FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “Why can’t our judgment be like the Lord? Because God is Almighty and we are not? No, because our judgment is lacking mercy. And when God judges, He judges with mercy.”
Today we celebrate the final Sunday in September, 2020, the first weekend in the new season of autumn, and the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. These past few weekends we have heard some timely and challenging readings from Matthew’s Gospel. Last weekend, as the landowner in the parable freely gave each of his workers a full daily wage, no matter what time they began work, we realized that we have been given an abundance of gifts from God – even though we were among the last called. This weekend brings us the parable of the two sons. This story challenges the complacent, those who presume that things are good enough between themselves and God, to examine the integrity of their discipleship. To the father’s invitation to go out and work in the vineyard, the first son replies, “I don’t want to,” but later changes his mind and goes. The second son agrees to go work but carries on with his usual routine. The parable reinforces Jesus’ insistence that words alone do not prove that one is his disciple. They must be accompanied by action. We have to walk the walk. We are given a challenging invitation to say “yes” to God’s plan for us and then follow through on our “yes.”
We join with the Diocese of Joliet in inviting our parishioners to celebrate the installation of our new bishop, Most Reverend Ronald A. Hicks this Tuesday, September 29th. On Monday evening, Bishop Hicks will join the priests of our Diocese for a Vespers Service of Welcome at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. This will begin at 7:00pm. Bishop Hicks will be installed as the sixth Bishop of Joliet on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 10:00am. The Installation Mass will also take place at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus. Due to the gathering limitations in place during COVID-19, both events will be live-streamed for all to join us virtually at http://www.dioceseofjoiet.org or http://www.youtube.com/DioceseofJolietIL. We promise our new Bishop the support of our prayers as he begins his ministry among us.
Last Sunday we were given an invitation from the St. Isidore / Resurrection Marriage Encounter Community to consider their redesigned Marriage Encounter weekend. Like all ministries in our church, Marriage Encounter has been challenged to redesign their usual way of presenting their experience. Normally offered at a local hotel over the course of a weekend, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their way of experiencing Marriage Encounter from a weekend to a series of consecutive Thursday nights over several weeks beginning this Thursday – October 1st. The Marriage Encounter experience is not for troubled marriages – but is designed to help make good marriages better. For more information, please see our parish website and consider experiencing Marriage Encounter in its new redesigned format.
As the wildfires rage on the west coast and multiple hurricanes are battering the Gulf coast, Bishop Pates has asked us to provide an opportunity for a Second Collection that will benefit those who are suffering through these natural disasters. He asked that we do that this weekend – September 26-27. We will have additional collection baskets at both the check-in table in the narthex and at the exits of the church. Funds collected will be sent to Catholic Charities USA. If you would like to mail in a contribution, please send it to the parish office, checks payable to the Diocese of Joliet. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
We are partnering again this year with the Northern Illinois Food Bank in providing Thanksgiving Dinner food baskets for those in need among us. Your $20 donation will provide a Thanksgiving Dinner basket for a family. We need to place our order with the Northern Illinois Food Bank by October 9th. Donations can be made at our Masses over the next two weeks or at the parish office. Thank you in advance for your care for those in need among us.
There is a story told of an elderly man who was in the hospital admitting office. As this was his first admit to this hospital, the clerk behind the desk was taking his personal information. When she got down to the “Religion” blank, she asked him, “Do you have a religion preference?” He paused for a moment and said, “I have often thought about being a Catholic, but no one ever asked me about it before.”
I share this story because we began another Inquiry Series last Sunday. Now is the time to invite others to experience God’s presence in their lives as we have. 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 will 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 and you could be the person to extend the invitation! God can work through the invitation.
Cooler temperatures are coming our way as the autumn season settles upon us. Let’s make it a point to notice the beauty of this season – it is the Lord’s gift to us in this present moment. Please see our weekly bulletin posted on the parish website for additional news, the additional notices with this mid-week Flocknote and other notices on our parish Facebook page. We try to use as many social media vehicles as possible to keep everyone up-to-date with all that is happening here. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy