Dear Parish Family,
Next Sunday it will already be October. Religious Education is in their third week. We have consolidated all grades of catechesis to Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. We are also offering a combined program of devotions and catechesis for parents who have children in religious education. These sessions will take place during RE classes either in the church or at the Parish hall.
October has been declared by the Catholic Church in the United States as Pro-Life month. Pro-Life Ministry has organized a set of activities for St. Patrick Church. Every weekend you will receive a flyer regarding Pro-Life topics. These topics will cover post abortion healing, miscarriages, infertility, suicide, etc. These themes inform us and make us aware of the need to pray and to give counseling to those families who have been affected by one of these difficult situations. We are also invited to participate in the Baby Bottle Boomerang, a baby shower for Giana’s House, and a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. Watch for more information in the upcoming bulletins.
The Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be on Saturday, October, 29th. If you choose to leave earlier, we will all meet at 10 am at the Shrine. As you may know, His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke was the founder of that beautiful shrine. During my years of seminary formation at Saint Louis, MO, I had the opportunity to speak with Cardinal Burke on several occasions, as he was the Archbishop for the diocese of St. Louis. He told me that his vision was to spread the devotion of Our Lady of Guadalupe and to entrust the unborn to her the protection . He personally asked me, as a priest for the diocese of Rockford, to organize pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I hope that I will see you there on October 29th and spend a day of prayer together.
God bless you.
Dear Parish Family,
The core and center of our worship is the Sunday Mass. As we come to celebrate the Sunday Mass, we become God’s chosen people. The Holy Eucharist is a communal prayer. This communal prayer takes us through different moments. We are called to sing, to pray, to meditate, to listen, to worship. In other words, we are called to live the Holy Eucharist in full, conscious and active participation. We are called to live the Holy Eucharist with the fullness of mind, heart, and body. We come to the Holy Eucharist as a whole. We are conscious about who we are: God’s people, His disciples.
We are called to go out and proclaim the good news to the world. We offer our very self; our joys and sadness, our achievements and failures, our supplications and thanks. We are aware that we are participating in the mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. We are conscious of Christ’s divine presence through the bread and wine being transformed into his Body and Blood.
Active participation in the Holy Eucharist does not mean that everyone should be an usher, lector, extra-ordinary ministry of Holy Communion, etc. Being active means that we are called to be aware of every moment during the Holy Eucharist; we are asked to stand, to sit, to listen, to kneel, to pray and to sing. Singing is one of the primary ways that we are called to actively participate in the liturgy. We are encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons, and hymns. The Sunday Mass is the most beautiful communal prayer which we can offer to God. It is a divine dialogue between God and us. It is a life transforming moment to us.
God bless you all.
Dear parish family,
As a priest, it is for me a blessing and a great joy to celebrate the sacraments with you and for you. God instituted the seven sacraments so that He could still be with us. They are the most suitable channels through which He bestows his blessings upon us. The Sacrament of Holy Anointing is that sacrament through which God’s divine presence is with us in those times of illness. It is the sacrament through which God bestows his healing grace and restores us to good health of body and spirit. This sacrament is an invitation to unite our sufferings with Christ’s passion. It strengthens our soul and rises our confidence in God’s Divine Mercy. It increases our trust in God, makes us strong to resist temptation and keeps us from despair. If it is God’s time to call us to his presence, through the Sacrament of Holy Anointing He forgives the person’s sins. The priest also has the possibility to proclaim the prayer of Apostolic Pardon upon the dying; through which God releases the person from temporal punishments and prepares him/her to the journey from this life to eternal life. I am always attentive to your requests for the sacrament of Holy Anointing for you or for someone in your family. The person (or a relative on behalf of the person if the person is not able to) needs to express a desire to receive the sacrament. As you know I go once a month to visit with and pray for our parishioners who are receiving treatments at care centers. I also go and visit them at home or hospitals upon individual requests. Every first Wednesday of the month we begun to celebrates the Sacrament of Holy Anointing during morning Mass. Last Wednesday was our first celebration and I am very pleased that eighteen of our parishioners requested the sacrament and were anointed during morning Mass. It was also a great blessing to see the community praying together for those who are in need of God’s healing grace. Our next morning Mass with Holy Anointing will be October fifth.
God bless you all.—Father Lopez
We are less than three months away from presidential elections. And to be honest, it has been a bit too much for me to take. Any time I watch news on TV, read a newspaper or search media I come across a lot of information about the campaigns or candidates which I consider less than relevant for the presidential elections. Despite that, I believe we have the responsibility as faithful citizens to be well informed about the political agenda of each candidate, so that we can ensure a well-informed vote and conscience.
Since my arrival to the United States back in May 2006, I have observed in the last two presidential campaigns (and the current one is no exception) that the main themes which draw people’s attention are economy, security, and immigration. Certainly they should be of high concern for every US citizen during these times of economic upheaval, eminent retreats from terrorism, and needed immigration reforms. As Catholics, nonetheless, we need to question and demand clear answers from the candidates about the main moral teachings, which lately have not been protected and endorsed by federal laws and policies.
Unless we clearly understand the Church’s teaching on the sacredness and dignity of human life, sacramental marriage and the Catholic understanding of human sexuality, we will not be able to exercise our duty as faithful citizens at the voting poll. Unless we clearly understand the church’s position on the intrinsic evil of abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, among others, our decision might not be in accord with the Church’s teaching.
Therefore, we should take time to learn or to refresh the Church’s teachings on these matters before we approach the day of election. Please take the “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics.” Make time to read and meditate on these highly important topics before you approach the voting poll. We have also prepared a booklet titled: “Prayers for Our Nation.” This booklet will be available for those of you who come for weekday masses and time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Praying for our nation and candidates is also of high importance and a way to prepare ourselves.
God bless you all.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.