June 30, 2024

As we celebrate the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time on this last Sunday in June, we also mark my final Sunday as pastor of St. Isidore parish. I began writing these Pastor’s Corner columns when I first became a pastor in June of 1999. I was at Immaculate Conception parish in Elmhurst at the time. Since then, I have missed less than five Sundays in preparing my column. It has truly been a labor of love over the years.

“If we can realize that everything is God’s gift, how happy will our hearts be.”

Pope Francis

As I look back over the 46 years I have been a priest and my last 14 years here at St. Isidore, I can’t help but be grateful for the tremendous blessings I have received. Besides the constant cycle of Masses, weddings, funerals, and the everyday activity of parish life, I have also been able to see our parish continue to grow as faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus. Regularly celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been a privileged and humbling experience – one that I cherish. We have seen the repurposing of the Chapel after our lease at the LINK expired and the improvements added there. The Perpetual Adoration Chapel was a significant addition to our parish and continues to be a source of quiet time with the Lord. We suffered through the COVID experience together and have now reached the present day. We have been ministered to by an incredible group of past and present staff members who walked with us on our spiritual journey. They nourished the spirit of hospitality that so many visitors and newcomers have appreciated. Without a doubt, this has been a joint, community effort. We are who we are today because of the committed and dedicated staff who have been, and are, with us as servants. When I look back over my first term here as Associate Pastor (1983-1988) and now my current 14 years as Pastor, I am very grateful for the many people who have touched and molded my life, as I did the same for you. I have also been blessed to serve in additional ministries beyond our parish community – especially at LaSalle Manor Retreat Center in Plano and St. Francis High School in Wheaton. Being a part of the Kairos retreat offered at St. Francis has been a consistent blessing for me. Remembering all of this stirs up tremendous feelings of gratitude as I move into my new role as a “senior priest” in our diocese. I have said this before, and I reaffirm the conviction that God has always placed me in the right place at the right time. I believe that the same is true for all of us.   

Through my Kairos ministry at St. Francis High School, I was introduced to a powerful song by Bethel Music that truly reflects my present feelings called “Goodness of God.” Our choir sang it at our Thanksgiving Day Mass last November. Please allow me to share some of the lyrics with you now.

“…I love you, Lord, for your mercy never fails me. All my days, I’ve been held in your hands.

From the moment that I wake up until I lay my head, Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God.

…And all my life You have been faithful. And all my life You have been so, so good.

With every breath that I am able, Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God.

…I love Your voice. You have led me through the fire. In the darkest night You are close like no other. I’ve known You as a Father. I’ve known You as a Friend. And I have lived in the goodness of God.

…And all my life You have been faithful. And all my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.” 

Thank you for sharing the goodness of God with me. Please pray for me as I will continue to pray for you. May God continue to bless you with everything that you need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy