All of Us – #184

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

Day of Prayer

Monday, January 23rd has been designated as a “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” Over four decades ago, the United States decided the case of Roe vs. Wade, which struck down restrictive abortion laws and extended the right of privacy to include the women’s right to terminate her pregnancy.

As a gift from God, every human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage. The right to life is the first and most fundamental principle of human rights that leads Catholics to actively work for a world of greater respect for human life and greater commitment to justice and peace.

You Are Not Alone

Without a doubt, abortion is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can have. Initially, the pain of loss is often buried, but may come to the surface in dysfunctional relationships, depression, or other emotional or spiritual problems.

Feelings of grief, anxiety, guilt and anger are common not only for the woman who undergoes an abortion, but also for the father of the child, grandparents, relatives and friends.

The Archdiocese of Chicago offers a wonderful program called, Project Rachel, as a path to healing and reconciliation for those injured by abortion. Project Rachel is a sensitive, private, free and confidential experience with a network of specially trained priests and caring people who understand the painful road back from abortion. It is open to Catholics and those of other faiths.

To begin the healing journey, simply visit the Project Rachel website or call 312-337-1962 for a referral to a priest, counselor or support group.   In your meeting with the priest, he will guide you toward the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Generally, the process will include counseling, prayer and scripture. Project Rachel also offers periodic retreats, overnights, days of prayer and healing and special gatherings.

Listen, Love, and Follow

On Tuesday, I enjoyed celebrating Mass for the students at the North Park campus of our school. The 3rd Graders helped plan the Mass. The scripture readings reminded us that Jesus asks us to listen, love and follow him. 

“Then Jesus said, ‘I promise you this. If you don’t change and become like this child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Called By Name

In today’s gospel, we see that from the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry he knew that he needed help to carry out his mission of preaching, teaching and healing. He could not do it all alone. He recruits disciples. He begins with four fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James and John.

How he calls them is astonishing. Jesus simply walks up to their boats in which these four men were working and summons them to follow him.

There are no questions asked and no interviews required.

Why would they respond like this to a perfect stranger? They are attracted to who Jesus really is even though at this moment they are not aware of this.

When we celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday, both through Word and Sacrament, Jesus calls us by name; he calls us to follow him. What do we need to leave behind so that we can follow him? The big question is: Are we willing to do whatever he tells us?

What’s Up?

There are a few special events that are taking place in our parish this month. Please hold in your prayers today our teens who are preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in February from Bishop Frank Kane. This Sunday our students are participating in their Confirmation retreat that gives them the opportunity to reflect on how they can be open to the powerful workings of the Holy Spirit in their life. 

Note that our Saturday Morning Scripture Study has resumed. This series is taking a look at the readings from the Old Testament. The group gathers on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. and the details are included in today’s bulletin or on our Scripture Study webpage.

Next Sunday, January 29th we will celebrate Catholic Education at our next Family Mass at 11:00 a.m. The students and teachers from our ICSJ Parish School will participate directly in the liturgy. It is a great opportunity for all of us to give God’s thanks for the blessings that we have received from our school community.

– Fr. Larry