May your Christmas be filled with joy

By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • [email protected]

Merry Christmas, everyone. The big day is three days away. For some it may be hectic. I hope your Christmas is filled with family, fun, love and joy.

Thank you to all first responders keeping us safe over the holidays, missing out on their own holiday celebrations. We think about you, pray for your safety and appreciate what you do.

A quick word of thanks to the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the Clearing Night Force for their role in hosting various Christmas-themed events in the community. Well done, folks!

CRRNH GRCCSnackSanta 122221

Dr. Joseph Coler of Coler Chiropractic strikes a pose with Santa and Mrs. Claus (Dr. Daniel Walters and Theresa Santucci) at the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual Snack With Santa. All three were among a larger crew of GRCC members and friends who volunteered their day to bring Christmas cheer to boys and girls (and moms and dads) from across the Southwest Side. –Supplied photo

When I was young, I loved attending midnight Mass at. St. Clare of Montefalco Church. Several of those years, I was in the choir and we sang before and during the Mass. We were located up in the balcony, but could see the throngs of people crammed into the pews, along the aisles and hear them in the narthex of the church. It filled me with pride that I was part of the Mass and the celebration.

I usually don’t make it to midnight Mass these days; but if you are interested, I know that St. Daniel the Prophet, 54th and Nashville; and Two Holy Martyrs Parish at St. Rene Church, 6949 W. 63rd Place, are offering midnight Mass in English. St. Faustina Parish at St. Jane de Chantal Church, 53rd and Austin; and St. Blase/St. Joseph Parish at St. Joseph Church, 7240 W. 57th St., Summit, are offering midnight Mass in Polish. If you prefer an earlier time, each parish offers a variety of Mass options.

During holiday vacation time, I urge parents to check out their local libraries to see what’s going on that will keep your kids interested and entertained before school starts. We have two excellent libraries in our area, the Garfield Ridge Branch, 6348 S. Archer, (312) 747-6094 and the Clearing Branch, 6423 W. 63rd Place, (312) 747-5657.

You can also see what’s available at our local libraries through the Chicago Public Library website at I’ve mentioned in previous columns some of the programs going on in December. Check out my previous columns at

The libraries have already scheduled programs for January. You know that month where darkness and frigid temperatures keep us in our homes and cabin fever sets in. Well, you can take a break from your four walls and come to the Garfield Ridge Branch. Adults have a chance to participate in a book discussion of Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 and at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13. Copies are available for pickup at the library.

Kerman tells a story of how she went from a Smith College alumna to inmate number 11187-424 after being sentenced to 15 months at the federal correctional facility in Danbury for a crime she had committed 10 years before. She went from a reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money to a woman with a career, a boyfriend and a loving family, to an inmate after her past caught up with her. She details the ins and outs of prison life and the women she served time with.

This is an in-person event, so masks must be worn and social distancing maintained. For more information, call the library. If you do not have a mask, a disposable one will be provided by the library. If you are sick, please stay home.

If you live closer to the Clearing Branch, or just want to delve into another book, an adult book discussion of Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10.

The book is set in New Bremen, Minn. in 1961 and tells the story of how that summer changed the life of a 13-year boy, Frank Drum. While the world around him was going on as normal, Drum was visited by death frequently in many forms: accident, nature, suicide and murder.


Joan Hadac

The summer begins with Frank occupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family, he finds himself thrust into an adult world of secrets, lies, adultery and betrayal. He is called upon to demonstrate a maturity of a much older person. Frank is telling his story 40 years after that summer. It is a novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

This is an in-person event, so masks must be worn and social distancing maintained. For more information about this program, call the library.

If you prefer the crisp outdoor weather, check out the ice-skating rink at Wentworth Park 57th and Narragansett. Call (312) 442-2194 for details. Registration is required for any event on the ice rink, even open skating. Visit to find Wentworth Park and learn how to register for events there.

Enjoy your Christmas and vacation, if you have the time off. I’ll see you next week.