It doesn’t seem possible that the 4th of July holiday weekend is here and almost past. With the actual holiday falling on a Saturday this year, and being observed on Friday, many had a long mid-summer holiday weekend to enjoy some summer activities with family and friends. I hope that your personal celebration of the 4th was just what you needed.
We are very happy to be able to welcome our new Parochial Vicar, Father Clive Otieno to our parish this weekend. Father Clive was ordained a priest by Bishop Conlon on May 16th at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. His first priestly assignment to our parish was effective Wednesday, June 24th. 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 last Sunday. He returned to the United States last Thursday. As this is his first weekend with us, I have asked him to introduce himself at each of our Masses this weekend. Please join me and Father Matt in welcoming Father Clive to our parish. We are blessed to have him with us and serve our parish community.
July is a very welcome month in the life of a parish. It is a chance for many of us to catch our breath. It has felt like we ran a marathon from Ash Wednesday to the last day of school. Committees, boards and councils normally do not meet during the month. The Administrative staff of our parish school is off during July and the school office is closed. Parish staff people have an opportunity to get away for some well-earned vacation time. It is also a good time for us to catch up on things that may have worked their way to the bottom of the pile or been pushed to the back burner. It is also a good opportunity to take some time to step back and take a look at the “big picture.” So often we surround ourselves with constant activity that we can easily lose sight of the forest for the trees. It is good to have this time to catch our breath and get back in touch with our roots.
The slower pace of July also provides a good time to attend to some projects around the parish. One summer project involves some repair work and new, energy saving lights in the main parking lot. Another project will be done in the parish office. Some refurbishing work will be done on the main floor level, including replacing flooring and carpets as well as some painting. This work will be done beginning on July 9th and concluding on July 22nd. All first floor offices will be re-located throughout our other buildings during this time, with the main office working out of the Grade School front offices. We will have signs posted directing people to the right building. Hopefully the interruptions will be minimal. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this causes. We chose this time of year as things do slow down a bit this month.
Now that the summer months have arrived, our parish staff normally shifts into our summer hours. We are continuing our practice of closing the parish offices on Fridays during July. One of our staff will be on duty for telephone calls and deliveries. This practice gives our staff some additional time for family activities.
As many of you know, we have an Emergency Line connected to our main parish telephone line. Should someone call after office hours, the recorded greeting gives instructions on what to do to access our Emergency Line mail box. When an emergency message is left in that mail box, we are immediately alerted through a message to our cell phones. One of the priests is “on call” and receives Emergency Line messages through his cell phone. Wherever we are, we can call in to the parish mail boxes, retrieve a message from the Emergency Line mail box and respond as soon as possible. We’ve recently had a number of last minute calls from Hospice Chaplains asking us to come and anoint a parishioner in Hospice care. In most cases, one of us arrived in time, but not all. Whenever a family member begins hospice care, please call for the Sacrament of the Sick immediately. Do not wait until the last minute. We try our best to respond immediately to requests for the Sacrament of the Sick. In situations like this, earlier is better than later.
As welcome as the warm weather is, it brings with it another kind of problem. At the June meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council, the question of “summer attire” was brought up. We usually don’t have to worry about this issue during the winter months when we are dressing to keep warm. But in the summer months…. Over the past few weeks we have had some people pushing the envelope. Please remember when coming to church during the summer months to dress appropriately. We come together in God’s presence to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We should not dress as if we were coming from or going to Lifetime, Planet Fitness or another fitness center. Tank tops, stretch leggings and short shorts were not designed for worship. Our church is air conditioned. It is good to be respectful of those who are sitting around us.
Have a safe and blessed conclusion of our holiday weekend. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.