The Future of Our Church, Is Now
This Sunday we acknowledge our 8th grade students who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in March of next year. At the 11:00 Mass they will be blessed and commissioned by our parish community. Each candidate will write their name in the Book of Enrollment as a sign of their commitment and willingness to continue to actively live out their Catholic faith through prayer, worship, study and service.
The candidates stand before us with an “adult faith.” Their parents and godparents have encouraged and guided them to this important moment in their journey of faith. Now, they speak for themselves as they express their heart-felt desire to love and serve the Lord, and to actively participate in the life and ministries of the Church.
We are proud of our candidates. We are inspired by their youthfulness, energy and enthusiasm. They are a talented group of individuals who have much to offer to our community. In the months ahead they will have opportunities to answer the call of discipleship by feeding the poor, helping the elderly, teaching young children, serving at liturgies, and comforting those who are weak and feeble. The best part about their sacramental preparation is seeing them make a positive difference in our community by living out the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Prayer will be an important part of their preparation. They are encouraged to pray every day, both at school and at home. Their Confirmation retreat in January will give them special time to reflect on how the Holy Spirit can empower them to give witness to Christ. Our Confirmation candidates will gather with us on Sunday for the Eucharist; so that they can be nourished by God’s Word and the Bread of Life.
Six years ago, these young men and women received their First Holy Communion. They were certainly much smaller back then in 2nd Grade; but just as holy. I am sure their parents would agree that they have grown up fast on the way to becoming teenagers.
Our teens represent the future of the Church, now. Confirmation invites them to be engaged in the life of our parish and the larger community now. We do not have to wait for them to grow up. Now is the time for them to share their gifts and talents to build the Kingdom of God. Please keep our candidates in your thoughts and prayers these next several months. When you see them in church or around the parish, encourage and affirm them for the good things they are doing.
Praying For Our Loved Ones
Throughout the month of November, we remember and pray for our loved ones who have died. Feel free to bring to church a picture, funeral program or a holy card of a loved one who has gone before us in faith and place it on the memorial table.
When we face the death of someone, to have a Mass offered in their memory can be a comforting gesture of support and sympathy. A Mass intention can also be designated on the occasion of a birthday, anniversary or special need. Mass intentions can be arranged for both Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph by contact Clair Martin at our Parish Office.
Thanksgiving Food Collection
This year, the ICSJ Parish and School are working together to feed those in need. We ask for your help. You can pick up a brown paper bag at the back of the church today (or supply your own) and drop off non-perishable canned and boxed food at the church between now and November 12. The food will be donated to the ICSJ Food Pantry in the basement of the old St. Joseph School, and our sister parish, Assumption Church BVM located in the Little Village neighborhood. This is a great opportunity for us to come together as a parish community to give to those in need at this very important time of Thanksgiving.
Can You Help?
We are currently in the process of recruiting Wedding Sacristans to help with the upcoming weddings that are scheduled for 2016. It would be great if we could get six more ministers to assist at weddings!
A Wedding Sacristan works with the bride and groom to explain the wedding liturgy; participates in the practice at the rehearsal, usually the night before the wedding; prepares the church for the celebration of the Mass and assists families on the day of the wedding. A Wedding Sacristan represents our parish community by extending a sense of welcome and hospitality to all coming to Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph to celebrate the sacrament of Marriage. This is a very important ministry as we reach out to our young adult community and help them have a positive experience of Church that will keep them connected with our faith community long after their wedding celebration.
Assisting at weddings is truly a rewarding ministry. Training will be provided. If you are interested and need more information feel free to contact our Parish Office for more information.
Annulment Reforms by Pope Francis
In September, Pope Francis took the initiative to revise the process by which Catholics may annul their marriages. He purposely wanted to streamline the steps and alleviate any financial burdens for those applying. While reaffirming the “indissolubility of the bond of marriage,” Pope Francis also said that “charity and mercy demand that the Church, as mother, be close to her children who consider themselves separated.”
The three main changes in the annulment process are:
- Eliminating a second review by a cleric before the marriage can be nullified.
- Giving bishops the ability to fast-track and grant the annulments themselves in certain circumstances – for example, when spousal abuse or an extramarital affair has occurred.
- The process should be free, except for a nominal fee for administrative costs, and should be completed within 45 days.
These reforms will formally become part of Cannon Law on December 8th, the beginning of Pope Francis’ declared “Year of Mercy.”
For those would like to seek more information about the annulment process, feel free to contact me and we can discuss your situation. I would be glad to assist you.
Trick Or Treat
It was fun last week marching with the students from our North Park campus in the Halloween parade. I was looking for a young Pope Francis in the crowd.