Our long pre-Lent season of Ordinary Time continues this weekend as we celebrate the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. With our Easter celebration coming very late this year on April 16th, Ash Wednesday is not observed until March 1st. This gives us a longer period of Ordinary Time during the January/February months of this year.
Each spring our Diocese initiates the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal to fund the various ministries of the Diocese. This weekend is the Kick-Off weekend of the 2017 Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. I will be speaking at each of our English Masses this weekend. The in-pew Commitment Weekend will take place next weekend, February 25/26.
The 2017 CMAA theme is, “Held in God’s Hands.” This is fitting because the thirty ministries the annual appeal supports help of Diocese act as God’s hands here on earth. The needs of the poor are attended to through Catholic Charities. The Vocations Office is able to encourage vocations to our youth and help men discern a calling to the priesthood and the permanent diaconate. Hispanic and other ethnic ministries make sure all feel welcome in our parishes. People of all ages are educated in our faith through Catholic schools and parish faith formation programs. Families are supported at every life stage. Youth, teens and young adults are encouraged to stay connected to our community of faith at an age when the pull of secular culture is strong.
The diocesan goal for the 2017 Appeal is $7.1 million. Our parish goal is $173,968. 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 has already been sent in to the Development Office. I am asking you to join me in fulfilling our responsibilities to our larger, Diocesan Church. Please make a commitment to the 2017 CMAA at the highest level you are able to.
This Saturday we have a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the dark and cold winter months. “The Denim & Diamonds Gala” – St. Isidore School’s annual auction dinner and dance will be held this Saturday, February 25th at Belvedere Events & Banquets on Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village. Tickets are available for $85 per person. The Gala begins at 5:00pm with Silent Auction bidding, Hors D’oeuvres and cocktails with music provided by the St. Francis High School Jazz Ensemble. Dinner and the Live Auction items follow. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Additional information for last minute tickets is available elsewhere in the bulletin.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, is just 10 days from now. And then, our 2017 Parish Mission will follow on the first weekend of Lent. The Mission will be offered over March 4-8, beginning at the Saturday evening Masses and concluding with an evening Mass on March 8th. We are very happy to welcome Father Ed Shea, OFM to our parish. He is a Franciscan priest, ordained in 1987. He has served primarily in the Joliet Diocese and the Archdiocese of Chicago, currently at St. Peter’s Church in Chicago’s Loop. The title of our Mission is “Open My Eyes, Lord/Abre Mis Ojos, Señor.” Father Ed will be preaching at each of our weekend Masses and then will lead us each evening of the Mission – Sunday through Wednesday. The evening session on Monday, March 6th will be given in Spanish. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated during the Tuesday evening session. Father Ed has presented the 2015 and 2016 Staff/Faculty Days of Renewal here at St. Isidore and has assisted with Masses at St. Francis High School. Please set these dates aside and plan on joining us for as many evenings as possible during this special time for our parish.
With the season of Lent beginning in just a few weeks, Bishop Ken Untener’s “The Little Black Book” for the season of Lent 2017is now available for your Lenten personal prayer. These “Little Books” have been very helpful in our daily prayer throughout the major seasons of the Church Year. This year’s book for Lent gives us six-minute daily meditations on the Passion according to John. The six-minute program begins next Sunday, February 26th and continues each day of Lent. They are available in both English and Spanish.
We have baskets in the Narthex to receive your old palm branches from Palm Sunday 2016. Please bring your old palms by next Sunday as they will be burned for Ash Wednesday – March 1st!
Monday’s Presidents Day holiday provides us with a welcome change of pace. Our parish offices will be closed for the day and reopen on Tuesday morning. Enjoy the holiday.
For many of us, the winter has been a long one thus far. We feel pulled in many different directions. Stretches of sunless days have taken their toll. Still, the days are getting longer. Lent begins in another week, 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