Giving Witness to Christ
"I want you to make yourselves heard... I want the noise to go out. I want the Church to go out onto the streets. I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable... everything that might make us closed in on ourselves." – Pope Francis speaks to the youth of the world, Argentina 2013
Last Sunday, Camile Rehkemper, Evan Turner, Evana James, Stefan Rehkemper and Thomas Viancort (below, right) were acknowledged by the Archdiocese of Chicago for their leadership and ability to promote the mission of Youth Ministry, especially in the areas of catechesis and evangelization. They have given witness to Christ by singing in our parish choir; teaching religious to our children; and serving as liturgical ministers at our Masses.
We honor them for their roles of service in the Church and in society. Their talent, their generosity, their enthusiasm give us great hope for the future. May God bless them for all that they do, especially within our parishes.
It’s All About The Praise
Johann Sebastian Bach once said, “The aim and final end to all music should be no other than to give glory to God and to refresh the soul.” This is a perfect mission statement for any musician. This weekend we express our gratitude for the sacred music that Mary Jameyfield (below) has provided for over 20 years; serving as the Director of Music for Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes. We wish her well as she takes a new endeavor in her professional career.
We have been blessed by Mary's ability to provide a diverse selection of music that reminds us that there are many styles and sounds that we can resort to when we offer our praise to God. I imagine that God's has an expansive playlist. A playlist that certainly includes gospel songs like “I Got Jesus” rolled out on a piano and backed-up with drums; as well as “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” that shakes a church when the Alleluias are blasted from a majestic pipe organ.
When it comes to church ministry, music plays a powerful and important role in the spiritual life of the faithful. I’ve witnessed its magic from the altar that has prayerfully and tenderly touched the hearts and minds of many a believer; always leaving them with a desire to come back for more. I’ve seen on the beaming faces of a young bride and groom, on the biggest day of their life, when the song Grow Old With Me is sung as they light their wedding candle, and they dream of their life together as one forever. I’ve seen tears roll down the faces of mourners at a funeral when they hear the words to Precious Lord Take My Hand, they trust that their loved one is now at peace with God in heaven. I have watched school kids sink into a spiritual trace when they hear a soothing rendition of Ave Maria at the May Crowing Mass. The lyrics puts them in-touch with a gentle and softer side to sainthood that comes with living a good and holy life like the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s moments like these that music has the power to melt the frozen parts of our hearts and turn them into warm mush. Yes, music opens us up to freely receive God’s love and grace.
We thank Mary for helping us sing, pray and praise God. We are grateful for the ways that she has helped us to celebrate the significant moments of our life in the context of our Catholic faith. We appreciate the ways that her music nourished and sustained us in our journey of faith. A reception for Mary will take place this Saturday at the 5:00 PM Mass in the Parish Hall at Immaculate Conception.
Come To The Feast
This month we will celebrate the feast day of St. Joseph with a “pot-luck” lunch at 12:00 noon on Sunday, March. 22nd. The St. Joseph’s Day Table will take place in the gym at the Hills Street campus. I hope you can share in the fellowship and food. It’s a simple way for us to mingle and foster our sense of community.
Welcome To The Big Table
Congratulations to Faye and Billy Taylor, left, who received their First Holy Communion at St. Joseph Church last weekend. Included in the picture are their proud parents Simon and Lea Taylor.
Start Making Plans
Today’s bulletin contains the schedule for our upcoming Holy Week services. I encourage every family to take a few moments this Lent and ponder the best ways that you can attend these sacred liturgies that majestically proclaim the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. What can you do to be here this Holy Week?
Responding To God’s Word
In the gospel passage this Sunday we see a side to Jesus that isn't seen too often in scripture. He is filled with anger as he disrupts the non-religious activities in the temple. He is close to losing it.
The season of Lent is a time of purification and cleansing. What do we need to set right in our lives? What kind of cleansing is needed in our own temples?
Can You Help?
Today’ s bulletin contains a flyer that lists several areas in the life of our parish where we are in serious need of volunteers. Please review the various opportunities to help in a ministry. Training and assistance will be provided by our parish staff. Your commitment and support will help to improve the overall life of our parish.