As we celebrate the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, we move into the final stretch of this Church Year. We have one more Sunday and conclude with the Feast of Christ the King. For the present, Jesus offers us a parable that invites us to be prepared and watchful for the return of the Bridegroom. The parable is loaded with many symbolic images: light, delay, waiting, drowsiness and sleep, a midnight arrival, wedding feast, some admitted and some not. All of these images turn our attention to the Second Coming of Christ. We rarely, if ever, view our daily Christian living in light of the final coming of Christ. Yet that return is the source of our ongoing hope. If we are not ready at the Second Coming of Christ, we can’t count on anyone else to cover for us. We are provided now with all that we need to be ready when Christ comes. Since we don’t know when Christ will come again, we need to live each day as if that return would take place tonight. The best way to prepare is to live today as if this were the day when our Bridegroom will come and invite us to the feast.
A little over three weeks ago we learned that Bishop Joseph Siegel, the Auxiliary Bishop of our Diocese of Joliet, will be transferred to Evansville, IN where he will become the 6th Bishop of the Diocese of Evansville. His installation as Bishop of Evansville will take place on Friday, December 15, 2017. While this is wonderful news for people of the Diocese of Evansville, it is a loss for our Diocese. St. Isidore parish has many fond memories Father Joseph Siegel. He served as a Parochial Vicar from 1988-1993. He came to us as a newly-ordained priest and we had the honor of being his first parish assignment. Since becoming a Bishop, he has returned from time to time for various celebrations and for the annual awarding of the Bishop Siegel Scholarship, awarded to one of our college students and sponsored by our Father John Guiney Council Knights of Columbus. We recently had the good fortune of being able to welcome him home on Friday, October 20th when he presided at the Installation of Acolytes Mass for the 2018 Permanent Deaconate Class.
Since Bishop Siegel’s transfer has been announced, a number of farewell events have been scheduled throughout the Diocese, including a Vesper Service and reception at the Cathedral for the Diocese of Joliet Deacons and their wives on November 28th and a Vesper Service and dinner at the Blanchette Catholic Center for the priests of the Diocese on December 6th. For the faithful of the Diocese, a farewell Mass in Bishop Siegel’s honor will be held at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet, on Sunday, November 26, at 11:00am. Refreshments will be served after Mass. All are welcome to join in our send off to Bishop Joseph Siegel as he heads to the Diocese of Evansville to be their new Shepard.
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. We celebrated our annual Parish Memorial Mass on November 2nd. There we remembered by name those of our parish who died this past year and included all those entered in our Books of Remembrance. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Easter Candle at the Baptistry. We have an additional Book of Remembrance in the Chapel. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in either of these books for our All Souls Day Masses, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.
We are happy to again provide the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas” this year. Both English and Spanish editions will be available next weekend, November 18/19. These Little Books give us brief daily reflections during these two special seasons of the church year and then invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer.
We are moving into the final phase of the 2017 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Thank you to the 1081 donors who have payed $164,313 towards our goal of $173,968. Appeal funds educate our future priests and permanent deacons, support Catholic Charities, the Family Ministry Office, Religious Education and Catholic Schools Offices, Hispanic Ministry, the Respect Life Office and the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. Please be sure to follow up on your pledge and continue making your monthly payments toward your pledge. Last year we surpassed our parish goal in pledges, but failed to reach our goal in paid pledges. We still have $9,655 remaining in payments to reach our parish goal. Again, thank you for your generosity.
As we live this month in between autumn and winter, we remember our beloved dead who now live with God as we continue on our own life’s journey. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy