FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “People are looking for someone to listen to them. Someone willing to grant them time, to listen to their dramas and difficulties. This is what I call the ‘apostolate of the ear,’ and it is important.”
On this final Sunday of the month of June, we celebrate the 13thSunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. It seems like we were celebrating Memorial Day just last week, and here it is the end of June and the beginning of July on Wednesday.
Overall, we were very happy with the way our full Sunday Mass schedule was launched last weekend. Our Senior Staff met last Monday to review the weekend and respond to suggestions we had received and make adjustments where needed. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we begin a totally new adventure in celebrating Mass with each other. The dangers of the COVID-19 virus are still among us and we need to do all that we can to make it safe for all of us to join together at Mass. Our three re-opening teams (check in team, ushers and sanitation team) have all worked together very well. Thank you to all who have stepped up to volunteer to serve on one of our teams. Your presence is deeply appreciated.
One glitch from last weekend that we caught was that we forgot to put the Palm Sunday palms out on a table outside the church at the 5:00pm Saturday Mass. Our order of palms was already on the way when we received word to close the campus last March. We received our complete order of palms just before Palm Sunday. They were blessed at both live-streamed Masses on Palm Sunday. As we were not able to distribute them on Palm Sunday, they were stored in the grade school milk cooler in the Chapel Lower Level until such time as we were able to make them available. Now that we are able to gather together again for Mass, we wanted to make them available to you. They were out on tables for the Masses on Sunday and will be available again this weekend. As we had received a full order, you may take as many as you would like for yourselves and even your neighbors. Again, they were blessed at our Masses on Palm Sunday.
Now that our “new normal” weekend Mass schedule has been launched, our next task was to resume weekday Masses. As we did with our Sunday schedule, we thought it best to take baby steps and began last Wednesday with our 7:00am daily Mass. As the group that normally attends that Mass is considerably smaller than our weekend Masses, we are not taking reservations for seating. We still need to check in once we enter the church, wear a face mask at all times and maintain proper social distancing. As our seating capacity in the church was reduced to 135 people, we will hold off on resuming the 12:05pm daily Mass. Normally, that Mass had between 200 to 300 people regularly attending it, depending on the season of the year. Many came to us from surrounding communities.
Several weeks ago, we were asked to announce that since Father Juan José Hernandez’ three year term as a Parochial Vicar at our parish was ending, he had been asked to pursue additional studies in Canon Law in preparation for service on our Diocesan Tribunal. His time with us concludes on this Wednesday, July 1st. Later this summer he will begin his advanced studies in Canon Law in Washington, DC. I have asked him to speak at each Mass this weekend as he takes leave of us. As both the 11:00am and 1:00pm Spanish Masses are live-streamed, we will provide his parting thoughts in both English and Spanish in a Flocknote and on our parish website sometime next week. We extend our deepest appreciation to Father Juan José for his faithful service to our parish community and wish him God’s blessings as he continues his studies in Canon Law.
A few weeks ago, we were happy to announce that Father Asirvadam Dandu is assigned as the new Parochial Vicar to our parish, effective July 1st. We will have an opportunity to welcome Father Dandu to our parish the following weekend. I am very grateful that we will continue to have three full-time priests serving our parish community.
It doesn’t seem possible that we will be enjoying the 4th of July holiday next weekend. With the actual holiday falling on a Saturday this year, the holiday will be observed on Friday giving us a mid-summer three day holiday weekend to enjoy some summer activities with family and friends. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Saturday at 9:00am in the Church. All are welcome to join us for this special Mass as we give thanks to God for all the blessings and freedoms we experience in our country. We hope to live-stream that holiday Mass as we did with our Mass on Memorial Day.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2020 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, and especially to those who responded during our in-pew “Commitment Weekend” which we held the weekend before Ash Wednesday. Especially in these difficult financial times, our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Our CMAA goal this year is $173,800. Thank you to the 797 households who have pledged $171,310 towards our 2020 goal. That means that we are just $2490 shy of reaching our 2020 goal in pledges! And of the amount that has been pledged, we have already paid $117,552 towards those pledges. The diocese is currently contacting households who contributed to the Appeal last year, but have not yet contributed this year. If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the 2020 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, please join me and make your pledge as soon as possible. And please be sure to continue your monthly payments to your pledge. Your generosity is deeply appreciated and helps us meet our obligations to the larger Diocesan church.
Many other things are taking place in our parish. Please check the online weekly bulletin posted on our website, the emailed Flocknotes and other notices posted on our parish Facebook page. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy