A “Stuffed” September
I flipped through the pages of my calendar and realized that the month of September is packed with a lot of “stuff.” Praise God that we have the Labor Day holiday on Monday so that with a long weekend we can still pretend that it’s the middle of summer and down shift back into a vacation mode.
I drew up a simple list of what you will encounter at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parish over the next four weeks. Our Parish Council, Parish Staff and other parishioners have been working hard behind the scenes to make things happen. Maybe there are one or more events that you will be able to participate in? I hope so.
- There are seven weddings to be celebrated at St. Joseph Church during September. Thank goodness for our wedding sacristans who point me in the right direction; and help to make the day a sacred and beautiful celebration of faith and love for the bride and groom and their families and friends.
- We will be recruiting and training more children from our Parish School and Religious Education Program to help as Altar Servers. It is one way to make our Sunday worship more meaningful for them.
- Our Parish Choir begins practicing, praying and singing with us on Sundays. It is great to have them back as they help to lift -up our voices in praise and thanksgiving to God.
- Our current Liturgical Ministers will have an opportunity for prayer, refection, fellowship, and on-going training on Saturday morning, September 10th at Immaculate Conception Church. We are grateful for their commitment to proclaim God’s Word, to share the Eucharist, and offer hospitality and welcome to our community.
- Next Sunday, September 11th, at all the Masses, I will speak about our call to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. We do this when we share our time, talents and treasures. Stewardship, which is a true hallmark of a Christian way of life, supports the mission and ministry of Jesus. I will explain our upcoming To Teach Who Christ Is capital campaign and how it will greatly benefit our parish and the Archdiocese of Chicago.
- On “Catechetical Sunday,” September 18th at the 11:00 Mass, we will recognize and bless all of our teachers and catechists who serve in our Parish School and Religious Education Program. They collectively help over 500 children to learn about their Catholic faith. This is the biggest ministry of our parish.
- On the weekend of September 17th-18th, our parish will host a “Ministry Fair” as a way of explaining and inviting parishioners to become more involved in the life of the parish. We will highlight the top areas of parish life and the need for volunteers. There will be a variety of possibilities that you can check-out after Mass.
- We look forward to Bishop Frank Kane, our local Vicar, who is coming to our parish on September 25th and will preside at the 11:00Mass. Together we celebrate the recent canonical combining or our parishes that took place on July 1st this year. So please save the date now so that you can attend the Mass and reception.
- Our RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program resumes in September. This is the program for adults who are thinking about becoming Catholic. The RCIA welcomes those who are not baptized and those who are baptized in another Christian denomination and want to learn more about our faith, traditions and beliefs.
- Our “Prayer Connection” ministry is in full swing. This is a group of parishioners who faithfully pray for the intentions that have been submitted to the parish. In the past year they have proven that there certainly is power in prayer. You can make a prayer request through our parish website.
Please keep an eye on our bulletin and parish website for all of the details for these up-coming events. This is an exciting time for our parish because there are plenty of opportunities for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. May we be open to the Spirit that can take us to places we have never been before.
Loved to Death
The picture below was taken in the chapel of the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshgosh, Wisconsin where I attended a silent retreat last week. The bronze statue of Jesus is a powerful depiction of his great sacrifice of love for us on the cross. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy it beautifully reminded me how Jesus loved us to death.
In today’s gospels we hear the challenging words of Jesus who says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
What sacrifices are we willing to make in response to Jesus’ love for us?