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.
Today we continue our celebration of this glorious season with the Fourth Sunday of Easter. This Sunday is traditionally known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” This came to be because in all three cycles of the Lectionary, the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter gives us one of the Good Shepherd sayings from John’s Gospel. “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” “The sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” Besides being very comforting and reassuring, it also helps us to continue our Easter reflection on the gift of the Eucharist – one of the Sacraments of Initiation we celebrated at the Easter Vigil. As the shepherd feeds his sheep, so also does the Lord feed us.
Thank you to all who helped make our parish May Crowning at last Sunday’s 10:00 am Mass such a beautiful celebration. May has traditionally been dedicated to honoring Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Our parish May Crowning was led by representatives of our St. Isidore Catholic School 8th grade class, representatives of our liturgical ministers and our Council of Catholic Women. Our CCW Women of the Year for both 2021 and 2022 also joined with us. And thank you to the choir for leading us in song.
In last Sunday’s column, I promised to provide an update on the current COVID regulations that we are observing. Following are the highlights, and a more complete summary can be found on page 5 of this weekend’s bulletin. Beginning on Palm Sunday, Bishop Hicks reinstated the obligation for us to attend Sunday Mass in person. Face masks are recommended, but not required. A special seating area is available for those who wish to maintain additional social distancing in the section of pews near the choir. For Communion, taking the host in the hand is the norm, and there is no Communion from the cup. Each person may extend whichever Sign of Peace makes him or her most comfortable. Holy water may be returned to the fonts and collection baskets may be passed. Finally, altar servers and the Offertory Gift procession have not yet been restored. We will continue to pass along any changes in COVID precautions as they are announced.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2022 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Bishop Hicks has recently sent a letter to those families who have responded to the Appeal in past years but have yet to respond this year. According to last Monday’s Appeal update, thus far 576 households have pledged $145,101 towards our parish goal of $154,900. 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 2022 CMAA goal. We can do this with the participation of each family in our parish. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.
May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy