Happy Mother’s Day! We wish God’s choicest blessings on all of the mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers and stepmothers of our parish. May God bless you for all of the wonderful things that you do. And in a special way we remember our mothers who now live the fullness of life with the Lord. We pray God reward you for your goodness as you continue to pray for us in God’s presence.
We also want to remember those for whom this day brings much pain. Many couples, unknown to others, struggle with infertility and the inability to become parents. Others may be alienated from their parents or their children, and this holiday only intensifies that pain. Please know that you have a special place in our prayer today.
As we continue our celebration of Easter, we mark the Sixth Sunday of the season and continue our reading of the Farewell Discourse from John’s Gospel. We hear a very powerful and encouraging message. Situated at the Last Supper, as Jesus is taking leave of his disciples, he reassures them: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you…. Love one another as I love you…. I no longer call you slaves … I have called you friends.… It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.”
Anticipated separations can rob us of a peaceful spirit and make us feel troubled or afraid. Change is never easy. Jesus knew the human heart well. And he knew their call to be his disciples would not be an easy one – that they would need someone to strengthen them (the Holy Spirit). As he prepares the apostles for what is to come, he is also preparing us for our celebration of the gift of God’s Spirit among us on Pentecost. We will celebrate that feast in just two weeks.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the feast of the Ascension. Normally this feast is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, which would be this coming Thursday, May 14th. Sixteen years ago, our Bishops received permission to transfer the observance of the feast to the nearest Sunday. This had already been the practice in the western states of our country. The Bishops of the state of Illinois decided to make the transfer, which took effect in May 2000. So this Thursday is simply “Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter.” Next Sunday is the feast of the Ascension and the following Sunday will be the feast of Pentecost, bringing our 50-day Easter celebration to a close.
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 celebrated two First Communion Masses last weekend and concluded with two additional Masses yesterday. Congratulations to all of our young parishioners who celebrated their First Communion this year. At the conclusion of each celebration, I invited each of our First Communicants to wear their special clothing when they come back for Sunday Mass today. Please congratulate them when you see them. Congratulations also to their parents for bringing them to this point in their lives. Thank you also to Vera Zielinski, our Faith Formation staff and our catechists who assisted their parents in preparing our young people for this new beginning.
We continue to remember in our prayer our Confirmation candidates. They will be confirmed this 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 with us to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with our young people this year.
The annual Joliet Diocesan Priesthood Ordination Mass will also take place took place this Saturday at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. Four transitional deacons will be ordained as priests for our diocese, including Father Clive Otieno, who will be assigned as Parochial Vicar to our parish. As Father Josh Miller leaves us to become pastor at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Bensenville, Father Clive will begin his priestly ministry among us. Both assignments will be effective on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. We plan on providing an opportunity as a parish to say good-bye to Father Josh over the weekend of June 20/21. We promise Father Josh and Father Clive and his classmates the support of our prayers as Father Josh takes leave of us and Father Clive celebrates his ordination and the beginning of his priestly ministry among us.
Thank you to the 1010 households who have responded to Bishop Conlon’s request to support the 2015 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. We have surpassed our 2015 goal in pledges with $165,567 pledged towards our parish goal $161,241. We have passed the half way point in pledges paid with $87,502 already paid towards our parish goal. Thank you for your generous response. Our next goal is to reach the 2015 parish goal in paid pledges. As some may not be able to fulfill their pledge, I want to encourage everyone who has not had a chance to respond to the 2015 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal to do so as soon as possible. We have additional commitment envelopes at both the Parish Office and the Hospitality Desk in the Church. On-line pledges can be made at www.jolietdioceseappeal.org. Once we have reached our goal in paid pledges, the parish receives a rebate of 65% of anything paid over our goal. Please be faithful in making your monthly pledge payments. Thank you again to all those who have already responded and helped us reach our 2015 goal in pledges. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy