FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness.”
As we gather on this first Sunday of October, we celebrate the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Following the past few weeks of challenging Gospel readings, Jesus’ disciples realize that they cannot follow him on their own. So they ask him to increase their faith. The Lord responds that even the smallest amount of faith can cause great things to happen! We join with the early disciples in asking the Lord to “increase our faith.”
Forty-six years ago the Catholic bishops in the United States designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout October, Catholics are called in a special way to reflect on the gift of human life, the threats against it and how we can protect all persons from conception through natural death. This year’s theme, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life,” is particularly suited for the times in which we live. The attacks against human life seem to grow more numerous and callous by the day. Despite these challenges, we know that Christ has conquered sin and death once and for all. Through our Christian hope in the Resurrection, we are given the grace to persevere in faith. Our sacrifices on behalf of the Gospel of Life can contribute to the redemption of this current culture of death.
We are all called to fully participate in the culture of life that Jesus lived and died for. Through his teachings and the way he lived, Jesus taught us that every person has a dignity that comes directly from God. Our human dignity is not based on what we possess, but on who we are as God’s adopted sons and daughters.
Our culture does not believe that human life is sacred, from the moment of conception through natural death. So many events have become commonplace – senseless shootings in our major cities, innocent life taken by terrorists, killings based on ethnic and religious differences, executions sanctioned by the state, abortion facilities opening in our backyard with over 61,640,900 abortions taking place in our country during the 46 years since the Roe v. Wade decision. We can make a start by making the personal choice to uphold and really witness to the sanctity and dignity of every human life. We offer our prayers throughout this Respect Life month that our Catholic Christian values promoting a culture of life continue to influence everything that we do in our society and throughout the world.
The Gospels tell us of Jesus’ practice of gathering his apostles and going off to an out-of-the-way place for prayer, reflection, rest and relaxation. This week all of the priests of our Diocese of Joliet will be following the Lord’s example. We will be gathering with our Bishop at the Pheasant Run Resort near St. Charles, IL for our bi-annual convocation. All of us will be away from Monday afternoon through Thursday afternoon. Our first Joliet Diocesan Convocation of Priests took place in the early 1980’s. It was a very powerful experience for all of us to come together with our Bishops and spend time in prayer, brotherhood, conferences, conversation and sharing. Our current practice is to do this every two years. Our focus for this year’s convocation is two-fold. We will begin with an examination of best practices for ministry to and with those in alternative lifestyles, presented by representatives from the Courage group. The second half of the convocation will focus on missionary discipleship, with presentations by Deacon Keith Strohm and Marcel LeJeune of Catholic Missionary Disciples.
We will also take time to honor the priests celebrating significant anniversaries this year. Please keep us in prayer while we are away, as we will be sure to remember you. Since there will not be any daily Masses celebrated while we are away, our Deacons will provide Communion services at 7:00am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and at 8:15am on Wednesday with our school community. Our regular schedule of weekday Masses will resume on Friday morning.
Our Perpetual Adoration Chapel is near completion. We anticipate a dedication and formal opening of the Chapel in mid-October – once we have an occupancy permit. Good things are coming!
Thank you for your support of the 2019 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Thank you to the 904 households who have pledged and paid $151,573 towards our parish goal of $180,100. Please continue to make your payments towards fulfilling your pledge. If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the 2019 CMAA, please do so as soon as possible. We have additional commitment envelopes at the Parish Office and the Hospitality Desk in the Church. Again, thank you for your generosity.
It seems like autumn temperatures have settled upon us these last few days. Soon many of the trees will be changing colors. Let’s make it a point to notice the beauty of this season – it is the Lord’s gift to us in this present moment. As always, we pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy