I would like to let you know about two things that happened last week. In both cases, parishioners contacted me directly to share some of their thoughts about the Church. First, I received a letter from a man who told me that it had happened more than once that he found himself answering questions from people who wanted to know what it means to be Catholic. He told me that he thought it would be good for parishioners to have something to carry with them for times when this happens.
I was delighted to get this man's letter because I could see that he was taking seriously the ministry of evangelization. I do not know if he remembered that evangelization is part of our parish theme this year. But he certainly knows that it is something to which he is called, even if he did not articulate it that way. He just felt he was doing the right thing, talking with people about the Church. Whether or not he was aware of it, this knowledge, this urging to share, comes from his baptism.
We are all called to evangelize but it is easy to get nervous about that big word. It is associated with knocking on doors, or preaching on street corners and television. Not many of us can do those things, nor do we have to. We can be evangelizers, just as this man has been, in our daily lives. Evangelizing is different from proselytizing. We don't try to take people away from other churches or religious traditions. We simply draw them to Christ by the ways we talk about God and our faith and what it means to us. We do this when we talk about how much we experience love in our parish community. We do this when we invite others to church or even to a parish program, like our parish mission which is coming up soon.
It is interesting that this man asked for something material to hand on to others about what it means to be Catholic. This is an echo of a request made by one of the teen representatives on our Parish Pastoral Council, Jorge Solis. Recently, Jorge asked if we could make up a brochure about what it means to be Catholic and put these in the rack in the back of church. I think we should do this. Then people can take them as they wish. Talking with people about the Catholic faith is evangelization and we should provide tools that people can find helpful. Another thing that has been suggested by our PPC is that we have business cards listing our Mass times that parishioners can use to invite people to church. I think that this is something else we should do!
If you have other ideas about how to reach out to people who may be unchurched, or alienated from the Catholic Church, please let me know or bring your ideas to a PPC meeting. We also need to reach out to Catholics who are inactive. Most people do not know that, on average in our diocese, church attendance is only a little over 30% of registered parishioners! We are higher than average at Mary Queen of Heaven, but still, we have many parishioners who do not regularly come to Mass. As we continue with our theme of evangelization, let us all think of ways we can reach out to others.
The second story I want to relate to you is about an E-mail I received from another man in our parish. He had seen an article that was printed in the New York Times and he wanted to share it with me. The article reported a survey done by researchers at Villanova University (a Roman Catholic University) which revealed that 85% of Roman Catholic dioceses had experienced embezzlement of church funds. Later, another parishioner told me that the story was also in the National Catholic Reporter. I have not read the NCR but I did read the New York Times article and I responded to the parishioner who sent it to me. I thought that it might be a good thing if I shared some comments with you, too.
First of all, I was not surprised by the article. In some ways, there is a correlation between this problem and certain aspects of the pedophilia scandal. To be sure, these things are not the same! There is no crime as heartbreaking as the exploitation and abuse of a child. Where there is a relation, however, is in the fact that there have been, overall, poor systems of accountability in the Church. Some things have begun to change and the good news in the wake of the Villanova study is that the U.S. Bishops are looking at ways for there to be greater accountability for the handling of money in our parishes.
It is important to me that I model the kind of accountability I expect from other leaders in our church. So, I would like to tell you about some actions I have taken since arriving at Mary Queen. First of all, within my first 30 days here, I requested that an audit be conducted of the parish. Any deficiencies were rectified. In terms of the Sunday collection, rules were put into place that at least two ushers together handle money. Neither I nor any priest handles money from the collection. It is placed in tamper-proof bags before being secured in a safe until prompt deposit.
This is simply the way things should be done. However, knowing that you may read or hear about the newspaper articles, I thought it was important for me to share these things with you.
I enjoy writing my column and I want to write about things that are important to you. If you have any questions related to the Church, please send them to me anytime.
Mary Foley, Pastoral Life Coordinator
Communications From the Bishop Latin America Dear Friends in Christ, Each year, the national Collection for the Church in Latin America is held in parishes across the country. Proceeds from the collection are distributed to dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, seminaries, and other Catholic institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to assist in the formation of priests, religious, lay ministers, missionaries, pastoral workers, catechists, and youth ministers. Thus, fellow Catholics in Latin America and the Caribbean -who are rich in faith but lacking in material resources-are not only able to participate more fully in the life of the Church, but are enabled to share it with others as well. When we contribute to this national Collection, we are actively living out our call to stewardship and participating in a work of solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the American hemisphere. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Church in Latin America uses the collection funds to support its pastoral grants program in 22 countries and to support the work of the Department of social Development and World Peace on behalf of the Church in Latin America. Further information on the Committee's work can be found at www.uscob.org/latinamerica. I ask you to consider contributing to this Collection, and I am grateful for your generosity. Together, let us ask the Lord to continue to bless us in all that we do. Sincerely in Christ, (Signed) Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain Bishop of Joliet Catholic Charities Needs Volunteers ! Catholic Charities in conjunction with the DuPage County Continuum of Care needs volunteers to go out into the community the night of January 25, between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am to perform a survey count of the unsheltered homeless. The survey is being performed by the Continuum in conjunction with the requirements set forth by the Department of Housing (HUD). The purpose of this survey is to gather statistical information on the unsheltered homeless population. This count takes place all across the country to help various levels of government allocate dollars to fund the appropriate agencies that assist the homeless population throughout the next calendar years. Volunteers will be partnered with others and will drive through the various communities without leaving the cars, making note of all on the streets and their approximate whereabouts. Government funding to Catholic Charities to administer to the homeless is a direct result of these statistics so we need your help. Please call Jane Tyshenko or Larry Cada at Catholic Charities, 630-495-8008 before January 25 to volunteer for this worthwhile activity. Preschool Open House After months of study by the parish Finance Council, after multiple surveys of parents by the Preschool Committee, and after receiving much positive feedback from parents of preschool-aged children, we are moving forward with registration for our new preschool, starting in January. The Preschool Board is in formation, with two subcommittees already established. The Safety and Environment Committee will be headed by Terri Kevil and the Preschool Finance Committee will be headed by Jim Japczyk. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Mary Jo Young has joined our Preschool Committee. Dr. Young, who is also a Franciscan Sister, is the Director of the Elmhurst College Department of Early Childhood Education. She will be helping with the development of our Multiple Intelligence Curriculum. We welcome Dr. Young and look forward to collaborating with Elmhurst College! Our first classroom is already half filled! Join us at open house: Sat. Jan. 20 from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Sun. Jan. 28 from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm Please share this information with your family and friends. Parish News Parish Mission February 5, 6, and 7, 2007 Mark it on your Calendars! As part of the Parish 50th anniversary activities, the Adult Education and Spirituality Committee and the Liturgy Committee are sponsoring a Parish Mission on Monday, February 5; Tuesday, February 6; and Wednesday, February 7; at 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Church. The theme of the Mission is "Does my life make a difference?" Fr. Richard Fragomeni, an Associate Professor of Liturgy and Preaching at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, will be the presenter. Mark your calendars for this not-to-be-missed pre-Lent experience. Prayer Requests To pray for our sick is an important privilege of our parish family. We hope that you will pray for these persons every day. Natalie Baker Pam Bondfide Heather Brennan Doresa Brugler Pat Caffarelli Rose Caffarelli Kathy Calzante Cosmore Ciancio Dennis Ciancio Paul Cirone Margaret Conroy Cynthia Catalano Family Ida Corriedo Trudi Dolato Baby Dobrowolski Virginia Feret Cecilia Garstki Modesta Goggins Mary Hagerty Anna Heffel Jen Huwalt Tom Huwalt Michelle Humann Maureen James Kathy Johnston Irene Kmieciak Bernadette Kohn Anne Kostas Tim Kowalski Baby Emma Lynde Marie Mangano Robert Manion Dennis McCabe Johanna Mesner Mary Piszczor Raymond Mitchell Fred Moss Geri Pstrzoch Baby Faith Reid Robert Restivo Vera Rossiano Agnes Sabel Patricia Sabel Joaquina Scroppo Jess Smith Mary Spierowski Rachael Thompson Rest In Peace Gene Smiss, father of Cyndy Catalano Religious Education News HELP!! We are in need of assistant catechists at Gr. 5, Gr. 6, and the grade 7 levels at the 5:30 session on Wednesdays beginning immediately.. Please call the REO for more information if you are interested. Please mark your calendars: Saturday, January 27, 11:00 AM - 5:00 P.M. Confirmation retreat in Barrett Hall Sunday, January 28, 10:30 AM in church Family Mass For more info on any of the above, please call Mary Ann Woods at the REO, 832-8962. Diocesan News Diocese of Joliet Catholic Construction Corps Mission to the Navajo Reservation Please join us at the St. Charles Pastoral Center in Romeoville at 7:30 p. m. on Thursday, Jan. 25th for an Information Night on the sixth annual mission to the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, Arizona. The trip is planned for June 9-23, 2007 to repair/build homes for the poor of the Navajo Nation. This construction mission needs skilled and semi-skilled workers in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical, as well as men and women who are willing to assist in a variety of construction tasks. Opportunities to meet the people and to learn the local culture are part of this mission. For more information contact Art Sheridan, Missions Coordinator, at 815-834-4072 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Visit us online at www.paxjoliet.org/missions. Community News Roe v. Wade Dear Friends in Christ, We will soon mark a life-changing anniversary. While anniversaries are usually thought of as happy events, on this date the Church asks the faithful to offer penance and prayers. I am referring to the 34th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in this country. At times, it seems our culture has become immune to the devastation of abortion. The founding, fundamental principle upon which our country was built, the belief that all men and women are entitled to life and liberty, has shifted. The right to life has been supplanted by a belief that the right to privacy and personal autonomy is supreme. This shift has brought on an increased coarsening of our outlook toward our fellow human beings, and we fail to recognize abortion's savage effects on society and on our everyday lives. We need only to read the headlines to know that, in today's society, human life is sorely undervalued. Abortion has quietly, steadily etched its darkness into the heart of our culture. The Church recognizes both our responsibility to pray and the profound effectiveness of prayer, for through prayer God changes hearts. Each year we mark this sad anniversary with prayers for those considering abortion, for those who have gone through the trauma of abortion, and for those who do not understand that our attitude toward life at its earliest stage shapes and affects our attitudes toward each other as well as life at every stage. Through the grace of Jesus and the prayers of the faithful, may we soon celebrate the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected by law. Sincerely in Christ, (Signed) Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain Bishop of Joliet Elmhurst Catholic M.O.M.S. Elmhurst Catholic M.O.M.S. (Moms Offering Moms Support) is a social and spiritual organization that provides an opportunity for mothers of young children from Elmhurst Catholic parishes to meet other mothers. Bi-monthly meetings include one morning mother/child activity and an evening activity just for moms. There are no membership fees and everyone is welcome. M.O.M.S has its meetings in Msgr. Plunkett Hall, lower level of the Immaculate Conception chapel, from 9:30 to 11:00 a. m, unless otherwise noted. Please join us on Thursday January 25 at 9:30 a.m. for our first meeting of the new year! Pik a Pot n Paint is joining us to make our annual painted tile with handprint. The cost is $5.00 per tile. Please let us know if you will be able to attend and how many tiles you will be painting by Monday January 22. RSVP to Val at 279-7083 or to email@example.com. Looking forward to seeing everyone! Diocesan News Joliet Diocese Vocation Mass January 23, 2007 7:00 p.m. Visitation Parish 779 S. York Street, Elmhurst Presider: Bishop J. Peter Sartain 65 Seminarians from St. John Vianney Seminary will be present to sing, serve and share their vocation stories with he people of the diocese of Joliet. The seminarians are a group of young men who are on fire for their Catholic faith and their vocation to the priesthood. They are returning from the March for Life in Washington D.C. to their seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. They want to stop in the Joliet Diocese to help promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This is a rare opportunity for the people of the Joliet Diocese to experience the vibrancy of a seminary community here in our own diocese. All are welcome & encouraged to attend! Please come and support vocations! Market Day Orders for January are due Monday, January 22, at noon. Turn in your order form in the box in the back of church or at the rectory. Pickup will be on Saturday, January 27, from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. in the Social Hall. If you have questions or would like to place an order, please call Maria at 279-2238 or Karen at 279-4108. Thank You, Thank You!! Thank you to the children of our Religious Education program! In December, they gave back to God by sharing many gifts of time and talent and by offering $175.76 in the Sunday collection! Parish News Congratulations Maureen Our own Maureen Launius has won the distinguished Performance Award from Allstate. This is Allstate's highest honor awarded to a select few employees in each of their offices nationwide. Record of Parish Contributions If you would like to receive a record of your 2006 financial contributions, please call the parish office at 279- 5700. Rachael's Vineyard Retreat For post abortive men and women, March 23-25, 2007 Rachel's Vineyard Retreat is sponsored by the Joliet Diocesan Life Office and will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center. This retreat aims to allow participants to focus on God's unconditional love and forgiveness in a completely non-judgmental setting. Confidentiality and privacy will be strictly observed. To learn more about a Rachael's Vineyard retreat or to register, contact Kay Corcoran at 815-838-7171. A Vocation View The word of God becomes the flesh of God when YOU live it in your life. Believe what you read; live what your believe. Be another Christ. Auction/Dinner Dance Update Correction The correct Gross Intake from the Auction/Dinner Dance is: $21,212.00. The Net Profit is: $14,014.80. We are sorry the incorrect amounts appeared in last week's bulletin. The Auction/Dinner Dance Committee Family Dinner and Game Night The 50th Anniversary Committee in conjunction with the Religious Education Program and the Mary Queen of Heaven Men's Group are sponsoring a "Family Dinner and Game Night" on Saturday February 17th immediately following the 5:00 p.m. Family Mass. Mark your calendar now and invite your family and relatives to attend. It's an evening planned for all, moms, dads, grandparents, relatives, children of all ages, parishioners of all ages. Dinner will be served in Barrett Hall and the Family Game Rooms will be in the school building. There are plans being made for several game rooms with fun for all ages. There will be a game room for younger children, several rooms for older children, teens and their families. Plenty of games for other parishioners and seniors too. A cake walk, a room with raffle baskets, cookbooks to purchase, spirit clothing, 50th Anniversary MQH key chains, etc. Some of the activities we have planned are Uno, Yahtzee, Various Card Games, Bunco, and Kid's Bingo and Adult's Bingo. A room for "Twister" and room for the younger children with the Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Bozo's Buckets, a Bean Bag Toss, etc. Watch next week's bulletin for more details about dinner and ticket sales. For further information, please contact Sheila Reiter (833-6657), Karen Vicary (279-4108) or Phylis Twardowski (279-6239). From Kay Passarelli: On December 13, I had the privilege of attending the celebration honoring Bishop Imesh on the occasion of his fiftieth anniversary as a priest. As I sat in St. Raymond's Cathedral, I was reminded how fortunate I was to be a part of the rich and beautiful liturgy of our Catholic faith. Representatives from all of the parishes, Bishops and Cardinal George were united as one at Eucharist. I thank God for His gift of faith and for our Catholic Church. Fellowship Sunday Today! Immediately following the 10:30 a.m. Mass, Fellowship will be held in Barrett Hall. This Sunday's Fellowship is being hosted by CCW. Everyone attending Mass is cordially invited to join fellow parishioners for coffee, tea, juice, goodies. Don't forget, we are looking forward to seeing you. Eucharistic Adoration Eucharistic Adoration will be held on Monday, February 12th instead of Monday, February 5th because of our mission.
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