Today we mark the Third Sunday of Easter and continue to celebrate this great season of new life. 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 that was celebrated at our Easter Vigil – the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Since Easter is the primary season of initiation into the church community, we intentionally schedule our special celebrations of the Sacraments of Initiation (First Communion and Confirmation) during the Easter Season. We will hold our parish celebrations of First Communion on May 2nd and May 9th with two First Communion Masses each day. Confirmation will be celebrated on Saturday, May 16, 2015, with two separate celebrations at 10:00am and 1:30pm. Abbot Dismas Kalcic, OSB, of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle will be our celebrant. As we prayed throughout Lent for those entering the church at the Easter Vigil, so now we pray for our young people who will be celebrating Sacraments of Initiation in May.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2015 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Our parish goal for this year’s appeal is $161,241. Thank you to the 986 households who have already pledged $156,987 towards our parish goal. With our additional efforts towards 100% participation to reach our parish goal this year, we have already surpassed the 838 households that participated in the Appeal last year! If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the 2015 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, please do so as soon as possible. We have additional commitment envelopes at the Parish Office and the Hospitality Desk in the Church. Thank you again to all those who have already responded. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
Last weekend, Bishop Conlon asked us to announce that he is appointing Father Josh Miller to be the next pastor at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Bensenville, effective June 24, 2015. While I am sorry to be loosing him here at St. Isidore’s, I am very confident that he will be an excellent pastor to the people at St. Charles Borromeo. We need to take some time over the weekend of June 20/21 to say good-bye to him as a parish. He has served us very well during the two years we had him here as a Parochial Vicar. We also learned last weekend that soon-to-be Father Clive Otieno will be assigned to St. Isidore’s as a Parochial Vicar, also effective June 24, 2015. He is currently a transitional deacon and is finishing up his seminary formation at Mundelein Seminary. He and his classmates will be ordained priests at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet on Saturday, May 16, 2015. We keep both Father Josh and Deacon Clive in our prayers as Father Josh takes leave of us and Deacon Clive prepares for his ordination and the beginning of his priestly ministry among us.
Sometimes it is good to take a look back and remember what we were doing at this time in the past and to notice all of the different steps we took to get to this moment. Two years ago this month, we had received the report on the parish assessment we did in January 2013. In that assessment, we asked for your thoughts on what we should do concerning our off-campus youth center. Our lease was due to expire on May 31, 2014 and since the building had been sold, we were not able to renew the current lease. Our initial plans were to find a new location we could lease and move our youth center. That all changed when we heard your thoughts. Through the parish assessment, you told us no new rentals and to find a new home for our youth center using shared space in existing parish buildings. So, two years ago we were trying to find a way to do what you told us to do. Meeting followed upon meeting as we considered the options and possibilities. For a time it looked like an impossible task, like trying to force fifty pounds of sand into a twenty-five pound sack. But the final option emerged and we all know the rest of the story. Two years ago today ….
One year ago this month saw us preparing for a ground breaking ceremony to launch our re-purposing project in our Chapel building. The “Honoring Our Roots, Cultivating our Future” capital campaign had been launched the previous October. Architects were consulted, construction drawings had been prepared, diocesan meetings were taking place and a final approval was in the works and bids for the summer project were being submitted. One year ago today ….
Looking back just two years and one year ago helps us to appreciate all that has happened. From this point in time, we can clearly recognize God’s continued presence and blessing through it all. Our God is a faithful God!
As I write this, we are considering how we might offer crucial assistance to those who were hurt by the tornadoes of April 9th. For the present, we remember the victims in prayer and respond as opportunities present themselves.
It finally looks as if spring is here to stay. This is a wonderful season of new life. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy