A word from Pope Francis ~ “Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.”
We continue our celebration of Easter this weekend with the feast of the Ascension. Normally, this feast is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, which would have been last Thursday. Twenty-four 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 agreed to make the transfer, which took effect in May 2000. With the feast of Pentecost coming up next Sunday, we now move into the final days of the Easter Season.
During this final week of the Easter Season, we join with the Apostles and with Mary as they wait for the Risen Lord to fulfill his promise to send the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit strengthens us in our efforts to be better disciples of the Lord and to put his values and teachings into practice more and more in our lives. St. Paul tells us that the gifts of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness and chastity” (Galatians 5:22-23). Wherever these gifts are found, the Spirit of God is present. Conversely, if we are lacking in any of these gifts, we have yet to fully open our hearts to the presence of God’s Spirit in our lives. Notice that St. Paul does not include anger, resentment, bickering, grudges, prejudice, or a judgmental and unforgiving heart among the gifts of the Spirit. These all come from a different spirit! As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Pentecost next Sunday, it is important that we pray for an outpouring of all of the gifts of the Spirit upon ourselves, our parish and our larger church.
It seems like every midwestern college and university held their commencement ceremonies last weekend. Welcome back to our college students who are gradually making their ways home following their spring semester exams. Some still have exams to take. Know that you were remembered in prayer here at your parish. It is great to see you back in the neighborhood. Thank you for joining with us again at our Sunday Mass celebrations.
The annual Joliet Diocesan Priesthood Ordination Mass was celebrated on Saturday, May 20 at St. Raymond’s Cathedral in Joliet. Congratulations to the newly ordained Fathers Jeremy Leganski, Alexander Lorang, Frank Pusateri and Jared Rutnicki. Each new priest is celebrating his First Mass at his home parish today. They will be assigned as Parochial Vicars at various parishes around us, effective July 1. We promise them the continued support of our prayers as they begin their priestly ministry in our diocese.
This morning, I have the opportunity to join in the Graduation Mass and Commencement Exercises for the St. Francis High School Class of 2023. A number of our parishioners are among the graduates this year. Next Wednesday evening, I will celebrate the Graduation Mass for our St. Isidore Catholic School Class of 2023. Many of our graduates have been with us in our school since 3-year-old preschool. Congratulations to all who are celebrating a graduation this year. It has not been an easy road, especially with the COVID set-backs of the past few years. We ask God’s continued blessings upon your accomplishments and your future journeys.
Enjoy the beauty of the spring. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy