All of Us – #132

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

Breaking Open The Word For Children

I admire parents who bring their young children to Mass on Sunday. Praying together as a family can leave a lasting impression upon a child as they experience a sense of the sacred. It is important to keep holy the Sabbath day and make time for God; especially when family life can be filled with many other Sunday commitments and responsibilities.

Prayer also has a unique way of strengthening the bonds of our relationships. When we gather around the table of the Lord, a young child realizes that they belong to a larger faith community.

It can be hard for young children to fully appreciate and comprehend all that happens at our Sunday liturgy. They can easily become distracted or bored. It can be difficult for them to fully grasp what is going on, especially when adults have assumed most of the liturgical roles. Even the language that we use at Mass contains words geared for adults; and the homilies are usually directed to an adult audience.

Our parish is trying to offer a new ministry to help our young children understand and appreciate the Sunday scripture stories when they come to church. We are trying to offer a ministry called “Breaking Open the Word for Children.” You may have seen this take place in other parishes.

At Mass, the children (ages 4-7) would be dismissed from church for the Liturgy of the Word. Adult catechists would prepare a lesson, a reflection and an activity for them based on the readings for that particular Sunday. The scriptures therefore become more “child friendly” as we help bring the word of God “to life” for them. The children also have the opportunity to pray together. They would return to their families in church right before the offertory of gifts.

We are in need of adults who can serve as catechists or assist in this ministry. Our staff will provide training and resources. If you are interested, please call our parish office. We would like to start the program in April.

Bulletins For Children

Our parish has subscribed to Children’s Worship Bulletins that families can take home each Sunday. Each bulletin has 4 panels packed with Bible-based games, puzzles, word searches, seek-and- finds, dot-to dots; and many more activities children love. They are carefully designed using proven educational methods endorsed by Christian educators and pastors of all denominations. You can find the children’s bulletins on the back tables in church. Look for the blue and orange sheets. Enjoy!

Welcome Assumption, BVM

I am excited that the parishioners of our Sharing Parish, Assumption BVM, will be coming to Immaculate Conception Church next weekend to pray with us on Saturday, February 6 at the 5:00 PM Mass. Fr. Arturo Perez, the pastor of Assumption BVM parish and the Director of the Kolbe House prison ministry for the Archdiocese, will be presiding at the Mass. There will be a wine and cheese reception after the Mass in the Parish Hall.

This will be a great opportunity for us to meet, greet and get to know our friends that we spiritually and financially support throughout the year. If you are attending this Mass next Saturday, please block out some time so that you can attend the reception. It would be nice to have a “good showing” of folks from our parish.

2016 Annual Catholic Appeal - “The Hands of God’s Mercy”

Many have already responded to the Annual Catholic Appeal mailing from Archbishop Cupich. On behalf of those served by the ministries and services funded by the Annual Catholic Appeal, I thank you for your gifts. If you received the mailing and have not yet responded, please do so as soon as possible.

This year, the theme of the Appeal is “The Hands of God’s Mercy.” We have all received God’s mercy. By financially supporting the ministries and services funded by Annual Catholic Appeal, we help to extend God’s mercy to many, many others.

Your gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal helps to sustain Catholic schools, religious education programs, ministerial formation, and initiatives for life, peace and justice. Through its support for Catholic Relief Services, the Annual Catholic Appeal serves people worldwide, without regard for religious affiliation, whose lives are devastated by natural disasters, illness, wars and famines.

Funds raised are carefully spent; it is money for God’s work, and will be used accordingly. Our contributions are deeply appreciated, very much needed and make a real difference in the lives of many.

Remember that when our parishes reach their set goal in paid pledges, that 100% of the additional funds received will be returned directly for the use of our parish. Last year, St. Joseph parish exceeded its goal by $14,941. Immaculate Conception exceeded its goal by $62,074 The rebates to the parish were put directly into our parish operations which helped to pay our monthly bills.

This year the Annual Catholic Appeal goal for St. Joseph is $10,224. The goal for Immaculate Conception is $27,831. Please give generously to the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal.

Thank You!

Thank you to all who contributed to our recent Christmas collection that has totaled $117,182 Last year, our Christmas collection was $105, 210 You will note that we have made significant strides in balancing our Operating Budget. We are almost in the black.

2015 Contribution Statements

If you need your financial statement for the 2015 donations toward Immaculate Conception or St. Joseph parishes for your tax purposes please fill out the form in today’s bulletin and return it to the parish office or drop it in the collection basket. You may also request your statement here at our parish website. We will mail your statement to you.

– Fr. Larry