All of Us – #101

Happy Father’s Day

Today we acknowledge and congratulate all those who have embraced the role of fatherhood. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those fathers who do a great job at modeling the values of faith, hope and love for their children. Fatherhood is a gift from God and we pray that all fathers follow the example of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and patron saint of fathers.

Kids today need good dads for guidance and support. The truth is that children can easily get lost when they are disconnected from their parents. Kids need someone to look up to in their life. They need someone to listen to their worries and concerns and reassure them that things will be okay. They need a dad to hug them affectionately when they do well and forgive them when they mess up. They need a dad to laugh at the silly things in life and challenge them to never forget what is important in life. They need a dad that will always remind them that no matter what…they are loved and they always belong to the family. And yes, they need a dad who will drive them to church on Sunday, and pray with them in the pew, so that they can constantly grow in their faith together.

Thank you dads for all that you do, day in and day out! Remember, we need you! Stay strong! Stay holy!

Where Are We Now? Where Are We Going?

In March of this year, our two parishes conducted a joint feasibility study in light of a possible capital campaign that would begin in the fall of 2015. The primary purpose and goal of the capital campaign would be centered on eliminating the overall current debt for our two parishes and school.

You may remember from previous financial reports given at Sunday Mass we noted that if we raised $4 million in a capital campaign, the Archdiocese of Chicago would relieve another $8 million of our debt as sign of their generosity and support. The Archdiocese offered us a “$2 match for every $1 raised” in our capital campaign.

Partners for Sacred Places conducted the Feasibility Study for us. Forty-one parishioners were personally interviewed for about an hour sharing their history, connection, thoughts and perceptions about Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes and school. You can read the Summary Report that is posted on our parish website, or take home a hard copy of the Summary Report with you today from church.

In short, Partners for Sacred Places recommended that a capital campaign not be conducted at this time. Their two biggest reasons were:

1.) There were no significant donors that were identified to make a major gift if a campaign started this year. Several major donors are needed to lay the foundation for a successful capital campaign.

2.) There does not seem to be a collective enthusiasm and a united interest among parishioners to support a capital campaign.

Therefore, for now, we are putting on hold any planning for a capital campaign.

So now what? The members of our Parish Staff, Parish Council and Finance Committee have been meeting this month to review the findings from the Feasibility Report; and are currently in the process of discerning what immediate steps need to be taken in the coming months. From the Feasibility Study, it is apparent that there is a need for ongoing information, enhanced communication and stronger connections between our two parishes and school community. Moreover, our parish leadership needs to look at creating opportunities to engage parishioners in helpful dialogue and constructive conversations that will enable us to create a strategic plan for the future that will reflect a clear mission and vision for our two parishes and school.

We will keep you informed as the process and planning unfolds for us. Please keep us in your prayers as we ask the important questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to be in the future?

Almost There!

Thank you to all who have made a donation to our Parish Visibility Project. We are very close to reaching our goal for the several decorative signs for the outside of our two parishes. Contributions to the project can be made on-line at our parish website  icsjparish.org, or you can earmark a donation in the Sunday collection. Thank you for your generosity and support.

Fear of Faith?

Fear or Faith – which is to rule our lives? That question seems to be a constant part of the background throughout Mark’s gospel, just as it is also a constant part of our lives.

In the story we hear from the Gospel today, Jesus himself asks his disciples if they have faith. The disciples had been with Jesus for a while and heard him preach about the reign of God. They had seen Jesus perform a healing or two. But when the storm comes and threatens their very lives, the disciples become the ones filled with questions of fear and doubt. They are frighten and shaken on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus commanded the wind and the sea, and they obeyed! So the disciples had to ask, “Who is this here in the boat with us?”

Fear or faith? That question will always be with us. The truth is that we need others to help face that question. Things are never as frightening if we are not facing them alone. Faith is always stronger when it is shared. That is why gathering around the table of the Lord is so important for us. The stories of our ancestors, preserved in sacred scripture, remind us that we are never truly alone. In faith, we can say, “God is with us,” and we know that our fears can be overcome.

– Fr. Larry

Click here to view the complete 6/21/15 bulletin, here to visit our Parish website, and here to contact Fr. Larry.