A word from Pope St. John Paul II ~ “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”
On this last Sunday in January, we celebrate the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We continue to make our way through this brief stretch of this season between the celebrations of Christmas and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. We continue our year-long reading of Mark’s Gospel, picking up where we left off last week. Jesus began his preaching calling for repentance, and then began calling disciples to follow him, beginning with the brothers Peter and Andrew, and then James and John. Following their immediate response, Jesus moves on to Capernaum – the center of his ministry in Galilee and the city of his first teachings and miracles in Mark’s Gospel. This first miracle – rebuking an unclean spirit – gives us an important feature of Jesus’ ministry that occurs over and over in the Gospels: Sabbath, teaching, healing and authority. On a Sabbath, he enters the local synagogue, teaches with authority, heals a person troubled by an unclean spirit and confirms that his authority extends to his power over evil. The Kingdom of God has truly come near!
This final week of January is our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We have a long and proud history of Catholic education here at our parish. Next year we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Isidore Catholic School. This is a good time to celebrate our mission of passing on our faith tradition from one generation to the next. Due to COVID restrictions, we are not able to bring the Grade School choir to lead us in prayer at one of our Masses. But we will have representatives of the school community at the 10:00am Mass today to serve the larger parish community in the different liturgical ministries of the Mass. It is encouraging to see so many of our young people serving the parish in the different ministries of the Mass. They will continue their celebration at their school Mass on Wednesday at 8:15am in the church. Various additional activities are planned for each day throughout the week. We offer our prayers and thanks for our teachers, administrators, staff and al who share in the ministry of Catholic education.
On Tuesday, February 2nd, the 40th day following Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. According to the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:12-16), firstborn males were to be dedicated to the Lord. At the time of Jesus, this was done by a ceremony in the Temple, forty days after birth. Tuesday’s Gospel reading gives us the details of Jesus’ presentation. Since the Mass normally begins with the blessing of candles, the Feast is also known as “Candlemas Day.” Blessed candles for home use will be available following the morning Mass on Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 3rd is the memorial of St. Blasé. He was a bishop in Armenia and believed to have been martyred in the persecutions in the early 4th century. He is associated with the healing of throats. Traditionally, we celebrate this memorial with the blessing of throats. We will be happy to offer this blessing at the end of the 7:00am Mass and the regular School Mass.
We concluded the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity last Monday, January 25th. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity traditionally begins on January 18 – the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter – and concludes on January 25th – the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. These two feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul serve as bookends for our week of prayer. Since 1968 we have joined with other Christians throughout the world in praying as the Lord prayed, “that all may be one” (John 17:21). Even though the formal Week of Prayer has ended, we continue we continue to pray for the cause of Christian unity before us.
Save the date to attend our Centennial Virtual Gala called “There’s No Place Like Home” on Saturday, February 20th, starting with 5pm Mass and continuing with a full one-hour program. We were hoping to make this annual Dinner Dance the centerpiece of our parish Centennial celebration, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. This event benefits our school. Grand Raffle tickets for the $10,000 grand prize are now available at the parish and school websites.
Please see our weekly bulletin posted on the parish website for additional news, the additional notices posted on 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.
Fr. Jim Murphy