This weekend we celebrate the 33rd and Final Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We have been reading from Luke’s Gospel for most of this church year, and will conclude that reading over the next two weeks. This weekend focuses our attention upon our ultimate destiny – the Kingdom of God. Jesus gives us a grim and ominous picture of the future as a strong reminder that this world is not our final home. We are meant for so much more. While each day draws us closer to the end, not even Jesus is privileged to know the exact day of its arrival. Only the Father knows. Whatever we may have to face, the one constant is that he will give us whatever we need. He leaves us with the promise that perseverance brings salvation. Next weekend we will bring the current church year to a close with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
“Next Step Weekend 2016.” Last weekend we held our Stewardship Commitment weekend. We gathered together at each of our weekend Masses and with gratitude for all of the many gifts God pours over us each day, we took the next step and offered a portion of our time, talent and treasure in our Next Step Weekend 2016 responses. Thank you to our parish administrator, Tom Norton, for leading us in making our response at each of our English Masses and to Father Matt who delivered the same message at both of our Spanish Masses.
It was a wonderful sight to see so many of the community at each Mass came forward to place their Commitment Cards in the baskets in front of the altar. There were children sent up by their parents, some semi-reluctant teens who may have been seated on the aisle, young adults, young parents with children at their sides, families with teens, empty nesters, the widowed, grandparents and senior citizens – all processing toward the altar as they sought to take the next step in responding to the call of Christian Stewardship. “Next Step Weekend 2016” – it was a very encouraging moment to behold.
If you were away or unable to complete your commitment last weekend, additional commitment materials are available at the Hospitality Desk in the Church. Or use the commitment form that was a part of the mailing you received. Please complete them as soon as possible and return them either in the regular collection or to the Parish Office. Again, thank you for your efforts to respond to the Lord’s call to be faithful stewards.
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in the book for our All Souls Day Masses, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.
Last Monday, we welcomed Bishop Conlon back to our parish as he celebrated a Confirmation Mass during which 62 candidates from our parish were confirmed. These young people completed their preparation during 8th grade in both our Grade School and our Faith Formation programs. Their Confirmation interviews were held in late August and early September. They experienced their Confirmation Retreat just a few weeks ago. Congratulations to all of our teens who were confirmed last week. We are very happy to see you take the next step in your lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus.
Last Tuesday evening the campaign commercials thankfully disappeared after one of the ugliest campaign seasons we have ever experienced. What remains for us is our call to pray for our leaders – both in the church and those elected to serve in public office – and to be peacemakers in our communities. It takes very little talent to divide. It takes far greater skills to help people see what we share in common and to bring us together. The Lord calls us to be peacemakers in each of the different areas of our lives and that is the task that lies before us.
Two years ago our Diocesan Vocation Office launched a major Vocation Event – “Who Will Fill These Shoes?” It was held at the Cathedral in Joliet on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Young men between the ages of 16 and 40 came together to learn more about the diocesan priesthood and to consider the possibility of a call to serve as a priest. The response was so encouraging over the past two years that a Third Annual “Who Will Fill These Shoes” gathering will be held at the Cathedral in Joliet on the Friday following Thanksgiving – November 25th – from 9am to 3pm. Young men between the ages of 16 to 40 are invited to attend. Parents are also welcome. Please contact me, Father Matt or Father Clive at the parish office for additional information.
We are happy to again provide the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas” this year. Both English and Spanish editions are available this weekend. These Little Books give us brief daily reflections during these two special seasons of the church year and then invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” On the first Sunday of Advent, November 27th, we begin our program of “six minutes a day.” With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer.
This is the last full week before we celebrate Thanksgiving. A lot is happening in our parish as we quickly move towards the holiday season. Please take time to read the rest of the bulletin and become aware of the many different things happening at our parish. The bulletin is our primary means of communication. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy