Today we celebrate the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. With our Easter celebration coming in early April, Ash Wednesday will be observed in a little over a week on February 18th. This gives us one more week of Ordinary Time during the January/February months of this year.
Who knew when we scheduled our 2015 Parish Mission well over a year ago that the initial invitation to come together for the Mission would come on a weekend with just under 20” of snow! Last weekend’s snow was the 5th heaviest recorded storm we have experienced in Chicago! All we knew at the time we scheduled the Mission was that it would be Super Bowl weekend and then adjusted the evening sessions from Sunday – Tuesday to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Father Tom McCarthy, OSA returned to our parish on Saturday afternoon before the storm arrived. He preached at each of our weekend Masses and invited those who were able to make it in for those Masses to return for the Mission. Even though our area schools had a snow day on Monday, the streets were open and our parking lots were cleared for the near-capacity crowd that turned out. Many remembered Father Tom’s engaging Mission on “The Sacraments” last year and returned each night to hear him speak on “What It Means to be Catholic.” We were blessed to have had him with us for the three evenings last week. And thank God we didn’t have a session scheduled for Sunday night when the storm was the heaviest! Thank you to all who were able to be with us. If you were not able to be here for the Mission, we have order forms for CD’s of Father Tom’s talks available at the Hospitality Desk.
Our St. Isidore Kairos 11 retreat (STIK 11) will take place next weekend over the Presidents’ Day holiday. This is an incredible retreat experience for high school Juniors and Seniors. Our retreatants will depart on Friday evening for the Carmelite Retreat Center in Darien, and return on Monday evening. Our adult and teen leaders have been working hard preparing for this retreat since December 12th! We are truly blessed to be able to offer this retreat at the parish level. I am grateful that I will be able to be with our retreat candidates and leaders for most of the retreat. Fathers Matt and Josh will join us for Reconciliations on Sunday evening. It is not too early to offer our prayers for our candidates and leaders on this retreat. Please keep our Kairos 11 retreat intention in your prayers this week as final preparations are being made.
Many of us have already received Bishop Conlon’s invitation to participate in the 2015 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. The theme for this year’s appeal is “Extending God’s Mercy.” Appeal materials were mailed to our homes over the past two weeks. Next Sunday is the In-pew Appeal Sunday. If you have not mailed your response back yet, please bring it with you next Sunday. We are doing everything possible to reach our 2015 CMAA goal of $161,241. That can be possible with the participation of each family in our parish. Bishop Conlon has provided us with a recorded message for the homily. He has asked that I lead you in making your in-pew response. I will return from our Kairos 11 retreat to do that at each of our Sunday Masses. Please be as generous as possible and help us make this year the year we reach our parish goal and fulfill our responsibilities to our Diocese of Joliet.
With the season of Lent beginning in just a little over a week, copies of “The Little Black Book” for Lent 2015 are 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 Matthew. The six-minute program begins next Sunday and continues each day of Lent. They are available in both English and Spanish.
Also coming up, 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.
A lot is happening and will be happening all around us. Even in the midst of winter, there are signs of life. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy