As we come to the middle Sundays in this month of June, we celebrate the 11th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. We are making our way through the Gospel of Luke in our Sunday Gospel readings. As we catch our breath following all the activity of the Easter Season and the last few months, we have the chance to see Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ ministry gradually unfold before us. It will be a very interesting journey.
We have a few projects lined up for our parish campus this summer. Phase II of our capitol campaign, “Honoring our Roots, Cultivating our Future,” focused our attention on our parking lots. Major work began last summer when we repaired the sewers and drains in the parking lot. We also up-graded our parking lot lights. Much brighter and more energy efficient LED fixtures replaced the previous light fixtures. This improved lighting allowed us to eliminate the light poles in the middle of the main lot and relocate them along the perimeter of the lot. With all of the preparation work done last summer, we are now able to resurface the Church main lot, the lot at the north end of our campus, and the lot behind the Church along Gary Avenue. Our main entrances from Army Trail Road and Gary Avenue will also be resurfaced. This work will take place in stages during the month of July. All of this work is included in Phase II of our “Honoring our Roots, Cultivating our Future” capitol campaign. Your faithfulness in making your pledge payments to this 5-year campaign have provided to funds that make these improvements possible. Thank you for your faithful and regular payments of your pledges.
This week we celebrate the feast day of one of the more popular saints on our church calendar. Monday, June 13th is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua – a Priest and Doctor of the Church. Originally from Lisbon, Portugal, Anthony became a Franciscan and was a devoted student of Scripture and a gifted orator and preacher. He is the patron saint of Portugal, of the poor, of harvests, and lost articles. I have no idea how he became the patron saint of lost articles, but I can still hear my grandmother pray, “Dear St. Anthony, look around. My (set of keys or whatever was lost) has got to be found.” Grandma would readily testify that St. Anthony never let her down!
This Wednesday, June 15th, we observe the anniversary of the death of our second pastor, Father John Ott. He was appointed pastor when our first pastor, Father John Wester, retired in 1925. During his first year as pastor, he lived in the room above the Church sacristy at the northeast corner of the building. A Rectory was built next to the Church in 1926. That building currently serves as our Parish Office. That same year, Father Ott acquired a convent for the School Sisters of St. Francis. They taught the 36 students in St. Isidore School, which was then located in the classrooms on the second floor of the Church building. Father Ott was pastor of St. Isidore’s when the Diocese of Joliet was formed in 1949. After 30 years as pastor, Father Ott retired in 1955 and Father John Klaes was appointed the third pastor. He lived another seven years until his death on June 15, 1962. We stand on the shoulders of this faithful pastor and prayerfully remember him on Wednesday — the anniversary of his death and entrance into eternal life.
One of the Respect Life initiatives of our parish begun just a few years ago is our Expecting Parents’ Prayer List. It is normally printed in the bulletin and posted on a bulletin board in the Narthex. Any couple who is expecting the birth of a child can have their names and due date added to this prayer list by stopping at the Hospitality Desk on weekends or calling the parish office. We are happy to add the names of expecting relatives of parishioners to our prayer list as well. This gives us an opportunity to support our expecting parents with our prayers.
Thank you to all who have pledged to the 2016 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Thank you to the 971 households who have pledged and paid $104,162 towards our parish goal of $171,242. Your generosity is deeply appreciated. Please continue to make your monthly payments on your pledge. If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the 2016 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, please do so as soon as possible. We have additional commitment envelopes at the Parish Office and the Hospitality Desk in the Church. A follow-up letter from the Diocesan Development Office was recently sent to those who have previously pledged in past years, but have not responded this year. Again, thank you for your support of our larger diocesan church.
It feels like summer has finally arrived! May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy