FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “Everything has suddenly changed. What we previously took for granted seems to be uncertain: the way we relate with others at work, how we manage our emotions, study, recreation, prayer, even the possibility of attending Mass.”
This week’s “word from Pope Francis” quotation was provided by our St. Isidore Catholic School principal, Mrs. Corie Alimento. She quoted the Pope in an email she sent to our school families concerning the re-opening of our parish school. She followed the Pope’s words with, “We all know this is the case. We all feel it. We are all experiencing stressors we have never had to deal with before.” She went on to say that we needed to hear the Holy Father name what we were all feeling. And in naming our feelings, he let us know that it is OK to feel stressed and anxious in our present situations. What do we do now? Corie named it for us – “God wants me to put my concerns, fears, anxiety, and stress in his hands. While our world is still uncertain, only when we give ourselves to the Lord will we find peace.” Thank you, Corie, for helping us name what we are all feeling and giving us a direction to follow.
Today we celebrate the 20th Sunday in the season of the Ordinary Time of the Year and we continue our chronological reading of St. Matthew’s gospel. We are given another healing story that takes place after a proclamation of great faith. The Canaanite woman, a foreigner, receives the healing of her daughter that she so urgently sought. Her actions inspire us to come to a deeper faith.
Given the restrictions placed upon us by the COVID-19 virus, we are trying to maintain as many of our familiar ministries as we can. Most of our attempts require us to think outside of the box. ZOOM meetings and live-streaming our events have become a viable option. As we look to the autumn and the traditional beginning of our RCIA process, I’d like to offer the following reflection.
One of my favorite “call” stories in the Gospels is the call of the apostle, Peter. John’s Gospel (Chapter 1) tells us that Peter’s brother, Andrew, was originally a disciple of John the Baptist. Once Jesus begins his public ministry, John the Baptist points his disciples in Jesus’ direction and they begin to follow Jesus. One of the first things that Andrew does after meeting Jesus is to go and get his brother, Peter. He wanted to share with his brother what he had experienced with Jesus. Andrew then brings Peter to meet the Lord. Peter begins his new life of faith with the invitation of his brother, Andrew.
It is amazing how this pattern is repeated in our own day. When I ask engaged couples how they met, many report that a mutual friend introduced them to each other. Someone else imagined some possibilities for them as a couple and then brought them together. God acted through the invitation. Or another example – when I interview potential seminarians for the Vocation Office, I ask when they first considered the priesthood. Many report that they didn’t even think of becoming a priest until someone else suggested the possibility to them. Someone else recognized priestly talent in them and asked if they ever thought of becoming a priest. That question was all that was needed to set the ball in motion. God acted again through the invitation given by another.
The same is often true when someone takes steps to become a Catholic. We can ask when they first considered becoming part of the church. Often it is the example of someone else in their life. They were encouraged by seeing someone else striving to faithfully live their faith through the normal ups and downs of life. Or someone else sensed they were searching for something deeper in life or for a church home and invited them to consider our faith. All it took was an invitation. Someone else was like Andrew inviting Peter to meet the Lord and the rest is history.
I share these thoughts with you as we are in the process of planning for another inquiry series this fall. Do you know someone who is searching for that something deeper in life that our faith can offer? Do you know someone who is looking for a church home where they are welcome and can belong? Do you know someone who may already be coming to Sunday Mass but has not taken any steps to become part of the Church? Or maybe someone has a child in 2nd Grade who may be celebrating First Eucharist in the spring and they are beginning to wonder about their own situation. Perhaps all that any of these people need is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. God can work through the invitation.
We hope to gather a new RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) group soon. How we will gather is still to be determined – in person with face masks and social distancing, or ZOOM meetings, or any other possibility that presents itself. The initial sessions are basic, introductory meetings. Information will be available; questions will be welcomed; there are no costs or additional obligations. If you can be an “Andrew” in another’s life, please invite them to consider these meetings. If you would like us to extend the invitation, please call Leonor Carvajal at 630-295-8351. Or if you would like additional information, please call Leonor. Someone may be waiting for an invitation that you are able to provide.
Yesterday’s Feast of the Assumption of Mary usually signals the end of the summer for me. Many of our college students are returning to school this weekend. Our Catholic high schools and grade schools are firming up their options for this year. Classes for our St. Isidore Catholic Grade School will begin this Wednesday, August 19th. Options and preparations are well underway with our Religious Education program. Parish life is changing every day, hour and minute. We ask God’s continued blessings on all our parish education ministries. And please see our online bulletin for additional news of all that is happening in our parish.
Let us remember in prayer all those who may be traveling at this time of year and our college students returning to their schools. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy