All of Us – #128

Libby, Lucas 
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     Fr. Larry Lisowski Immaculate Conception St. Joseph Parishes Catholic Church in Chicago

It Ain't Over Yet!

It's funny how things come to a sudden halt on December 26th. The Christmas songs we heard on the radio for weeks are strangely gone. Driving down the street you might see a Christmas tree lying out on the curb next to a pile of trash bags filled with torn wrapping paper awaiting the arrival of the garbage truck. Black Friday sales are a distant memory as folks stand in line at the return counter to exchange their gifts. The secular side of Christmas suddenly fizzles out.

But liturgically, the Christmas season actually stretches out to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Sunday, January 10th. It's the Church's way of making sure we prayerfully hold on to the mystery and meaning of the Incarnation. We are given time to ponder what God has done for us. Take it all in. Mull it over. The celebration is far from over.

Our Parish At Its Best!

Thank you to all who helped to make our recent celebration of Christmas a special and sacred moment for our parishioners and visiting guests. I am grateful for the many volunteers who worked behind the scenes in the days before to ensure that our liturgies would be beautiful and meaningful moments.

Thank you to our moms and dads who were able to turn our young children into cute angels and rustic shepherds for the Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve. Thank you to musicians and singers who rehearsed for hours so that our favorite donated food, clothes and toiletries for the poor during Advent. And yes, thank you to all who willingly did the small stuff like, Xeroxing, stapling, cleaning and collating so that things would run smoothly and neatly during the busy holidays.

Called To Be A Holy Family

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. Simeon in today’s gospel warns Mary that her joy of motherhood will also include pain and sorrow because of the challenges that Jesus will one day face in his public ministry.

Family life has its moments. Every family will have problems to face. Sometimes families break apart because the problems become too many, or the challenges of living together become too great. At such times they may be in special need of our loving concern and support.

But there can also be an unbreakable bond, a unique friendship and an unflinching strength that carries a family through good times and bad. Every family has moments of great joy as well as times that are difficult. It is the love between them that gives them the courage they need to face the things they never expected and would never have wanted. Mary and Joseph gave Jesus the foundation that prepared him for Calvary—and also for Easter Sunday. May their example and prayers bring our families courage in the bad times, and courage in the good.

Mary, the Mother of God

January 1st is a holy day of obligation as we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The complete Mass schedule for the holy day is included in this bulletin. May our prayers be answered through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Special Circumstances

The Catholic Church has historically recognized the intimate relationship of wheat hosts and wine as matter for the Eucharist. However, if you have Celiac Sprue Disease or a family member is gluten intolerant or if you are alcohol intolerant, receiving the Eucharist is a serious challenge.

The logistics or manner of accommodating lay-persons with gluten or wine intolerance in a parish setting during the Liturgy of the Eucharist is left to the afflicted party and the pastor to decide the best way during Mass for the afflicted party to safely receive the Precious Body or the Precious Blood. If you or a member of your family is affected by this circumstance, please contact me so that we can discuss the particulars of your situation.

Have Fun. Be Safe.

There will be many parties and celebrations that will take place with family and friends as we welcome in a New Year this week. (On New Year’s Eve I am gladly hugging my pillow and sound asleep at 10:00 PM.)

I offer these practical ways of holiday entertaining from an article entitled “Rules for Holiday Entertaining” that might make our celebrations positive and healthy experiences for all.

Never say, “Aw, c’mon, it’s the holidays.:
The calendar has no effect on the effect of alcohol.
Don’t give a guest who doesn’t drink a hard time or argue with someone who says, “No thanks.”
Let your guest choose.
Don’t serve more than one drink an hour to anyone and always serve food with alcohol.
Don’t poison your guests.
Don’t wake an intoxicated guest with coffee. Provide a ride, call a cab...or call the police.
Drunk drivers kill people.
Don’t drink if you take medicine which does not mix with alcohol.
One drink can hurt you.
Do not drink if you do not drink.
Not drinking is OK.
Don’t have more than one drink an hour. If you drink more with no effect, you have a symptom of alcoholism.
High tolerance is not good.
If you plan on getting drunk, plan on not driving.
Drunk drivers kill people.

– Fr. Larry