All of Us – #138

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

Soon and Very Soon

We eagerly await the birth of Mary Beth May’s baby that is due this month. We wish Mary Beth (the Director of our Religious Education Program) and her husband Patrick the best as they welcome the gift of new life. May God bless them as they embrace the role of parenthood for the first time. What an exciting time for them as they move into a new phase in their marriage.

Kim Rak, will be filling in for Mary Beth May while she is on maternity leave. We are blessed to have Kim, who will be working part-time on our Pastoral Staff, directing the Religious Education program on Sunday; preparing our catechumens and candidates for the Easter sacraments; and coordinating our First Communion celebration in April. In the last couple of weeks Kim has been working together with Mary Beth May to get to know our parish and parishioners. We welcome Kim to our community as she begins her ministry.

Come To The Feast!

Next Sunday, March 13th, we will remember and honor the patron saint of our parish, St. Joseph, with our annual celebration of a “St. Joseph’s Table.” The potluck luncheon will take place at 12:00 noon in our school gym located at the Hill Street campus. I hope you, and your family and friends can join us for food and fellowship. It is a great way to foster a sense of community between our two parishes.

The centuries-old custom of St. Joseph’s Table came about in the Middle Ages, when there was a terrible drought one year in Sicily. The feudal landowners, in desperation, turned to St. Joseph, the patron saint of Sicily and promised him that if the rains would come, they would annually prepare a large banquet in honor of him and invite all the people of the town, especially the poor.

To this day, many churches, including our own parish here at St. Joseph, as well as societies and families, carry out this sacred tradition. But since the original purpose was to help the poor, it is always important that through it, some charity be given to the poor and needy.

Feeding the Poor

Thank you to all who have contributed to our Parish Food Pantry during Lent. Your donations have helped us to feed the poor and hungry. 

Note that our parishes will continue to collect food throughout the season of Lent. You can take home a brown grocery bag from church today and fill it with non-perishable items for the poor. You can bring your donations to church on Sunday or to our Parish Office during the week.  We are grateful for whatever you can donate. 

God’s Mercy and Forgiveness

A grammar school teacher was helping her young children to learn about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and how God never stops loving us. She used the familiar parable of the prodigal son. It’s the same story that we hear proclaimed on this the 4th Sunday of Lent. 

After reading the story to her class, she asked, “Ok, who was unhappy that the younger son came home?”

A little girl raised her hand and said, “I think it was the fatted calf!”

Jesus constantly reminded people of God’s love and mercy. Some sinners during his time probably felt that God forgot about them, or that God would never forgive them because their sin was too big and too serious. But not so. The “good news” that Jesus preached is that God never stops loving us. God forgives us, and we are called to forgive one another.

We are in the midst of the Holy Year of Mercy. Holy Years originated in the Jewish faith as Jubilee Years when people forgave others and released them from debts. Since God is merciful so we are called to be merciful.  

Lent is a special and sacred time that invites us to be open and transformed by God’s love. We are encouraged to turn away from the sin in our life and experience the peace of Christ.

Next weekend the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered before each Mass. Please take advantage of receiving God’s grace that provides us healing and hope. There will be plenty of priests available to accommodate our parishioners. Included in today’s bulletin is an examination of conscience that can be use to help one prepare for the sacrament.

This past week, the children in our Parish School went to confession as part of their Lenten preparation for Easter. It was a joyful moment for me and them!

You Got Mail

Our “Easter Mailing” has been sent to all our 611 registered parishioners. It includes the complete schedule for all our Holy Week and Easter services. If you do not receive the mailing, please call our parish office so that we can make sure that we have your correct contact information and can send you the material. We hope you will be able to worship with us.  

– Fr. Larry