On this first weekend of autumn, we celebrate the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. As we continue our sequential reading of Luke’s Gospel, today’s Gospel reading follows last Sunday’s account of the dishonest steward. We now hear the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The rich man lived in extravagance; Lazarus lived in total poverty. The rich man’s fault was not his wealth or the blessings he had. His fault was that he did not even notice the poor man, Lazarus at his door. He didn’t notice those who were around him. His blindness led to indifference and inaction. Only when it was too late did he realize the errors of his ways. Our challenge is to first notice those who are around us. Only then can we respond as the Lord calls us to respond.
Last year at this time we had the opportunity to welcome Pope Francis to our country on his first pastoral visit. Although his time was spent on the east coast in Washington, DC, New York City and Philadelphia, we all knew that he was here with us in the United States. He kept an incredibly full schedule and it was a very exciting time for our country.
This year we have the opportunity to welcome our Bishop Daniel Conlon to our parish. He will be making a pastoral visit and will be with us next weekend. Shortly after Bishop Conlon was installed as our fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, he announced that he would be visiting and celebrating a Mass at each parish within the Diocese. That practice later evolved from a few hours visit into a prolonged visit of a full weekend. Over the past few years the Bishop has been spending an entire weekend at various parishes throughout the Diocese. While at each parish, he speaks at each of the weekend Masses and actually celebrates a few of those weekend Masses. He tries to attend as many of the activities taking place at the parish as well as meet with both parish and community leaders. Last spring, we were contacted by his secretary and asked to schedule next weekend, September 30-October 2, for his pastoral visit to St. Isidore.
We are very happy to be able to welcome Bishop Conlon to St. Isidore next weekend. Over the past several weeks we have worked with his office in scheduling an incredibly full schedule for him while he is here. He will arrive on Friday and morning and begin by visiting some of the classes in the grade school. He will celebrate next week’s school Mass on Friday morning at 10:00am. We moved that Mass from its usual time on Wednesday morning to Friday morning to allow the Bishop to celebrate it. The afternoon will include lunch with our faculty and parish staff, additional classroom visits, and a meeting with the parish staff. Bishop will have dinner with the Parish Pastoral Council and the Stewardship Council. He will have an opportunity to stop in at the grade school volleyball games before meeting with the Hispanic Ministries Team.
On Saturday the Bishop will be one of the confessors during the Sacrament of Reconciliation time, visit the First Saturday 2000 Hail Mary’s Prayer Group and the Religious Education activities. He will have lunch with the Village Officials and some local business owners before visiting a nursing home and making some homebound visits. He will be the presider at the Saturday 5:00pm Mass, speak briefly at the 6:30pm Spanish Mass and end the day with dinner with some parish volunteers.
On Sunday, the Bishop will preside at the 8:30am and 1:00pm Masses and briefly speak at each of the additional Masses. He will also have the opportunity to visit with the Youth Advisory Council, our RCIA group and the Simbang Gabi choir rehearsal. He will have lunch with the Simbang Gabi group before returning to Joliet. Hopefully this incredibly full schedule will give the Bishop a picture of the many things that take place on a regular basis at our parish. The only event moved to accommodate his visit was the grade school Mass from Wednesday to Friday morning. Please be sure to extend a St. Isidore welcome to Bishop Conlon when you see him next weekend. We are very happy to have him with us.
Our parish RCIA group continues its initial meetings today. It is not too late to become a part of this group. If you know someone who is interested in more information about our faith or is looking to complete the Sacraments of Initiation, please invite them or let us know about them.
It was at this time three years ago that we formally introduced the Honoring Our Roots, Cultivating Our Future capital campaign. We listened to what you told us in the parish assessment that took place during January/February 2013, especially in re-locating our CONNECT Youth Ministries and the additional events that took place at the LINK in existing parish buildings. We just completed the second phase of the appeal in improving the lights in the parking lot, repairing the drains and sewers and resurfacing each of our lots. This was all done over the past two summers. As the campaign extended over five years, we still have two years to complete our pledges and address the final phases of the project. Thank you for your faithfulness in making your pledge payments as we begin the final years of our capital campaign.
Enjoy our new autumn season. Much more is happening at our parish. Additional news can be found elsewhere in our bulletin. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy