Now that we have celebrated the two major feast days of the last two Sundays – the feast of All Souls and the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, we return to our regular celebration of the Sundays in Ordinary Time. As we are nearing the end of that season, we celebrate the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time this weekend.
At this time of year as the seasons change and the harvest is gathered in from the fields, we cannot help but take notice of the abundant blessings we have received. Even in difficult economic times, God continues to pour out his blessings upon us. Experiences of being blessed can often lead us to a deep sense of gratitude and a desire to share those blessings with others. A few opportunities for sharing present themselves before us.
One opportunity will come to a conclusion next weekend. Earlier in September we had the chance to sponsor Thanksgiving dinner boxes, packaged by the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Each box contains a turkey and all the side trimmings for a family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Our offerings were collected over two weekends before the dinner boxes were ordered. These dinner boxes will be delivered this Friday, November 21st. One hundred dinner boxes were ordered for Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica parish in Chicago and will be taken there on Friday. The remaining boxes will stay here for our neighborhood families in need. They will pick up their dinner boxes over the weekend. Some of these families are from our parish. Some are not. Some of these families are Catholic. Some are not. It matters not who these families are, where they come from or what they believe. What matters most is that all of them are in need. Thank you for your generous response in providing these Thanksgiving dinner boxes.
Another opportunity will present itself next weekend when we participate in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, CCHD has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout the country. CCHD funds more than 300 projects each year, helping people to work within their own communities to create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages and organize for change. CCHD is a practical way for us to respond to Pope Paul VI’s exhortation, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Bishop Conlon’s letter requesting our support is printed elsewhere in the bulletin. Please respond as generously as possible next weekend. Envelopes have been included in the packet mailed to each home, or you are welcome to use one of the white auxiliary envelopes in the holders in each pew.
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle. There is an additional Book of Remembrance at the front of the Chapel. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in the book for our All Souls Day Mass and parish Memorial Mass, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.
Over the weekend of October 25/26, our Diocese launched a major Vocation Event – “Who Will Fill These Shoes?” We had the chance to hear a homily by our former pastor, Father Tony Taschetta, inviting young men between the ages of 16-40 to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. There will be a “Who Will Fill These Shoes?” gathering at the Cathedral in Joliet on Friday, November 28, 2014 from 11am – 3pm. This is a day for men to hear more about the priesthood, meet our seminarians, and to find out if the Lord may be asking them to “fill the shoes” of the priests who have gone before us. The rest of us were urged to pray for the success of the day and to invite possible candidates to attend this information meeting. The empty shoes in front of the altar are a powerful reminder of those invitations. We have already had some inquiries. Please continue with your prayer and deliberation of possible candidates among us. For more information contact Fr. Burke Masters at 815-221-6171, email him, or go to the vocations website.
We are happy to again provide the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas” this year. Both English and Spanish editions will be available this weekend for the start of the Advent Season on Sunday, November 30, 2014. These Little Books give us brief daily reflections during these two special seasons of the church year and then invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer.
This is the last full week before we celebrate Thanksgiving. A lot is happening in our parish as we quickly move towards the holiday season. Please take time to read the rest of the bulletin and become aware of the many different things happening at our parish. The bulletin is our primary means of communication. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.