“Trust in God's Promise”
We begin the season of Lent on Wednesday smack dab in the middle of February that has been gray, snowy and cold winter. The sign of the cross will be traced on our foreheads with black ashes as we spiritually set our sights on the new life that God offers us through our prayer, fasting and works of charity. We are invited to once again embrace the 40 day journey of Lent so that God's love and grace will transform our hearts and minds.
Yes, Lent can be, as they say, “a game changer,” a moment of true conversion, if we let it. I notice that Ash Wednesday, like New Year's Day, is filled with many personal resolutions and goals. We dream of how our spiritual life can improve if we make some changes. Hopefully our spiritual resolutions will not fade away when we wash the ashes from our faces on Thursday morning. The good thing about Lent is that it gives us the time to prepare for the intense celebrations of Holy Week to come.
The schedule for our Ash Wednesday services is listed below. (Ashes will be distributed during the Mass.)
- 7:00 a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception
- 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph
- 10:00 a.m. School Prayer Service at Immaculate Conception (North Park students)
- 5:30 p.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception
- 7:00 p.m. Mass at St. Joseph
Our parish theme this Lent is “Trust In God's Promise.” The scripture readings that we will hear proclaimed over the next five weeks are filled with hope and promise. The good news is that God's love is there to help us turn away from sin, and from all that takes life away from us when we are not faithful to the gospel. Often the first step for many of us is to trust in what God can do. Where God can lead us these next several weeks?
Placing our trust in God may require that we put aside our own agenda, and reflect on what God wants for us. Trusting in God may mean that we dedicate time to prayer so that we can clearly hear God speak to us without any distractions. Trusting in God may challenge and stretch us to be generous, compassionate and mindful with those in need of our prayers and support.
Pray. Fast. Give.
There will be a number of opportunities for prayer and refection during Lent at both parishes. I hope you will be able to take advantage of them. (Please click here for a fill list of our Lenten schedules and events.)
Fr. Larry McBrady will be directing a Lenten Retreat on Saturday morning, February 21st, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon at Immaculate Conception parish. Give yourself the gift of making a retreat. It's a great way to enter into Lent. Please register on-line by clicking here if you plan to attend.
“Soup and Scripture"
“Soup and Scripture" will take place on the Monday nights of Lent, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, in the Parish Hall at Immaculate Conception. Parishioners are invited to come together for a simple “pot-luck”/ soup supper, followed by a discussion on the upcoming Sunday readings.
The parish will supply the bread to go along with the soup. We invite those attending to consider bringing a simple container of soup to share with others. Please register on-line by clicking here so that we can plan accordingly for the event.
“Soup and Scripture” is a great opportunity for fellowship and a way to feed our minds and souls with the Word of God. Reflecting on the Sunday scriptures beforehand helps us to better appreciate the readings when we hear them proclaimed on Sunday at Mass.
Our first session of “Soup and Scripture” will be directed by Sister Mary Magdely, from the order the Benedictine Sisters. (Sister Mary, and her religious order, once taught at the old St. Joseph school in the 1960's and 1970's) . She will explain a simple way of praying and reflecting over the scriptures known as Lectio Divina (Latin for: Divine Reading.) This is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, mediation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase knowledge of God's Word. It does not treat Scripture as text to be studied, but as the “Living Word” of God.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross will be prayed on the Wednesday evenings of Lent at 6:00 PM. We will begin at Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, February 25th and then alternate between both parishes on Wednesdays.
Festival of Forgiveness
During Lent 2015, the Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago wants to bring God's mercy not only to Catholic faithful but also to anyone who stands in need of healing and forgiveness. Across two days, February 27 and February 28, the Church in Chicago will offer special opportunities for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and for prayers for healing. As part of their Festival of Forgiveness, the Catholic faithful, especially those who have been away from the sacraments, are urgently invited to come and share in God's mercy.
The Sacrament of Penance will be celebrated at 24 locations for 24 hours. (For a complete parish list and locations, click here.) Our parishioners Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes are invited to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance during these 24 hours at Holy Name Cathedral. There will be other opportunities during Lent for the sacrament to be celebrated at Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parishes.
Food for the Poor
We will be collecting food for the poor during Lent. You can bring your donations to church on Sundays, or to our Parish Offices during the week. Thank you for your generosity.
“Time To Sparkle”
“Sparkle,” the major fundraiser for our parish school, will take place on Saturday, February 28th. Raffle tickets for the event can be purchased after our weekend Masses over the next several weeks. Thank you for your support towards Catholic education. Tickets to attend the event are available by clicking here.
Annual Catholic Appeal
Thank you to all who are able to make a commitment to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Your generosity helps to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago, both in Lake and Cook counties.