This is a full weekend. Besides our celebration of the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the first weekend in February, we have Sunday evening’s Super Bowl XLII game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though our hometown Bears ended their season with their last regular season game, most of us will find ourselves gathering with family and friends for the traditional Super Bowl parties. It is a great time to gather with each other in the middle of winter.
Even though the cold winter temperatures caught us again last week, our yearly celebration of Catholic Schools Week was a great celebration. Thank you to all who helped make the various events throughout the week so memorable. The St. Isidore School community did a wonderful job in providing the music for last Sunday’s 8:30am Mass. It was great to have our young people lead us in our sung prayer. And student representatives joined with our principal, Mrs. Cyndi Collins at each of our Sunday Masses, in thanking the parish community for our support of the school. Thank you also to our Father John Guiney Council of the Knights of Columbus who served up a great breakfast opposite the Open House last Sunday.
When I celebrated the Grade School Mass last Wednesday, I had the chance to thank the men and women who serve on our Grade School faculty and staff. It was interesting to tally the combined years of service given to the St. Isidore parish community by our school faculty and staff – approximately 305 years of service in Catholic education at our school and 350 years of service in Education overall. This is an astounding number of years of service to our parish through our school, especially when we remember that our country will be only 242 years old this July!
I also had the opportunity to celebrate the Catholic Schools Week Mass at St. Francis High School in Wheaton last Thursday. With the diminishing number of active priests in our diocese, many of us wear multiple hats beyond our parish responsibilities. In addition to serving on the Joliet Diocesan Vocation Team, I also serve as a Sacramental Priest, Kairos Spiritual Director and as a member of the Board of Directors at St. Francis High School. We currently have 62 students from St. Isidore at St. Francis.
Many of us have already received Bishop Conlon’s invitation to participate in the 2018 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal (CMAA). The theme for this year’s appeal is “Partners in Caring.” Appeal materials were mailed to our homes over the past two weeks. A number of people have already returned their commitments to this year’s Appeal. Announcement Weekend and Commitment Weekend usually take place before Ash Wednesday. With Ash Wednesday falling on February 14th this year, Announcement Weekend is taking place this weekend, February 3rd and 4th, and Commitment Weekend will take place next weekend, February 10th and 11th. While we don’t get any “extra credit” for responses before the In-pew Sign Up on Commitment Weekend, early responses can give us a positive boost toward reaching our goal this year. As I prefer to lead by example, my pledge to the Appeal was sent in last week. I am asking you to join me in fulfilling our responsibilities to our larger, Diocesan Church. Please make a commitment to the 2018 CMAA at the highest level you are able to commit.
Looking ahead towards the end of the month, we have a wonderful opportunity to come together during the winter. The St. Isidore Gala, “An Evening Under the Stars” – our annual auction dinner and dance benefiting our parish school will be held on Saturday, February 24th at Empress Banquets in Addison. The St. Isidore Gala is a parish-wide event. Everyone is invited! We have many smaller events throughout the year which gather specific groups within the parish, but not a single, unifying event which allows us all to come together and celebrate our St. Isidore Parish community together. Tickets are available for $75 per person. “An Evening Under the Stars” begins at 5:00pm with Silent Auction bidding, Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Dinner and the Live Auction items follow. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Please consider joining with us or even gathering a table of your friends. Additional information is available elsewhere in the bulletin.
For many of us, the winter has been a long one thus far. Stretches of cold sunless days have taken their toll. Still, the days are getting longer. Lent will begin in another 10 days, 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