All of Us – #173

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

“He is God, not of the dead, but of the living!”

Today’s readings confront us with the question of what death is – and what comes after. And that question is important because it helps us to shape how we live in the present.

In the first reading, we see how seven brothers were able to endure terrible hardship because of their faith in God’s ability to raise them up after death. Their belief in the resurrection enabled them to remain true to their identity, to their values, to their God.

In the Gospel, the Sadducees, who believed that there is no afterlife, dragged up a little-used law about marrying your dead brother’s wife in order to ridicule Jesus’ belief in the resurrection of the dead. That law was created to ensure that a man’s name lived on after death. 

Jesus says that for those who belong to God, there is no need to try to cheat death. Those who have died and “are judged worthy” are living with God, where there is no need to think of marrying and having children to try to preserve your name or to carry on the human race. Why? Quite simply, there is no more death. Those who are worthy are living a new kind of life as daughters and sons of God. Death has no power over them. Jesus is crystal clear. This life is not the end. God wants us to live in God’s presence forever. 

Our belief in the resurrection shows us that to God, life is absolutely important. God created us for life not death. God is a God of the living, Jesus tells us, and what we do with our life determines our future with God. 

“Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord”

The month of November is traditionally dedicated to remembering our loved ones who have died. We hold in our prayers all who have gone before us in faith with the hope and confidence that they now share in the fullness of God's love for them in heaven. 

The parish register, Book of the Dead, will be displayed in both churches this month. It lists the parishioners who celebrated their life-long journey of faith with the Mass of Christian Burial. Our Easter candle will also be lit during Mass in the month of November. It is a reminder and sacred symbol that we always are invited to live in the light of Christ, our Risen Lord. The light of Christ dispels the darkness of suffering and death. 

Parishioners are invited to bring pictures of their loved ones who have died and place them on the memorial table next to the Easter candle in church. The pictures will be on display during the month of November. 

May their souls and the souls of all our faithful departed, rest in peace.  Amen. 

To Teach Who Christ Is

Our capital campaign, To Teach Who Christ Is, has gotten off to a wonderful start. So far we have $920,000 pledged from 60 families. I am truly gratefully for their leadership and being a great example of stewardship.

Every registered parishioner will soon be receiving in the mail a packet of information and a commitment card. Please prayerfully consider how you can financially support our parish by making a pledge that can be fulfilled over the next 5 years. 

Members of our Campaign Committee will be making phone calls to parishioners asking for their participation. Please be open-minded to their request. We are not all asked to give the same gift, but we are all invited to make the same sacrifice when giving.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has given us a tremendous opportunity to eliminate our $12 million by matching every $1 we raise with $11. This is a great sign of confidence by Cardinal elect Blasé Cupich in the future of Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish.

Being debt free will only increase the vitality of our parish and enable us to better carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus. If you have any questions about the campaign please give me a call. 

A Parade of Characters

I always enjoy our Halloween Parade that takes place at the North Park Campus of our school. Our younger students and their teachers get to dress up in some very creative costumes. I loved the one girl in 3rd Grade who dressed up as a huge chocolate donut! Sweet! 

When The Saints Come Marching

Our students at our North Park campus changed from their Halloween costumes to prepare for the feast of All Saints. We celebrated the holy day at Immaculate Conception Church with an array of children dressed as their favorite saint for Mass. We realize all the good and holy people that made sure Jesus was their close friend. We try to do the same by embracing the Beatitudes and using them as our blueprint for life.

Becoming Catholic

Congratulations to Evan MacKenzie who became Catholic this past week. Evan was baptized in the Presbyterian Church as an infant. He has joined the Catholic Church by making a “Profession of Faith” stating, “I believe and profess all that the Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” 

October Count- 2016

During the month of October we count the number of people who attend Mass on a given weekend. The figures below reflect the average attendance for each Mass. 

5:00 p.m. – 89
8:00 a.m. – 55
9:30 a.m. – 101
11:00 a.m. – 165
12:30 p.m. – 60
Total 470

– Fr. Larr