All of Us – #135

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

“Mercy… Receive, Share, Live”

The season of Lent is all about conversion: changing our hearts and turning away from sin toward God. Lent offers us a chance to take measure of and reform our lives, both individually and communal. The scripture readings throughout the season help us to recall God’s saving presence and invitation to a fullness of life.

Our parish theme for Lent is “Mercy… Receive, Share, Live.” As we journey through this the Jubilee Year of Mercy we are mindful of God’s great love for us. One of the ways that we receive God’s mercy is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation that celebrates God’s action in our lives, the reality of God’s forgiveness. It also celebrates that what God hopes for us: to be a forgiving and reconciling people. Mercy needs to be received, shared and lived.

In light of God’s unconditional love for us, we realize that we fall short, get lost, miss the mark—that is, we sin in our living and loving. We repent, ask for forgiveness, and take actions to put things right. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to truly believe that we can be, and are, forgiven. May the faith we live reflect the mercy that has transformed our minds and hearts.

Visit our Lenten Activities page for a full listing of opportunities at ICSJ to more fully experience Lent.

Why Do We Fast?

We often associate Lent with the traditional practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. While prayer and almsgiving are part of our regular Catholic observances, many people tend to limit fast to the season of Lent. In times gone by, people emptied the pantry on Fat Tuesday, which led to a bland diet for the next six weeks until Easter. These days, we keep fasting to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstain from meat on each Friday of Lent.

Why fast? Fasting is a spiritual practice and discipleship. Its aim is to help us focus on God. By limiting our intake of food, we exercise self-control and discipline over our bodies. Experiencing physical hunger reminds us of our utter dependence on God. It also puts us in solidarity with those for whom hunger is not a choice but a fact of life.

Fasting doesn’t have to be only about food; it can spill over to habits, practices, and things that distract us from our relationship with God and others. Imagine what would happen if we fasted from too much time spent on work or too much time spent on social media?

Come and Pray

The Stations of the Cross trace the steps of Jesus to Calvary. This Lenten devotion will be prayed on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. This Wednesday, February 17th, the Stations of the Cross will prayed at St. Joseph church. (Next week, the Stations of the Cross will be prayed at Immaculate Conception Church.) Visit our Lenten Activities page for a full schedule.

Consider attending daily Mass as part of your Lenten commitment to prayer. Attending morning Mass is a great to begin your day. The scripture readings and the Eucharist is great nourishment for our soul.

Reflecting This Lent

During Lent our bulletin will contain a helpful reflection for each Sunday, from Our Sunday Visitor publishers. Please take the time to read the material that will have a reflection upon the Sunday readings and suggestions for family activities. There will also be information to help us learn more about our Catholic faith.

Another great resource for Lent is It is a simple way to start each day by drawing closer to Christ. Sign up for Bishop Bob Barron’s free daily Lenten reflections. Each day, from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday, Bishop Barron will send you a short reflection straight to your in box. It is one way to super-charge your Lent by preparing for Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

Visit our Lenten Activities page for more opportunities for reflection.

Call If You Need

Our parish can provide contribution statements for donations made in 2015. Just call our Parish Office and a statement will be mailed to your home. If you have any questions please contact Mark Besztery, our Parish Business Manager.

Can You Help?

In March we will celebrate the feast of St. Joseph with our annual St. Joseph Table taking place on Sunday, March 13th. It is great opportunity to celebrate the patron of our parish with food and fellowship.

I am in need of volunteers to help organize the feast that will take place at 12:00 noon in the gym at the Hill Street campus of our school. Please call the Parish Office at 312-944-1230 if you would to offer your time and help.

Some Fun In The Sun

On Wednesday I leave for Florida. I will be away from the parish for a week on vacation. I look forward to seeing my sister-in-law and my three nieces who live near Ft. Lauderdale; and to spend some time chasing a little white ball around the golf course. I am grateful for Fr. John Cunningham and Fr. Larry McBrady who are covering for me next weekend when I am gone.

Happy Valentine’s Day

A woman was taking a nap on Valentine’s Day afternoon. After she awoke, she told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a gorgeous and expensive diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day! What do you think it means?”

“You’ll know tonight,” he said.

That evening, her husband came home with a small package for her. Thrilled, she opened it and found a book titled “The Meaning of Dreams.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

– Fr. Larry