Go, Make A Difference!
By now, you probably know about our parish mission held a few weeks ago, when we considered the theme, "Does My Life Make A Difference?" With the help of Father Richard Fragomeni, we listened to the Word of God and to parishioners who gave powerful witness talks. We considered the fact that our lives do make a difference to God. We also reflected upon the fact that the world expects us to make a difference because of who we say we are.
As we begin Lent, our mission theme moves from the question of whether our lives make a difference to the firm call, "Go, Make A Difference." If we are to be disciples of Christ whose lives make a difference in the world, then we must first go within ourselves and make a difference in our attitudes and behaviors. Lent is a desert time for us to be with God in prayer and fasting, as Jesus was for 40 days and 40 nights. This desert time is a time of testing, a time of facing our temptations and our demons and of turning more whole-heartedly to God. This is the meaning of conversion, to turn around to where we are supposed to be. For us, Lent is a time of penance, seeking forgiveness for our sins and asking for God's grace to help us change our lives.
Lent is not just a private affair, however. It is not only a time for going inward to see where we can make a difference in ourselves. There is also an outward dimension. Our prayer is not only for ourselves but for others and the world. Our fasting is not simply a matter of giving up what we like to eat but also fasting from those things that keep us from more fully loving God and one another. For example, we could fast from gossiping and back-biting. We could fast from mean-spiritedness. We could fast from being too quick to judge others. We could fast from thinking we know it all or from always trying to have our own way. We could fast from impatience, or from hurriedness that robs us of recognizing God's presence with us. We could fast from holding grudges or from giving into peer pressure. We could fast from being holier-than-thou. Besides the traditional Lenten spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting, there is a third Lenten discipline, that of almsgiving. In our almsgiving, we serve the needs of the world by sharing what we have. In this way, we make a difference for others. This almsgiving can take a variety of forms. We can use the resources we have been given by God, whether time, talent, or treasure, to provide for the poor, to help the work of the church, to care for the earth, to make the world a more just place, and to work to bring peace on earth.
Let us then enter into this Lenten season ready to "Go, Make A Difference." Let us go inward, with a committed act of conscience, examining ourselves and changing our ways in order to make things right and good. And let us continue to move out into the world as disciples of Christ, making a difference in the lives of our fellow human beings and making a difference in the condition of our world.
On another note
I want to report to you on a symposium I attended at Mundelein Seminary last week. This was a gathering of people from around the United States who minister in parishes with a Pastoral Life Coordinator. This meeting gathered together priests and PLCs, together with canon lawyers, diocesan chancellors, and representatives from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. As you may know, this is a model of ministry provided for in canon law that allows a diocesan bishop to entrust pastoral care of a parish to a qualified person other than a priest when there is a priest shortage. This is an alternative that some bishops prefer to closing or clustering parishes and having one priest pastoring 3 or 4 or more parishes. This model not only enables viable parishes to remain open but to be centers of evangelization in the places where they are located.
A national study conducted by Georgetown University in 2004 indicated that there were 550 PLCs serving in the United States. You may know that I was the first one for the Diocese of Joliet and now, we have a second PLC in our diocese. Overall, the number of PLC parishes around the country is growing, although they still represent a small number of total parishes.
The symposium I attended last week was sponsored by several national organizations, including the National Association for Lay Ministry, the National Federation of Priest Councils, and the National Diaconate Directors Association. In about one year, Loyola Press will be publishing a series of books on the "Emerging Models in Ministry Project," including one book on parishes with Pastoral Life Coordinators. These books are intended to examine the changes that are taking place in our country, not only as we are affected by the priest shortage, but also as the laity come to better understand their call to discipleship in the world and in the Church. In the case of parishes with Pastoral Life Coordinators, the book will also report on best practices for those bishops and dioceses considering implementation of this model in the future.
More information on the Emerging Models in Ministry Project can be obtained by visiting the website for the National Association for Lay Ministry at www.nalm.org. I have been nominated this year to the NALM Board of Directors. Whether or not I am elected as a board member, I will continue to keep you posted on the development of lay ecclesial ministry in our country, including the ministry of Pastoral Life Coordinator.
I remain grateful for the privilege of serving in this ministry for our Church and our parish, and I am grateful for all of you who continue to teach me to become a better servant of our Lord.
Mary Foley, Pastoral Life Coordinator
Host Families Sought for Children of Northern Ireland The Irish Children's Fund is seeking host families to welcome children from Belfast, Northern Ireland into their homes for one month in the summer of 2007. This will be the twenty- sixth summer that the ICF has brought an equal number of Catholic and Protestant children to the Chicagoland area. During their visit, the children will participate in activities designed to foster the spirit of cooperation and friendship, bridging the divide between the two communities. Upon returning to Northern Ireland, the children have a follow-up program available to them through which they can continue to come together in ICF sponsored activities and maintain the friendships formed in the United States. For additional information, call (630) 833-1910 or WWW.ICFKIDS.ORG Open your home and hearts this summer....and build a lifetime of memories and friendships. Wanted: Christian Artists The Adult Enrichment Committee of Sacred Heart parish is sponsoring its Second Annual Ministry Fare and Christian Art Show on Saturday, March 24, from 4 until 7 p.m. and on Sunday, March 25, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. As before, the work may be for profit or for show and is a juried show, therefore the exhibits must be presented for acceptance. For further information call Pat at 630-495-1150. Benedictine University Open House For adult undergraduate & graduate students Saturday, March 10, at 9:30 a.m. The event begins in the Krasa Center. Students can meet with deans, program directors and faculty. They will also hear from representatives of Benedictine University's adult accelerated undergraduate and graduate business, education and health programs. For more information, please call the Enrollment Center at 630-829-6300, or visit Benedictine University on the Web at www.ben.edu. MQH Peace and Justice Committee (You CAN make a Difference) YOU are invited to meet with brothers and sisters from Burma, Sudan and Rwanda at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, located at 420 Glenwood Ave., from Noon until 3:00 p.m. on March 3, 2007. Share lunch, hear their stories, an learn ways to promote social justice with and for them. This "conversation" with representatives from some of those areas is an opportunity to begin to fulfill the promise of "never again" by: 1) becoming aware of what is happening; 2) learning ways to help change what is happening; and 3) learning ways to minister to those displaced and suffering in the aftermath of violence. RSVP: Joyce or Jen Ruhaak at the Peace and Social Justice Ministry, 815-834-4028 E-mail: joyceru@dioceseofJoliet.org. If you need a ride, please call Milt Honel (279-7086) or Mary Ann Reed (834-4840). For more information on the situation in Darfur, and how you can make a difference, check out these websites: www.paxjoliet.org/advocacy (Diocese of Joliet); www.crs.org (Catholic Relief Services); www.savedarfur.org (Interfaith faith- based advocacy group). Rachael's Vineyard Retreat For post-abortive men and women March 23-25, 2007 Rachel's Vineyard Retreat for 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 Rachel's Vineyard Retreat or to register, contact Kay Corcoran at 815-838-7171. For more information and a list of retreats in other locations: www.rachelsvineyard.org or call the toll free national hotline at (1-877-HOPE-4ME). L.O.S.S. 10 Session Group The L.O.S.S. (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) Program provides services to those who are grieving a death by suicide of a family member or close friend. Eight weekly sessions and 2 monthly follow-up meetings for those grieving the death of a loved one will be offered. Meetings are held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the: Offices of Catholic Charities (Diocese of Joliet), 26 West St. Charles Rd. Lombard Mondays, March 19 thru May 7, June 4 and July 9 We need at least 10 people signed up to convene a group. Call 1-800-240-7011 to register or for additional information. The deadline to register is March 14. L.O.S.S. is a program provided by Catholic Charities. Mary Queen of Heaven Preschool registration continues! Please see our website at www.maryqueenpreschool.org and contact the parish office for more information and registration. Preschool tours scheduled on request. Stations of the Cross Friday, March 3, at 7:30 PM Stations of the Cross are being held in Church during the Friday's of Lent. Perhaps you and your family could make a special effort to attend this devotion. 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 Geroge Cibula Paul Cirone Margaret Conroy Ida Corriedo Cynthia Catalano Family 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 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 If you or a family member would like to be included in our prayers, please call the rectory at 279-5700. Also, please let us know when a name should be removed. Eucharistic Adoration The Worship Commission would like to thank all who have been able to come and spend some time with Our Lord during our days of adoration, usually the first Monday of the month. For those who haven't had the opportunity, if there's anything you need to thank or praise God for, to express sorrow for, or to ask for, know that He waits for you to come and spend some time with Him present in the monstrance at our next Day of Eucharistic Adoration, Monday, March 5, 2007 from 9 AM to 7 PM. The day of adoration and prayer closes with Benediction at 7:00 PM. All are invited to join us any time during the day as well as for Benediction. We are in need of people to sign up for an hour of adoration. Please see the large sign-up poster in the back of church. The Worship Commission Christian Worship Commission Who are the Capuchins? The Capuchin Franciscan friars will be holding a weekend in the Milwaukee area for men (ages 18-49) who are interested in learning about religious life and seeing how Capuchins live as Franciscans in our world and in the Church today. The weekend is March 2-4, 2007. If you would like to attend, have questions, or want to recommend someone for the weekend, call 920-915-4400 or email the Vocation Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org Encounter With God's Call Encounter With God's Call, held March 24-26 at Conception Seminary College, is a discernment retreat for young men age 16 and older who are considering the vocation to priesthood. This is an excellent opportunity to meet the seminarians as they share their stories of responding to God's call. This visit is free. For more information, please contact your Pastor or Fr. Burke Masters, the Joliet Diocese Vocation Director at email@example.com or Conception Seminary College at 660-944-2886/Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Family Dinner and game Night Update The Family Dinner and Game Night held last Saturday evening after the 5:00 p.m. Family Mass was really a super evening. It was great to see so many young families, and other parishioners (about 185 people) enjoying each others company and having fun playing games whether it be bingo, card games, board games or Bozo's Buckets. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. The food was great and the children loved the make your own Sundae dessert, especially adding the nuts, cherries and sprinkles of all kinds. It was fun to watch the children shaking the raffle boxes to see which raffle basket had the most tickets. Our "Chefs" who manned the kitchen serving the food and dishing out the ice cream really did a great job. Special thanks to Mike Launius, Dick Reed and Ed Hayes. The table decorations and game rooms were also a big hit. Thanks so much to Karen Vicary, Cheryl DiSantis and all the catechists and Religious Ed families who helped out. The cake walk was a huge success too! Special thanks also to the a 50 Anniversary Committee and parishioners who helped by working at tables. It was such a enjoyable evening we are planning to do it again next year. Religious Education News Our annual collection of Easter Basket items for Marillac House begins this Wednesday, February 28th and continues on all the Wednesday of Lent. There will be a "basket" in the hall of school for donations of small stuffed animals, candy, toys, etc, anything that would be appropriate for an Easter Basket. Please be generous. Are you being called to be a catechist? Every year there are catechists who cannot return for one reason or another. I am sure that this year will be no different. So if you have always wondered what goes on in the building after you drop your children off, this is the perfect time to stop by and say hi. Remember you don't have to be a theologian; you just have to love children, love your faith and want to share it. We are looking forward to hearing from you. Mark your calendar: Saturday, Mar. 4th - Family Mass at 8:30AM Saturday, Mar. 10th - Confirmation Final Interviews - 9AM to Noon in school. There have been some questions about the Religious Education envelopes that appear in packets every quarter. The use of these envelopes is completely optional. The parish rightly subsidizes our parish Religious Education program for children, as we should. The responsibility for educating our children in the faith is the responsibility of the whole church. Parents of children in R.E. help to pay for the cost of our program through tuition. The new R.E. envelopes allow all parishioners the opportunity to intentionally designate some of their parish support for our R.E. program. Once again, the envelopes are completely optional. We are grateful for all of the support you give to our parish! If you have any questions or need more information, please call Mary Ann Woods at the "Woman of the Year" Election The "Woman of the Year" election will take place next weekend, March 3rd and 4th. An insert giving the names of the nominees with a short biography of each is in today's bulletin. Please take a few minutes to review this and vote for the candidate of your choice next weekend. All parishioners, ages 18 and older, are invited to vote for the woman they feel leads a life of faith and love and who has given generously of her time and talent to the various ministries and organizations in our parish.
Back to Parish Bulletin Page