Liturgies at St. Nicholas embody the vibrancy and spiritual life of the parish. The time, treasure, and talent of our liturgical ministries are evident in abundance: musicians, artists, lectors, ushers, sacristans, Children’s Liturgy of the Word leaders – all join together to manifest the many dimensions and aspects of the Body of Christ. These ministries meet regularly throughout the year to pray, plan and prepare for the Sundays, feasts, and seasons of the liturgical year.
While the work of spiritual life begins with liturgy, it does not end there. Through sacramental preparation, scripture study groups, and adult faith enrichment programs we work toward strengthening and enriching our spiritual life.
Grade school students (3rd grade and above) and teenagers are welcome to join this important ministry of assisting the presider at liturgies. Training and formation are provided.
Using fabric, flowers, light, and key elements for each liturgical season, the Art & Environment Committee works collaboratively to create and enhance the interior and exterior spaces at St. Nicholas to foster an atmosphere of prayer, peace, and community. Members of the committee meet monthly from October to June for planning of every liturgical season and crews of various sizes work throughout the year, sometimes weekly, generally from one to three hours. All levels of commitment are welcome. No specific skills are required, but talents are discovered and encouraged through our work. All are welcome!
Help lead and animate the assembly’s song. Strong vocal skills are required for this ministry. Regular gatherings are held for training and sharpening of skills. An audition is necessary for this ministry.
Accompany the children and assist with their understanding of the Word through song and discussion. Sessions are held weekly as a part of the Sunday liturgy.
Leads the assembly’s song through a broad repertoire of many styles and cultures. In addition to Sunday Mass, the choir sings at various feasts and holidays throughout the year. Rehearsals are Wednesday nights at 7:30 pm. No audition or previous experience is necessary.
Assist at liturgy by ministering both the consecrated bread and wine. Eucharistic Ministers are trained in the parish and mandated by the Archdiocese.
The purpose of the St. Nicholas Funeral Mass Ministry is to: pray at home for those who have died; learn about our faith’s traditions concerning death, especially the Order of Christian Funerals; work together to prepare the church for the funeral liturgy; greet the mourners and help them to be at home in the church’s house; participate in the funeral liturgy to give God thanks and praise and to surround the mourners with a compassionate presence.
People of all ages, high school and above, provide hospitality and assist in the seating of the assembly. Ushers also take up the collection and distribute bulletins.
Support the assembly’s song through sensitive playing of liturgical repertoire throughout the year. Rehearsals are scheduled as needed. Instruments especially appropriate to our worship include guitar, flute, violin and bass.
Made up of grade school children, grades 3-7, who lead music for Sunday Masses and special occasions throughout the year. The choir gives kids a rich experience of ensemble singing, an introduction to hand bell ringing and a sense of the liturgical year. The Kids’ Choir rehearses on Saturday morning at 10:30 am throughout the year.
Lectors proclaim God’s word to the worshipping assembly. Parishioners who have a love of scripture, have a strong voice and enjoy reading out-loud are encouraged to join in the ministry. Training is given and required.
All teen vocalists and instrumentalists in eighth grade or higher are welcome to join this ensemble that leads music throughout the year at Sunday Masses. The Teen Ensemble is an excellent place for young musicians to nurture their role in the liturgy and develop friendships. Rehearsals are twice a month on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm.
Prepare the church for liturgy before Mass and help straighten up after Mass. Various tasks include lighting candles, preparing vessels, microphones and vestments. The sacristan also assists the ministers and presider with any last minute needs and organizes the procession. (You’ll be shown what to do!) Sacristans and sacristy assistants need to be at church 40 minutes before Mass begins, and be able to be kind to people under pressure.
In spiritual direction one meets with a qualified, trained director who assists the directee in focusing on the relationship with God, God’s presence and action in one’s life and one’s response to the mystery of unconditional love. Whether or not there will be a charge for this ministry can be negotiated with the individual director. The number of available slots is limited by the director’s current census of directees.
The Wedding Coordinator ministry at St. Nicholas seeks to offer the parish's hospitality to couples marrying in our church. Coordinators attend the rehearsal and the ceremony assisting the presider and the bridal party as needed. Responsibilities may include answering questions, small problem solving, setting up the altar area and straightening up afterwards. Since the coordinators take turns, each coordinator would be involved in only a few weddings a year.
PreK through grade school age children can attend the parish school, Pope John XXIII, or avail themselves of the weekend religious education (SCORE) program or Home Based Catechesis. All of these programs support a Catholic value system which fosters respect for self, service to others and a lifestyle of integrity rooted in our baptismal relationship with Jesus. Parish teens participate in the New Horizons Youth Group, which includes large and small group opportunities, a spiritual community, catechesis, service and prayer. For adults there are monthly speakers, retreats, and RCIA. They provide the basis for central religious growth. Additionally, if you have children preparing for a sacrament or you participate in a liturgical ministry, more catechesis opportunities abound for you.
The Adult Faith Enrichment team offers a variety of speakers and programs for the parish community on topics such as theology, scripture, spirituality and issues of social justice. Most speakers are scheduled the third Sunday of each month following the 9 am Mass; in addition one or two programs are held in the evening per year. Our hope is that these programs will serve to deepen and enrich the faith of our parish, provide opportunities for outreach to the broader community, and promote thoughtful dialog as we journey together.
Baptism Preparation team members teach preparation classes to parents wishing to baptize their infants or young children and are present at each Baptism ceremony to prepare the church and assist the priest and the baptizing families. The team leader is the contact for families and maintains the schedule of classes and ceremonies, which are each held once a month. The team meets as a group once a year; time commitments involve the teaching of two or three classes during the year and assisting at two or three baptisms a year.
Pope John XXIII School is a National Blue Ribbon School and the parish school for St. Mary and St. Nicholas Parishes. Pope John XXIII School serves preschoolers as young as three through eighth grade. The academics are strong with accelerated classes, three foreign languages—French, Spanish, and Latin. Foreign language instruction begins in kindergarten and continues until graduation. The fine arts program is excellent with opportunities for band, violin and piano. The Catholic identity of the school is strong with daily prayers, weekly level masses and sacramental preparation. Our motto is learning, achieving, believing. In our twenty-fourth year our mission remains strong—to provide an excellent, Catholic education in a small, caring, and diverse environment.
Consists of 14 lay members: 6 from each parish, 2 non-parishioners, the pastors of each parish, and representatives of several school organizations, the latter serving as non-voting members. The Board is open to all parishioners without regard for whether they have children in the school. It acts in an advisory capacity, assisting the principal and pastors in administering and guiding the school, pursuant to the policies of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Elections are held every spring.
People interested in the Catholic Church are invited to inquiry meetings. Through prayer, reflection, questions and answers, those who continue to be seriously interested in Catholicism enter the Catechumenate – a time of reflection and study of the Catholic faith and tradition. During Lent, study and prayer intensifies as the catechumens prepare for the Easter Vigil where they will be baptized or received into full communion. The RCIA process is a catalyst for renewing and deepening the faith of the entire parish community and the principal means of welcoming new members to the Roman Catholic community.
The St. Nick’s SPRED (Special Religious Education Development) group is a faith-based community made up of trained volunteers and adults aged 21 and older with developmental disabilities. The group meets on Tuesday evenings during the school year; the catechists meet every other Tuesday for Faith Sharing and catechist preparation; the entire group on alternate Tuesdays for experiential catechesis.
Parents are primarily responsible for the faith formation of their children. The church offers assistance by providing a structured religious education program for children four years old to grade eight attending public school or non-Catholic private schools. These classes provide preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (usually in grade two) and Confirmation (usually in grade eight). The Archdiocese expects two years of preparation prior to receiving these sacraments. Classes are held on Sunday morning in the school. Special events and parents sessions are part of the program. Parishioners are needed as catechists and volunteers in SCORE. Our program awakens and nourishes a child’s awareness of God present in our life experiences, the world, family and friends.
We strive to be a welcoming, affirming and inclusive community of faith, inviting people to be full participants in the Church and in society. Our baptismal vocation compels us to a deep commitment to serve the needs of others in the church, in the community and in the world. We encourage one another to live out our faith in our everyday lives, at home, at work and in the community. At St. Nicholas there are numerous opportunities to act upon the conviction that social justice and concern for others call us to act in response to the Gospel message. Ministry that responds to the people who are economically poor, marginalized and fragile is ever conscious in the minds and the hearts of the people of St. Nicholas. These ministries meet regularly throughout the year to carry out God’s message of love for one another.
The parish has a free and confidential recovery resource, available to those who are struggling with an addiction, or for family members and others who love them.
Family Promise provides temporary housing using host churches and existing facilities, coupled with volunteers to help keep families together, to provide comfort and stability to children by keeping them in their schools while parents get their feet back on the ground and transition into permanent housing. We at St. Nick’s partner with the families and individuals at Grace Lutheran and St. James Armenian Churches in Evanston to support this vital ministry.
The St. Nicholas Gay & Lesbian Ministry gathers in the community to explore spirituality and social issues of the day as they relate to the personal faith journey. The group includes friends and family of gay and lesbian people, as well as folks who are questioning, and people of all ages. Please join us. All are welcome. The group meets on the second Sunday of each month after the 9:00 am Mass.
The Green Team is committed to helping the St. Nicholas Community -- both the church and its members -- be good stewards of Gods' Creation. The Team shares information, provides services, and organizes events that educate about sustainable living and celebrate the Creation. The Green Team meets monthly during the school year.
The Inclusion/Accessibility Committee addresses both physical and attitudinal barriers that make it difficult for people with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of parish life. The committee meets “as needed” in various fully accessible locations.
Interfaith Action, based in Evanston, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together communities of faith and spirit to serve people who are hungry and homeless and to express shared values through action and interfaith dialogue.
The interfaith initiative at St. Nicholas seeks to promote understanding, cooperation and friendship among the members of different faith traditions. This is done by planning events of common interest for or with members of other congregations and publicizing all relevant lectures or activities in the area. There are no regular committee meetings. Parishioners are called together as ideas and events warrant.
Ministers of Care bring personal presence and friendship, prayer and sacrament to those parishioners and their families who are not able to participate in parish communal activities. Ministers of Care visit home bound parishioners, residents of nursing homes within the parish, and those parishioners who are hospitalized. Special preparation for this ministry is required by the Archdiocese and provided by the parish.
Bereavement Ministers assist families of those who have died, accompany them in their journey, assist in the preparation of the funeral service and provide needed support and follow-up services. Training is required.
Eldercare Ministers gather the ‘life stories’ of the most elderly in our faith community. Provide transportation to doctor visits, shopping, church, etc. when needed. This ministry may be expanded to include other aspects of service to our elders as needs arise and the number of volunteers increase.
Grounded in the values of Catholic Social Teachings, the Peace and Justice Committee at St. Nicholas serves to help parishioners link their faith to their lives as workers, consumers, and global citizens. It “sees itself as a goad in the parish, pushing, prodding and sometimes succeeding in opening up opportunities and issues which we might otherwise overlook.” (from the Committee’s mission statement).
Currently the committee’s primary focus is immigration reform and bridge building between our Anglo and Hispanic membership. Opportunities for service and witness include participation in:
For more about how to get involved with these ministries, click here to visit our page on this website.
The group meets the first Sunday of the month (with occasional exception for holidays and holy days) after the 9 am Mass. All are welcome.
We gather in the Parish Office Parlor the first and third Thursdays of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. We begin and end our time together with prayer and, in the middle, we enjoy one another’s company as we knit our prayer shawls. The completed shawls are given to parishioners and/or their family members who are suffering in some way, in appreciation of service, or in celebration of a special event. Come join us when you can.
The Parish community of St. Nicholas values and cherishes her ethnic and racial diversity. The Race and Ethnic Unity committee serves to bring together the various ethnic and racial communities in a spirit of sharing and fellowship. The Committee also serves as a resource for the Parish and wider community to maintain a multicultural/multiracial sensitivity in her day-to-day decisions, functions, and activities.
The Sharing Committee builds regular connections with our sharing parishes in Haiti, Mexico, Nigeria, and Chicago. We meet regularly in the Fall to plan the Annual Sharing Fest. Through parish support and through a sponsorship program, we fund scholarships for students of all ages in Haiti and Nigeria. We support churches now under construction in La Cruz and Ojo Seco, Mexico.
Help prepare or serve a nutritious hot meal for homeless and other people in need. Once a month we prepare a meal in Oldershaw Hall on Sunday afternoon and serve it Monday noon at Second Baptist Church in downtown Evanston. The number of people fed ranges from about 60 to 120 guests or more. We are one of the soup kitchen teams participating in one of the four weekly soup kitchens sponsored by Interfaith Action of Evanston, an ecumenical organization St. Nicholas helped found. Members of our team may choose to volunteer as frequently or infrequently as they wish and when they wish, either for food preparation Sunday or serving the meal Monday (or both).
The Society provides food, clothing and emergency financial assistance to residents of South Evanston. A food pantry of canned, packaged, and frozen food is stocked by periodic food drives. Parishioner generosity permits the distribution of dozens of Holiday Food Baskets at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter to needy families. The Society meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm.
Building community is the core of our Parish Life. Opportunities for participation in social events, fundraisers, and taking an active role in parish leadership are abundant at St. Nicholas. Using our gifts of time, talent, and treasure we all are called to care for and build up the many parts of our diverse parish community.
The Building Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the pastor and business manager regarding maintenance and improvement of campus buildings. We meet the first Thursday of every month and conduct an annual inspection of our buildings.
Coffee Cake Sunday happens from September thru May on the fourth Sunday of each month following the 9:00 am Mass. Coffee, baked goods, and fellowship are offered in Oldershaw Hall.
The Evanston Area Black Catholics (EABC) are a group of women and men who have come together in Christ’s name to build spiritual unity through prayer and share fellowship and discussion of our Catholic identity, religious traditions, and shared experiences. Through participation with the Archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics, we maintain contact with our extended Black Catholic community to provide awareness of programs and opportunities that focus on our particular cultural and social concerns and interests. We strive to deepen our faith and enrich our parish, both individually and collectively, through leadership and service. We organize the St. Nicholas annual Holy Family/Kwanzaa Mass celebration. Meetings are on the last Sunday of each month from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, at 838 Grey Ave., Evanston. All are welcome - please come and bring a friend.
The Finance Council is responsible for advising the pastor and business manager on the financial matters of the parish. The Council approves the parish budget, reviews financial reports, and also provides input to long range capital planning. Members are appointed by the pastor. The Council meets 9-10 times per year.
The Holiday Fest is a yearly parish fund-raiser, in honor of our patron saint, St. Nicholas and consists of a Christmas tree and greenery sale, Craft Fair, Raffle, and Spaghetti Dinner followed by a visit from St. Nicholas himself. It takes place the first weekend in December.
Men of the parish gather on the last Wednesday of each month for 6:00 am Mass in the chapel, followed by breakfast and discussion in Oldershaw Hall on male spirituality and other concerns. Always out by 7:30 am.
During the summer, lemonade is served in the courtyard after Mass by volunteer families/groups. The chair for this event is responsible for putting together the sign up sheets in church, writing bulletin announcements, and doing follow-up phone calls. Some shopping will be required.
The New Horizons Youth Group embraces the richness of the Catholic faith by providing young people with a place in which they are given opportunities to deepen their relationship with God, explore and question their faith, develop healthy Christ-centered friendships, and live the mission of the church in faith, service, and community. Meetings are on Sunday nights at 7:30 pm.
The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) shares responsibility with the pastor for the life of the parish. Through prayer, study, and discernment, the PPC recommends policies, services, and support programs to meet the needs of the parish. Parish Council members are selected at the discretion of the pastor.
A highlight for the summer! This is an opportunity for summertime fun and for parish fellowship for all ages. The committee overseas the planning and set up for the parish picnic that takes place on the lakefront in June.
During Lent, small groups of parishioners gather weekly, usually in parishioners’ homes, to reflect on the Lenten scriptures and their implications for daily living.
Many hands are needed for our annual Rummage Sale that takes place in July. This annual summer event builds community and family support as we share our experiences with fellow buyers.
The St. Nick’s List is a basic directory of parishioners and the work skills and services they can provide. The List is a “job marketplace” which links those who provide work and those who need work done.
The St. Nick’s Nursery Co-op operates during Sunday 9:00 am Mass and welcomes children 18 months to 5 years old. It’s fun for kids to get to know one another better and play in our recently renovated space. Parents whose children participate take turns supervising each week.
Just what it sounds like! A way to keep our grounds beautiful.
The Winter Gala is one of our most important fundraising opportunities. It is a grand party that combines dinner, dancing, silent and live auction events to support the ministries of our parish. Held just before the beginning of Lent, it is a great way to push away the winter blues and support our parish at the same time. It’s also a great way to dive right into the fun side of our community!
The Women’s Initiative works towards enriching the lives of parish women through social events, programs, small faith-sharing groups, and prayer services honoring women saints. All are welcome. For more information, contact any of the above.
The Young Adult Ministry includes, but is not limited to, individuals from college age through 39 — singles, couples, or with families. The Young Adult Ministry strives to meet the unique needs of this population through social, spiritual, and service oriented activities throughout the year. The Young Adult Ministry creates an environment where young adults can come together to connect with their church and each other, bring Christ into the world, and have fun doing so.