A word from Pope Francis ~ “The Spirit, the living memory of the church, reminds us that we are born from a gift and that we grow by giving, not by holding on, but by giving of ourselves.”
Happy Memorial Day weekend! It does not seem possible that the first of our summer holidays is upon us, especially following this past year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This holiday is most welcome!
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was initiated to honor the soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies who died during the American Civil War. Celebrations honoring Civil War heroes started the year after the war ended, but the establishment of a public holiday was meant to unify the celebration as a national day of remembrance instead of a holiday celebrated separately by the Union and Confederate states. By the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to include the deceased veterans of all the wars fought by American forces. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday and was given the floating date of the last Monday in May. This holiday gives us the opportunity to pray for the dedicated men and women who maintain and preserve peace and freedom for us and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is an important day for us to remember. Please note that we print the “Military Prayer List” in our bulletin each week.
Memorial Day Mass will be celebrated in the Church at 9:00am on Monday. Please note the time of the Mass – we normally celebrate one Mass on civil holidays at 9:00am. This is a perfect way for us to observe the holiday. Parish Offices will be closed on Monday for the holiday.
Last Sunday’s celebration of the Feast of Pentecost was a wonderful, spirit-filled celebration. And it brought our 50-day celebration of the Easter season to a great conclusion. Now that we have entered into the “Bridge Phase” of the COVID restrictions, social distancing requirements have been relaxed from six feet to three feet. That opens up the alternate rows in the church that had been closed to allow for the six feet social distancing. While we still maintain the front left and front right sections of the church for those preferring the previous distance, opening up the center sections allowed us to add an additional 200 seats. It also allowed our choir to gather in their regular section at three feet intervals. And gather they did! Their voices filled the church with melodies and harmonies we have not heard in over a year. Their joy and enthusiasm at being together again was easily felt by all at the 10:00am Mass. Without a doubt, the choir rose to the occasion and did an outstanding job in leading our community in prayer. If you weren’t able to join us either in person or on the live stream of the Mass, our Pentecost Sunday 10:00am Mass is archived on our parish website. Let the music lift your soul to new heights!
Now that we have completed the Lent/Easter cycle of our church year, we have a few additional weekend feasts of the Lord before we return to the steady cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time. On this final Sunday in May, we celebrate the first of those feasts — the Feast of the Holy Trinity.
The first mention of a feast of the Trinity appeared in 1030 and was celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. Pope John XXII made it a feast of the universal church in 1334, and chose the first Sunday after Pentecost (today) for the celebration of the new feast.
Next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Apart from the dark themes of Holy Thursday night, we have the opportunity to appreciate the presence of the Lord Jesus among us in the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the first Mass celebrated in our original church was on March 27, 1921, that also means 100 years of continued Eucharistic presence of the Lord on our parish campus. From the time of that first Mass celebrated in our original church, the presence of the Lord has remained on our campus through the Eucharist.
Another positive step forward – beginning next Sunday, June 6th, we will resume having printed copies of our weekly bulletin available at church. Over the past year it has only been available in digital form on our parish website. That may have worked for some, but for parishioners who don’t have access to the internet, it has been a constant frustration. We will still have to distribute the bulletin in a safe way after Mass, but hard copies are returning beginning next weekend.
We continue to see progress in our parish’s response to the 2021 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. As of last Monday 625 households have pledged $146,069 towards our parish goal of $167,300. And of the amount pledged, $113,856 has already been paid. Last week, Bishop Hicks sent follow-up letters to those who have pledged in previous years but have not pledged this year. If you haven’t had a chance to respond yet, please do so as soon as possible. Payments may be spread out over the next few months. Please join me and help us to reach our 2021 CMAA goal. We can do this with the participation of each family in our parish. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
Please see additional news in today’s bulletin, the additional notices posted on Flocknote and other notices on our parish Facebook page. We try to use as many social 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