An “Oasis of Mercy”
As we continue our journey through this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we welcome the monthly bulletin reflections entitled, “Oasis” written by Jack Shea. Please take the time to read and reflect upon them. They can also be found here on our website.
When Pope Francis envisions the power of mercy in our lives, he reaches for the image of “oasis.” Pope Francis explains that, “In our parishes, communities, associations and movements… everyone should find an oasis of mercy.” He dreams of a Church of mercy that brings rest, refreshment, and renewal to the hardships and struggles that come day in and day out of life. This is not an easy pastoral agenda.
Jack Shea, who lives in Chicago, is a Catholic theologian and storyteller who lectures nationally and internationally on storytelling in world religions, contemporary spirituality, and the spirit at work movement. Formerly, he was a professor of systematic theology and the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the University of St. Mary of the Lake and a research professor at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University. He has published books on theology and Spirituality and two books on poetry.
Just An Observation
There is something unique about Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parishes. In the past two and a half years I have noticed that our parishioners encounter a certain amount of transition in their lives.
Initially, folks become easily attached to our parish. Their first impressions are often positive. They like our welcoming spirit. As they call Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph their new spiritual home, some accept the invitation to become more involved in the life of our parish. They will graciously commit to serving in a particular ministry.
In the past month, a few of our most active and loyal parishioners have mentioned to me that they are moving to another state – one to Florida and another to Missouri. One situation involved a job transfer and the other was a decision based on a desire to be closer to one’s family. This is a great loss. These families will be sorely missed. It is hard to see them go because of the void that is created with their absence. We wish them well as they embark upon new endeavors.
I guess the reality of parish life is that it is always in a constant flux as people move in and out of a community. The parish family we were 10 years ago is a lot different than our parish family we have today. Moreover, the parish family we will be 10 years from now will certainly be different than who we are today. Let us give thanks and appreciate who we are as a community of faith at this moment.
Mass Intentions for 2016
When we face the death of someone, even a person who is not Catholic, to have a Mass offered for the repose of his/her soul and to offer our prayers can be more beneficial and comforting than any other sympathy card or bouquet of flowers. Also having a Mass offered on the occasion of a birthday, anniversary or special need is appropriate, beneficial and appreciated. You visit our Mass Intention page, or call Clair Martin at our Parish Office to request a Mass Intention to be said at an upcoming mass during 2016.
A Proud Moment at the Cathedral
Last Sunday, Toni Gamble and George and Donna Miles received the Christifideles Award from Archbishop Blasé Cupich (see photos). The award is given to a layperson (or couple) in each parish that demonstrates faithfulness and dedication in ministry. Our parish is blessed by the gifts of their time and talents. What a proud moment for them and for us. They have truly given witness to their love for the Lord and the Church.