FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from St. Pope John Paul II ~ “What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return.”
As we gather on this Columbus Day holiday weekend, we celebrate the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time and continue our observance of Respect Life month. This weekend’s Gospel passage presents us with a very familiar healing story that we often hear at Thanksgiving. We find Jesus making his way to Jerusalem and the destiny that awaits him there. As he travels, he never fails to respond to the needs of others. As required by the Jewish law, the lepers keep their distance and call out to Jesus for healing. Without any outward signs or dramatic show, he simply instructs the lepers to show themselves to the priests, who are able to certify their healing. In faith, the ten follow Jesus command and suddenly discover that they were healed “as they were going.” The one who returned to express gratitude, a foreigner, received an additional gift. He was given not only healing from his leprosy, but the very promise of salvation!
We continue our observance of Respect Life Month with this year’s theme “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life.” Forty-six years ago the Catholic bishops in the United States designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout this month, we 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. One of the Respect Life initiatives of our parish begun a few years ago is our Expecting Parents’ Prayer List. The greatest gift we can give a couple preparing for the birth of their child is the gift of prayer. The Expecting Parents’ Prayer List is normally posted on the bulletin boards in the narthex and printed in the bulletin. Any couple who is expecting the birth of a child can have their names and due date added to this prayer list by calling the parish office. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to support our expecting parents with our prayers.
Thank you for your prayers for us and all of the priests of our diocese as we gathered with our Bishop last week for our Joliet Priests’ Convocation. It was a great experience for all of the priests of our diocese to be together with our Bishop for the three days of the Convocation. Our first Joliet Diocesan Convocation of Priests took place in the early 1980’s. At that first convocation, 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. Again this year, the spectrum ran from those newly ordained to those retired. As a group, we have a wide variety of talents and abilities. Despite these differences, we are all committed to doing the work of the Lord, each in our individual place and time.
Personally for me, it was good to see several of the priests I had served with in previous parish assignments. As we caught up with each other and shared our memories, it became very clear to me that each of us had all been in the right place at the right time in our lives.
On a more sober note, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the priests who were the vibrant leaders within our diocese when I was ordained 41 years ago were now moving at a much slower and more deliberate pace – including myself. And there were those who were no longer with us, either through death or those who have left active ministry. Overall, the convocation was good time to be together for prayer, sharing and fellowship.
Next Sunday we will have the opportunity to join the other parishes in our diocese and participate in the annual World Mission Sunday appeal. This is one of eleven special appeals in our Diocese over the course of the year. Funds collected through this appeal support the work of missioners throughout the world. The World Mission Sunday appeal is an excellent opportunity for us to support the needs of the larger church beyond our own parish and Diocese. Envelopes for this appeal were included in the packets mailed to our homes, or you may use one of the white supplementary envelopes in the racks in the pews. As always, thank you for your generous support.
Monday’s Columbus Day holiday has given many of our young people a 4-day or even 5-day weekend! Our parish offices will be closed on Monday, October 14th, in observance of Columbus Day. We will reopen at 9:00am on Tuesday, October 15th. Enjoy the holiday.
Last week’s cooler temperatures have brought out the autumn colors. The beauty all around us 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