I am sure that all of us could tell from the moment we walked into either the Church or the Chapel today that we are now in a new season of our Church Liturgical Year. As is the case in our homes, gone are the decorations of Christmas. While the holidays were a wonderful celebration and a welcome break from our regular routines, we have returned to the ordinary, everyday rhythms of our lives. This new season of the Church Year is simply called “Ordinary Time.” We entered into this new season last Tuesday following the final feast of the Christmas Season, Monday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We have returned to the ordinary, everyday routines of our lives. We will be in the first part of this “green season” of the year until Ash Wednesday on March 1st. While our Gospel reading this weekend comes from John’s Gospel, the majority of our Sunday Gospel readings for the year will come from the continuous reading of Matthew’s Gospel. The faith challenge now before us is to recognize and respond to the Lord’s presence in the ordinary and everyday moments of our lives.
Thank you to Dorothy Jaskey and all of our Art & Environment volunteers who joined together in the chapel last Monday morning and the church on Tuesday morning to transform those spaces from Christmas to Ordinary Time. Their dedicated work over the past few months made a major difference in each of the Masses and prayer services we held during these special seasons. We appreciate your generous service.
What a blessing for us last weekend to have two of our diocesan seminarians with us sharing their personal stories and speaking on vocations. Jim Olofson, a Third Year Theology student from St. Walter’s parish in Roselle and Senovio Sarabia, a First Year Theology student from St. Matthew’s parish in Glendale Heights, were very inspiring in sharing their stories. They were assigned by the Vocation Office last fall to speak at our parish sometime during the current school year. We promise them and all of our seminarians the support of our prayers as they continue their seminary formation.
We were very happy to receive some major gifts to our Perpetual Adoration Chapel Project over the holidays. Please see the cover of this week’s bulletin for a progress report on this project. The good news is that this project is 98% pledged and paid! Pledges still needed amount to $13,100. And the pledges are payable during the remaining two years of the Capital Campaign. We will be able to move forward on our Perpetual Adoration Chapel Project as soon as we have the funds on hand. Thank you for your generosity and faithfulness in making the payments to your pledges.
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins this Wednesday, January 18th and concludes the following Wednesday, January 25th – the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. Since 1968 we have joined with other Christians throughout the world in praying as the Lord prayed, “that all may be one”(John 17:21). I suppose it is human nature to focus our attention on what divides us rather than on what we share in common. This annual week of prayer gives us the opportunity to recognize that there is more that unites us rather than divides us. Throughout this week we will keep the cause of Christian unity before us in our community prayer. And let us all, each in our own way, beseech the Lord to restore unity to the church.
In most circumstances, anniversaries are normally happy and welcome celebrations. Not so with next Sunday’s 44th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision permitting abortion on demand in our country. The new Appendix to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states: “In all dioceses of the United States of America, January 22nd … shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person through acts of abortion and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.” As this anniversary falls on a Sunday this year, the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children is transferred to Monday, January 23rd. We are all invited to remember this intention and to make Monday a day of penance in reparation for all victims of the violence of abortion. Our daily Masses next Monday will focus on this day of penance and witness to our belief that all life is sacred.
Please note that our Parish Offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King holiday. We will reopen at 8:30am on Tuesday, January 17th. Weekday Masses on Monday will be celebrated at our regular times.
We are roughly half way through the month of January. Thankfully, last weekend’s frigid temperatures did not linger in our area. This mid-month milestone is cause for rejoicing. Take care and keep healthy during the cold weather and flu season. God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy