At St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, Illinois, we are a diverse and dynamic Roman Catholic community. We strive for the following ideals, set forth in our mission statement: “We are the Body of Christ at St. Nicholas. Grounded in our diversity, we gather for worship, cherish the traditions of our Catholic faith, witness to the Gospel of Jesus, minister to others, and live as Christians in the world.” These values shape and nurture our strengths as a parish. Founded in 1887 at the request of a community of German speakers, the parish has welcomed many language and ethnic groups–Poles, Afro-Caribbeans, African Americans, Filipinos, and Latin Americans. We are active in issues of social justice, including advocating for undocumented detainees, caring for the environment, and standing against gun violence. Most importantly, we treasure and nurture our liturgy as the source of and the nourishment for our actions in the world.
Project: Building Up the Body of Christ with Hearts and Voices
The human body of St. Nicholas Parish embraces two principle language groups: English and Spanish. As these two language groups worship in one place, we are faced with an ever-present opportunity to learn to hear the Word of God, listen to the voices of the faithful, and sing God’s praise in one voice, with one song and one heart, as the one Body of Christ. More than ten years ago, our community was the source of a project to create new ritual music in English to be used throughout the various liturgical seasons. This music brings together the familiarity of melodies from our rich Catholic Tradition with new words to bear the weight of the Gospel, encouraging our community to sing whole-heartedly and to seek justice through unity. While we have recently used these principles to create a similar seasonal experience using already familiar music and text for those who worship principally in Spanish, now more than ever we need our musical language to help us to bridge our two communities. Our project will focus on attempting to create ritual music that facilitates assembly singing by heart that can respond to the growing need for a bilingual expression of our people. Using music that is meaningful to both communities, we will create texts that allow both language groups to worship together, while continuing to express our unity even when each language group is on its own. Our aim is for our human body, speaking many languages, to be joined with one heart as the Body of Christ.
806 Ridge Ave
Rev. Robert Oldershaw, Pastor Emeritus
Kate Williams, Director of Music Ministry
John Schuchert, lay leader