A word from Pope Francis ~ “God is the God of surprises, that God is always new: he never contradicts himself, never says that what he had said was wrong, ever, but he always surprises us.”
On this first weekend of summer, we celebrate the feast of “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.” Now that we have completed the Lent/ Easter cycle of our church year, we celebrate a few additional Solemnities of the Lord before we return to the steady cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time. Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Now we celebrate the second of our two special feasts – “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ” (traditionally known as “Corpus Christi”). Apart from the dark themes of Holy Thursday night, we are able to celebrate and appreciate the tremendous gift of Christ’s presence among us through the gift of the Eucharist. Next Sunday we resume our Sunday celebrations in Ordinary Time, returning to the season at the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We will be in this “green season” of the Church Year from then until December 1st, the First Sunday of Advent.
Since the first Mass celebrated in our church, now chapel, was on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1921, the Eucharistic presence of the Lord has remained on our parish campus for 98 years. Four years ago we introduced the practice of honoring the continuing presence of the Eucharistic Lord in our parish by having an outdoor procession with the Eucharist immediately following the 1:00pm Mass. We will continue that custom today with a similar outdoor procession immediately following the 1:00pm Mass. We will pause for prayer at different stations around our parish campus and conclude with Benediction in the Chapel. All are welcome to join us as we honor the Eucharist today. If you have attended an earlier Mass, you can join in the procession as we exit the main church at the southeast door.
Last Wednesday, the third Wednesday in June, was the actual transfer and moving date for priests serving in our diocese. We are blessed this year since we are not experiencing any changes in our parish priest staff. Father Juan José came to our parish two years when Father Matt Nathan became pastor of St. Alexis parish in Bensenville. Father Rey Treyes came to us last year when Father Clive Otieno was transferred to St. Walter parish in Roselle. I am very happy that both will continue to serve our parish for at least another year. We remember in our prayer all those priests who moved to a new parish assignment this month.
As we near the end of the month, we have two major feast days coming up on our church calendar this week. On Monday we celebrate the solemnity of The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. As the infancy narrative in Luke’s Gospel tells it, Elizabeth conceived John six months before the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the conception of Jesus. For that reason, the celebration of John’s birth is placed in the calendar six months before Christmas, the birth of Jesus. It is also interesting that this feast falls shortly after the summer solstice. Last Friday, the first day of summer, was the longest day of the year. From this time of year on, the days grow shorter. Christmas falls shortly after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. From Christmas onward, the days grow longer. Recall John’s preaching, “He must increase; I must decrease.”
This Saturday, June 29th, we celebrate another major feast on our church calendar, the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul. Peter was one of the original twelve apostles and along with James and John, was with Jesus at the most significant moments in his ministry. Paul, originally a Pharisee, was called by the Lord to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul led the early missionary efforts of the church beyond the borders of Israel into Asia, Europe and ultimately Rome. These two apostles are among the “giants” of the early church.
As we celebrate their feast day on Saturday, it is important for us to remember the struggles and the failures they each faced in the early days of the church. We look to them as examples of Christian living as we follow the same path as disciples of the Lord. On Friday we celebrate a feast in honor of two passionate, human examples of Christian life.
This weekend we have the opportunity to participate in the annual “Peter’s Pence” appeal. This collection helps to fund the Holy Father’s personal efforts at caring for the needy and suffering of our world. Envelopes for this appeal were included in the packets mailed to your home or you may use the white envelope in the pew rack and mark “Peter’s Pence” or, if you are an online giver, choose the Peter’s Pence Fund in our online giving site at https://www.osvonlinegiving.com/1119 . As always, thank you for your generosity.
Happy summer season! May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.