All of Us – #147

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

“Dear God…”

A little boy was kneeling beside his bed with his mother and grandmother and softly saying his prayers, "Dear God, please bless Mommy and Daddy and all the family and please give me a good night's sleep." 

Suddenly he looked up and shouted, "And don't forget to give me a bicycle for my birthday!!"

"There is no need to shout like that," said his mother. "God isn't deaf."

"No," said the little boy, "but Grandma is."

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have been blessed with the vocation of motherhood. The beauty of today is watching how families humbly show their love and appreciation for their mothers who provide so much for them. Hopefully this is a prayerful and grace-filled day of recognition for many women.  

Flowers, cards or candy are the token signs of gratitude on Mother’s Day. But I suspect that what pleases a mom most is a simple hug or a kiss and hearing the words, “I love you” from her kids. It’s free and powerful. If you are a mom, I hope you are blessed with this gift today. Sons and daughters don’t be shy about it, just do it! 

As a parish priest, it becomes more and more evident to me that mothers play an important role in the faith life of their children. They, along with their husbands, are the primary educators of their children in the ways of faith, and are the ones needed to nurture the spiritual life of their children. It is an important responsibility as our Catholic faith is passed on from one generation to another. May God’s blessings be upon our Moms and may God keep them holy and filled with wisdom and grace. 

Thank you Jane Kaup, Maureen Powers, Mary Alice O’Toole, Joan Moore, and Diane Petrow who have shared with us their reflections on “Motherhood and Faith” this weekend. We appreciate their wisdom and insights.

Immaculate Conception St. Joseph Parishes Catholic Church in Chicago May Crowning

Hail Mary

At the school Mass this week we honored the Blessed Virgin Mary with a May Crowning ceremony. Our students prayed to the patron saint of our parish asking for her help and intercession as we try to follow her example of listening and obeying God. A blessing was also given to the moms who were present. 

Putting It All “On The Table”

The Archdiocese of Chicago has partnered with the Kennedy Forum of Illinois in inviting parishes to host “On the Table” discussions about mental health and addiction issues on May 10th. Such conversations are designed to lessen the stigma of mental illness. People can manage mental illness and can be successful in life using medicine and therapy available, but the stigma surrounding the illness stops many from reaching out.

On Tuesday, May 10th I will host an “On the Table” discussion regarding mental illness at Immaculate Conception at 6:30 p.m. A simple dinner will be provided for 12. There is a sign-up sheet in church today for those who would like to participate in this conversation. As we celebrate this Jubilee Year of Mercy, as believers in Christ, we are invited to be people of compassion; bringing healing and hope to others.

In the April 17th edition of the Catholic New World, there is an informative article written by Joyce Duriga, entitled, "May 10th Event Aims To End Stigma Of Mental Illness." Duringa interviews our parishioner, Peter O'Brien, who for years has been committed to this mission. As you read the article you quickly realize the ripping affects that mental illness has upon a family and community. We are face with the challenge on how to care for all involved. 

It’s Now Up To Us

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord. This feast commemorates the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and is closely tied in with another feast we will celebrate in just a few days: Pentecost.  

When Jesus ascended into heaven, his apostles were suddenly left alone. The Acts of the Apostles tell us how they found it difficult to believe or understand what they just witnessed. For some time after he was no longer visible, they stood staring up into the clouds, probably feeling confused, abandoned and perhaps very scared. What will the future hold for them? They had accompanied Jesus throughout his ministry. They lost him when he was arrested, and lost him again when he died on the cross and was buried. 

Now he is gone again- and this time his absence would be permanent. He had just instructed them to go out into the world to proclaim the good news of God’s love. Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit, but they did not yet understand his words. 

Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would find them in their emptiness and would grace them with the courage they needed to face the future. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would carry out the mission that Jesus had given them.

We have been entrusted with the mission of Jesus Christ; and we too have been blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit that will strengthen and guide us. Jesus is counting on us to be his disciples today. 

Our parish recently completed the Parish Transformation Program and established several long range goals to enhance the vitality of our parish. These initiatives have recently been shared with parishioners through a parish mailing. Now we are in need of your time and talents so that these hopes and dreams become a reality. 

A “Time and Talent” overview explains how you can get involved with the Parish Transformation initiatives. The overview indicates interests or skills helpful to work on each initiative. The list of interests and skills is not all inclusive. Reply cards are available in church today, or you may reply on our website. Please consider what type of commitment you can make to our parish. We need your help.

Helping the Poor and Vulnerable

Thank you for your generosity towards the Catholic Charities collection this Sunday. Every year Catholic Charities serves over 1 million people in the Archdiocese. Many of them live in the same neighborhoods served by our parish. 

Now is a particularly important time for us to give generously, as Catholic Charities must contend with the repercussions of the Illinois state budget crisis. At this time Catholic Charities is owed more than $25 million from the State for services already rendered. This has placed tremendous financial stress on its ability to serve the poor and vulnerable.

Ad Multos Annos, Vivas!

Congratulations to Fr. Pat Lee, my predecessor, who celebrates 40 years of priesthood this May. Today's bulletin (May 8, 2016) includes an invitation and details to his anniversary party. 

“Ad Multos Annos” is traditionally sung at the end of major community events at Mundelein Seminary. It is a traditional Latin expression of goodwill and longevity of life and service which means “to many years.” 

– Fr. Larry