As we come to the second Sunday in this month of July, we also celebrate the 14th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. We have been making our way through the Gospel of St. Matthew in our Sunday Gospel readings. Week by week, we are seeing Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ ministry unfold before us. It certainly is an interesting journey.
One of the blessings of our Catholic faith tradition is our practice of interceding and supporting each other through our prayer. We do that every time we gather for the Eucharist, especially during the Prayer of the Faithful. Since we are connected to each other in faith, it is important that we support those in need with our prayers. While we regularly remember those who are sick and those who have died, we have additional opportunities to request the prayers of our community. Our Parish Book of Prayer is located in the Narthex near the south doors entering the Church. All are welcome to indicate their prayer requests and intentions in our Parish Book of Prayer. We also have our prayer list for those who are engaged and preparing for Marriage. This list is printed elsewhere in our bulletin. And since we are a people who value life, our Respect Life Expecting Parents’ Prayer List is also in the bulletin. Should you wish to have anyone added to a particular prayer list, please call the Parish Office or visit our website for our prayer network. This also includes a son or daughter marrying at another parish, or an out-of-town family member expecting a child. It is good for us to remember all of these intentions in our prayer.
Have you noticed how beautiful and attractive our parish grounds have become these past few weeks? Thank you to Julee Woodman and all of the volunteers who work with her in our “Patrons of the Vine” ministry. These are the folks who have cleaned up and maintain the gardens throughout our parish campus. They have done an incredible job in making our campus more attractive and welcoming. Recently they have had mulch delivered from the Village of Bloomingdale and have spread it over the islands in our parking lot and over the various flower beds surrounding our buildings. Did you know that we have a Peace Garden on the south side of the Church? It is truly a special place of tranquility and beauty. There is a picnic table and park bench within the garden. MaryLee and Dennis McConnell have adopted the Peace Garden and attend to it each week. Their care of the plants has made it one of the most beautiful places on our campus. Please stop by when you have a chance and enjoy the beauty and calm of this special place on our campus. The efforts of our volunteers in the “Patrons of the Vine” ministry are deeply appreciated and lift our hearts and minds to God as we make our way into the church for weekend Mass. Thank you again for all of your hard work.
We are always looking for opportunities to help our young people feel like they belong to our parish community, and especially help them find their place at our Sunday Eucharist. This is especially important for our youngest members who have not had the opportunity of coming to the Eucharist yet. Our Sunday Children’s Liturgy of the Word at the 10:00am and 11:30am Masses is one such opportunity. At those two Masses our young people are dismissed after the Opening Prayer and gather in the Father John Guiney Room to hear the Sunday Scriptures from the Children’s Lectionary. They also hear a reflection at their level before they return to the larger community at the Preparation of the Gifts. Another opportunity that was introduced a few years ago is our Children’s Collection. While the regular collection is being taken up, we invite any of our young people who brought a food offering for the poor or their Sunday offering to approach the altar and place them in the baskets on the altar steps. Children’s collection envelopes were distributed in the St. Isidore Grade School classes and in the Faith Formation classes shortly after the first of the year.
Thank you to the 998 households who have responded to Bishop Conlon’s request to support the 2017 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. You have already paid $123,697 towards our parish goal of $173,968. Thank you for your generous response. The Diocese recently mailed a second follow-up letter to those who made a pledge over the past few years but have not yet made a pledge for this year’s Appeal. I want to encourage everyone who has not had a chance to respond to the 2017 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal to do so as soon as possible. We have additional commitment envelopes at both the Parish Office and the Hospitality Desk in the Church. On-line pledges can be made at www.jolietdioceseappeal.org. Thank you again to all those who have already responded and are helping us reach our 2016 goal in pledges. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
Friday, July 14th, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Installation of Bishop Daniel Conlon as the 5th Bishop of the Joliet Diocese. Now that the Bishop has been with us for six full years and has had the occasion to visit our parish numerous times, we hope and pray that he is feeling more “at home” in our Joliet Diocese.
This week we reach the mid-point of the month of July and the mid-point of the summer. Why is it that winter seems to drag on forever and summer passes in a flash? Let’s be sure to take advantage of the family times and outdoor activities that make summer such a wonderful season of the year. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy