From the Pastor’s Desk

Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!


From the Pastor’s Desk

May 22 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today we joyfully congratulate Thomas Logue, III our transitional deacon intern the past two years.  Yesterday at St. Raymond Nonnutus Cathedral in Joliet, Bishop Ronald Hicks ordained Tom and two other men priests.  I was glad to see many parishioners from Our Lady of Mercy in attendance.  Please pray for God’s blessings on our new priests!  Fr. Tom will be celebrating a special Mass at Our Lady of Mercy on Saturday, June 4 at 6:00pm for the Vigil of Pentecost.  All are welcome to attend the Mass and reception following.  Fr. Tom will celebrate the 10:00am Mass at OLM on Sunday, June 5th and will be at all the Masses for you to greet and extend your best wishes to him.

Here is an update on my retirement plans! As you know, June 30, 2022 will be my last day as pastor of Our Lady of Mercy.  My retirement comes after serving 40 years and 8 months as a parish priest at eight different parishes in our Diocese.  While I am retiring from parish ministry, I am not retiring from priestly ministry.  I accepted the opportunity to serve as part-time Catholic Priest Chaplain at Marianjoy Rehab Hospital in Wheaton.  I will celebrate Mass there on the 2nd and 4th Sunday’s of the month in addition to 10 hours weekly of pastoral presence/ministry at the Rehab Hospital.  Additionally, I will celebrate Masses and hear confessions at area parishes requesting help.

Many of you know that I was considering retiring permanently to California.  I have decided against that since I have too many friends and connections here in Chicagoland.  Considering my health issues, I also wanted to be near my doctors.  I will however spend several of the winter months in Sonoma County California.  This Thursday I will be moving to my retirement condominium in downtown Glen Ellyn.  I had hoped to find a place in Wheaton since I had been pastor of St. Michael’s for 11 years, but found none available during my search.  Glen Ellyn is the town just east of Wheaton.  You might be wondering why I am moving this week when my retirement isn’t until June 30.  I’m moving now because I will be gone June 5 – 15 escorting the Oberammergau Germany Passion that was supposed to happen two years ago but was postponed until this year.

Moving now gives me 11 days to get settled in my new place and prepare for the trip.  I will commute to OLM those 11 days.  When I get back on June 15, I have several medical tests and doctor appointments the following week and I wouldn’t have time to do a move. Then the following week is my last 4 days here.  Moving this early also allows adequate time for the OLM rectory rooms to be cleaned, rugs cleaned, painting done in preparation for the arrival of your new pastor!  I will put my new address and email in the bulletin starting in June.

Have a blessed Easter Season!

Father Don

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

May 15 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

On behalf of the parish family of Our Lady of Mercy, I extend our congratulations and prayerful best wishes to all the children of our parish who received their First Holy Communion May 14th and 15th.  We also have some children who will be receiving their First Holy Communion during a Sunday Mass later in the month.  I thank their parents, catechists, and all who helped prepare them for this special day.  As they receive Eucharist for the first time, it is always a good time for us who have been receiving communion for a long time to renew our wonder and gratitude to Jesus for nourishing our spiritual life and helping keep us close to Him.  I also encourage you to begin a habit of Eucharistic Adoration……spending one hour in prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  We offer Eucharistic Adoration on Monday’s from 8:30am to 6:00pm.  Wednesday’s from 8:00am to 12:00noon.  Thursday’s from 8:30am to 6:00pm.  Eucharistic Adoration is held in the church.  Also, be a part of our Eucharistic Procession on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, held on Sunday, June 19th following the 12:00 Noon Mass.  More details will be forthcoming!

In the Gospel today, Jesus gives us a new commandment – to love one another as he has love us.  So what’s “new” about love?   We love our family (most of the time). We love our friends. So how are we to love one another as Jesus loved?  Jesus’ love is unconditional.  Jesus’ love was sacrificial.  Jesus loved social outcasts as well as the rich.  Jesus treated all as equals.  Jesus’ love was compassionate.  Jesus sometime broke the letter of the law to follow the law of love.  Today we benefit from one of Jesus’ greatest gifts of sacrificial love:  the gift of himself in the Eucharist.  His spirit, alive in us, helps us now to continue loving as he did.

Have a blessed Easter season!

Father Don

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

May 8 – The Good Shepherd

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States and Canada and over 80 other countries around the world.  I wish all Our Lady of Mercy mothers, expectant mothers, and women who have been a mother figure in our lives, a blessed Mother’s Day!  And may God grant eternal life to those mothers who have died whose memory we lovingly recall this day as well.

Today is also known, because of our gospel reading, as “Good Shepherd Sunday”.  Perhaps the Good Shepherd is an appropriate image for mothers too.  While Shepherds are seldom seen by us today except in rural settings, the manner and mission of the shepherd is one of the most poignant and powerful descriptions of God and of Jesus in the scriptures.  Unlike contemporary sheep ranchers who control their herds with dogs, horses, pick-up trucks or other methods, shepherds in Jesus’ day knew their sheep individually.  Each had a name to which it responded when called by its shepherd. Our parents gave us our name.  Moms know their children and can distinguish their voice, their cries, even in a crowd.  Rather than prod them from behind, the ancient shepherd would walk ahead of the sheep, striking a safe path, and search for good grazing and water.  Moms sacrifice much to guide and provide the best for their children.  When a sheep was missing, the shepherd sought it out; when a sheep was injured, the shepherd carried it and tended its wounds.  Our moms have done just the same.  Jesus laid down his life to secure the safety and salvation of sinners.  I haven’t known a parent who wouldn’t lay down their life for their child, who doesn’t agonize when their child is sick, who would suffer themselves if it would take away any suffering of their child. In this way, moms (and dads) model the Good Shepherd.  Unfortunately, there are some who have not experienced Jesus the Good Shepherd in their mother or father.  May the love and nurturing you missed be found through another person(s) Jesus has put in your life.  And may we all have the grace to forgive those who have hurt us in any way.

So on this Mother’s Day, let us honor ALL the women in our life who have nurtured our faith, modeled the Good Shepherd, and loved us as a mother would, no matter what!

Blessings to you all on this Mother’s Day!

Father Don

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

May 1 – Third Sunday of Easter

Today I would like to share with you some thoughts about my last time to preside for the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum.  The liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil are in reality one single liturgy over three days.  More recently in parishes with more than one priest, it has become more common to have one of the priests preside for all three days instead of dividing the presiders for the three days.  So, for my last time before retiring from parish ministry, I had the privilege to preside for the Sacred Triduum.

Holy Thursday was a step in faith for me.  In the past every parish I have been in we selected those to have their foot washed before Holy Thursday, and while we did pre-select two, the Holy Spirit urged me to invite people from the assembly that very evening to come forward for the foot washing.  While I got a lot of skeptical feedback from what I was going to do, I had faith in the people of OLM!  And boy did you come through!  It was so fun and joyful for me to see your response.  And when I asked for a young man who might be discerning a vocation to the priesthood, and he came forward, it was truly inspiring to see the assembly’s reaction – enthusiastic applause!  I had many people say how moved they were, and one woman came to my office, and hugged and thanked me saying she has never been involved in anything in church before, but came forward when I invited those in the assembly. This Holy Thursday liturgy will rank in one of my best memories!

As you know, I am a Vatican II priest, which simply means that I believe the laity have a voice and active role in the church, and we must not always be confined by rubrics.  I bet there was no other church in the Diocese of Joliet that celebrated Holy Thursday the way we did!  That brings us to Good Friday.  In the past, I always remembered that the priests and clergy held the cross for veneration.  Once again, why not the laity?  It moved me to tears to see just ordinary men, women, and children take turns holding the cross for veneration.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was for ALL of us – no particular class.  Thanks to all who held the cross of veneration!

The Easter Vigil is always the highlight of the year, and this year was no exception. The fire, the many scripture readings, baptizing two adults and two children – one a screamer! – then receiving two adults into the Catholic faith and confirming the four adults and giving them the Body and Blood of Christ for their first time – nothing compares!  The whole assembly renewing their baptismal promises, plus the beauty of the flowers and music – it was a little bit of heaven on earth!

Have a blessed Easter Season!

Father Don

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

April 24 – Divine Mercy

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday.  Someone asked me if I could give a simple explanation of what the Divine Mercy devotion is all about.  It’s as simple as ABC.  A – Ask God for His Mercy.  God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.  B – Be merciful.  God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others.  He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.  C – Completely trust in Jesus.  God wants us to know that all the graces of His mercy can only be received by our trust.  The more we open the door of our hearts and lives to Him with trust, the more we can receive.  It’s that simple!

Today’s gospel has long be labeled as “Doubting Thomas.”  Scripture scholars maintain he doesn’t deserve that label.  Whether he does or not, rare is the person who has never experienced the grey cloud of doubt in his or her spiritual life.  Thomas is acquitted of doubt based on this precise definition of doubt:  “The refusal to believe even after one has received confirming evidence.”  As soon as he experienced the in-person confirming evidence (seeing the nail marks and putting his hand in Jesus’ side) Thomas confessed his faith. Doubt is not proof of a weak faith, nor is it an act of disloyalty.  Mother Teresa spent years feeling God was so distant that she doubted whether he truly cared, loved, or sometimes even existed.  Yet she continued faithfully carrying out her mission of lovingly caring for the poorest of the poor.  Thomas Merton, the American monk whose spiritual writings are still read by millions, wrote, “Faith means doubt.  Faith is not the suppression of doubt.  It is the overcoming of doubt, and you overcome doubt by going through it.”

So, when in doubt, turn to God’s Divine Mercy!

Have a blessed Easter season!

Father Don

 

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