Happy Memorial Day weekend! It does not seem possible that the first of our summer holidays is upon us, especially following our long cool and rainy spring. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was initiated to honor the soldiers for the Union and Confederate armies who died during the American Civil War. Celebrations honoring Civil War heroes started the year after the war ended, but the establishment of a public holiday was meant to unify the celebration as a national day of remembrance instead of a holiday celebrated separately by the Union and Confederate states. By the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to include the deceased veterans of all the wars fought by American forces. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday and was given the floating date of the last Monday in May. This holiday gives us the opportunity to pray for the dedicated men and women who maintain and preserve peace and freedom for us and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is important day for us to remember. Please note that we print the “Military Prayer List” in our bulletin each week.
Memorial Day Mass will be celebrated in the Church at 9:00am on Monday. Please note the time of the Mass – we normally celebrate one Mass on civil holidays at 9:00am. This is a perfect way for us to observe the holiday.
Now that we have completed the Lent/ Easter cycle of our church year, we celebrate a few additional Solemnities of the Lord before we return to the steady cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time. Today we celebrate the second of our two special feasts – “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ” (traditionally known as “Corpus Christi”). Apart from the dark themes of Holy Thursday night, we are able to celebrate and appreciate the tremendous gift of Christ’s presence among us through the gift of the Eucharist. Next Sunday we resume our Sunday celebrations in Ordinary Time, returning to the season at the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We will be in this “green season” of the Church Year from then until November 27th, the First Sunday of Advent.
Since the first Mass celebrated in our church, now chapel, was on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1921, the Eucharistic presence of the Lord has remained on our parish campus for 95 years. Last year we introduced the practice of honoring the continuing presence of the Eucharistic Lord in our parish by having an outdoor procession with the Eucharist immediately following the 1:00pm Mass. We will continue that custom this year with a similar outdoor procession immediately following the 1:00pm Mass. We will pause for prayer at different stations around our parish campus and conclude with Benediction in the Chapel. All are welcome to join us as we honor the Eucharist today. If you have attended an earlier Mass, you can join in the procession as we exit the main church at the southeast door..
Did you know that we have the practice of offering Eucharistic Adoration at St. Isidore on the First Friday of each month, normally beginning at 7:30am on Friday and concluding with Benediction at 8:00am on Saturday? Our next opportunity for First Friday Eucharistic Adoration will be this Friday, June 3rd. Eucharistic Adoration will begin immediately after the 7:00am Mass on Friday and will conclude with Benediction at 8:00am on Saturday morning. Our primary prayer is the Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist, and is a community, “God and us” prayer. Eucharistic Adoration gives us a unique time for individual, “God and me” prayer. In a presentation to teens about Eucharistic Adoration, I once heard it described as “face time with Jesus.” Just as we want to spend time with those we love, Eucharistic Adoration is a great opportunity to spend time with the Lord Jesus. He gave us the gift of the Eucharist because he wants to be with us. Many have found that time spent before the Eucharist is that moment of peace and quiet that we so desperately seek in our lives. It is that time to be quiet and simply be with a good friend. All are welcome to join us to spend some quiet time with the Lord any time between 7:30am Friday and 8:00am Saturday. Come for as long or as short as you are able.
This past Thursday evening we celebrated the Graduation Mass and Commencement for our St. Isidore Grade School Class of 2016. Graduation day is always a special day for our Grade School students. Just as the Lord Jesus grew in “age, wisdom and grace,” so too have our young people. We congratulate our graduates, their parents, and our Grade School administration, faculty and staff on a job well done. The Grade School will conclude their school year this Friday, June 3rd.
Yesterday we celebrated two Confirmation Masses during which 154 candidates from our parish were confirmed. Abbot Dismas Kalcic, O.S.B., of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, was with us to preside at both celebrations of this sacrament and to complete the Christian initiation journey with our young people. Congratulations to all of our teens and young adults who were confirmed this year. We are very happy to see you take the next step in your lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus.
Memorial Day traditionally signals the beginning of summer. While we still have a few weeks remaining before the “official” beginning of the season on Monday, June 20th, we welcome this time of year. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy