A word from Pope Francis ~ “A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.”
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 Ordinary Time in the weeks between Christmas and Ash Wednesday. We continue our year-long reading of Luke’s Gospel, picking up where we left off last week. Jesus had returned to Nazareth, and in a very brief homily in the synagogue there, he identified himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. This did not go over well in his hometown where everyone thought they knew him. Jesus did not back down. He confronted their lack of faith – “no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” He unleashed a fury when he reminded them of times when the prophets Elijah and Elisha were sent to care for people outside of the Jewish community. However, like Jeremiah in the first reading, God enveloped him with protections so that he was able to slip away from an angry crowd. Things did not go well in his return visit to his home town!
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. This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of St. Isidore Catholic School. This week is a good time to celebrate our mission of passing on our faith tradition from one generation to the next. The School students will serve our parish community at the 10:00am Mass by serving as lectors and greeters, and the Grade School Choir will lead us in music. It is encouraging to see so many of our young people serving the parish in the different ministries of the Mass. The Knights of Columbus are joining in the celebration by sponsoring a Pancake breakfast from 8am-noon. There will be an Open House in the School from 11:00am-noon, and everyone is invited. The students will continue their celebration into next week at the 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 all who share in the ministry of Catholic education.
Congratulations to our parish 2nd Graders who celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time this past week. Services were held on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Saturday morning. It was great to celebrate this wonderful Sacrament of God’s healing with them and their parents. Congratulations also go to their parents and teachers who brought them to this special moment in their lives. We look forward to their First Communion celebrations in early May during Easter Season.
On Wednesday, February 2, 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. Wednesday’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 Masses on Wednesday.
Thursday, February 3 is the memorial of St. Blase. He was a bishop in Armenia and is 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 and 12:05pm Masses on Thursday.
We concluded the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity last Tuesday, January 25. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity traditionally begins on January 18 – the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter – and concludes on January 25 – 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 to pray for the cause of Christian unity before us.
Save the date – Saturday, February 26, 2022 – to attend the St. Isidore Catholic School “Legendary Gala – A Tribute to Our 100th Anniversary.” This is a wonderful opportunity for coming together during the cold winter months to celebrate the first 100 years of our Catholic Grade School and to welcome the next 100 years. The Gala will take place on Saturday, February 26 beginning at 5pm with dinner, and auction at 7pm, held at Belvedere Banquets, 1170 W Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village. It promises to be a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with fellow parishioners. And this 100th Anniversary celebration is also a great opportunity for alumni to return and alumni parents to reconnect with each other. Call your classmates! Call your friends! Plan on getting a table. This event benefits our school. Grand Raffle tickets for the $10,000 grand prize are now available at the parish and school offices and websites. Additional information is available at the school office and elsewhere in the bulletin.
Once we get past the holidays, January seems to be a very long month. It can seem even longer when the Bears end their season before the playoffs. Even though the days are gradually getting longer, the winter has had a few difficult moments. This Tuesday we begin the shortest month of the year. Can spring be too far off? May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy