FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “The free person is the one who chooses what is good, what is pleasing to God, even if it requires effort, even if it is not easy.”
As we continue our struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, we deal with the blurry lines between work, church, school and home. We try our best to create some structure and routine. One of the routines already available to us is found in our church calendar – our celebration of the Easter Season. This weekend we celebrate the Sixth Sunday of the season and continue our reading from the Farewell Discourse from John’s Gospel. This discourse covers five chapters in John’s Gospel (John 13:16-17:26).
This weekend we hear a very powerful and encouraging message. Situated at the Last Supper, Jesus shares a special farewell gift with his disciples. At Jesus request, the Father will send “another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.…” While Jesus, their original advocate, will be leaving them immediately after their meal, the other advocate will remain with them always, reminding them of Jesus and his teaching.
Anticipated separations can rob us of a peaceful spirit and make us feel troubled or afraid. Change is never easy. We’ve seen this first hand again and again during this pandemic. Jesus knew the human heart well. And he knew their call to be his disciples would not be an easy one – that they would need someone to strengthen them (the Holy Spirit). 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. As he prepares the apostles for what is to come, he is also preparing us for our celebration of the gift of God’s Spirit among us on Pentecost. We will celebrate that feast in just two weeks.
Thank you to Mrs. Alimento and her staff who made it possible for us to celebrate our May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to our 10:00am live-streamed Mass last Sunday. Normally the May Crowning was 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. With our school building closed due to the pandemic, we were unable to do this with the entire 8th grade class. In order to comply with the CDC restrictions of 10 persons or less at each gathering, Mrs. Alimento and her staff worked out a way to select representatives from the Class of 2020 who led us in this ceremony. We were also able to include a special prayer of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you to all who worked to make this possible.
With the national observance of “Nurses’ Appreciation Week” earlier this month, a suggestion was made that we celebrate a “White Mass” honoring our health care first responders. This would be similar to the “Blue Mass” we celebrate each year on the Sunday prior to 9/11 honoring our Police, Firefighters and EMTs. We will do this with a live-streamed Mass on Tuesday, May 19th at 7:00pm. We chose 7:00pm as that hour represents the normal shift change in our local hospitals. The Mass will be later posted to our parish web site for viewing by those unable to join us live. We hope to have a Worship Aid prepared that can be down loaded that afternoon. This is another opportunity for us to keep in prayer those who lay their lives on the line each day of this health crisis.
About two years ago our Parish Centennial Committee began meeting to plan our year-long celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of our parish. 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. Since last Friday, May 15th, was the Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer, patron of our parish, we had originally intended on launching our parish’s Centennial Year celebrations this weekend at yesterday’s 5:00pm Mass. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had planned on a full year celebration of the Centennial of our parish – May 16, 2020 through May 15, 2021. As we are revising our plans for our various celebrations, I feel it is important to hold a “soft opening” of our Centennial celebrations today 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.
This Friday, May 22nd will be the final day of e-learning for our grade school students and will mark the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Our tradition has been to begin each school year with Mass and to close each year with Mass. In keeping with that tradition, I will celebrate a Closing School Year Mass on Friday, May 22nd at 10:00am. As with our previous school Masses, it will be live-streamed. All are welcome to join us as we look back over the year and thank God for safely seeing us through the most difficult year in our history.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the feast of the Ascension. Normally this feast is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, which would be this coming Thursday, May 21st. Twenty-one years ago, our Bishops received permission to transfer the observance of the feast to the nearest Sunday. This had already been the practice in the western states of our country. The Bishops of the state of Illinois decided to make the transfer, which took effect in May 2000. So this Thursday is simply “Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter.” Next Sunday is the feast of the Ascension and the following Sunday will be the feast of Pentecost, bringing our 50-day Easter celebration to a close.
Thank you to those who are continuing their Sunday Offertory donations to the parish, either though on-line giving, by mail or by dropping them off at the parish office. Many have been making “catch up” donations to cover the Sunday when we were unable to gather in person. Thank you for your faithfulness in caring for our parish.
Even though new life continues to bloom all around us, this is not the May 2020 that we had expected. God continues in marvelous ways to see us through this time. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy