April 14, 2024

We continue our Easter celebration of new life as we observe the Third Sunday of Easter this weekend. During this past week, our weekday Gospel readings led us through John, Chapter 3. We saw Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and listened to his teaching on the need to be “born again.” It gave us the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate the gift of our Baptism. On Friday, we began reading from John, Chapter 6 – the great Bread of Life discourse. This is the beginning of our reflection on another of the Sacraments of Initiation we celebrated at our Easter Vigil – the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

“Let the risen Jesus enter your life – welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up to now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk; you won’t be disappointed.”

Pope Francis

As we saw in the 40-day season of Lent, there is a progression to our celebration of the 50-day season of Easter. Traditionally, the Easter season was the time when the local Bishop would gather with those who had been initiated into the church community at the Easter Vigil. At the Vigil, they celebrated all three Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Often those being initiated were not given the details of what would happen to them during the Vigil. Rather, the church trusted that the symbols used in each sacrament would convey an experience of the Risen Lord’s presence. Only later did we take time to explain to the newly-initiated members of the church what had happened. It was an interesting progression – they experienced the Lord in the sacraments first, and received the explanation second. The Bishop would gather with the new Christians throughout the Easter season and provide the explanations. The Sunday and daily Scripture readings were arranged to guide them in their reflections throughout the Easter Season.

Since Easter is the primary season of initiation into the church community, we intentionally schedule our special celebrations of Confirmation and First Communion during the Easter Season. We will have two celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation this Monday and Tuesday evenings. Congratulations to all those Confirmed at our two Masses this week. Our First Communion Masses will be celebrated on April 27 and May 4. We congratulate the families of our 2024 Confirmandi and First Communicants and promise them the additional support of our prayers.

Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2024 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. This Appeal is the major source of funding for all of our Diocesan ministries and charities. We are doing everything possible to again reach our 2024 goal. We receive weekly updates on our parish’s progress. As of last Monday’s update, 612 households have pledged $126,978 towards our parish goal of $154,900. Of the amount pledged, $82,888 has already been paid. If you haven’t had a chance to respond yet, please do so as soon as possible. Envelopes are available at the Hospitality Desk and at the Parish Office. Payments may be spread out over the next few months. Please join me and help us to reach our 2024 CMAA goal. We can do this with the participation of each family in our parish. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.

We spent 40 days fasting in preparation for the feast of Easter. Now we are called to spend 50 days feasting in celebration. We need to hold on to our Easter belief that God always leads us from darkness into light, from death to new life. God will lead us through whatever we have to face to totally new life. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy