FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6).
Do not be afraid…. For three days creation groaned and ached, mourning God’s silence. We waited in the darkness, which came over the earth on Good Friday. Three women come at dawn, daring to approach the guarded tomb, intending to anoint a corpse.
“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day”(Luke 24:5-7).
Remember what he said…. And suddenly the Lord’s words returned to them just as the sun made its appearance that morning.
“Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples….” (Mark 16:6-7). Darkness is shattered by light. Despair is replaced with hope. Sin is made powerless through reconciliation. Death is conquered by Life. And now in our day, a long cold winter finally gives way to spring. Lent has given way to Easter. Life is slowly returning to the earth. Through the Cross, death has been defeated forever.
We have spent 40 days in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We have spent 40 days preparing to renew our Baptism commitment, which we do today in place of the Creed. We have prayerfully commemorated and mourned the Death of the Lord, taken time to enter into this great mystery. It is time to rejoice and celebrate the greatest mystery of our faith. Death is not the end, but a transformation. It is a rebirth, the final step into the fullness of life with God. And now we spend the next 50 days (the 40 days of Lent plus 10) celebrating God’s tremendous gift of love and Life.
For the present, this first week of the Easter Season, commonly called the Octave of Easter, is treated as one single Easter Day stretched out over the first eight days of the season. The daily Masses are celebrated with the same enthusiasm as Easter Sunday. The daily Gospels are all various accounts of the Resurrection, taken from each of the four Gospels. Next Sunday’s Gospel, the Octave of Easter, will situate us on Easter Sunday evening. It is fitting that we begin this season of the Church year with such enthusiasm. The fasting is over. It is time to come to the Feast.
Congratulations and welcome to all the newly-initiated members of our community – those who were Baptized, Confirmed and received First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. We have been praying for them since they took the first steps in the RCIA process last fall. It is great to celebrate their full initiation into our church family. Special thanks go to our RCIA team for their faithful efforts in personally sharing their faith and preparing these men and women to take these steps in their lives.
Thank you to all who helped make our observance of Lent and the celebration of the Easter Triduum so prayerful. Father Rey, Father Juan Jose, Karen Stefanic and Sue Entwistle coordinated our efforts. The Art and Environment Committee led by Dorothy Jaskey guided us in the different seasons through their attention to the atmosphere in our worship spaces. Their faithful work behind the scenes has contributed much to the tone of our celebrations. Thank you to all of our music ministers – Karen Stefanic, our Director of Music, to our musicians, choir members and cantors. Your hours of preparation and rehearsal bore fruit in your leading us in song throughout all of the different observances and celebrations. Thank you to our Lectors who proclaimed God’s Word with faith and conviction. Thank you to our Deacons, Altar Servers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist who assisted at the altar. Thank you to our Knights of Columbus who served in our parking lot last Sunday in the snow and slush and today in more favorable weather, and who provided an Honor Guard on Holy Thursday night. And finally, thank you to all of you, the faith-filled people of St. Isidore parish. As we joined together in our community prayer throughout these past weeks, we encouraged and supported each other in ways we will never know.
As this is my first Pastor’s Corner since my hospitalization and surgery for the infection in my leg, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to you all for your prayers and good wishes. Recovery has been and continues to be slow. I continue to receive antibiotic treatment through out-patient care at Central DuPage Hospital. Your support and prayers have and continue to mean much.
Finally, last week we were very happy to announce that Mrs. Corie Alimento will serve as the next principal of St. Isidore School, beginning July 1, 2019. She along with her husband, Mike, and family are parishioners. She previously taught in our school and has recently served as principal at St. Paul’s School in Joliet and Holy Family School in Bensenville. We are blessed to be able to welcome her home to St. Isidore School.
Have a blessed Easter! Notice the different ways in which God is transforming death into life all around us. Look for ways to celebrate God’s gift of life among us. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy
A word from Pope St. John Paul II: “There is no place for selfishness – and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, the, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.”
It doesn’t seem possible that we are already observing the Fourth Sunday of Lent today. We are now past the half way point of this season. During these middle weeks of Lent we continue to focus our attention on the ways God helps us to respond to the call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus and the call to conversion. The main image in the Scripture readings of this week is the image of light. We are called to see as God sees. As we heard in today’s Gospel (Cycle C), God’s desire is that we all experience life and salvation in his Son. God is always looking for us while we are still “a long way off.” At the slightest opening on our part, God offers us the gift of reunion and unconditional reconciliation. God’s desire is welcome, healing, and celebration. We pray for the grace to see ourselves and our world as God sees us.
As our Lenten Penitential Rite at Mass reminds us, Lent is the primary season of reconciliation within the church year. One of the best ways for us to prepare for the renewal of our Baptism commitment at Easter is by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lenten times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation are on Saturdays following the 8:15am Mass until 10:00am. We have added an additional time on the Fridays of Lent, following the 12:05pm Mass until 1:30pm. There will be an opportunity to celebrate this sacrament as a community on Monday, April 8th. Our March Teen Mass was replaced with a Lenten Reconciliation Service for our Faith Formation Confirmation candidates. The students of our Grade School will have an opportunity on April 4th. Additional times are scheduled during Holy Week. This season is an ideal time for each of us to celebrate this powerful sacrament of God’s healing.
We remember in our Lenten prayer all those who spend this Lent in preparation for their initiation into the church community at the Easter Vigil. We do this in a public and formal way during the middle weeks of Lent with the celebration of the Scrutinies, or Rites of Inner Healing with our Elect. Today, we’ll celebrate the Second Scrutiny at the 8:30am Mass. Even though we are currently hearing the Cycle C Readings this year, we read the Cycle A Readings in our celebration of the Scrutinies. This Cycle gives us the traditional “coming to faith” stories that were used to prepare those to be baptized in the early church. For the Second Scrutiny, we hear the account of the Man Born Blind from John’s Gospel. Like him, we are brought from the darkness of sin into the light of faith through our Baptism. His story is really the story of those who are preparing for their Baptism. The Elect and Candidates are living signs of the conversion and change of heart that we are all called to make this Lent. We promise them the support of our prayers throughout this season and look forward to the time when they can join with us at the table of the Eucharist.
We recently received an audio message from Bishop Conlon addressing the extreme abortion bills introduced in the Illinois Legislature. His message was played at the announcement time at each Mass last weekend. Bishop informed us that HB 2495 & SB 1942 would repeal the current state ban on partial-birth abortions, permitting legal abortions on demand up to the moment of natural birth. They would also remove the requirement that only doctors can perform abortions. These and other changes introduced by these bills challenge our belief that human life begins at conception and that an unborn child is a human person. Additional information on these abortion bills is available through the Catholic Conference of Illinois at www.ilcatholic.org . Our parish Respect Life team will provide additional information for us as it becomes available.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2019 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. As this year-long Appeal is the major source of funding for all of our Diocesan ministries and charities, we are doing everything possible to reach our 2019 CMAA goal of $180,100. As we saw last year, we can reach our parish goal in paid pledges with the participation of each family in our parish. We had planned on holding our “Follow-Up Commitment Weekend” at the beginning of each Mass last weekend but needed to push it back a week to this weekend when we received Bishop Conlon’s audio message on the “Extreme Abortion Bills Introduced in IL Legislature.” So the “Follow-Up Commitment Weekend” will take place before each Mass this weekend. If you haven’t had a chance make a pledge to the 2019 Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, now is the time to do so. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
Many additional things are happening in our parish at this time of year. All are described elsewhere in the bulletin. Please take time to read about them.
As Lent progresses, let us continue to pray for and support each other in our Lenten practices. Know that your priests pray for you each day. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy