was to offer you the forgiveness of your sins.  Miracles do not matter in the end.  What matters is mercy and forgiveness.  When you receive this gift of His mercy you will also glorify God with a joyous and holy astonishment as you see this incredible gift unfold in your life.

Lord, I do desire Your mercy and forgiveness in my life.  Help me to lower myself before You so that I can hear You say, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’  Jesus, I trust in You.


Prayer intentions:

  1. For the poor and needy
  2. For the sick and for nurses and doctors
  3. For vocations to the priesthood, sisterhood and brotherhood
  4. For our firefighters and police officers, and all who teach us in authority 
  5. For those in military service
  6. For those who continue to suffer from the California wild fires
  7. For young people, that they may find Christ in all that they do
  8. For Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and for the many wonderful service they provide for others in need