This weekend we celebrate the 33rd and Final Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We have been reading from Mark’s Gospel for most of this church year. Our final Gospel reading from Mark appears near the end of a chapter often called “Mark’s apocalypse.” Jesus describes some of the typical cosmic signs that God’s plan for the world – God’s final rule over things — is nearing its culmination. He urges the disciples to attend to the signs of the Messiah’s arrival. Just as they can read the signs of the weather and the changing seasons, signs of God’s victory over sin and death are all around. They must be awake and watchful for the time of completing God’s plan of salvation is known to none but God alone. This same message will be heard again when we begin Advent and a new church year on November 29th.
“Next Step Weekend 2015.” Last weekend I ran my own version of the “Chicago Marathon” as we held our Stewardship Commitment weekend and I was able to preach at each English Mass. Thank you to Father Matt who delivered the same message at both of our Spanish Masses over the weekend. We gathered together at each of our weekend Masses and with gratitude for all of the many gifts God pours over us each day, we took the next step and offered a portion of our time, talent and treasure in our Next Step Weekend 2015 responses.
From the presider’s chair, it was a wonderful sight to see so many of the community at each Mass came forward to place their Commitment Cards in the baskets in front of the altar. There were children sent up by their parents, some semi-reluctant teens who may have been seated on the aisle, young adults, young parents with children at their sides, families with teens, empty nesters, the widowed, grandparents and senior citizens – all processing toward the altar as they sought to take the next step in responding to the call of Christian Stewardship. “Next Step Weekend 2015” – it was a very encouraging moment to behold.
If you were away or unable to complete a commitment card last weekend, additional cards are available at the Hospitality Desk in the Church. Or use the commitment form that was a part of the mailing you received. Please complete them as soon as possible and return them either in the regular collection or to the Parish Office. Again, thank you for your efforts to respond to the Lord’s call to be faithful stewards.
At this time of year as the seasons change and the harvest is gathered in from the fields, we cannot help but take notice of the abundant blessings we have received. Experiences of being blessed can often lead us to a deep sense of gratitude and a desire to share those blessings with others. A good opportunity is present before us.
Next weekend we have the opportunity to participate in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, CCHD has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout the country. CCHD funds more than 300 projects each year, helping people to work within their own communities to create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages and organize for change. CCHD is a practical way for us to respond to Pope Paul VI’s exhortation, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Bishop Conlon’s letter requesting our support is printed elsewhere in the bulletin. Please respond as generously as possible next weekend. Envelopes have been included in the packet mailed to each home.
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in the book for our All Souls Day Masses, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.
Last year our Diocesan Vocation Office launched a major Vocation Event – “Who Will Fill These Shoes?” It was held at the Cathedral in Joliet on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Young men between the ages of 16 and 40 came together to learn more about the diocesan priesthood and to consider the possibility of a call to serve as a priest. The response was so encouraging that a Second Annual “Who Will Fill These Shoes” gathering will be held at the Cathedral in Joliet on the Friday following Thanksgiving – November 27th – from 9am to 3pm. Young men between the ages of 16 to 40 are invited to attend. Parents are also welcome. Registrations can be made at https://www.dioceseofjoliet.org/vocations/sectioncontent.php?sedid=19. Please contact me, Father Matt or Father Clive at the parish office for additional information.
We are happy to again provide the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas” this year. Both English and Spanish editions will be available in the Narthex. These Little Books give us brief daily reflections during these two special seasons of the church year and then invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer.
This is the last full week before we celebrate Thanksgiving. A lot is happening in our parish as we quickly move towards the holiday season. Please take time to read the rest of the bulletin and become aware of the many different things happening at our parish. The bulletin is our primary means of communication. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy