All of Us – #162

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

Back to School

Our Parish School will open its doors on Monday morning signaling the start of a new school year. Our faculty and staff of over 60 employees will welcome the 445 students who are enrolled at Immaculate Conception – St. Joseph School. The families of our school community represent over 20 different Chicago zip codes. 

As pastor of a parish with a large and vibrant school, I am proud and blessed by the leadership and experience of Katie Sullivan and Maria Hill; who serve as our co- principals for the two school campuses. They work hard and do a great job. Our children receive more than just an excellent education; but one that is rooted deeply in the Catholic faith. 

Our Opening School Mass will be on Tuesday, August 23rd at 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Church. Both campuses will join together for the Mass as we ask for God’s blessings and guidance. Parents are invited to pray with us.

Parish life noticeably kicks into a higher and faster gear when school resumes. Our neighborhood streets and parish parking lots become more congested as multiple activities take place throughout the week. Please be extra cautious and patient when driving so that potential accidents can be avoided. Small children can be very hard to see. Giving ourselves some extra time will help us to be safe. I thank you in advance for your cooperation

Enroll Now!

Now is the time for children who attend a public grammar school to enroll in our Religious Education Program that will begin in September. Please refer to the information about our Religious Program that is included in today’s bulletin or visit our Religious Education page here. Also, Kim Rak, the Director of our Religious Education program can assist you. Kim contact information can be found here.

Just Me And God

I leave this week for my annual directed retreat. I will be away from the parish next weekend. I am fortunate to take an eight-day silent retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  

I am blessed with the opportunity to reflect and pray about my ministry. The retreat helps me to keep focused and recharges my spiritual batteries.

Often the hardest part of a silent retreat is that you hear God say to you, “Shut-up! Stop talking! Please let me get a word in. I got stuff you need to hear.” 

Please keep me in your prayers, and know that you will be in mine as well. I am grateful for our senior priests Fr. Jim Rickey and Fr. Larry McBrady who will be covering all of the weekend Masses when I am gone on the 27th and 28th. Be kind to them.

Catching Up

I know from the looks of our Summer Mass Attendance that many of our parish families were away from Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish during the summer and worshiping at other Catholic parishes. Our Mass attendance will surge when families return and get back into their regular routine with school back in session.

Please note that our Parish Operating Budget is based on the 52 weeks of Sunday collections throughout the year. We were able to finish our last fiscal year that ended on June 30th in the black.

You will see in today’s bulletin that our summer collections in the last two and a half months have left us with an operating deficit of$12,576.00. If you have not been able to financially support our parish over the summer, please prayerfully consider as an act of stewardship, to make a donation to help cover the Sundays that you may have been absent and unable to contribute. 

Today’s bulletin also contains a simple enrollment form for E-Giving where your donations can be made on a regular basis, even if you are attending Mass elsewhere; you can also visit our Giving page. Thank you for whatever ways you can support our parish.

A First Time For Everything

My personal checkbook has been a disaster this month. For the first time in my life I over-drew my funds. I must have been too spacey and/or more lazy, to check or balance my account before writing a bunch of checks to pay my monthly bills. 

If my parents were alive I am sure they would be embarrassed. What happened to all that good education they paid for?

I went to the bank to plead my case of stupidity in person to the bank manager; hoping she would relinquish the long list of fees that came with each cancelled check. 

I sat down at her big oak desk. I felt like I was back in 8th grade in the principal’s office with Sister Francine who was going to interrogate me for cleaning the chalk erasers against the brown brick walls of our school. She wondered how certain words ironically got spelled-out on the wall for all to see. Let’s just say they are words you don’t hear at Mass on Sunday.

I started out telling the bank manager, “You know, Pope Francis declared this to be a Jubilee Year of Mercy.”  She smiled at me and said, “Yes, I know, I am Catholic.” She continued on by saying, “In fact Father, I read somewhere that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to instruct the ignorant.” 

I humbly said, “Yes that’s me, and this is your free ticket to heaven. St. Peter will be proud of you when you get to the pearly gates!” 

As for me, I’ve got to take more fish oil!

– Fr. Larry