Happy Mother’s Day! We wish God’s choicest blessings on all of the mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers and stepmothers of our parish. May God bless you for all of the wonderful things that you do. And in a special way as we gather around the table to the Lord, we remember our mothers who now live the fullness of life with the Lord. We pray God reward you for your goodness as you continue to pray for us in God’s presence.
We also want to remember those for whom this day brings incredible pain. Many couples, most unknown to others, struggle with infertility and the inability to become parents. Others may be alienated from their parents or their children, and this holiday only intensifies that pain. Please know that you have a special place in our prayer today.
We continue our celebration of the glorious season of Easter with the Fourth Sunday of Easter. This Sunday is traditionally known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” This came to be because in all three cycles of the Lectionary, the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter gives us one of the Good Shepherd sayings from John’s Gospel. “The sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them, out.” “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Besides being a very comforting and reassuring message, it also helps us to continue our Easter reflection on the gift of the Eucharist.
Since Easter is the primary season of initiation into the church community, we intentionally schedule our special celebrations of the Sacraments of Initiation (First Communion and Confirmation) during the Easter Season. We celebrated two First Communion Masses last Saturday and concluded with another additional Mass yesterday. Congratulations to all of our young parishioners who celebrated their First Communion this year. It is great watching them as they took this next step in their faith lives. Their enthusiasm was contagious. With the Eucharist so available to us every day, it is easy to forget what a wonderful gift we have from the Lord. Our 2nd graders reminded us of this as they came to the altar for the first time. At the conclusion of each celebration, I invited each of our First Communicants to wear their special clothing when they come back for Sunday Mass today. Please congratulate them when you see them. Congratulations also to their parents for bringing them to this point in their lives. Thank you also to Vera Zielinski, our Faith Formation staff and our catechists who assisted their parents in preparing our young people for this new beginning.
We will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday, May 18, 2019, with two separate Masses at 10:00am and 1:00pm. As we have not received a new Auxiliary Bishop since Bishop Siegel was transferred to the Diocese of Evansville, IN in December 2017, Bishop Conlon has delegated me to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at our parish again this year. As we prayed throughout Lent for those entering the church at the Easter Vigil, so now we pray for our young people who are/will be celebrating Sacraments of Initiation in May.
Welcome home to our college students who are gradually making their way home following their Spring Semester Exams. Many took their exams this past week. Know that you were remembered in prayer here at your parish. It is great to see you back in the neighborhood. Thank you for joining with us again at our Sunday Mass celebrations.
The annual Joliet Diocesan Priesthood Ordination Mass will also take place in two weeks on Saturday, May 25th at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. Three transitional deacons will be ordained as priests for our diocese this year. We promise them the support of our prayers as they prepare for their ordination and the beginning of their priestly ministry among us.
Last Thursday we had the opportunity to prayerfully remember Father John Guiney, SMA, on the fifth anniversary of his death. He faithfully served our parish as a Parochial Vicar from 1982 to 1990. He was originally assigned to St. Isidore’s for a one or two year term in between missionary assignments in West Africa. But a slight heart attack that led to heart by-pass surgery and the onset of Type II diabetes prevented him from returning to his beloved missions in West Africa. In the end, we were the beneficiaries of that as he served here longer than he had originally planned. Even as his health was failing, he never focused attention upon himself, but always asked how our family members were doing. He continues to inspire us to this day. I am very grateful for the five years (1983-1988) that I was able to live and to serve with him here at St. Isidore’s.
Our recent warm temperatures seemed to have encouraged our spring blossoms into opening. Let us take time to enjoy this beautiful season of the year. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy