All of Us – #189

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

We Got “Yelp-ed”

I received a real nice letter from Jeremy Stoppelmen who is the CEO of Yelp. He writes:

Dear Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Church,

We are proud to recognize Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph for the positive ratings and reviews you’ve earned on Yelp in the last year; a 4.5 out of a 5 star rating and 14 reviews. Our visitors love Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Church!

Yelp connects millions of monthly visitors with great local businesses all over the world. So thank you, for your continued efforts to provide great services and business to this community. Congratulations on your accomplishments, and we look forward to working with you in 2017.

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More and more today, people will rely on the internet when it comes to finding a good Catholic parish. They will heed the advice of those who have written reviews to decide where is the best place to go for Mass. Yelp, like Facebook and Twitter, is one form of “electronic evangelization” that tries to reach out to those who are looking for a spiritual home.

It would really help our parish if you took a few minutes to write a positive Yelp review about Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph. (Each location has a separate Yelp review form.) Encourage and invite folks to join us for prayer and worship. I often talk before and after Mass with many people who are visiting our parish for the first time. I will ask them, “How did you find us?” They will say that they searched the internet. 80% of the people who visit our parish website, icsjparish.org, do so from their Smart-Phone. 

Together, let us tell the good news of what is happening at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish. “Yelp – Us!” Thanks for your support.

“After Meeting Jesus, What Will You Do?”

Our Lenten season begins this Wednesday as we trace the sign of the cross on our foreheads with black ashes. It is a powerful symbol of our relationship with Jesus Christ and our willingness to turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel. The Lenten season offers us the opportunity to deepen our spirituality through the common practices of prayer, fasting, and charitable giving.

Our Ash Wednesday schedule of services is as follows. Feel free to attend any one of them. I noted when our grade school children will be present for the liturgy.

7:00 a.m. Mass  – Immaculate Conception Church

8:00 a.m. Mass – St. Joseph Church
Students from the Hill Street Campus will be attending

10:00 a.m. Prayer Service – Immaculate Conception Church
Students from the North Park Campus will be attending

5:30 p.m. Mass  – Immaculate Conception Church

7:00 p.m. Mass– St. Joseph Church

Our Lenten theme this year is, “After Meeting Jesus, What Will You Do?” The theme is based on the “Cycle A” scriptural readings we will hear proclaimed at Mass. This Lent, the gospel stories include the woman at the well, the blind man, and Lazarus. They all encounter Jesus and we notice how their life dramatically changes. 

For us as well, this Lent gives us the opportunity to meet Jesus through our prayer, fasting and charitable giving. What will this sacred encounter with Jesus do to us? What lasting affect will it have upon us? And, after meeting Jesus, what will we be compelled to do now? May it be a great Lent for us because of the quality time we spend with our Lord.

Come Pray With Us

Throughout the month of March, we will be counting the number of people who attend Mass at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish. We typically conduct this survey for the Archdiocese during the month of October. However, the month of March actually provides us with a more accurate reading. The Chicago Marathon in October throws off our head-count because the various street closings in our neighborhood makes it very difficult for parishioners to get to either one of our churches on Sunday morning.

Please make every effort to worship at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish throughout Lent. I am aware that parishioners have lots of other options for Sunday Mass given that our neighboring parishes are less than ten minutes away from us. I hope to see you in church.

Maybe This Will Help?

There are a few good Lenten resources that I use on my Smart- Phone. They offer a daily scriptural reflection based upon the readings for the day. Some resources conveniently come in the form of an App.

Word on Fire offers reflections from Bishop Bob Barron who is an author, speaker, and theologian. Bishop Barron was born and raised in Chicago and is now serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He has great insights into the scriptures.

Word Among Us Magazine offers daily meditations based on the Mass readings, inspirational essays, and stories of the saints.

Feeding The Poor

Throughout the season of Lent we will be collecting food for our Parish Food Pantry and also for our Sharing Parish, Assumption, BVM which is located at 26th Street and California Ave. The shelves in our pantry are running low. 

Much of what we collected before Christmas has been distributed. You can take a grocery bag home with you today from church and fill it up when you go shopping during the week. You can drop off your donations during the week at either church, or bring your bag with you when you come to Mass next weekend. Thank you for your corporal work of mercy.

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Scripture Study

Several of our parishioners have enjoyed exploring the Old Testament on Saturday mornings. They participated in the video assisted-course offered by the scriptural scholar Fr. Richard Clifford, S.J. The next series will begin on Saturday March 4th. Come and learn more about the Word of God (find out more here)!

“Terrence Lee, May He Rest In Peace”

Last weekend I received word that Fr. Pat Lee’s brother, Terrence, died. (Fr. Pat Lee preceded me as pastor of Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish.) We pray that he may now come to experience the fullness of God’s love for him in heaven. We hold him in our prayers as well as his wife, Patricia, and his children, Carrie, Mary Patricia (Robert) Basso and his siblings. If you would like to send a sympathy note or a Mass card to Fr. Pat, it can be sent to:

Fr. Pat Lee
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish
708 W. Belmont Avenue
Chicago, Illinois  60657-4513

– Fr. Larry