A Tweak Here, and a Tweak There
Over the summer months we have been tweaking the layout of our parish bulletin and website to reflect the recent canonical combination of our two parishes that occurred on July 1st. It can be a little confusing, especially to new parishioners, to grasp that Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph is actually one parish that uses two places for worship. This is a unique situation as we strive to be a “Family of Families” serving the near north neighborhoods of downtown Chicago.
Our attempt is to provide important information about our parish life in a timely manner that is clear and understandable. You will note that in today’s bulletin we have improved some of the basic information about our parish and provided more detailed information to contact our Pastoral Staff.
It has been my experience that some parishioners will quickly skim through our bulletin before the start of Mass. Granted our few pages do not even compare to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, but we try to include current information that is happening both locally and throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago. Our topics can range from opportunities for Adult Education, parish finances, the recruitment of volunteers for particular ministries, pictures of weddings and baptisms performed, or information about our Parish School and Religious Education Program.
When I was a teenager I always took a bulletin home when I attended Sunday Mass to prove to my parents that I went to church. Our bulletin and parish website are our two biggest forms of communication that we have today. I ask that you refer to them often; even when you are out of town for the weekend. It is easy to miss important announcements when we are out of the loop. It’s good to stay connected and informed.
What’s Coming Down The Road?
The usual pace of parish life slows down during the summer months, especially when school is out of session.
The hallways of our school are quiet without the kids. Many parishioners are out of town on vacation with their family and friends. Just think, in less than a month our teachers and students will be back in the classroom.
I hope you are able to take advantage of these grace-filled days that God gives us to enjoy.
There are several parish projects that I have been trying to organize over the summer, with the help of the members of the Parish Council, that will commence in the Fall. I would like to briefly explain just two of them.
The first is to hold a “Sunday Ministry Fair” where parishioners can volunteer for a particular parish ministry.
There are a variety of areas that we are in need of help and can use one’s talents and skills —from teaching religion to our young children, to serving the poor, to assisting with our Sunday liturgies, working with our Sharing Parish, or singing in the choir. Yes, the volunteer list is filled with many possibilities for one to be engaged in the parish.
You may sense that throughout the past year we have made various appeals at various times to tend to our immediate needs. This fall we will “bundle” all of our ministry needs together at our “Sunday Ministry Fair” as we inform parishioners and ask them to prayerfully consider how they can share their time and God-given talents here at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish. I am confident that this is a good way to recruit and educate folks about various ministries.
Secondly, in the fall of this year our parish will embark upon the “To Teach Who Christ Is” capital campaign in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Every parish in the archdiocese is required to participate in the campaign. Our parish will join the 30 or so parishes in the archdiocese that will be included in the 6th and final wave. For the past two years Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph delayed the start of the campaign because we focused our attention on first getting our operating budget to balance out in the black.
Our Pastoral Staff is in the process of forming a case statement and inviting parishioners to serve on the Executive Committee for the campaign. Details about the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign will be presented in the next couple of months.
When Archbishop Blase Cupich came to Chicago I was impressed by what he said at his first press conference. One of the reporters asked him how he was going to deal with the struggling finances of the archdiocese. He said, “It is always important that you keep the mission of the Church ahead of the money. If you do the mission of the Church well, the money will follow. That is a priority that I believe in.”
I agree with the Archbishop. Yes, we are called to be good stewards of all that God has given us. May we notlose sight of how we can grow spiritually and bring about the kingdom of God. As we try to actively live out our faith each day let us count our blessings, and think of what we can offer to God in return.
A buddy of mine once told me, “Lar, when pondering about what you should give back to God in return, think of this, God already gave you 100% of everything first!”
Thinking of You
I got a cute postcard from Morgan and McKenna Mueller who will be in 4th and 1st grade this year in our school. Their family took a summer trip to Spain and visited the church of St. Lawrence in Portugal. I like how the girls mentioned that they went to Mass that was celebrated in Portuguese. They wrote, “It was really different!”
The so-called rich man in today’s gospel thinks he is rich because he has accumulated an enormous harvest, in fact, more than he has room to store. The solution seems simple. Build bigger and better barns to store his stuff. This man is convinced that he can control his destiny through his great wealth. He also believes that his wealth will provide him with the one thing he is seeking: security.
The so-called rich man, is a fool because he has made a fundamental error from the very beginning. He thoughthe could control his destiny with his great wealth. His destiny, however, is really controlled by death –over which he has no control.
Wisdom teaches us that only God controls a person’s destiny, for wealth and possessions are fleeting. They cannot provide immortality. Wealth, possessions, and power all promise more than they can deliver. Real treasure is to be found in serving others out of love for God.