St. Mary of the Woods Parish gets new pastor
by BRIAN NADIG
The Saint Mary of the Woods Parish in Wildwood will have a new head pastor for the first time since 2016.
"I’m delighted to announce that effective July 1st, Father Rich Jakubik will be our new pastor at Saint Mary of the Woods. He will be joining us after serving 3 years as an associate pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness with Father Terry Keehan," pastoral coordinator Deacon Chuck Thompson recently announced on the Saint Mary Web site.
The last pastor at the parish was the Reverend Patrick Cecil, who died on Nov.14, 2016, while serving in that position. The parish church is located at 7033 N. Moselle Ave.
The Reverend Aidan O’Boyle served as parish administrator until 2019 and more recently the Reverend Dan Fallon was the administrator while at the same time serving as pastor at the Saint Cornelius Parish. Fallon is retiring on July 1.
In a recent letter to the parish, Richard Jakubik wrote, "It is with a grateful and joyful heart that I write to you as your new pastor. I am honored to be part of the passionate and vibrant community of Saint Mary of the Woods.
"While we get to know one another, I will work closely with Father Bob Heinz, Father Don Headley, Deacon Chuck, Mrs. Geralyn Lawler, the parish teachers, and all the supportive staff. I know they will be great partners in my ministry and leadership."
Jakubik is a 1989 graduate of Niles College of Loyola University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in social work and was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1993. While residing at Five Holy Martyrs Parish on the South Side, he completed his studies at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary, earning two degrees in sacred theology in 1994.
Jakubik then served as an associate pastor for the next 4 years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, and in 1998, he became a resident at Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Wilmette.
He also served as a psychotherapist at the Holbrook Counseling Center of Catholic Charities for 12 years, providing individual, marriage and family counseling services. While at Catholic Charities, he graduated from the Illinois School of Professional Counseling in 2011, completing his doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
Currently volunteers at the parish are going through the certification process in order to allow the parish to resume in-person Mass. The Archdiocese of Chicago requires six certified volunteers at each service, where they will greet parishioners and help clean the sanctuary.
"The COVID-19 crisis has thrown us all into a new way of being a church. As our parish moves through the process of reopening, while abiding by the safety guidelines of the archdiocese and government, we will continue with our virtual masses for the most vulnerable and developing safe ways of keeping connected and responding to God’s mission in a changing world," Jakubik wrote.
He added, "Most importantly, what undergirds any meaningful positive action is the spiritual strength we have from within. In the challenges of the pandemic and racial tension, let us remember to take time to show respect and care for one another.
"A phone call to someone who lives alone. An e-mail to those in our life who are vulnerable. Grocery shopping for those with serious health issues. Participating in these and other simple acts of kindness to people we see are especially powerful during these anxious times."
Under the Archdiocese of Chicago’s "Renew My Church" initiative, the parish is being teamed with Queen of All Saints in Sauganash. The archdiocese has about 100 groupings of parishes, and over the next few years all parishes are expected to go through a process in which they discuss how to best meet the needs of the future, including the combining of resources.