On this last Sunday in January, we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We continue to make our way through this brief stretch of this season between the celebrations of Christmas and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. We continue our year-long reading of Matthew’s Gospel, picking up where we left off last week. Jesus began his preaching calling for repentance, people responded and disciples gathered around him. He now calls them all together and begins the first major discourse in Matthew’s Gospel – the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus, the teacher, lays out his vision for the Kingdom of God, beginning with the Beatitudes. Since Jesus has gathered both Jews and Gentiles before him – insiders and outsiders – he retains what is of value in the law of Moses, but then expands it to pass on a true image of the Father and our relationship with him. We are “blessed” when we live in right relationship with God.
This final Sunday of January begins our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We have a long and proud history of Catholic education here at our parish. This is a good time to celebrate our mission of passing on our faith tradition from one generation to the next. Student representatives from the St. Isidore School community will extend a “Thank You” to the parish at the beginning of each Mass for our support of the parish school. The Grade School Choir will also serve the larger parish community by leading us in music at the 8:30am Mass. It is encouraging to see so many of our young people serving the parish in the different ministries of the Mass. They will continue their celebration at their 8:15am school Mass on Wednesday in the church. Various additional activities are planned for each day throughout the week. We offer our prayers and thanks for our teachers, administrators, staff and all who share in the ministry of Catholic education.
On Thursday, February 2nd, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. According to the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:12-16), firstborn males were to be dedicated to the Lord. At the time of Jesus, this was done by a ceremony in the Temple, forty days after birth. Thursday’s Gospel reading gives us the details of Jesus’ presentation. Since that Mass normally begins with the blessing of candles, the Feast is also known as “Candlemas Day.” Blessed candles for home use will be available following our Masses on Thursday.
Friday, February 3rd is the memorial of St. Blasé. He was a bishop in Armenia and believed to have been martyred in the persecutions in the early 4th century. He is associated with the healing of throats. Traditionally, we celebrate this memorial with the blessing of throats. We will be happy to offer this blessing at the end of our Masses on Friday.
Congratulations to our parish 2nd graders who celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time this past week. Services were held on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Saturday morning. It was great to celebrate this wonderful Sacrament of God’s healing with them and their parents. Congratulations also go to their parents and teachers who brought them to this
special moment in their lives. We look forward to their First Communion celebrations during the Easter season in early May.
We continue to remember Father Clive in our prayers this weekend as he and his fellow travelers return home following Friday’s National March for Life in Washington, D.C. They left from Joliet for Washington, D.C. on Wednesday evening and participated in the March for Life in our nation’s capitol on Friday. Normally the March for Life is held on the January 22nd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand, but the events of last weekend’s inauguration postponed it one week. They are due back in Joliet today, Sunday.
Looking ahead, we have a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the cold winter months. “The Denim & Diamonds Gala” – St. Isidore’s School’s annual auction dinner and dance will be held on Saturday, February 25th at Belvedere Events & Banquets on Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village. Early Bird tickets are available for $75 per person through February 3rd. After February 3rd the tickets are $85 per person. The banquet facility is located next door to the Country Inn and Suites which provides a nice option for those who would like to make it a Gala Getaway. “The Denim & Diamonds Gala” begins at 5:00pm with Silent Auction bidding, Hors D’Oeuvres and cocktails. Dinner and the Great Live Auction items follow. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Additional information is available elsewhere in the bulletin.
Since Easter is a bit later this year (April 16th), Lent has a later beginning on Ash Wednesday – March 1st. The Kick-Off date of the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal is scheduled to happen before Ash Wednesday. In view of that, we will have the opportunity to hear about the 2017 Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal over the weekend of February 18/19 and our In-pew Sign Up weekend will be over the weekend of February 25/26. Many of us have already received the 2017 Appeal mailing from Bishop Conlon. While we don’t get any “extra credit” for responses before the In-pew Sign Up weekend, early responses can give us a positive boost toward reaching this year’s goal. My pledge was sent in last week!
We begin the shortest month of the year this Wednesday. The days are getting longer. Lent will begin in another month, followed by Easter and spring. Notice the signs of new life all around us and take hope. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy