FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “May the Virgin Mary help us so that, we do not allow ourselves to be distracted by external things, but make room in our hearts for the One who has already come and wants to come again to heal our illnesses and to give us his joy.”
As we continue our struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, we pause to celebrate Mother’s Day as best we can. We wish God’s choicest blessings on all of the mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers and stepmothers of our parish. May God bless you for all of the wonderful things that you do. And in a special way as we gather for our live-streamed Mass around the table to the Lord, we remember our mothers who now live the fullness of life with the Lord. We pray God reward you for your goodness as you continue to pray for us in God’s presence.
We also want to remember those for whom this day brings incredible pain. Many couples, most unknown to others, struggle with infertility and the inability to become parents. Others may be alienated from their parents or their children, and this holiday only intensifies that pain. Please know that you have a special place in our prayer today.
An unexpected blessing of our shelter-at-home restrictions is that we are able to celebrate a May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to our 10:00am live-streamed Mass this morning. Normally the May Crowning is celebrated with the school community at the first school Mass of May with the 8th Grade Class (dressed in their finest) leading us in prayer. This has been one of the ways in which we not only honor Mary, but also celebrate our 8th Grade Graduates each year. Looking for a way to continue that tradition with our Class of 2020, we immediately thought of Mother’s Day. In order to comply with the CDC restrictions of 10 persons or less to each gathering, Mrs. Alimento and her staff worked out a way to select representatives from the Class of 2020 who are leading us in this ceremony. They will also lead us in the prayer of Consecration to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Thank you to all who worked to make this possible.
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.
During these middle Sundays in May we continue our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection with the Fifth Sunday of Easter. We move into the final part of the Easter season and turn our attention upon Jesus’ parting gift of the Holy Spirit. Last Thursday in the weekday cycle of Scripture readings, we began reading from 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 a glimpse into the heart and mind of the Lord on the night before he died. In some respects it can be viewed as Jesus’ Last Will and Testament – his departing wish for the community of his disciples, the church. From now until the end of the Easter Season on Pentecost Sunday, we will be reading from the Farewell Discourse.
As the Lord promises to remain with us by sending another advocate, the gift of the Spirit, we have the opportunity to reflect upon the third of the three Sacraments of Initiation that are normally celebrated at the Easter Vigil – the Sacrament of Confirmation. At the heart of the Sacrament of Confirmation is our call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus. As we consider what being a “disciple” really means – taking what was important to the Lord and making it important to us – we quickly realize that being a disciple in our day is not an easy path. Since the Lord also knew that, he promised to send us “another advocate” to be our helper and our guide. That advocate was none other than the Holy Spirit – sent to the early disciples and to us to be our strength. One of the ways that the Lord continues to be with us is through the gift of the Spirit, of which we have all received, beginning at our Baptism and deepened at our Confirmation. Becoming aware of the Spirit’s presence among us is a wonderful way for us to conclude our celebration of the Easter season. Even though we are unable to be present for daily Mass, I encourage each of us to prayerfully read the daily Scripture readings during the next three weeks and appreciate the gift of the Spirit that has been given to us.
This Friday, May 15th, is the Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer, patron of our parish. We will anticipate the
Feast of St. Isidore with our school community with a live-streamed Mass at 8:15am on Wednesday, May 13th. We had originally intended to launch our parish’s Centennial Year celebrations next weekend at Saturday’s 5:00pm Mass. While our parish was founded on March 5, 1920, we thought our patron’s feast day would be an ideal time to begin our 100th anniversary celebrations. In its place, we will hold a “soft opening” of our Centennial Year celebrations next Sunday at the live-streamed 10:00am Mass. We will hold a more fitting full blown opening later in the summer when we can all be together to honor our parish.
While our parish buildings are closed, we have a skeleton crew at the Parish Office to handle mail and deliveries and to pay our bills. Messages left on our parish voice mail are checked throughout the day. While we wait to see what our “new normal” will look like, all parish ministries and services have been asked to rewrite their budgets for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Thank you to all who continue to provide their stewardship support of the parish through on-line giving or mailing their weekly envelopes to the parish. It is greatly appreciated.
Our recent warm temperatures seemed to have encouraged our spring blossoms into opening. Let us take time to notice and appreciate this beautiful season of the year – God’s gift to us in a difficult time. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy