On this last Sunday in January, we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We continue to make our way through this brief stretch of this season between the celebrations of Christmas and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 10th. We continue our year-long reading of Luke’s Gospel today, picking up where we left off last week. Jesus is at home, back in Nazareth, and attends the synagogue on the Sabbath, where he makes an inaugural proclamation of the Good News. His neighbors begin to wonder how a hometown boy could be so smart. Their rejection is clear. And Jesus, like the prophets who came before him, knows firsthand the burden of bearing God’s word.
This final Sunday of January begins our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We have a long and proud history of Catholic education here at our parish. This is a good time to celebrate our mission of passing on our faith tradition from one generation to the next. Student representatives from the St. Isidore School community will extend a “Thank You” to the parish at the beginning of each Mass this weekend for your support of the parish school. The Grade School Choir will also serve the larger parish community by leading us in music at the 8:30am Mass. It is encouraging to see so many of our young people serving the parish in the different ministries of the Mass. They will continue their celebration at their school Mass on Wednesday at 8:15am in the church. Various additional activities are planned for each day throughout the week. We offer our prayers and thanks for our teachers, administrators, staff and all who share in the ministry of Catholic education.
On Tuesday, February 2nd, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. According to the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:12-16), firstborn males were to be dedicated to the Lord. At the time of Jesus, this was done by a ceremony in the Temple, forty days after birth. Today’s Gospel reading gives us the details of Jesus’ presentation. Since the Mass normally begins with the blessing of candles, the Feast is also known as “Candlemas Day.” Blessed candles for home use will be available following our Masses on Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 3rd is the memorial of St. Blasé. He was a bishop in Armenia and believed to have been martyred in the persecutions in the early 4th century. He is associated with the healing of throats. Traditionally, we celebrate this memorial with the blessing of throats. We will be happy to offer this blessing at the end of our Masses on Wednesday.
Looking ahead, we have a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the cold winter months. “The Great Gala 2016” – Dinner Dance and Silent Auction will be held on Saturday, February 27th at Belvedere Events & Banquets on Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village. Early Bird tickets are available for $75 per person until today, January 31st. The banquet facility is located next door to the Country Inn and Suites which provides a nice option for those who would like to stay overnight. The Great Gala 2016 begins at 5:30pm Silent Auction bidding, Hors D’Oeuvres and cocktails. Dinner and the Great Live Auction items follow. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Additional information is available elsewhere in the bulletin.
Since Easter is coming so early this year (March 27th), Lent begins early as well (Ash Wednesday – February 10th). The Kick-Off date of the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal is set to happen before Ash Wednesday. In view of that, we have the opportunity to hear about the 2016 Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal this weekend and our In-pew Sign Up weekend will be next Sunday, February 6/7. Bishop Conlon has prepared a homily that we will be able to hear next weekend.
We begin the shortest month of the year tomorrow. The days are getting longer. Lent will begin in another few weeks, followed by Easter and spring. Notice the signs of new life all around us and take hope. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy