Happy Mother’s Day! We wish God’s choicest blessings on all of the mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers and stepmothers of our parish. May God bless you for all of the wonderful things that you do. And in a special way as we gather around the table to the Lord, we remember our mothers who now live the fullness of life with the Lord. We pray God reward you for your goodness as you continue to pray for us in God’s presence.
We also want to remember those for whom this day brings incredible pain. Many couples, most unknown to others, struggle with infertility and the inability to become parents. Others may be alienated from their parents or their children, and this holiday only intensifies that pain. Please know that you have a special place in our prayer today.
Today we continue our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection on the Fifth Sunday of Easter. We now move into the final part of the Easter season and turn our attention upon Jesus’ parting gift of the Holy Spirit. Last Thursday in the weekday cycle of Scripture readings, we began reading from the Farewell Discourse of John’s Gospel (John 13:16-17:26). This discourse covers five chapters in John’s Gospel and is situated at the Last Supper. It gives us a glimpse into the heart and mind of the Lord on the night before he died. In some respects it can be viewed as Jesus’ Last Will and Testament – his departing wish for the community of his disciples, the church. From now until the end of the Easter Season on Pentecost Sunday, we will be reading from the Farewell Discourse.
As the Lord promises to remain with us by sending the gift of the Spirit, we have the opportunity to reflect upon the third of the three Sacraments of Initiation we celebrated at the Easter Vigil – the Sacrament of Confirmation. During the recent interviews with our Confirmation candidates, I discussed with them the heart of the Sacrament of Confirmation – our call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus. As we explored what being a “disciple” really means – taking what was important to the Lord and making it important to us – we quickly realized that being a disciple in our day is not an easy path. Since the Lord also knew that, he promised to send us “another advocate” to be our helper and our guide. That advocate was none other than the Holy Spirit – sent to the early disciples and to us to be our strength. One of the ways that the Lord continues to be with us is through the gift of the Spirit, of which we have all received, beginning at our Baptism and deepened at our Confirmation. Becoming aware of the Spirit’s presence among us is a wonderful way for us to conclude our celebration of the Easter season. Let’s listen carefully during the next three weeks and appreciate the gift of the Spirit that has been given to us.
Since Easter is the primary season of initiation into the church community, we intentionally schedule our special celebrations of the Sacraments of Initiation (First Communion and Confirmation) during the Easter Season. We celebrated two First Communion Masses last Saturday and concluded with two additional Masses yesterday. Congratulations to all of our young parishioners who celebrated their First Communion this year. It is great watching them as they took this next step in their faith lives. Their enthusiasm was contagious. With the Eucharist so available to us every day, it is easy to forget what a wonderful gift we have from the Lord. Our 2nd graders reminded us of this as they came to the altar for the first time. At the conclusion of each celebration, I invited each of our First Communicants to wear their special clothing when they come back for Sunday Mass today. Please congratulate them when you see them. Congratulations also to their parents for bringing them to this point in their lives. Thank you also to Vera Zielinski, our Faith Formation staff and our catechists who assisted their parents in preparing our young people for this new beginning.
We continue to remember our Confirmation candidates in our prayer. They will celebrate this Sacrament of Initiation in two weeks on Saturday, May 27, 2017, with two separate celebrations at 10:00am and 1:30pm. Abbot Dismas Kalcic, OSB, of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle will be with us to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with our young people this year.
The annual Joliet Diocesan Priesthood Ordination Mass will also take place in two weeks on Saturday, May 27th at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. Only two transitional deacons will be ordained as priests for our diocese this year. We promise them the support of our prayers as they prepare for their ordination and the beginning of their priestly ministry among us.
Last Tuesday we had the opportunity to prayerfully remember Father John Guiney, SMA, on the third anniversary of his death. He faithfully served our parish as a Parochial Vicar from 1982 to 1990. He was originally assigned to St. Isidore’s for a one or two year term in between missionary assignments in West Africa. But a slight heart attack that led to heart by-pass surgery and the onset of Type II diabetes prevented him from returning to his beloved missions in West Africa. In the end, we were the beneficiaries of that as he served here longer than he had originally planned. Even as his health was failing, he never focused attention upon himself, but always asked how our family members were doing. He continues to inspire us to this day. I am very grateful for the five years (1983-1988) that I was able to live and to serve with him here at St. Isidore’s.
Our recent cool temperatures seemed to have preserved our spring blossoms longer than normal. Let us take time to enjoy this beautiful season of the year. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy