“Be Sealed with the Gift of Holy Spirit.”
We welcome our Vicar, Bishop Frank Kane, to our parish this Friday as he administers the Sacrament of Confirmation for the teens in our Religious Education Program and our Parish School. This is a proud moment for our parish, our confirmandi, and their family. These young men and women express their desire to give witness to their Catholic faith, and commit to following the life of Jesus.
In the past few months our teens participated in a number of service projects, a day-long retreat, and studied the history and beliefs of the Catholic faith. Recently, I asked our teens, “Why do you want to be confirmed?” Here are some of their insightful and inspiring responses.
Donna: “I feel a longing to join the Church community officially and use my time, talent, and treasure to help others.”
Bryce: “I will live out my Church duties and profess my Catholic faith. I will go to Church, pray, and have a close relationship with God throughout my life. The Catholic Church will help guide and teach me.”
Audrey Q: “I believe fully in God and I have prepared for about a year. Also, I have been participating in Masses and service, and, again, I fully believe in the Trinity.”
Audrey S: “I am ready to say yes to God. I fully believe in all of the Church's teachings, and I want to be a part of it. Overall, I think I am ready for Confirmation.”
Brendan: “For 10+ years I have learned about the Catholic faith. I have also grown as an individual, and I know the commitment. I believe I am ready to accept the commitment I am about to take.”
Billy: “I am committed to the faith and will try to live my life obeying God as much as I can by obeying the Commandments. I also aspire to become much closer to God, and by receiving the Sacraments, this will help me do this. Confirmation will be a big step in the faith for everyone; we are able to improve our relationship with God.”
Gemma: “I am ready to take full responsibility of my faith. I know that I have to go to Mass every Sunday and that you should go to Reconciliation once a month. I know that I can't rely on my parents to make me go to Mass every Sunday. I know that I can ask for advice and help, but my faith is now my responsibility. I am ready to acknowledge that I want to continue in my faith as an adult.”
Please keep our teens, and their families, in your prayers. May the Holy Spirit that enlivened their hearts with the gift of faith, inspire us in the same way this Lenten season. May the Holy Spirit enable us to do great things in our life, all in the name of the Lord. Come Holy Spirit come!
Rite of Election
Last Sunday at Holy Name Cathedral we celebrated the Rite of Election and Acceptance for the adults in the RCIA program with Bishop John Manz. We pray for those learning about the Catholic Church and preparing to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil celebration this year. It is exciting to accompany them in their journey of faith.
A Different Way of Fasting
Lent is a good time for penance and self-denial. Pope Francis recently offered a new way of approaching the traditional Lenten practice of fasting. He reminded us that these activities must truly enrich others: “I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” So, if we are going to fast from anything this Lent, Pope Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.
In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”
Pope Francis feels that believers today are confronted with a growing globalization of indifference. He writes that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good things fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’ s responsibility and not our own.”
“But when we fast from this indifference, we can began to feast on love. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again. Jesus—the great protagonist of this holy season—certainly showed us the way. In him, God descends all the way down to bring everyone up. In his life and his ministry, no one is excluded.”
Lenten Prayers and Devotions
Has your Lent gotten off to a good start? Hopefully it is going well. If not, here are a few recommendations if you are “spiritually stuck” and looking for some simple exercises that might sustain you through these precious 40 days of conversion and renewal.
- Begin each morning with the prayer: “Lord I offer you this day, and all that I think, and do, and say.”
- Attend Daily Mass as often as possible.
- Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
- Make the Stations of the Cross at home at the parish Stations of the Cross on the Wednesdays of Lent.
- Read Scripture for 10 minutes a day.
- Attend one of the “Soup and Scripture” sessions offered on Monday nights at the parish and deepen your awareness of the Lenten Sunday readings.
- Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms (Pslam 6, 31, 50, 129, and 142).
- Spend some time in quiet prayer.
- Abstain from meat for an extra day or two each week.
- Listen to spiritual music or a spiritual speaker.
- Create a Lenten journal with your spiritual insights, special intentions, people you want to pray for, hurts and disappointments that you want to offer up, and progress reports on your Lenten resolutions.
Eternal Rest Grant To Them O Lord
Today's bulletin contains a list of priests who died in 2014. You may personally know some of them from ties to other parishes. We are grateful for their years of service to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Please remember them in your prayers this Lent. May they now experience the fullness of God's love for them in heaven.