All of Us – #140

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

Holy Week is Here!

Welcome to Holy Week! For Christians around the world, this is the most important week of the whole liturgical year as we profess our faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Church is the place to be during Holy Week. This is our main event! This is why we have been praying, fasting and doing works of charity for the past 40 days of Lent.

I truly hope that you and your family will be able to participate in the beautiful liturgies that will occur these next several days here at St Joseph and Immaculate Conception parishes. Our Pastoral Staff, liturgical ministers and musicians have been working hard to prepare for these solemn events that are the best expressions of our worship and prayer.

There is so much you don’t want to miss during Holy Week. These days are packed with powerful rituals and beautiful symbols of our Catholic faith that speak volumes to what we believe as followers of Jesus, and the faith we try to live and profess each day.

Every Catholic should at least once in their lifetime spiritually experience all that the Triduum — meaning the three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil — have to offer. To experience them in their entirety is a unique experience. 

Maybe this is the year for you to make it happen?  If you do, I promise that you will have a whole new understanding and appreciation of Holy Week for the rest of your life having made the prayerful journey through these three consecutive days.

Be in Communion With Christ

Be here on Thursday night as we recall the events of the Last Supper and the wonderful gift of Eucharist that Jesus gave to his disciples and to us. Be present to the real presence of Christ offered to us in Holy Communion.

Holy Thursday is one of those few times in the year when we as a parish family can gather around the table of the Lord. It is a time to be united in our faith, even with all the diversity that is very much a part of our two parishes. Holy Thursday allows us to appreciate the faith we share as we carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus who gave us theGreat Commandment to love and serve one another. We are called to do today what he did for us long ago. 

Step into a Church on Friday

On Good Friday, make sure you step into a church, even if it’s just for five minutes of quiet prayer. If you are out of town traveling on the road with your family this Good 

Friday, pull off the road and find a church to visit. Say a simple prayer together and remember what happened on the cross.

When a loved one dies in our family, we are compelled to go to their wake and pay our respects. We wouldn’t think of missing it. Well, in the same way, Good Friday is the day to pay our respects to Jesus who gave His life for us on the cross. That is why we kiss the cross in humble veneration on Good Friday.

The big question on Good Friday is always, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” May our response this Good Friday be, “Yes, Lord. Here I am.”

Let There Be Light!

The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday has it all…fire, lights, water, joyful alleluias, the best scripture stories from our ancestors, those being received into the Catholic faith through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, and the renewal of our baptismal promises.

If you come to the Easter Vigil, you certainly won’t be bored. If fact, you will be in awe of all that takes place. The liturgy, even though it is long, is filled with so much that represents the heart and soul of our Catholic faith. Come and enjoy the Easter Vigil. Be proud to be Catholic!

We are blessed this year to have five adults who will be fully initiated into the Catholic church at the Easter Vigil. They have been part of the RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program since September and learning each week about the beliefs and practices of our Catholic faith. Gar Pang and Teaqua Henderson will be baptized; Anneleise Gegenheimer and Lisa Casolino will make a Profession of Faith; expressing their desire to become Catholic. Amanda Grovers, who is already baptized Catholic, will receive her Confirmation and First Communion with the others. We are so happy and proud of them. They are a great addition to our community.

Easter Hospitality

Let us together make all of our Easter Sunday celebrations a joyful and rewarding experience for all, especially those who will be visiting our parishes this year. May we offer them a gracious and warm welcome, and especially to those who may be returning to the Catholic Church after a long absence. May we help all our brothers and sisters feel at home and know how glad we are to have them join us in prayer this Easter.

Today’s bulletin and our parish website contain all of the events that will take place, day by day, practically hour by hour, during Holy Week. Please refer to them often and continue to pray for one another as we journey through these sacred days.

Good Stewards

Thank you to all who donated to various charities as part of your alms giving during the season of Lent. I am grateful for all of the grocery bags of food that we have received for our Food Pantry, and the school supplies collected for Africa. Thank you to all who supported the Operation Rice Bowl project sponsored by Catholic Relief Services.

 As we approach Easter Sunday, please be mindful that our Easter collection is a significant part of our parish income that goes toward balancing our Operating Budget. I thank you for your constant generosity and support.

God blesses us in many ways. How fortunate we are to be able to share these blessings so that the mission and ministry of Jesus continues on, in and through us.

Fun At The Feast

Our St. Joseph Table last Sunday was a great moment for our parish as parishioners gathered for food and fellowship. Our patron saint would be proud of us! For me, it was heartwarming to see the gym filled with folks having the opportunity to get to know each other better after Mass. Today’s bulletin has a few photos from the feast.

Thank you to all who worked hard behind the scenes setting-up, decorating, preparing the food, stacking chairs and moving tables. We are blessed by your dedication and service. 

Our charity even extended to our friends at the firehouse on Hills Street. We delivered to them a few extra trays of friedchicken and pasta. The firemen loved the care-package and were glad they did not have to cook dinner.  

– Fr. Larry