All of Us – #167

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

Sharing Life, Faith and Love

This Sunday we welcome Bishop Frank Kane, our Vicar, who comes to celebrate the Eucharist today at the 11:00 AM Mass at St. Joseph Church. Together we offer praise and give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received; and for the life, faith and love shared within our parish community. 

Today, I will be “reinstalled” by Bishop Kane as your pastor of the newly formed “Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish.” This is a canonical requirement that needs to be fulfilled given that we have recently formed a new entity — “Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish.”

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Our new parish logo will be displayed on the walls at the entrance to Immaculate Conception Church and St. Joseph Church, signifying that we are one parish with two worship sites. The logo contains a simple image of the Holy Family. Within the blue oval you will see the three figures of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. We envision our parish to be a “Family of Families” where all are welcome, and united as sisters and brothers in Christ. On Sunday Bishop Kane will bless our logo as we add a new chapter to the long history of our parish.

After serving for three years as your pastor for two “separate parishes” I thought that this would be a good time to share with you what my priorities are as I recommit my life to serving you as your pastor. These are the things that are most dear to my heart.  

First and foremost, I love to pray with you. I love when we come together to celebrate Mass on Sunday. I am humbled and inspired when I stand at the altar and look out over the faces in the congregation because I have come to know many of you and your personal stories. I am privileged to know what’s going on in your life. I know your hopes and dreams. I know your struggles, sorrows, aches and pains. I know that your faith is very important to you and that you want your spiritual life to be nourished by the Word of God and the Bread of Life. 

We are all hungry to experience the presence of God’s love in our life. For me, the Eucharist is the center of our parish life in which all our ministries in the parish flow forth because of our communion with Christ. 

I am committed to keeping our hospitality and sense of welcome one of the best hallmarks of our parish. There are so many Catholics today who are looking for a spiritual home where they feel accepted and where they feel they belong. 

This week I was talking to a bride who is planning to get married at St. Joseph Church next year. She said, “Father I heard great things about your parish.” Her compliment made my day. 

Actively practicing our faith is much easier when we want to do it; rather feeling that we have to do it. May the Holy Spirit ignite within us a passion to be Disciples of Christ. 

We must never stop caring for the poor. We need to notice those who have become the “invisible persons” in our society. God invites us to share our resources with those who have so little. So many people struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck. Our weekly Food Pantry, our Thanksgiving Food collection, our gifts from the Christmas Giving Tree, our donations to Deborah’s place and our Sharing Parish all give some comfort and relief to those who have so little. 

I will do my best to make sure that our young children will be great Disciples of Jesus when they are adults. I hope to instill within them fond memories of their education and spiritual formation here at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish. They are the future of our Church. They will be the ones sitting in the pews when we are looking down upon them from heaven. 

Last Saturday at the 5:00 PM Mass I asked a young mother to carry the processional cross during the opening song. Before we walked down the aisle she said to me, “Father, this brings back so many memories of when I was an altar server in grammar school.” 

Let us give thanks to those who have told us the Jesus story and who have planted the seeds of faith within us. May we be the best role models for our children.

Catechetical Sunday

Last Sunday we blessed and commissioned those who teach religion to our young children in either our Parish School or Religious Education Program. Collectively, we have over 500 children entrusted to our spiritual care. It is the biggest ministry of our parish. 

Our parents are the primary educators of our Catholic faith for our children. Our catechists support our parents as we pass our faith onto them. We give thanks for the dedication and commitment of our catechists.

Bow Wow And Meow!

This coming Saturday, October 1st, I will be blessing animals as we remember the Feast of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of animals. (The feast of St. Francis is technically on October 4th.)  Our Pet Blessing will take place at 9:00 AM in the parking lot of Immaculate Conception Church. Last year we had dogs, cats, and even a hamster. One year we even had a horse show up!

The month of October is designated as “Respect Life Month” in the Catholic Church. We recognize the beauty of all of God’s creation, especially the adorable furry creatures that have become a part of our family that show us love and affection every day. Bring your pets to the blessing. 

Pray that I don’t get bitten by Sparky! 

– Fr. Larry