Father Matthew Heinrich (Archdiocese of Chicago '15), Immaculate Conception Parish, Chicago, IL
Submitted by: Brian Peterson
Fr. Matt Heinrich was tasked with becoming the pastor of Immaculate Conception (I.C.) in Chicago just as the pandemic was starting (new position and the world changed at the same time!). He had to figure out a way to bring online Masses to our parish as well as serve the needs of so many in need (elderly, ill, families who have lost jobs, etc). He responded quickly by using our key staff members to help broadcast daily Masses online. He cares deeply about the liturgy and took care (along with Father Robert Fedek) to ensure that the online liturgy felt as immersive as possible. He, along with our music director, also steadily added to the musical presence. Additionally, Father Matt reached out to many people individually to check in and his regular prayers and service truly made a difference for so many. Once the Archdiocese allowed us to reopen, he guided us through the process of training volunteers and slowly opening up the church for Mass and confession. His leadership was vital in navigating all of the many challenging issues that occurred.
Father Matt provides wonderful insight through genuine friendship, conversation, and confession advice. I can go to him for spiritual direction on nearly any topic, and he always has a way of reminding me of God's constant presence and how, though life's waters may be turbulent, God is always there to help us "steer the ship." He cares about our parish and is good about remembering the big issues going on in our lives that we share with him. Additionally, he strives to bring beauty to the liturgy constantly and he truly helps us connect with God in the process. We also learn a lot from Father Matt in his sermons, which are always deeply Biblically rooted yet also adding a personal connection. Father Matt is truly helping our parish on numerous levels!
Father Matt dedicates his life to a deep connection to Jesus. In the process, he has helped guide our parish through a pastoral change, a pandemic, social strife, and a general uneasiness about the state of the world. He reminds us that we must rely on God to anchor our lives.