Today we mark the Second Sunday of Lent. Our Gospel reading on this weekend gives us Luke’s account of Jesus’ Transfiguration. It is a moment of glory when everything in Jesus’ life came together. Coming at this point in our Lenten journey, it is meant to give us a sneak-peak of the glory that Jesus won for us through his death and resurrection. And it will be ours if we are faithful in living our call to be Jesus’ disciples. Our personal moments of glory when it seems as if everything in our life comes together, brief as they may be, are hints of what awaits us in God’s Kingdom.
Our 2016 Parish Mission, Celebrate Mercy! begins at our Masses this weekend and continues tonight (Sunday), Monday and Tuesday evenings. We are very happy to welcome Mr. Michael Page to our parish. He is speaking at each of our weekend Masses and then will lead us each evening of the Mission. He is currently on the faculty at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, teaching in the Religion Department and serving on the Pastoral Ministry Team and as Worship Coordinator.
As this is the Holy Year, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, our Parish Mission is an opportunity not to be missed. Again, the mission begins tonight (Sunday) and continues on Monday and Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30pm each evening. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will celebrated on Tuesday evening in a similar manner to our last few missions. Additional priests will be with us as confessors. Please plan on joining us for as many evenings as possible during this special time for our parish.
During these early weeks of Lent, the Scripture readings and Mass prayers at our weekday Masses invite us to seriously respond to the call to conversion of heart that we heard on Ash Wednesday and to continue in our efforts to enter into the season as best we can. The initial invitation is repeated again and again. We are called to turn away from our sinfulness and to turn towards God. The traditional Lenten penances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are held up before us as excellent ways of responding to this challenge to faithfully live the Lenten season.
When it comes to Lenten prayer, many of us are using the “Little Black Book” for our personal prayer during this season. It is a very good way for us to reflect upon the weekday Gospels of Lent and to give six minutes a day back to the Lord. It is very encouraging to see these “Little Books” used by so many in our community.
In addition to spending additional time in personal prayer, have you considered the possibility of additional community prayer through weekday Mass? Masses during the week are celebrated in the church at 7:00am and 12:05pm, Monday through Friday, and at 8:15am on Saturday. Weekday Masses are much simpler than Sunday Masses and normally run about 30 minutes. They are a great way to begin the day or a good pause at mid-day. Another option is the weekly Grade School Mass on Wednesdays at 8:15am. This Mass normally runs about 45-50 minutes and is another great opportunity for Mass during the week.
In a universal effort to make Christ’s mercy more manifest during the season of Lent, the Vatican is asking parishes worldwide to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic adoration more available for a 24-hour period on March 4-5. Called “24 Hours for the Lord,” the initiative, now in its third year, places the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the heart of what it means to be a people and a Church of mercy. As this date is the First Friday of March, we already have Eucharistic adoration taking place, following the 7:00am Friday morning Mass and concluding just before the 8:15am Mass on Saturday. We will have an additional opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Friday morning from 7:30-8:30am and from 12:40-1:30pm on Friday. Our regular times for Reconciliation are on Saturdays, 8:45-10:00am.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2016 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, and especially to those who responded to Bishop Conlon’s homily and pledged two weeks ago during the in-pew “Commitment Weekend.” As I said on “Commitment Weekend,” we had an increase in the number of participating families last year and reached our goal for the first time in several years. Again, thank you to all who pledged last year and helped us fulfill our responsibilities to the diocese.
As our parish goal is “100% participation” and to allow everyone an opportunity to participate, we will be conducting a “Follow-Up Weekend” after Easter. Again, we reached our goal last year due to the increase in the number of participants. If you haven’t had a chance to pledge yet, please do so as soon as possible. Envelopes are available at the Hospitality Desk and at the Parish Office. This annual Appeal is the major source of funding for all of our Diocesan ministries and charities. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
This Saturday we have a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the cold winter months. Our St. Isidore Dinner Dance and Silent Auction – “The Great Gala 2016” – will be held this Saturday, February 27th at Belvedere Events & Banquets on Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Additional information for last minute tickets is available elsewhere in the bulletin.
As Lent progresses, let us continue to pray for and support each other in our Lenten practices. Know that your priests pray for you each day. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy