This weekend the Church celebrates the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Once again our Gospel passage is from John. Jesus is speaking to his disciples in preparation for leaving them (when he ascends to his Father in heaven). He reminds them of some things he has already told them about love, keeping his word, making a dwelling in them, and sending them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Once again he extends his peace to them. He ends by saying, “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” Leave-taking and letting go of someone we love is very difficult, even when it is something we have been prepared for. Those of us who have lost a loved one in death certainly know the pain that comes from separation, but we also know how the Holy Spirit has been with us in those difficult times. We were able to draw upon courage, strength, faith, and a peace we did not know we possessed – the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. And we actually experienced how someone who was no longer physically present to us was able to be powerfully present in a spiritual way. The same was true of the disciples: once Jesus left to return to his Father and sent them the Holy Spirit, they experienced his presence in a whole new and deeply spiritual way. Everything began to make sense. They were at peace and filled with joy. They were ready to spread the Good News.
We congratulate two of our children, Ethan MacDonald and Aubrey Grant, who received the sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Cistone this past Thursday at the Cathedral. Each of them is also receiving First Eucharist this weekend.
Aubrey and Ethan, may God bless you this day and always, may he fill you with love for Jesus in the Eucharist, and may he help you to use the special gifts of the Holy Spirit you received this past week! Congratulations on completing your sacraments of Initiation! We look forward to your presence with us at Eucharist each weekend.
This Sunday is May 1st, and, as you know, the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has been the custom of the Rosary Altar Society to lead the Rosary on both Saturdays and Sundays before Mass during the month of May. Please consider joining them at 3:15 PM Saturdays or 8:45 AM Sundays. (Of course, the Rosary continues to be prayed every morning as well – Monday through Friday – at 8:00 AM). Perhaps, during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we can turn to Mary, Mother of Mercy, to teach us how to be more merciful like her and her Son, Jesus. What a difference Christ-like mercy and compassion make in our Church and in our world!
There is an article in today’s bulletin regarding Relay for Life and I encourage you to read it. Relay for Life is an event which takes place each year in which more than 4 million individuals in over 20 countries participate to raise awareness and funds to help save lives from cancer. It is a celebration of those who have overcome cancer and who are survivors of the disease along with a remembrance of those who have lost their lives battling cancer. One can participate in a number of ways: being part of our newly forming parish team, participating in the walk, or purchasing luminaria. The local event will take place on Sunday, May 14 at the Carrollton High School track beginning at 9:00 AM. I encourage you to sign up for a walking time and/or purchase luminaria in honor or memory of your loved ones who have battled cancer. Many families in our own parish have been affected by some form of cancer. Perhaps we can help support them not only by our presence and our prayers, but also by taking part in a portion of the day on May 14 to help raise awareness and funds for continued research and treatment of cancer.
I wish to express my continued gratitude for your generosity to this year’s Catholic Services Appeal. We have now reached 80% of our assessment. If you have not yet had the opportunity to make a pledge, there is still time. There are extra envelopes in the pews and front entrance of the church should you need one. Please place your donation in the collection basket, the rectory mailbox, in the US Mail, or drop it off at the Parish Office Center. Thank you for discerning how you are best able to participate in Serving with the Heart of Christ.
Many have been asking when we will be receiving the Parish Pictorial Directories. We have been waiting to hear from Lifetouch. We finally made contact with our representative who has been working with us from a distance. She informed us that the directories are scheduled to be shipped (from Ohio) on Monday, May 2. I understand that there is only one company that does Church Directories now (a merger of two companies) and they have really been booked this year. Their representatives seem to be spread quite thin and their territory has enlarged. So, I think that has had some affect on how slowly or quickly turn around time has been for directories in many of the parishes (and the actual “on site time” any of the representatives have been able to give to parishes in the process). In any case, very soon we should be receiving our directories.
Some of the Pastoral Administrators in our diocese (including Sister Janet Pewoski and myself) will be attending the Midwest Pastoral Administrators Conference this coming week. The Conference will take place Monday through Thursday in Milwaukee. Please pray for our safe travels and for a spiritually enriching few days.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Parish Yard Work Day! It is Saturday, May 7, beginning at 9:00 AM.
Blessings on your Easter Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ