A word from Pope Francis ~ “A mother defends herself with a heart filled with love before doing so with words.”
Happy Mother’s Day! We wish God’s choicest blessings on all of the mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers and stepmothers of our parish. May God bless you for all of the wonderful things that you do. And in a special way as we gather around the table to the Lord, we remember our mothers who now live the fullness of life with the Lord. We pray God reward you for your goodness as you continue to pray for us in God’s presence.
We also want to remember those for whom this day brings incredible pain. Many couples, most unknown to others, struggle with infertility and the inability to become parents. Others may be alienated from their parents or their children, and this holiday only intensifies that pain. Please know that you have a special place in our prayer today.
During these middle Sundays of May, we continue our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection with the Sixth Sunday of the Easter season. We continue our reading of the Farewell Discourse from John’s Gospel. We hear a very powerful and encouraging message. Situated at the Last Supper, Jesus shares his parting wish with his disciples – keep on loving! “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” “Love one another as I love you.” “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” “This I command you: love one another.” Jesus prepares his disciples for his coming departure with these powerful words of encouragement.
Anticipated separations can rob us of a peaceful spirit and make us feel troubled or afraid. Change is never easy. Jesus knew the human heart well. And he knew their call to be his disciples would not be an easy one – that they would need someone to strengthen them (the Holy Spirit). As he prepares the apostles for what is to come, he is also preparing us for our celebration of the gift of God’s Spirit among us on Pentecost. We will celebrate that feast in just two weeks.
This past Friday evening and Saturday, we celebrated three Confirmation Masses during which 118 teens and adults from our parish were confirmed. Bishop Frank Kane, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, was with us for the Saturday morning Mass and I was able to celebrate the other two Masses. Congratulations to all who were confirmed this year. We were very happy to see them take this next step in their lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Thank you to Arizbeth Alcaraz and Terri Majeski who coordinated our Confirmation program this year. Thank you to Vera Zielinski who assisted with the details of the celebrations and to all of our catechists and facilitators who volunteered in our various formation programs that prepared our newly-confirmed parishioners to take this next step in their lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus.
As our Sunday and daily Gospel readings focus on the Lord’s promise to remain with us by the gift of his Spirit, we have the opportunity to reflect upon the third of the three Sacraments of Initiation we celebrated at the Easter Vigil – the Sacrament of Confirmation. During my homily at our parish celebration of Confirmation, I reminded the candidates of our call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus. As I explored what being a “disciple” really means, we saw that being a disciple in our day is not an easy path. Since the Lord also knew that, he promised to send us “another advocate” to be our strength and our guide. That advocate was none other than the Holy Spirit – sent to the early disciples and to us to be our strength. One of the ways that the Lord continues to be with us is through the gift of the Spirit, of which we have all received, beginning at our Baptism. Becoming aware of the Spirit’s presence among us is a wonderful way for us to conclude our celebration of the Easter season. Let’s listen carefully to the Lord’s Farewell Discourse over the next several days and appreciate the gift of the Spirit that has been given to us.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the feast of the Ascension. Normally this feast is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, which would be this coming Thursday, May 13th. Twenty-two years ago, our Bishops received permission to transfer the observance of the feast to the nearest Sunday. This had already been the practice in the western states of our country. The Bishops of the state of Illinois decided to make the transfer, which took effect in May 2000. So this Thursday is simply “Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter.” Next Sunday is the feast of the Ascension and the following Sunday will be the feast of Pentecost, bringing our 50-day Easter celebration to a close.
Next Saturday, May 15th, is the feast of St. Isidore the Farmer, our patron. It is also the day of the closing Mass of our 100th anniversary year. Bishop Ron Hicks will return to our parish to celebrate the 5:00pm Mass on Saturday, May 15th. Sadly, the COVID pandemic cancelled many of the celebrations that we had planned for this year. The social gathering we planned for after the Mass cannot take place. But we are very happy to have our bishop with us as we honor our past and look to our future. We will have a special commemorative centennial issue of our bulletin available next weekend. Reservations are required for this Mass and will open on Monday, May 10th at noon. The Mass will be live streamed. Please join us as you are able in celebrating this milestone in our history.
Today we have the opportunity to prayerfully remember Father John Guiney, SMA, on the seventh anniversary of his death. He faithfully served our parish as a Parochial Vicar from 1982 to 1989. He was originally assigned to St. Isidore for a one or two-year term in between missionary assignments in West Africa. But a slight heart attack that led to heart by-pass surgery and the onset of Type II diabetes prevented him from returning to his beloved missions in West Africa. In the end, we were the beneficiaries of that as he served here longer than he had originally planned. Even as his health was failing, he never focused attention upon himself, but always asked how our family members were doing. He continues to inspire us to this day. I am very grateful for the five years (1983-1988) that I was able to live and to serve with him here at St. Isidore.
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.
Father Jim Murphy