MID-WEEK FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER by Father Jim Murphy
In the hopes of keeping us connected with each other at a time when our connections are stretched, here is edition #7 of my “Mid-Week” column.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled…. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places…. I am going to prepare a place for you…. I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him…. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14).
This Thursday we begin the final part of the Easter Season as our daily Gospel readings will lead us through the Farewell Discourse of John’s Gospel (John 13:16-17:26). This discourse covers five chapters in John’s Gospel and is situated at the Last Supper. It gives us an intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of the Lord on the night before he died. We will hear the words above in Friday’s Gospel, Saturday’s Gospel and then as a unit in Sunday’s Gospel.
Jesus begins his farewell to his disciples with an encouraging message – he will not abandon us. We were made for life – unending life with him. And through him we know and have seen the Father. Jesus is truly the face of God! A very positive and reassuring message as we continue our celebration of Easter and Mother’s Day this Sunday.
This powerful message stands in sharp contrast to the news we heard this week as we hope to return to “normal” following the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Pritzker’s 5-phase regional recovery plan to reopen our state made it clear that life will be different for some time. CDC guidelines for social distancing, limiting gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and face masks are a part of the long road to recovery. The daily report of COVID-19 cases and fatalities continues to rise. Gatherings of up to 50 people would not be permitted until Phase 4. As it stands now, larger gatherings would not be permitted until Phase 5 – which includes schools and churches. The Bishops of Illinois were due to meet this past Tuesday and the Joliet Presbyteral Council was meeting Wednesday afternoon before Bishop Pates would offer further guidance. As of Wednesday evening, we have not heard a word. We are living day to day, sometimes hour to hour. The “old normal” may be a thing of the past as we try to envision what the “new normal” might be.
So we continue to live-stream our Masses as best we can – Sundays 10:00am in English and 11:30am in Spanish. This Sunday’s 10:00am Mass will begin with our May Crowning led by representatives 8th Grade Class of 2020. It will conclude with a “Renewal of our Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Please see Saturday’s Flocknote to download Sunday’s Worship Aid – it includes a music guide for both the May Crowning and the Mass as well as the Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary prayer. As part of the e-learning in our Grade School, we will celebrate another School Mass next Wednesday at 8:15am. The Grand Opening of our 100th Anniversary year will be delayed until we can all be present and celebrate it as it deserves. Next weekend, in conjunction with Friday’s Feast of St. Isidore, we will hold a simple, “soft opening” of Centennial Year as it will run from 5/16/20 through 5/15/21.
Last Monday we were saddened to hear that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Daniel Conlon as Bishop of Joliet. Bishop Conlon was appointed the 5th Bishop of Joliet on May 17, 2011 and installed on July 14, 2011. He was granted a medical leave of absence by Pope Francis on December 23, 2019. The process for the selection of Bishop Conlon’s successor began immediately. For the present, Bishop Richard Pates, who was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the diocese on December 26, 2019, will continue to lead us in that role until a new bishop is installed. We remember both Bishop Conlon and Bishop Pates in our prayers.
Again this week, I’d like to make a simple request. In providing our live-streamed Masses, we are hoping to provide an opportunity for prayer while we are unable to be in our church building. Please remember that we are gathering for prayer. At times we can forget and treat our live-stream Mass like a chat room. Even though Facebook invites us to log-in with a comment and say “hello” to everyone, comments or typed responses are not necessary – only the joining of our hearts and voices is needed.
Please stay healthy and keep safe. God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, CA and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shares this prayer with the nation:
Prayer during a Pandemic
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas, we fly to you today as your beloved children. We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother, and gain for our nation and world, and for all our families and loved ones, the protection of your holy angels, that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted, we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing, teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind. Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence, knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother, health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection, keep us in the embrace of your arms, help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus.