Dear Family of St. Matthias,
HAPPY CHURCH NEW YEAR!!!! As we begin now the new Church Season of Advent, we begin also the new Church Year. Our scriptures will be from the Cycle C which means that most Gospels this new church year will be from St. Luke. The Gospel of St. Luke is my favorite mostly because of the many stories that Jesus tells in the Lucan version. And so you have come to realize, I like to tell stories in my homilies. HAPPY CHURCH NEW YEAR!
Advent is a Church Season that has a two-fold character. One, Advent is a time of preparation to celebrate the First Coming of Jesus Christ here on Earth. And secondly it is a time of remembrance that Christ will come again at neither a time nor an hour we will know in advance. So this new season of Advent reminds us to be prepared for that “second coming.” As the Church writes: “Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.” And as the Church writes: “Advent is a time to recall the cry of the early Christians: Maranatha, which means Come, Lord Jesus. The Virtue of HOPE is highlighted in this Season. My favorite definition of hope is: the anchor of the soul. And we know form our life, our humanness, we need that grace and gift of hope in our daily lives.
Pope Francis has designated this new Church Year as a “Year of Mercy, an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.” Pope Francis puts forth 3 questions for us to reflect on. One, are you in need of mercy? Two, How do you show mercy to others? Three, are there ways you can help make our world more merciful? And in the words of Pope Francis: “This is the year to become more merciful in our own lives and bring God's mercy to others.” It is fitting that we are reading St. Luke's Gospel in this new Church Year as Luke's Gospel has been entitled the “Gospel of Mercy.” We will be reading many Lucan Gospel passages that will show us and remind us of God's mercy.
I would like to get back to the Pope's words of becoming more merciful and bring God's mercy to others. As I shared back a month or so, in my visits with our parishioners about the RAISE campaign, a need that needs to be re-arisen is the Ministry of Care to the Homes. We are getting more requests for Holy Communion to be brought to our parishioner's Home. As you know, one of the precepts of our Church is visiting the sick and homebound. And this Ministry is also called a Corporal Work of Mercy. An in referencing the Pope's statement of being merciful, the need has arisen also to re-start up the St. Vincent de Paul Society for our own Parishioners who are in need as well the needy that come consistently to our rectory door. I brought these two ideas to our Parish Council and received full support to go ahead. So please pray and reflect over these two Ministries of Mercy and if you are feeling a call in your heart to them, please contact me. I can be reached at 773-506-2191 or email@example.com. There will be a short formation/preparation in the start-up time. Your time commitment will be minimal in the ministry itself but very rewarding and merciful to all involved. I ask you to please pray over this and reflect on this as there is a real need for both. And what a great Church Season of Advent and a Year of Mercy to get started. I thank you for your Prayerful considerations. And wow, I just finished this paragraph about fifteen minutes ago and now fifteen minutes later, the doorbell has rang. It was one of our own Parishioners whom I see at Mass regularly, needing some food certificates. Yes, we do have a need for a St. Vincent de Paul Society for near and far.
As I mentioned last week, a number of ideas surfaced at our Parish Council meeting on how to creatively deal with the low attendance at our weekend Masses. Doing a Parish survey was suggested numerous times doing during Mass, a take-home or via the U.S. mail. I will bring this oft mentioned suggestion to our Staff meeting this week on Thursday morning.
In the spirit of last Thursday, Thanksgiving, please when you go into one of the sponsoring restaurants and stores from our very successful Friend's Events Weekend, please on your bill write a few words of thanks to them for the donation. I wrote one at Himmel's this past week as well as at HarvesTime Foods. You can find a complete summary of these generous places in the back of our Church.
Monday thru Friday from 6PM to 9PM, on Saturday from 9AM until 9PM and on Sunday's from 10AM until 7PM. I have been told if you want a wreath, come quick. They are a hot-selling item! This is an important fundraiser for our School as well as a very nice, social and fun Community Builder. Our Men's Club is still in need of Volunteers. Please contact Mike McGovern at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I thank you for your past participation. We would really appreciate your 2015 Year participation. I thank you on behalf of our Men's Club.
Our next meeting of our RAISE Campaign will be this Thursday December 3rd at 7PM in our Convent. ALL Parishioners are invited to attend. Please join us to hear an update on our two projects of painting our church as well as putting on the addition, a wing onto our school heading west towards Western Avenue. We had some very good questions asked of us at our last meeting as well we received some very good suggestions. So we do find your personal attendance helpful and your feedback helps us do a better job in our work. If you have your pledgecard filled out and ready for return, you can drop it by the rectory here, drop it in the offertory collection basket at Mass or via the U.S. Mail. I thank you.
A great idea came up at our School Board meeting last week. How about if we sell one half of one of our parking lots to help pay for the closed restaurant? I like the idea a lot and it makes sense. I will check in with our Financial Council as well as our Parish Council and run this splendid idea run this idea by them. And if I get a majority approval, I will pursue this ASAP. This is why I like having such Council working in our Parish. Wonderful ideas come from the “wisdom of the Group.”
We are in need of “Snow Birds” if the need arises to shovel snow around our Church and School on the weekend. In the “pastor-world” if something is going to wrong, it will be the weekend when our Maintenance Staff is gone. Please let me know if you can be “on call” for this task at 773-505-2191 or email@example.com.
I thank you. There will be no Offertory Summary this weekend as we have 'gone to press' early because of the Holiday. I will catch up next week. I thank you for your week in and week out generosity towards our Parish Family.
I pray for you every day.
Signs are showing up all over the Chicagoland area for a new beer in town: Goose IPA. As the saying goes, it pays to advertise. With these sign all over the place, the Goose producers want us to take a 'gander' at their product.
HAPPY CHURCH NEW YEAR!