All of Us – #174

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

The Future of Our Church is Now

This Sunday we acknowledge our 8th grade students who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in March of next year. At the 11:00 Mass they will be blessed and commissioned by our parish community. Each candidate will write their name in the Book of Enrollment as a sign of their commitment and willingness to continue to actively live out their Catholic faith through prayer, worship, study and service. 

The candidates stand before us with an “adult faith.” Their parents and godparents have encouraged and guided them to this important moment in their journey of faith. Now, they speak for themselves as they express their heart-felt desire to love and serve the Lord, and to actively participate in the life and ministries of the Church. 

We are proud of our candidates. We are inspired by their youthfulness, energy and enthusiasm. They are a talented group of individuals who have much to offer to our community. In the months ahead they will have opportunities to answer the call of discipleship by feeding the poor, helping the elderly, teaching young children, serving at liturgies, and comforting those who are weak and feeble. The best part about their sacramental preparation is seeing them make a positive difference in our community by living out the gospel message of Jesus Christ. 

Prayer will be an important part of their preparation. They are encouraged to pray every day, both at school and at home. Their Confirmation retreat in January will give them special time to reflect on how the Holy Spirit can empower them to give witness to Christ. Our Confirmation candidates will gather with us on Sunday for the Eucharist: to be nourished by God’s Word and the Bread of Life. 

Six years ago, these young men and women received their First Holy Communion. They were certainly much smaller back then in 2nd Grade; but just as holy. I am sure their parents would agree that they have grown up fast on the way to becoming teenagers. 

Our teens represent the future of the Church, now. Confirmation invites them to be engaged in the life of our parish and the larger community. We do not have to wait for them to grow up. Now is the time for them to share their gifts and talents to build the Kingdom of God. Please keep our candidates in your thoughts and prayers these next several months. When you see them in church or around the parish, encourage and affirm them for the good things they are doing.

Praying for our Loved Ones

Throughout the month of November, we remember and pray for our loved ones who have died. Feel free to bring to church a picture, funeral program or a holy card of a loved one who has gone before us in faith and place it on the memorial table. 

When we face the death of someone, to have a Mass offered in their memory can be a comforting gesture of support and sympathy. A Mass intention can also be designated on the occasion of a birthday, anniversary or special need. Mass intentions can be arranged for both Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph by contacting Clair Martin at our Parish Office, 312-787-7174 or submitting them online here.

Feeding the Poor

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy we are invited to engage on one of the corporal works of mercy. The ICSJ Parish and School are working together to feed those in need during the holidays. We ask for your help. You can drop off non-perishable canned and boxed food at either church between now and November 13th. The food donations will help stock the shelves at the ICSJ Food Pantry that has recently partnered with the Union Baptist Church; located just south of St. Joseph Church. Also, our Sharing Parish, Assumption Church BVM located in the Little Village neighborhood will benefit from the Thanksgiving food drive. Thank you for your generosity and support.

“Take A Little Trip”

Fr. Larry McBrady and I will be hosting a mini-pilgrimage to the Chicago Art Museum to view the Seven Works of Mercy that have been selected as the focus for the exhibit. They reflect the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy.

The ICSJ bus will take participants to the Art Institute for a 90 minute visit and then return to the parish. Upon returning to the parish, participants are free to depart or stay for an optional discussion.

As we move toward the conclusion of the Year of Mercy, this is a great opportunity to spend some time reflecting on the themes of mercy and compassion at our magnificent Art Institute. Make your reservation today. Today’s bulletin (Nov. 13) has all the details for the trip.   

To Teach Who Christ Is

Our capital campaign, To Teach Who Christ Is continues to do well as parishioners continue to submit their pledges. So far $960,000 has been pledged from 60 families. I am truly grateful for their leadership and for being a great example of stewardship. 

Every registered parishioner should have received in the mail by now a packet of campaign 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 sharing their reflections about the importance of the capital campaign this weekend at all the Masses. They will also be making phone calls to parishioners this week 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. 

Keep in mind that 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.  

– Fr. Larry