FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound. In the risen Jesus, life conquered death.”
We continue our Easter celebration of life as we continue to walk through the darkness of the Coronavirus pandemic. To say that we have never been here before in our lifetimes is an understatement. This is a totally new experience for all of us – an experience we never would have imagined in our worst nightmares.
We stumble along in the midst of this nightmare. As no one knows the right steps to take, we live minute by minute. Just last Monday, over the course of the day, we received three emails from the Bishop and two more from the diocesan Finance Office. It is not hard to fear that the darkness will overcome us.
On Friday, April 17th, Governor JB Pritzker formalized what we all feared – that our parishes and schools would remain closed through the end of the academic year. Up to that point I had hopes that we would be able to open for even a week before the school year ended so that we could appropriately honor the Class of 2020. I know very well what that involves for our parish grade school and through my ministry at St. Francis High School I have been a part of many end-of-the-year senior class celebrations. I was very much aware of the sadness that I felt as these realizations settled in, and can only imagine what our 8th graders and seniors at our local high schools are experiencing. It was as if someone had broken into our home and stolen some very special memories. And hearing the pandemic death rate each night on the evening news assures me that it will be some time before we are even able to open our buildings again.
Throughout all of this, we are looking for alternative ways to celebrate our St. Isidore Catholic School Class of 2020. One of the highlights of the 8th grade year has been the traditional May Crowning they led at the first school Mass in May. We are currently looking for ways to have a small group representing this class lead us in a May Crowning on Mother’s Day at the beginning of our live streamed 10:00am Mass. Plans for our 8th Grade graduation have yet to be determined. We are also looking to add a few Wednesday morning live streamed School Masses at 8:15am as a feature of the students’ e-learning for the day. Our first School Mass will be this Wednesday, April 29th at 8:15am. We hope to have another Mass at 8:15am on Wednesday, May 13th – anticipating the Feast of St. Isidore (May 15th). We hope to have a final School Mass on Friday, May 22nd to conclude the school year (time TBA).
Our celebrations of First Communion were scheduled to be held yesterday and next Saturday. The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation was scheduled for Saturday, May 30th. These celebrations will need to be rescheduled once we have an idea of when our buildings may reopen.
For over a year now, our Centennial Committee had been planning on launching our parish centennial celebration on Saturday, May 16th at the 5:00pm Mass. Obviously, we won’t be back in our church on that date. St. Isidore parish was established as a parish on March 5, 1920. Our original church (now our Chapel) was built and the first Mass was celebrated on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1921. We had planned on a full year celebration of the 100th Anniversary of our parish – May 16, 2020 through May 15, 2021. We are currently considering ways to launch our Centennial Year as best as we can. Please stay tuned.
In spite of all that we are facing, the words of Pope Francis quoted above assure us that “the Easter Gospel will resound. In the risen Jesus, life conquered death.” And so we join with the rest of the church throughout the world, we celebrate today the Third Sunday of Easter and continue to rejoice in this great season of new life. During this past week, our weekday Gospel readings led us through John, Chapter 3. We saw Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and listened to his teaching on the need to be “born again.” It gave us the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate the gift of our Baptism. On Friday, we began reading from John, Chapter 6 – the great Bread of Life discourse. This is the beginning of our reflection on another of the Sacraments of Initiation that normally would have been celebrated at the Easter Vigil – the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Since Father Juan Jose Hernandez is nearing the end of his 3-year term as a Parochial Vicar at St. Isidore parish, it was announced a few weeks ago that he will be leaving us as of July 1st to begin studies in Canon Law in Washington, DC, leading to future ministry in the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal. Last weekend we were asked to announce that Father Asirvadam Dandu will be assigned as a Parochial Vicar at St. Isidore parish effective July 1st. He is currently the administrator of St. Luke parish in Carol Stream. We will have additional background information about Father Dandu in the near future. We have been blessed to have had Father Juan José serving our parish for the past three years. I am also very grateful that we will continue to have three full-time priests serving our parish. We will schedule a time to say thank you to Father Juan José before his departure date.
We spent 40 days fasting in preparation for the feast of Easter. Now we are called to spend 50 days feasting in celebration. We need to hold on to our Easter belief that God always leads us from death to new life. God will lead us through this pandemic to totally new life. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy
Once again, I share this “Prayer for a Pandemic” – it was sent to me by one of our parishioners.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us chose love.
During this time when we cannot physically
wrap our arms around each other,
yet find ways to be the loving embrace
of God to our neighbors.