FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “No one can face life in isolation … We need a community that supports and helps us, in which we can help and support one another to keep looking ahead. How important it is to dream together…”
As we gather on this Columbus Day holiday weekend or the Indigenous Peoples Day holiday weekend, we celebrate the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time and continue our observance of Respect Life month. We hear in the Gospel that the tension between Jesus and the religious leaders continues to escalate to the near breaking point. Matthew’s inclusion of this parable of the wedding feast at this point in his Gospel helps him make sense of the situations faced by the early church at the time he wrote his gospel. Both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem had already been destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. Matthew interpreted this as the consequence of Israel’s rejection of Jesus and their hostility and violence toward the Christian community. Many were asking what direction to take now that the Temple and Jerusalem were in ruins. Matthew’s answer – become a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth! As we know and profess – Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! Sadly, we will see the Pharisees response to Jesus and their repeated attempts to trap him in next week’s Gospel.
We continue our observance of Respect Life Month with this year’s theme “Live the Gospel of Life.” Forty-eight years ago the Catholic bishops in the United States designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout this month, we are called in a special way to reflect on the gift of human life, the threats against it and how we can protect all persons from conception through natural death.
One of the Respect Life initiatives of our parish is our Expecting Parents’ Prayer List. It is only right that we should support our expecting parents with our prayers. It is normally printed on the “Hear our Prayer …” page of our weekly bulletin. Any couple who is expecting the birth of a child can have their names and due date added to this prayer list by calling the parish office. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to support our expecting parents with our prayers.
We are currently in the midst of celebrating our COVID pandemic postponed celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation. We had originally planned on celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation over the Memorial Day weekend last May. Now we are catching up. We were very happy to welcome our new Bishop Ronald Hicks to our parish last Friday evening for the first of three Confirmation Masses. He will return on Tuesday, October 13th for another Mass at 7:00pm and again on Wednesday, October 15th for our final Confirmation Mass, also at 7:00pm. Our Connect Youth Ministry staff have scheduled our candidates for the different celebrations. With the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, we are only able to have the Confirmation candidate, their sponsor and their parents present in the church. We are live-streaming each celebration for those who are unable to celebrate with us in person. This is the last major celebration of sacraments that was postponed from the COVID-19 closure last spring. Thank you for your patience as we catch up with our celebrations, and thank you to our parish staff members who have handled the details in finalizing our celebrations. We continue to remember our 2020 Confirmation candidates in prayer as they prepare for their Confirmation.
Thank you for your tremendous response to our Thanksgiving Dinner box collection. We have been collecting for our Thanksgiving Dinner boxes over the past few weeks. We partner with the Northern Illinois Food Bank who prepare the Thanksgiving Dinner Boxes that we distribute. We set a goal of 285 families for our outreach this year and prayed that we would reach that goal. Last week we ordered 407 Thanksgiving Dinner Boxes that will be delivered here a week before Thanksgiving and will be distributed to families in need by our volunteers. Thank you for your very generous response to our appeal and help to provide so many families in need with next month’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Last week’s cooler temperatures have brought out the autumn colors. The beauty all around us 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