From the Pastor’s Desk

October 3 – Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Since 1972, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have designated the month of October as Respect Life Month and the first Sunday in October as Respect Life Sunday.  Unfortunately, when the topic of pro-life is brought up, most people think only of the issue of abortion or contraception.  Our bishops, by designating the entire month of October to respect life, also call us to expand our understanding of what constitutes life issues.  Opening our hearts to life means that we reject the killing of ANY human being from the moment of conception to their natural death.  So, denying life-saving treatment to those with disabilities and hastening death of the elderly and dying by assisted suicide and euthanasia are life issues.  Opening our hearts to life also means opposing the death penalty, as well as slavery, human trafficking, terrorism, domestic violence and unjust war – these too are very much life issues. Respect life month calls us to work to eradicate the conditions that prevent our brothers and sisters from realizing their full human potential.  The mystery of human life is that we, every one of us, are precious to God even as we are weak and sinful.  Pope Francis reminds us that God never stops loving us. And at our least sign of remorse, never tires of forgiving us.  Let us pray that we all may open our hearts more fully to the gift of life and dignity in each and every person!  St. Joseph, defender of life, pray for us!

Next Sunday, October 10th I celebrate my 40th anniversary of ordination.  I was ordained a priest on October 10, 1981 at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet.  You are welcome to come to the special Mass I will celebrate at 2:00pm with a reception following.  I will also be preaching all the Masses next weekend and there will be coffee and donuts after each Mass.  I look forward to celebrating this milestone in my priestly life with my parish family of Our Lady of Mercy!

Following my anniversary Chardonnay and I are going to take a 17 day vacation.  The dog and I are driving to California.  I leave on October 12 and return on October 28.  I’ve never taken a long driving trip by myself and look quite forward to it – especially with my companion Chardonnay.  On my way back, I will be visiting Mount Rushmore as I have never been there.  I am taking 4 days driving out, and 5 days driving back.  Of course, I will be in Sonoma County, staying at St. John the Baptist rectory in Healdsburg, CA while I am out there.  My bulletin articles “From the Pastor’s Desk” for October 17, 24, and 31 will be written by guest columnists, Fr. James, Deacon Tom Logue, and Deacon Tony Leazzo.

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don