A word from Pope Francis: “Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents.”
Each year, this final week of January is our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We have a long and proud history of Catholic education here at our parish. This is a good time to celebrate our mission of passing on our faith tradition from one generation to the next. Student representatives from the St. Isidore School community will gratefully offer a “Thank You” to the parish community at the beginning of each Mass this weekend for your support of the parish school. The Grade School Choir will also serve the larger parish community by leading us in music at the 8:30am Mass. It is encouraging to see so many of our young people serving the parish in the different ministries of the Mass. They will continue their celebration at their school Mass on Wednesday at 8:15am in the church. Various additional activities are planned for each day throughout the week. We offer our prayers and thanks for our teachers, administrators, staff and all who share in the ministry of Catholic education.
Congratulations to our parish 2nd graders who celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time this past week. Services were held on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Saturday morning. It was great to celebrate this wonderful Sacrament of God’s healing with them and their parents. Congratulations also go to their parents and teachers who brought them to this special moment in their lives. We look forward to their First Communion celebrations in early May during Easter Season.
We concluded the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity last Friday, January 25th. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity traditionally begins on January 18 – the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter – and concludes on January 25th – the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. These two feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul serve as bookends for our week of prayer. Since 1968 we have joined with other Christians throughout the world in praying as the Lord prayed, “that all may be one” (John 17:21). We had a unique opportunity on Saturday, January 19th to formally join with other Christian churches in Carol Stream for a single common prayer service, hosted by Heritage Presbyterian Church. Since so many of our parishioners come from Carol Stream, we were invited to participate in the service. We focused on the 2019 theme “Justice and Only Justice You Shall Pursue.” Our efforts were coordinated by Rev. Dr. John H. Armstrong, a resident of Carol Stream and the Founder of “The Initiative: A Community for Unity with Jesus and All His Followers.” And it was all pulled together in about 10 days! Thank you to all who were able to join us on such short notice. We were blessed to have Mr. Peter Newburn with us. He is the Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs for the Diocese of Joliet. He delivered the message at our service. We have kept the cause of Christian unity before us in our community prayer throughout the past week. .
Next Saturday, February 2nd, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It is actually the 40th day of Christmas! According to the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:12-16), firstborn males were to be dedicated to the Lord. At the time of Jesus, this was done by a ceremony in the Temple, forty days after birth. The Gospel reading on Saturday gives us the details of Jesus’ presentation. Since the Mass normally begins with the blessing of candles, the Feast is also known as “Candlemas Day.” Blessed candles for home use will be available following our Mass on Saturday morning.
February 3rd is normally the memorial of St. Blasé. He was a bishop in Armenia and believed to have been martyred in the persecutions in the early 4th century. He is associated with the healing of throats. Traditionally, we celebrate this memorial with the blessing of throats. Since February 3rd falls on a Sunday this year, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time replaces this memorial. We will be happy to offer the blessing of throats to the community at the end of our regular Sunday Masses.
Looking ahead, we have a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the cold winter months. Our St. Isidore Dinner Dance and Silent Auction – “The Greatest Show” – will be held on Saturday, February 23rd at The Empress Banquets on Lake Street in Addison. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. Additional information is available at the school office and elsewhere in the bulletin.
Once we get past the holidays, January seems to be a very long month. It can seem even longer when the Bears end their season during the first round of the playoffs. Even though the days are gradually getting longer, the winter has had a few difficult moments – especially last week. This Friday we begin the shortest month of the year. Can spring be too far off? May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy