A word from Pope Francis ~ “Let ourselves be reborn to overcome the indifference which blocks solidarity, and to leave behind the false neutrality which prevents sharing.”
On this first Sunday in November, we celebrate the 31st Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the year. We hear Jesus speak about the two great commandments that sum up all other commandments. He doesn’t mess around – he cuts to the quick and points out what is most important in the big picture of our life with God. As the nights get longer and nature prepares for the coming winter, our recent Feast Days and Sunday Scripture readings invite us to look to the end times and our ultimate destiny with God. This is a very reflective time of year.
As part of our annual November Planning Our Legacy Series, this year’s single event will feature Ted Kuczek from the Law Firm of Kuczek & Associates speaking on “Wills or Trusts? Which is Better for You?” on Thursday, November 8 at 7 pm in the Fr. Guiney Room. Anyone interested in protecting their family from the confusion, complications and legal fees of an incomplete estate plan should attend. There is no charge and no need pre-register.
Last Friday evening, on All Souls’ Day, we celebrated our annual parish Memorial Mass. We remembered all those whose names have been entered into our parish Book of Remembrance and those of our parish community who have died during the previous year. Following the homily, we prayerfully read the names of each parishioner whose funeral Mass was celebrated here at St. Isidore during this past year. It was good to remember that we are still connected and a very powerful time of prayer.
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Holy Oils and the Easter Candle at the Baptistery. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in the book 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 in the midst of a busy weekend. We held another of our St. Isidore Becoming One Workshops for the Engaged on Saturday. This workshop is a day-long workshop offered four times over the course of a year. Engaged couples preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage participate in this workshop as a part of their Marriage Preparation. They join with the larger community at the 5:00pm Mass and receive a blessing on their engagement from the community at the end of the Mass.
Also on Saturday, we held our second of two Confirmation Retreats for our spring 2019 Confirmation candidates. The retreat was held at the Bartlett Rec Center. I was happy that I was able to be with our group for a part of their retreat and then celebrate the Sunday anticipation Mass with them. We normally receive word from the diocese around this time of the year as to the date for our Confirmation Masses this spring. We remember our candidates in prayer during this important time of their preparation.
Have you noticed how the environment in both the Church and the Chapel has been changing over the past few weeks? Autumn colors have been making their way into our worship spaces during these last few weeks of Ordinary Time. I am not sure when the Art & Environment Committee members do their work, but it has been happening as the seasons have changed. I want to thank the Art & Environment volunteers for their dedicated work in the Church and the Chapel during all of the seasons of the year.
The 2018 Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal concludes at the end of the calendar year. The Appeal is the major source of funding for most of our Diocesan ministries and charities. We currently have paid $159,450 towards our parish goal of $179,200. Thank you to the 961 donors who have already responded. Please be sure to keep up your payments to your pledge. I am very hopeful that we will reach our parish goal in paid pledges this year. If you have not had an opportunity to make your personal response to the Annual Appeal, please consider doing so as soon as possible. Diocesan ministries and charities depend upon our continued generosity.
And looking ahead a bit, our choir members returned to the church last Sunday evening to begin their preparations for our Christmas celebrations! Their dedication to their ministry of leading us in song is amazing. The holidays will be here before we know it, and our choir will certainly be prepared.
As we mark the seasonal time change to Central Standard Time this weekend, the beauty of autumn is quickly fading as the leaves drop from the trees. The earth seems to be preparing for the death of winter. Our Scripture readings will soon turn our focus upon the end times and our ultimate destiny with God. It is time to focus on the truly important things. May we do so as best as we can.
As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy