FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.”
Today we mark the Second Sunday of Lent. Our Gospel reading this weekend gives us Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Transfiguration. It is a moment of glory when everything in Jesus’ life came together. Coming at this point in our Lenten journey, this Gospel is a bit like an hors d’oeuvres — it is meant to give us a sneak-peak of the glory that Jesus won for us through his death and resurrection. And it is promised to us if we are faithful in living our call to be Jesus’ disciples. Our personal moments of glory, those moments when it seems as if everything in our life comes together, brief as they may be, are hints of what awaits us in God’s Kingdom.
During these early weeks of Lent, the Scripture readings and Mass prayers at our weekday Masses invite us to seriously respond to the call to conversion of heart that we heard both on Ash Wednesday and last Sunday’s First Sunday of Lent, and to continue in our efforts to enter into the season as best we can. The initial invitation is repeated again and again. We are called to deepen our response as disciples of the Lord Jesus. We are called to take the next step in our life-long task of turning away from our sinfulness and turning towards our God. The traditional Lenten penances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are held up before us as excellent ways of responding to this challenge to faithfully live the Lenten season.
Last weekend at out 5:00pm Saturday Mass, we affirmed the progress of our catechumen, Karina Melendez, in the RCIA process and formally sent her the diocesan Rite of Election, on Sunday at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. Congratulations to our catechumen, now called “The Elect,” and to her sponsor who accompanies her on her journey. She was formally called to celebrate the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil on April 11th. As Karina spends this Lent in preparation for her initiation into our community at Easter, she is a living sign of the conversion that we are all called to experience this Lent. We promise her and our Candidates for Full Communion the support of our prayers this Lent.
Our parish “2020 Lent, Holy Week & Easter Liturgies and Events” brochure was mailed to each of our families. Additional copies are available at the Hospitality Desk. Many opportunities for the traditional Lenten practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are listed. It also contains our parish calendar of Masses, devotions, times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Adult Faith Formation offerings. Please refer to it often during the season as we make our journey to the Easter Holy Days.
Last weekend, we read part of the message sent to us by our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Richard Pates, giving us some guidelines in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) on our local level. He asked that we eliminate hand to hand contact at the Our Father and at the sign of peace. A smile or a nod of the head would be an acceptable “sign of peace.” He also asked that we suspend communion from the cup. With so many unknowns about the coronavirus, it is better to err on the side of caution than risk a spread of the virus.
Our spring celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick will take place next Saturday, March 14th at 11:00am in the church. All three priests will be available for that Mass so that everyone who desires to celebrate this sacrament may be able to do so.
Thank you to all who joined us last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings for our 2020 Parish Mission. Father Richard Fragomeni blessed us each night with an engaging presentation and positive approaches to deepening our response to be disciples of the Lord. Thank you to those who shared witness presentations over the three nights. Thank you to those who provided the child care. Thank you to those who hosted Tuesday evening’s dinner and oversaw the refreshments on the other evenings. And thank you to you – each one of you who set aside the time to be here and to take the next steps in being a disciple of the Lord.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2020 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, and especially to those who responded to Bishop Conlon’s homily and pledged during our recent in-pew “Commitment Weekend.” We are off to a good start in reaching our parish goal. As this Appeal is the major source of funding for all of our Diocesan ministries and charities, we are doing everything possible to reach our 2020 CMAA goal of $173,800. As we came up short in reaching our 2019 parish goal in paid pledges, we are increasing our efforts to be faithful to our obligations to our larger diocesan church this year. As we have seen in the past, we can reach our parish goal in paid pledges with the participation of each family in our parish. In order to allow everyone an opportunity to participate, we will be conducting a “Follow-Up Commitment Weekend” next weekend, March 14/15. If you haven’t had a chance to pledge yet, please do so as soon as possible. Envelopes are available at the Hospitality Desk and at the Parish Office. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
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