Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have been blessed with the vocation of motherhood. The beauty of today is watching how families humbly show their love and appreciation for their mothers who provide so much for them. Hopefully this is a prayerful and grace-filled day of recognition for many women.
Flowers, cards or candy are the token signs of gratitude on Mother’s Day. But I suspect that what pleases a mom most of all is a simple hug or a kiss and hearing the words, “I love you” from their kids. It’s free and powerful. If you are a mom, I hope you are blessed with this gift today. Sons and daughters don’t be shy about it, just do it.
As a parish priest, it becomes more and more evident to me that mothers play an important role in the faith life of their children. They, along with their husbands, are the primary educators of their children in the ways of faith, and are the ones needed to nurture the spiritual life of their children. It is an important responsibility as our Catholic faith is passed on from one generation to another. May God’s blessings be upon our mom’s and may God keep them holy and filled with wisdom and grace.
“Just Saving Souls”
Priests are asked to bless many things...cars, boats, pets, houses, rosaries, bibles, statues and other various religious articles.
For the past several years, I have been asked to do a prayer service and blessing for a chapter of motorcycles riders at the Chi-Town Harley Davidson dealership in Tinley Park on the first Saturday of May. It is an honor for me to be with those who seek God’s protection and care as they travel the highways and byways this summer in their “iron.”
Of course the priest is always the most clean-cut guy in a group of bikers. But, I learned not to be fooled by one’s appearances. Behind the black leather jackets, the colorful tattoos, gray beards and braided pony-tails are graders school teachers, hospice nurses, accountants, grandfathers and God-fearing, every Sunday church going believers. I wouldn’t doubt that the two guys pictured below were once top notch altar boys in grade school.
One biker showed me a pin on his jacket that he was very proud of. It said, “Loud Pipes Saves Lives. Jesus Saves Souls!”
Working in the God’s Vineyard
The month of May is typically the month when priests, both diocesan and religious, remember the day of their ordination. Fr. Tom Croak, a (Vincentian priest from DePaul University, who has celebrated Mass for our parishes on weekends) celebrates his 50th anniversary this month. Fr. Larry Mc Brady, will be ordained 44 years on May 12th. I will be ordained 31 years on May 19th. Fr. Ron Hicks, who lives with me at St. Joseph’s church, will be 21 years ordained on May 21st. May God continue to bless us and guide us in our ministry. Ad Multos Anos!
“Where Are You? Over Here!”
Folks who are new to our parishes, and those who are visiting us, often tell me that our parishes were very hard to find. They have a difficult time locating the church, even as they walk down the street following the digital map on their smart phone. On Easter Sunday I redirected a young couple who had that lost look on their face walking down North Park Street, trying to find Immaculate Conception church within the school building. This is a not a good first impression.
Even families that live close to either church do not realize that a Catholic Church is right in their neighborhood. Both Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph’s church do not look like your typical traditional Catholic church on the outside, like Holy Name Cathedral or St. Michael’s right here in Old Town.
We are in the process of having decorative signs created for the outside of both parishes to improve our visibility, especially from the street and the CTA Brownline level. Samples of the signs are included in today’s bulletin, and are also displayed in the back of church. Click here to view samples on our website.
It will take about a month to have them made and installed. If your family would like to make a donation to help to defray some of the costs, your financial support would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made online by clicking here. Families can also use the printed envelopes included in today’s bulletin as well and place them in the Sunday collection.
I am confident that the signs will make a huge improvement, especially when it comes to increasing our attendance at Mass. Who knows… we might get a few holy Harley riders to join us on Sunday!
It is not uncommon for our parishioners to worship at another Catholic parish on a given weekend. They might be traveling on vacation, or gone to a warmer climate for the winter months, or visiting family and friends out of state for a wedding or a baptism on the weekend.
Our parish’s Operating Budget relies heavy on the 52 Sunday collections taken throughout the year, plus the major holy days like Christmas and Easter. Please consider enrolling in our electronic giving program called, Give-Central, that allows you to keep your Sunday contributions uninterrupted when you are away from the parish.
Electronic giving is very convenient form of stewardship and an account is easy to set-up with the parish of your choice. You can enroll for Give-Central by clicking here. More information about Give-Central is also included in the bulletin today. Thank you for your generosity and support to our parishes.