Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads, grandpas, Godfathers, and all those who are like a father to us. We celebrate and thank you for all of the marvelous ways you reveal God’s love to us. We ask God’s blessing upon you today and particularly remember those of our fathers who have gone ahead of us in faith and now live with the Lord.
We also remember those who do not look forward to today’s celebration. For some of us, our fathers are no longer with us and there is still a hole in our hearts. Others have had hurtful or abusive relationships with their fathers. Still others among us struggle with the painful experience of infertility. Couples in this situation spend this day grieving in the shadows. Besides honoring our fathers this day, we prayerfully remember those who are grieving the absence of their father or the opportunity to be a father.
As this Wednesday, June 24th, is the official transfer date for priests serving in our diocese, this is Father Josh’s last weekend with us. Most of the priests of our diocese who have been transferred this year from one parish assignment to another will be moving this week. We were blessed to have had Father Josh as a Parochial Vicar for the past two years. Now he is being called to serve as a pastor at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Bensenville. He goes to St. Charles Borromeo with some experience as a Parochial Vicar – three years of service at St. Peter & Paul parish in Naperville and the past two years he served here. While any new experience can be a cause for anxiety, I am very confident that Father Josh will serve very well as a pastor. Our staff gathered with him at a luncheon last Thursday to express our gratitude and good wishes to him. I have asked him to share his parting thoughts with us at each Mass this weekend. Please join me in wishing him the very best at this new chapter in his life. We remember in prayer all those priests who are moving to a new parish this week.
Even though he is at the top of the list of Parochial Vicars eligible to become pastors, I am very happy that Father Matt will remain with us as a Parochial Vicar for another year. He brings much energy and enthusiasm to his ministry among us. The assignment of our new Parochial Vicar, newly-ordained Father Clive Otieno, is also effective this Wednesday, June 24th. Father Clive and his classmates were ordained priests by Bishop Daniel Conlon at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet on Saturday, May 16th. He celebrated his First Mass the following Sunday at St. Alexander’s parish in Villa Park, where he had served as a weekend deacon while completing his seminary studies at Mundelein Seminary. He is a native of Kenya and his parents were able to be with us for his ordination and First Mass. He has returned to Kenya with them to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish next Sunday, June 28th. He will return to the United States the following Thursday, July 2nd. His first weekend with us will be the July 4/5 weekend. I will ask him to introduce himself at each of our Masses that weekend.
Thank you to all who have pledged to the 2015 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Thank you to the 1041 households who have pledged and paid $106,723 towards our parish goal of $161,241. Your generosity is deeply appreciated. Please continue to make your monthly payments on your pledge. 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 are moving into the next phase of the Appeal. Follow-up letters from the Diocesan Development Office will be mailed this week to those who have pledged in past years, but have not responded this year. Again, thank you for your support of our larger diocesan church.
Last Monday’s celebration of the Chicago Blackhawk’s third Stanley Cup Championship in six years and Thursday’s parade and celebration downtown were certainly glorious moments for many of us sports fans. Even though our celebration of the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord doesn’t come until August 6th, I recalled how God gives us moments of glory in this life as a hint of what awaits us in the fullness of life in heaven. As glorious and wonderful the events of the past week were, imagine what God has waiting for us in eternal life! For hockey fans, it could be an eternal hoisting of the Stanley Cup and the eternal ecstasy of that moment – and more!
Summer officially begins today, June 21st, at 11:39am CDT. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Remember back to the winter when it was dark at 5pm? It is time to savor God’s gift of light and the gift of the summer. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy