Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Chicago IAHC Announces 'Sea Marks'

Kathleen O'Neill, Public Relations Manager for Chicago's Irish American Heritage Center, announced the production of Gardner McKay's Sea Marks as Chicago's Shapeshifters entry into Toronto's Acting Irish International Theatre Festival.

Some of us 'touch of grey' types might remember Gardner McKay from the Adventures in Paradise TV series from the 1960's - I do anyway. McKay's Irish-theme'd play was produced as a film-drama for Public Television back in the 1970's.

The Shapeshifters Production of SeaMarks is directed by Gregory Gerhard of Chicago.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kathleen O’Neill, PR Manager
773-282-7035, ext. 13


Shapeshifters Theatre, the resident theatre company of The Irish American Heritage Center, is proud to present its spring production, Sea Marks this spring. The play is written by Gardner McKay and will be directed by Gregory Gerhard of Chicago.

Miss O'Neill writes:

Sea Marks is a bittersweet tale of love between an Irish fisherman who becomes smitten by an English woman he has glimpsed only once. Though unschooled in letter-writing, he courts her by mail. She finds primitive poetry in the way he writes and asks him to come to Liverpool to live with her. The publishing house that employeer her prints his "poems" and for a moment he becomes a celebrity on the rise, but their different ways of life are in dreadful conflict. "

Sea Marks will be Shapeshifters’ entry into the
Acting Irish International Theatre Festival in Toronto in June, where they will proudly represent the IAHC.

Shapeshifters’ spring production of A Mislaid Heaven in 2005, directed by Gregory Gerhard, brought home two top awards at the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival, a yearly theatre competition among various Irish theatre groups throughout North America.

Sea Marks opens May 5 and runs through May 20 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. There will be a matinee performance on Saturday, May 20th at 3pm. Tickets are $10 for IAHC Members/Seniors and $15 for general admission. To purchase tickets, call 773-282-7035, ext. 10.

Shapeshifters, the Irish American Heritage Center's resident theatre company since 1987, continues to build on the tradition of Irish Theatre and expanding the presentation of established and new works.

The Irish American Heritage Center, located at 4626 North Knox, occupies an 86,000 square foot building on Chicago’s northwest side. The Center fosters the practice, study and celebration of Irish, Celtic and Irish-American cultural traditions. Membership in the Center is open to anyone with an interest in these traditions. The IAHC houses a 650- seat theatre, an authentic Irish pub, a Social Center, a museum, dance/music studios and meeting rooms.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Queen of Peace and Cardinal George

Patty Nolan-Fitzgerald began her teaching career at her Alma Mater, Queen of Peace High School, an all girls Catholic prep school in Burbank, IL. Through her dedication to the young women who attended, their parents, her colleagues, and most of all the school's mission, Patti Nolan Fitzgerald became the school's Principal.

For more than three decades, Mrs. Nolan-Fitzgerald brought honor and distinction to Queen of Peace and the working-class kids who attended. Patti Nolan-Fitzgerald formed and directed the Catholic Schools Opposed to Racism, which received the blessing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Students from all over Chicago attended workshops on how to fight racism in its many manifestations and developed programs to do just that.

Queen of Peace High School enjoyed the distinction of being in the vanguard of social justice in Chicago. Patty Nolan- Fitzgerald deflected the glow of honor from herself and allowed the light to shine on her students and the Sinsinawa Dominican Order.

Two weeks ago, the newly re-organized board of directors for Queen of Peace High School, thick with members of the Sinsinawa Dominicans, fired Patty Nolan -Fitzgerald for failing to work well with the school's newly appointed President and for doing the social justice work with her students that have so benefited the Sinsinawa Dominicans. The Kids are Angry. The Parents are angry, The Alumnae are Angry. The Board of Directors Could Care Less.

Here is a sample of the letters pouring into the Daily Southtown, the voice of the community served by Queen of Peace:

My name is Julie Egeland, and I am a senior at Queen of Peace High School, where I have spent all four years under the guidance of Ms. Patricia Nolan-Fitzgerald. During this time, Queen of Peace has helped shaped who I am. I know, as well as anyone who has ever had this woman as principal, that to lose her would be detrimental not only to the school, but also the students.
As students, we were shocked when our teachers were punished for defending someone so beloved in our community. We were confused when told we could no longer protest her removal and had to sign petitions outside of school boundaries. We were hurt when told that the decision was final; we, as well as our teachers, could do nothing about it.
Queen of Peace, however, has taught us differently. We can make a difference and our voice is significant. We are a frightened and discontented student body, but we will not rest until Ms. Nolan is reinstated. The board's decision has not made me ashamed to be part of Queen of Peace, nor could it ever.
Above all, I value the excellent education I have received there. This has made me ashamed to be part of the Dominican order. If the board cared any way in the least about the students, Patricia Nolan would always have a place at our school.

And this from a Parent:

The recent nonrenewal of the contract of Patty Nolan-Fitzgerald, principal of Queen of Peace High School, needs to be addressed. This is a woman who runs a school that prides itself on ethnic diversity. It is the birthplace of Catholic Schools Opposing Racism, an organization that came into question when the principal was told earlier in the year to cut back on such activities.
What exactly is the goal of the board of directors? Parents, teachers, alumni and students are left in the dark because of the lack of communication, lack of returned e-mails and phone calls and the abrupt cancellation of meetings in order to avoid parents.
I'm sure the reason many parents send their daughters to Queen of Peace is because it has a sterling reputation as a place of learning, growth, respect, and diversity. Are these the values the board hopes to change? I cannot understand why, in the year 2006, efforts to combat racism and efforts to open the lines of communication between people of different races and religions still are being rejected.
This is an issue far greater than the lack of a contract. It involves corporate politics, unethical practices, and unprofessional behavior from a board of directors who have no interest in the preservation of a school, community and a place where young women of all races feel they have a place and a voice.
J. Owens, Oak Lawn

Recently, Cardinal George uttered a statement marked by grace in its recognition of a personal and ecclesiastical failure in addressing the Church pedophile scandal. "You read it and you weep," said our Cardinal about a damning report concerning the handling of the scandal.

Cardinal George grew up in Chicago. His family lives in Chicago. He knows the Chicago way. Queen of Peace, though sponsored by the Sinsinawa Dominicans, is his school. Patti Nolan Fitzgerald is one of his lambs. She has been unjustly terminated.

Cardinal George has the keys to the kingdom over at Queen of Peace and an excellent hammer thanks to Bishop William Quarter. Bishop Quarter, the first Bishop of Chicago -consecrated by no less giant than Archbishop John 'Dagger John' Hughes of New York ( My favorite Catholic prelate of all time http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a2.html.) Bishop William Quarter was enough of a Chicago man to steer legislation through Illinois Government in 1847 that made the baby Diocese a Corporation Sole. That is one big hammer.

The newly published Chicago Encyclopedia presents this innovative legal hammer thus:

The juridical entity known as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is the chief organizational framework for Catholic life in Cook and Lake Counties. Defined according to Illinois law as a corporation sole, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago oversees thousands of employees, lay, religious, and clerical; owns millions of dollars' worth of prime city and metropolitan property; and most important, structures the spiritual lives of millions of Chicagoans. Through their spiritual and legal authority, as well as their own personal prestige, the bishops and archbishop of Chicago have exercised enormous influence. Although higher echelons of leadership in the Chicago Catholic Church have until recently been reserved for men, women and men have in many cases labored side by side in behalf of Catholic ideals and institutions.

In short, Queen of Peace High School belongs to the Archbishop of Chicago. This is a great opportunity for Cardinal George to weep a little less. A grave injustice has been done to a good servant of the Church; a valued employee has been summarily dismissed after thirty-one years of dedication and honorable service. A vital Principal at school for young women, who worked well under President/Principal model established by the Sinsinawa Dominicans has been sand-bagged by mean-spirited and short-sighted people allowed to yield too much power.

Cardinal George, you have had a rough ride here in Chicago. You now have an opportunity to carve out a place of honor in the hardened hearts of people who love to see our Church suffer. The touch of the Holy Spirit from the rough fingers of Dagger John Hughes, who consecrated Chicago's First Bishop, might give you the opportunity to right a grave wrong.

Do the right thing. Exercise the Chicago Way - A Corporation Sole - pick up the phone and make things happen. Give the Sinsinawa Dominicans, if not the members of the Queen of Peace Board, a real piece of your mind, which should reflect the feelings of the student and parent above. Don't allow this opportunity to escape you. You deserve to weep no more.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Chicago's South Side St. Patrick's Parade: March 12, 2006

Chicago's South Side parade is the Real DeaL and it has the World Championship Trophy to prove it! Charlie Comiskey's Chicago White Sox behind owner Jerry Reinsdorf led the parade south from 103rd & Western Ave. to 112th and Western for the 28th time.

Parade Grand Marshall is the Chicago Fire department's Bucks for Burns and the Chicago Special Olympics as Honorary Grand Marshall. A family event since the time that the Coakley family and the Wee Folks of Washtenaw and Talman Streets imitated the great parades of the 1950's when Chicago's Irish marched across 79th Street from Halsted to Ashland.

The South Side Parade enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 50's and welcomed a crowd estimated at 350,000. 143 units including Police and Fire units from New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Cleveland. The Irish Government was well represented along with groups of all ethnic backgrounds in support of Immigrant Reform. Prominent among Chicago politicians was Democratic Candidate for the 3rd Congressional District John T. Kelly, son of Irish immigrants from Galway and a leader in the fight to reform American immigration laws.

One Unit that brought the crowds to their feet was NYFD Engine # 343, named for the number of New York Firefighters lost in America's greatest attack by an enemy. Lt. Billy Schillinger and Lt. Pat Concannon commanded the vehicle. The Day after the Parade, this reporter witnessed the two firefighters giving long-sleeved white Engine # 343 T-Shirts to a large group of Chicago homeless persons, while waiting in traffic on the south side. Heroes 24-7!

Photos: Top left -Daily Southtown Soxcess Flat - Top right: Chicago Police Homicide's # 1. Closer Det. William Higgins, CPD; Second Row Left- Keegan's Pub Owner County Armagh's Bernard Callaghan and Mary Doherty ; Second Row Right Chicago's Trinity Irish Dancers; Third Row Left FDNY Lt . Billy Schillinger and Chicago's Local 597 Ed Malone and Tom Kotel of the Pipefitters Third Row Left: Keegan's Pub and Cork and Kerry at 6AM Parade Started at 12PM;
Bottom Left: The Chicago White Sox World Champship Trophy in the Hands of Chicago's Finest.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

John T. Kelly Will "Represent" the 3rd congressional District

John T. Kelly Will "Represent" the People of the 3rd District
This morning, my favorite Illinois newspaper The Daily Southtown endorsed John Sullivan as Democratic candidate for the the 3rd Congressional District. Do I need to call Mayflower, start packing,move and make room for more 'enlightened' emigrants from Evanston or is there a huge exodus from Hyde Park expected soon? Just asking,because the rationale for TDS's endorsement over Kelly seems to indicate that the voters of the 3rd District are not the people that the editorial board has in mind. Thus:"But the Daily Southtown endorses Sullivan because we believe he can be a more dynamic lawmaker, and because we believe he is more in touch with mainstream Democratic Party ideals — not strictly those of the Bungalow Belt that is Lipinski's base. Sullivan supports universal health care and urges withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in a year. He also backs emergency contraception, stem-cell research and abortion rights."( Italics - my own) So our Congressional representative - SHOULD NOT - represent the views of the people HE REPRESENTS? What are 'mainstream Democratic Party Ideals?"John Sullivan lives two blocks from me. I met him. Nice Enough. Never asked for my vote. Never saw him at any of the many,many, many fund-raising benefits that are so much a part of the mindset of our Bunglow Belt. Never heard of the guy flipping pancakes at the parish. I know he is on some public school councils - his name is anyway.I have not seen ONE Sullivan lawnsign - heartbreaking. That is some endorsement. I love the Daily Southtown, but this One got hot Beverly Beverly Bean Haitian Blue up though my nasal passages. I might call one of those Progressive Democratic ambulance chasers from Evanston.