All of Us – #168

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

“Moved By Mercy”

Catholics and all people of good will in the United States are invited to participate in Respect Life Month during October. We are reminded that all life is worth living. Whether it lasts for a brief moment or for a hundred years, each of our lives is a perfect gift. At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in God’s love and mercy. Nothing can diminish a person’s God-given dignity or worth of his or her life. In our world to-day, we sadly see those who fail to respect human dignity.

I am proud by the various ways that our Catholic Church proclaims that all human life is a precious gift from God. We are constantly reminded that each person who receives this gift has responsibilities toward God, self and others. Through our laws and social institutions, we must protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence. 

Our Lord has given us a spiritual road map—the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy—noting that “whatever you do for one of these least brothers and sisters you do for me.” Life is respected when we show mercy to one another. (Matthew 25:40) During his visit to the United States Pope Francis reiterated this when he said, “Your care for one another is care for Jesus himself.” We are called to be agents of God’s mercy. 

Tens of millions of lives in this nation have been directly touched by abortion. If a friend shares a previous abortion experience, express your sympathy for their loss. If they need help, assure them of God’s unconditional love, and encourage them to seek healing and peace. Explain that that the Church’s Project Rachel ministry for post-abortion healing can help.

We live in a society that emphasizes productivity, pleasure, and independence. Therefore, it is all the more important to accompany those nearing the end of life. We need to remind them that they are not alone. They are loved, and the value of their lives is not dependent upon anything transient.

In Pope Francis’ recent encyclical entitled, Laudato Si, he writes that “our distorted relationship with God has infected our relationship with the earth, evidenced by pollution, lack of clean water, toxic waste, and immense material waste….” He is concerned about a “culture of waste or a throwaway culture that goes so far as to see and treat human life as disposable.” 

We need to cultivate within ourselves “an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with a serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next.” With this attitude, as we draw closer to God and to each other, we will become more attuned to God’s call.”

May our hearts be filled with God’s mercy as we respect the life that our gracious God has given us. 

“Get Me To The Church On Time!”

The annual Chicago Marathon will take place next Sunday at 7:30 a.m. While this is a grand and joyful event for the athletes who run through the neighborhoods of our city, the marathon does cause several complications for many faithful believers trying to get to their place of worship on Sunday morning. 

Just ask Larry McBrady what it was like last year trying to get to Immaculate Conception Church to celebrate the 9:30a.m. Mass. I still remember his frantic and desperate voice message he left on my phone at 9:35 a.m. that Sunday morning.

The city has notified us through the mail that there will be significant street closures. Both Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph churches are directly affected by the route that runs down LaSalle Street and then back again onto Wells Street. Getting to church will be very difficult; but not impossible.

For those who live directly east of our parish, I recommend attending the Saturday 5:00 p.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception, or come for the 12:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday at Immaculate Conception. By 12:00 noon most of the runners have passed through our neighborhood and you can cross the intersections.

If you plan to attend any of the Masses in the morning, give yourself extra time to get to church. Odds are that you will have to take a different and longer route because of the congestion. Walking, biking or carpooling could be other options. 

I feel guilty that I live right next to St. Joseph church and just roll down the stairs to church. Hope to see you next weekend. Be not afraid, Jesus will be with you!

Take A Guess

How many people do you think come through our church doors on a given weekend to celebrate the Eucharist? Every year, the Archdiocese requires all parishes to participate in an "October Count" so that the data gathered by the Office of Research and Planning can be reviewed and current trends can be identified among Catholics. The Archdiocese uses this information for future planning.

Please make every effort during the month of October to attend Mass at either parish. I ask families to commit to being present for all the four Sundays of the month. I am aware that there are plenty of near-by Catholic parishes that are just a few minutes away that can be alternative options for Sunday worship.

Our October count from last year showed that on a given weekend our Mass Attendance for all our five Masses totaled an average of 565. It will be interesting to see how much our October count this year will show an increase in attendance from the prior year. Studies show that 23% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass on a regular basis.  

Come Journey With the Apostles!

Our Saturday morning Scripture study has resumed. For the next several weeks we will be traveling through the adventurous Acts of the Apostles that takes us back to the life of the early church after Jesus’ resurrection. 

The Saturday classes are held at 9:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church. Join us for the video presentations and group discussion. This is a great way to make the scriptures come alive and be more meaningful. Click here for more information.

A Sign of Life

Thank you to all who volunteered their time and talents at our recent Ministry Fair in September. The vitality of our parish increases whenever more parishioners step forward to help in different roles in ministry. 

I would like to make a direct appeal to high school students and young adults who would like to become a Minister of Communion or a Lector. Please contact me. Some of our teens and young adults have already jumped in and have taken on these ministerial roles. Visitors who join us on Sunday for the Eucharist are impressed that by your presence at this level. We could use your help. Give me a call.

Installed and Ready to Go!

Thank you to all who were able to attend the 11:00 a.m. Mass with Bishop Frank Kane last weekend at St. Joseph’s church. It was an honor and privilege for me to be re-installed as your pastor. The wonderful liturgy reflected the unity, Spirit, and vibrant faith of our community. I am glad we could share this scared and historical moment in prayer around the Table of the Lord. May God bless us in all that we do together to carry on the mission of Jesus.

– Fr. Larry