The Best of the Best
Congratulations to Jack Siebert who recently was awarded the Eagle Scout award from Troop #79. This is a great accomplishment and a sign of Jack’s leadership, determination and dedication to the core values and solid principles of Scouting. Certainly Jack’s parents, John and Kate Siebert, and his younger sister Maggie, are proud knowing that Jack has received this great honor that recognizes his hard work and service to our community. Congratulations Jack. Well done!
Saying “I Do” Again.
In 2017, we anticipate celebrating about 40 weddings at our parish. This is one of our largest ministries. Our staff goes well out of its way to make it a positive and meaningful experience for the bride and groom and their family. I believe that we have created a reputation at Immaculate Conception andSt. Joseph Parish. Most of our newlyweds live close to our parish. Before their wedding, many will call Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph their spiritual home and then continue to worship and pray with us long after their celebration.
Next Sunday, at the 11:00 Mass, we will recognize the couples who have been married at our parish within the last year. We will bless all the married couples who are present at Mass and ask them to renew their marriage vows. There will be a “St. Valentine” reception after the Mass in our Parish Center. I look forward to affirming all who have embraced the vocation of Marriage.
Learning About the Eucharist
This Sunday at the 11:00 Mass, I will be explaining parts of the Mass to help us gain a greater appreciation for what actually happens when we gather around the table of the Lord each Sunday for worship. I thought it might be helpful to list just a few things to keep in mind when we come to pray.
Come early to church so that you can enjoy spending a few extra minutes in prayer or quiet reflection. So often during the week we are constantly running from one place to another; always rushing; always trying to catch up and keep up with our packed schedules.
Why get stressed-out trying to get to church? Give yourself plenty of time and come early and read and reflect upon the scripture readings for the day. Consider this; are you ever late when you go to the movie theater? Would you miss the first pitch at Wrigley field? Would you miss the singing of the national anthem at a Blackhawk game at the United Center? Probably not. For important events like these we make sure we are there when we need to be there.
Like a good massage that heals achy and tired muscles, let your prayer and worship on Sunday be a simple gift for yourself. Let Sunday be the time for a weary soul to rest in the quiet presence of God.
The Eucharist is our community prayer. It is not designed to be a private prayer. Mass is not a “spectator sport.” Everyone is invited to actively and fully participate as best they can in the liturgy. Don’t hold back! Sing! Let your voice praise God! Amen! Alleluia!
It is my heartfelt prayer and personal desire that Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish be known for its good liturgies. I pray that our liturgies are spirit-filled, far from boring, and always rewarding. I believe a pastor sins when he lets his folks leave church feeling that their time spent in church was a waste of time. I hope this is a sin I never have to confess to a fellow priest.
Remember what you get at Mass. Yes, Christ is present to us when we listen to the Word of God, and the scriptures are proclaimed to us. Yes, Jesus is actually present when we receive the Body of Christ. That is why we reverently say, “Amen!” which means “I believe this is Jesus.”
It is easy to just go through the motions at Mass; yes, even for the celebrant. We can develop sloppy habits. We can fail to pay attention. We can become lax in our prayer. We can drift off thinking about what kind of pancakes we will order after Mass, or when was our last oil change. One of the biggest challenges for us is to be present to Christ, who is present to us.
I look forward to meeting this week with the parents of our children in 2nd Grade who will be receiving their First Communion in May. We will have the opportunity to review the sacrament and begin preparing our children for their special day.
A Mission of Charity
I am pleased to share to some wonderful news about several of our parishioners. His Eminence Cardinal Blase Cupich has appointed Mr. Brian Mack, Mrs. Katie Mack, Mr. Kevin Forde, Ms. Amalia Lemar, and Mr. George Vrecheck to serve a three-year term to the Board of Advisors of Catholic Charites of the Archdiocese of Chicago. They will be a great resource in supporting the mission of charity.
Little Sisters of the Poor
Next weekend, Febraury 18th and 19th, the Little Sisters of the Poor will be visiting our parish. This is one of over 180 Homes operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor in 31 countries throughout the world. Your support will enable them to continue the mission of caring for the elderly poor in a spirit of a joy and dignity. Any assistance you are able to give will be deeply appreciated. Learn more about the apostolate here.