This is a full weekend. Besides our celebration of the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time and having Father Tom McCarthy, OSA here to begin our 2015 Parish Mission, we have Sunday evening’s Super Bowl XLIX game at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Even though our hometown Bears ended their season with their last regular season game, most of us will find ourselves gathering with family and friends for the traditional Super Bowl parties. It is a great time to gather with each other in the middle of winter.
Our 2015 Parish Mission begins today and continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. We are very happy to welcome Father Tom McCarthy, OSA back to our parish. He was with us last year for our 2014 Parish Mission. He is preaching at each of our weekend Masses and then will lead us each evening of the Mission. Father Tom is an Augustinian priest and currently serves as the President of St. Rita High School in Chicago. As he is a very engaging speaker, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Again, the mission begins tomorrow night (Monday) and continues on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30pm each evening. Please plan on joining us for as many evenings as possible during this special time for our parish.
Despite the snow we experienced last week, we were able to celebrate the many Catholic Schools Weeks celebrations with our Grade School. Thank you to all who helped make these various celebrations so memorable. The St. Isidore School community did a wonderful job in providing the music for last Sunday’s 8:30am Mass. It was great to have our young people lead us in prayer at that Mass. And student representatives joined with our principal, Mrs. Cyndi Collins, in thanking the parish community for our support of the school.
When I celebrated the Grade School Mass last Wednesday, I had the chance to thank the men and women who serve on our Grade School faculty and staff. It was interesting to tally the combined years of service given to the St. Isidore parish community by our school faculty and staff – 300 years of service in Catholic education at our school and 395 years of service in Education overall. This is an astounding number of years of service to our parish through our school, especially when we remember that our country will be 239 years old this July!
Monday, February 2nd, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. According to the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:12-16), firstborn males were to be dedicated to the Lord. At the time of Jesus, this was done by a ceremony in the Temple, forty days after birth. Today’s Gospel reading gives us the details of Jesus’ presentation. Since the Mass normally begins with the blessing of candles, the Feast is also known as “Candlemas Day.” Blessed candles for home use will be available following our weekday Masses on Monday.
Tuesday, February 3rd is the memorial of St. Blasé. He was a bishop in Armenia and believed to have been martyred in the persecutions in the early 4th century. He is associated with the healing of throats. Traditionally, we celebrate this memorial with the blessing of throats. We will be happy to offer this blessing at the end of our regular daily Masses on Tuesday.
Our St. Isidore Kairos 11 (STIK 11) will be taking place in just 2 weeks! This is an incredible retreat experience for high school Juniors and Seniors. Kairos has been a significant part of my life, beginning in my early years as a priest. It is an experience that I am personally committed to. We are truly blessed to be able to offer this retreat at the parish level. Normally, it is only available to Catholic High School students as it is offered through their school. But here at St. Isidore, through Connect Youth Ministries, Kairos is available to all of our high school students. The team of teen and adult leaders has been meeting since December 12th and preparing for STIK 11 over the Presidents’ Day weekend – February 13-16. We are issuing a “last call” for participants. Teens – if you are currently a Junior or Senior, don’t miss this unique retreat opportunity. Parents – if you have a current Junior or Senior, do everything you can to get your teen on this retreat. It is only offered twice a year. Registration Forms are available at the Hospitality Desk, the Faith Formation Office and online at the parish website.
With the season of Lent beginning in just a few weeks, copies of “The Little Black Book” for Lent 2015 are now available in the Narthex for your Lenten prayer. This year’s book for Lent gives us six-minute daily meditations on the Passion according to Luke. The six-minute program begins on Sunday, February 15th and continues each day of Lent. They are available in both English and Spanish.
Looking ahead, we have a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the cold winter months. Our St. Isidore Dinner Dance and Silent Auction – “Magic Carpet Ride” – will be held on Saturday, February 21st at the Klein Creek Golf Club on Pleasant Hill Road in Winfield. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Additional information is available elsewhere in the bulletin.
For many of us, the winter has been a long one thus far. Ice and snow, cold temperatures and grey skies have taken their toll. Still, the days are getting longer. Lent will begin in another few weeks, followed by Easter and spring. Notice the signs of new life all around us and take hope. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy