As I write the week’s column early last week, the shadow of the senseless shooting in Orlando hangs over us. Because we are disciples of the Lord Jesus, there can be no place for hate in our lives. We continue to pray for the victims, their families and all those who loved them. St. Francis of Assisi got being a disciple right when he prayed, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love….”
Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads, grandpas, Godfathers, and all those who are like a father to us. We celebrate and thank you for all of the marvelous ways you reveal God’s love to us. We ask God’s blessing upon you today and particularly remember those of our fathers who have gone ahead of us in faith and now live with the Lord.
We also remember those who do not look forward to today’s celebration. For some of us, our fathers are no longer with us and there is still a hole in our hearts. Others have had hurtful or abusive relationships with their fathers. Still others among us struggle with the painful experience of infertility. Couples in this situation spend this day grieving in the shadows. Besides honoring our fathers this day, we prayerfully remember those who are grieving the absence of their father or the opportunity to be a father.
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. As we celebrate the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we reach a turning point in Luke’s Gospel. As Jesus asks the Apostles about what others are saying of him, he turns the question around to them asks who they think he is. After Peter responds, “the Christ of God,” he begins to explain to them exactly what being the Christ of God means – rejection, great suffering, betrayal and death before he will experience new life in the resurrection. Those who follow him will face the same cost of discipleship. This was certainly an unwelcome message to them.
This Wednesday, June 22nd, is the official transfer date for priests serving in our diocese. Most of the priests of our diocese who have been transferred this year from one parish assignment to another will be moving this week. While we faced a change in Parochial Vicars last year as Father Josh left our parish to become pastor at St. Charles Borromeo in Bensenville, and newly-ordained Father Clive joined our parish, I am very happy that we are not experiencing any changes in our priest staff this year. Even though Father Matt is at the top of the list of Parochial Vicars eligible to become pastors, I am very happy that he will remain with us as for another year. He brings much energy and enthusiasm to his ministry among us. We are blessed to have some stability with the priest staff at our parish this year. And we remember in prayer all those priests who are moving to a new parish this week.
As many of you know, we have an Emergency Line connected to our main parish telephone line. Should someone call after office hours, the recorded greeting gives instructions on what to do to access our Emergency Line mail box. When an emergency message is left in that mail box, we are immediately alerted through a message to one of our cell phones. One of the priests is “on call” and receives Emergency Line messages through his cell phone. Once we are alerted, we call the parish mail boxes, retrieve the message from the Emergency Line mail box and respond as soon as possible. We’ve recently had a number of last minute calls from Hospice Chaplains asking us to come and anoint a parishioner in Hospice care. In most cases, we are able to respond in time, but not all. Whenever a family member begins hospice care, please call for the Sacrament of the Sick immediately. Do not wait until the last minute. We try our best to respond immediately to requests for the Sacrament of the Sick. In situations like this, earlier is better than later.
Thank you to the 974 households who have pledged and paid $106,827 towards our parish goal of $171,242. Our pledges support the work of the larger church. 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. The Diocesan Development Office recently sent out a follow-up letter directed to those who have pledged in past years, but have not responded this year. Again, thank you for your support of our larger diocesan church.
Summer officially begins tomorrow – Monday, June 20, 2016, at 5:34pm CDT. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Remember back to the winter when it was dark at 4:30pm? It is time to savor God’s gift of light and the gift of the summer. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy