As we gather on this Columbus Day holiday weekend, we celebrate the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time and continue our observance of Respect Life month. This weekend’s Gospel passage presents us with a very familiar healing story that we often hear at Thanksgiving. We find Jesus making his way to Jerusalem and the destiny that awaits him there. As he travels, he never fails to respond to the needs of others. As required by the Jewish law, the lepers keep their distance and call out to Jesus for healing. Without any outward signs or dramatic show, he simply instructs the lepers to show themselves to the priests, who are able to certify their healing. In faith, the ten follow Jesus command and suddenly discover that they were healed “as they were going.” The one who returned to express gratitude, a foreigner, received an additional gift. He was given not only healing from his leprosy, but the very promise of salvation!
We were very happy to have had the opportunity to welcome Bishop Conlon to our parish last weekend. As he mentioned in his comments at each Mass, he has committed himself to visiting each of the 127 parishes of the Diocese of Joliet for a full weekend. He arrived at 9:00am on Friday and departed about 4:00pm on Sunday. In addition to celebrating several of the parish Masses, he also attended everything that was taking place at the parish that weekend, including a Filipino First Saturday prayer group, a Faith Formation St. Francis Day pet blessing and a Grade School Volley Ball match.
As we worked with his Administrative Assistant to prepare his schedule, I thought this full weekend visit would be a great opportunity for us to help the Bishop learn about the ministries and activities of our large, diverse, suburban parish. What I discovered was that he saw his visit as an opportunity to teach us about our connections with the diocesan and larger church. Again, as he pointed out in his comments at each Mass, just as we are citizens of our local communities and towns, and at the same time we are also citizens of our state and country, so too we are also members of our parishes and larger bodies within the church – all at the same time. He helped us to appreciate the connections we have with our own Joliet diocese, all the other dioceses of our country and even beyond.
Thank you for the “St. Isidore Welcome” that you extended to Bishop Conlon last weekend. Thank you also to all who worked behind the scenes to make his visit memorable. Thank you to our Grade School choir who led us in prayer at the Sunday 8:30am Mass. Thank you to our adult choir who led us in prayer at our Sunday 1:00pm Mass. We continue to pray for our Bishop at every Mass celebrated in our parish. During each of the Eucharistic Prayers, we pray for “Francis our Pope, and Daniel our Bishop.” His visit last weekend has now given us a face to associate with his name as we continue to ask God’s blessings upon him. .
We continue our observance of Respect Life Month with this year’s theme “Moved By Mercy.” It was inspired by Pope Francis’ reflection, “We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us.” Forty-four years ago the Catholic bishops in the United States designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout this month, we are called in a special way to reflect on the gift of human life, the threats against it and how we can protect all persons from conception through natural death. One of the Respect Life initiatives of our parish begun a few years ago is our Expecting Parents’ Prayer List. It is normally posted on the bulletin boards and printed in the bulletin. Any couple who is expecting the birth of a child can have their names and due date added to this prayer list by calling the parish office. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to support our expecting parents with our prayers.
We continue to inch our way towards our parish’s goal for this year’s Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. This appeal is one of the ways we are concretely connected with our larger diocesan church and is the major source of funding for most of our Diocesan ministries and charities. Appeal funds educate our future priests and permanent deacons, support Catholic Charities, the Family Ministry Office, Religious Education and Catholic Schools Offices, Hispanic Ministry, and the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. Thank you to the 1,033 donors who have already responded. We have paid $143,986 towards our goal of $171,242. Please be sure to continue making your monthly payments toward your pledge. If you have not had an opportunity to make your personal response to the Annual Appeal, please consider doing so as soon as possible. Again, thank you for your generosity.
Monday’s Columbus Day holiday has given many of our young people a 4-day or even 5-day weekend! Our parish offices will be closed on Monday, October 10th, in observance of Columbus Day. We will reopen at 9:00am on Tuesday, October 11th. Enjoy the holiday.
Last week’s cooler temperatures have brought out the autumn colors. The beauty all around us is the Lord’s gift to us in this present moment. As always, we pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy