The Baptism of the Lord
In the gospel today we remember how Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, travels to the River Jordan, and standing in line with all of humankind, is baptized by John. John recognizes Jesus as the Holy One, and is initially reluctant to baptize him. But Jesus insists. Jesus is one of us through the waters of faith.
With this public act, Jesus sets out on the road of our redemption. We will be saved through him. He will carry our sins for us.
We may not remember the day of our baptism, but that doesn't matter. We are baptized and confirmed people, and God has bestowed favor upon us. Today is the day to respond to the favor we have received, God's Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We are not just a face in the crowd. We are a child of the living God, and God's favor rests upon us.
Through our baptism, we are called to respond to God's love that gives us life. Our baptism unites us to a life-long relationship with Christ. The words of St. Paul remind us that, "nothing can separate us from the love of Christ." The Good News is that Christ is always a part of our life.
Coming To The Table of the Lord
I look forward to the First Communion Parent Meeting this Sunday, and will take place right after the 11:00 AM Mass at St. Joseph's church. It is an opportunity for me, along with our religion teachers and catechists, to reflect with parents on the importance of our Sunday Eucharist, and our need to constantly make the sacrament center of our prayer life as Catholics.
The sacrament offers us spiritual nourishment for our life-long journey of faith. We can easily overlook the fact that Christ is really present to us through the sacred scriptures we hear proclaimed and the bread of life we share with one another every Sunday. Christ is present to us in a very sacred way.
How can we be present to Christ in return?
Mass Intentions for 2015
One tradition of the Catholic Church is that a specific prayer intention is offered by the priest when he celebrates the Mass. Often the intention is in memory for a loved one who has died. It could also be for a particular prayer request like – the good health and quick recovery of someone who is sick. Some Mass intentions are made for those celebrating a special event like a birthday or wedding anniversary.
We are in need of Mass intentions for the 2015 year. The customary stipend is $10 for each intention. You can send your list of intentions to either Parish Office or request them online by clicking here. You can also visit our website at www.icsparish.org for more information. We will do our best to accommodate your requests and desired dates.
We Need Help
We are in need of volunteers who can help serve as a Sunday Sacristans before Mass. They basically make sure everything is ready to go before the celebration. They prepare the altar and gifts for the offertory; check the scripture readings for the day; and check to see if the ushers and other ministers are present.
The commitment is not a huge one, but the help is greatly appreciated, especially on those Sundays when the priest is traveling back and forth between two parishes. It's nice not to have to worry if things are ready to go with only a few minutes before the start of Mass.
If you can help, please contact either Parish Office. Training will be provided in the coming months. You would be assigned to serve at the Mass that you regularly attend.
Looking For Work?
My father and older brother have both worked at Wrigley Field in the area of crowd management during the baseball seasons. It's a second job for my brother Brian. This Spring he will start his ninth season with the Cubs.
My dad worked for 12 years at the ballpark, after he retired from the John Crane Packing Company in Morton Grove; where he worked as a mechanical engineer for 40 years. When he retired, he was bored and needed to get out of the house.
One Sunday after Mass, he saw an ad in the parish bulletin that the Cubs organization was looking for part-time summer help. He checked it out, and the rest was history.
It was one of the best things my father did in his life. Besides making a few extra bucks, he made new friends. The job kept him mentally sharp, emotionally happy, physically mobile and yes – forever optimistic about the team winning. Our family has fond memories of Wrigley Field and the nice people who work behind the scenes.
Recently I received a letter from the Chicago Cubs organization that they are seeking candidates to fill a variety of seasonal Ballpark Operation positions for the upcoming 2015 season. Anyone interested in employment should visit cubs.com/jobs to complete the electronic application process. It might be what you're looking for.
Thank you to all who remembered Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish in their Christmas Giving. Our Christmas collection is a major source income for our Parish Operating Budgets. We are grateful for your financial support that promotes and sustains the ministry and mission of the Church in our two parishes.
So far the 2014 Christmas collection for Immaculate Conception totaled $82,000, and for St. Joseph $7,200. Compared to last year we are down ($22,960 or 20%). The IC flower collection was $60 and the St. Joseph flower collection was $90. The sharing Parish collection for December was $471.
Protecting the Unborn
In December, I received a nice letter from The Women's Center of the Greater Chicagoland. Mary Strom, the Executive Director, expressing their gratitude that Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parishes collected a total of $1,858.21 for the 2014 Baby Bottle Project. The money raised by the Baby Bottle Project provides assistance to women and babies they serve. Their organization gives away over $1,000,000 in material goods such as cribs, high chairs, strollers, diapers, formula, car seats, clothing and blankets. They also conduct over 3,500 appointments with women every year.
Thank you for being so generous to their mission that promotes the care and respect for life and God's creation.