All of Us – #175

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

A Good Thing To Do Now

My older brother Eddie and both of my parents Ed and Lorraine, are deceased. I celebrated their funeral Masses several years ago before coming to Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish. As you can imagine, this was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. Ask any priest; they will tell you that they dread the thought of presiding at the funeral for their immediate family because they are emotionally attached.

Even though difficult, it was a good learning experience for me because it helped me to understand what a family actually goes through at the time of death when they have to make arrangements to bury their loved ones. I was able to humbly step on the other side of the altar and be the mourner in the pew. A lot of important decisions had to be made in a short amount of time. It is truly an emotional and stressful time. Some families do well under pressure and unfortunately some do not because they are unable to work together. This makes for a tense time as folks try to arrive at a final decision. Sometimes you can feel the tension in the air when you walk into the funeral home for the wake.

catholic cemeteries of chicago

It really helps to do some pre-planning when it comes to celebrating a Catholic funeral. Figuring out where the wake will take place; what will happen at the Mass; who will be involved in the liturgy; will there be a eulogy or reflections given; will there be a burial of the body or is cremation an option; where will our loved one be buried? These are all things to consider. 

The Catholic Cemeteries Archdiocese of Chicago offers great assistance when families need to make all these decisions. They have an excellent website that will answer many of your questions, and provide you with several possibilities as to how the funeral can meet the needs and expectations of the family. 

In this month of November, where we remember our loved ones who have died, this might be a good time to think about how we want to celebrate our life with dignity and respect when the time comes. You might think now that this is a morbid thought, but you can really do your family a favor by working out some of the details in advance. It’s not a bad conversation to have. It can eliminate a lot of headaches.

Welcome to Our Parish

This Sunday at the 11:00 AM Mass we acknowledge and welcome those in our RCIA program (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) who have been meeting weekly to learn about the Catholic faith. They have all been baptized in another Christian denomination and are considering being formally received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil next year. Today we celebrate the Rite of Welcoming for them and we support them in their journey of faith.

Let Us Give Thanks to God

We approach the feast of Thanksgiving this week. This holiday is a special moment for families and friends who gather to enjoy quality time and share a traditional meal that will certainly stuff their stomachs, but more importantly nourish their souls. I hope your gatherings, either local or far away, are blessed moments for you. May the holiday be a “holy day,” that gives us the opportunity to rest from all the running around we do during the week, and “just be” with one another. 

We hold in our prayers those who have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and those who will be alone. Thank you to all who made donations to our Parish Food Pantry. It is a simple way of helping the poor right here in our neighborhood. 

We remember our men and women serving in the military, especially those overseas, far from their families this Thanksgiving. We are grateful for their sacrifice and dedication to our country. We pray for a quick and safe return home. 

Let us remember our beloved ones who have died within the last year. The first Thanksgiving without them is always difficult. May we be reassured that their feast is now in heaven and that they are seated at the table with our Risen Lord. 

I hope you can join us for our Mass on Thanksgiving that will take place at 9:00 AM at Immaculate Conception Church. I always believed that if there was one day that the American bishops should designate as a holy day of obligation, it should be Thanksgiving. It makes the most sense. My dream is that on Thanksgiving Day that there is “standing room only” for Mass.

We need to let God know our gratitude for all the blessings we have received in our lives, and within the last year. If you are in town for Thanksgiving, please join us for Mass in the morning. I guarantee that you will be home by 10:00 AM.

Have a great Thanksgiving. Hope to see you in church Thursday.

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Time To Start Cleaning My Room

I am happy to announce that Cardinal Blasé Cupich will be coming to our parish on Sunday, December 11th. He will celebrate the 9:30 AM Mass at Immaculate Conception Church. After Mass, a breakfast will be served in our Parish Hall at Immaculate Conception Church. Parishioners will have the opportunity to meet and greet with the Cardinal.

In order to make sure we have enough food, it is very important that parishioners RSVP for the breakfast so that we can have an accurate headcount. To reserve your spot at the breakfast reception, visit our event page or call Clair Martin at 312-787-7174.

There are many good reasons as to why we are honored to have Cardinal Cupich come to Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish. Even though he lives and works so close to our parish, this will be his first visit to our parish. Secondly, we celebrate his recent appointment to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis. The Cardinal has also been instrumental and supportive in the combination of our two parish communities into one community of faith. Plus, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, he has shown an extreme act of mercy by helping to relieve the majority of our $12 million debt to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Our To Teach Who Christ Is capital campaign has been very successful largely due to the fact the Archdiocese will match $11 to every $1 dollar that we raise in the capital campaign. Come and let us pray and give thanks for the many ways that Cardinal Cupich has blessed our parish.

– Fr. Larry