From the Pastor’s Desk

Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!


From the Pastor’s Desk

October 17 – Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Being a doctor and a deacon, Fr. Don has asked me to write to update you on the latest information concerning the prevention of COVID-19.

The only ways to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 is with distancing yourself by six feet from other people, wearing a face mask, adhering to hand washing hygiene, and receiving one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.  Vaccination seems to be the part that is causing the most controversy, understandably, given the rapid rate at which it was introduced to the public.  The pandemic nature of the disease and how quickly it spread across the globe necessitated the need for an accelerated release timetable. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are the only three vaccines approved/allowed to be used within the United States.  This is since they are the only ones that have not been manufactured using fetal stem cells.  This is extremely important to understand, especially as Christians and Catholics.  When the claim is made that no genetic material is used in the production that means just that.  The vaccine is completely free of any genetic material from, or fetal stem cell tissue of, a previously aborted fetus.  It is important to understand that in the United States, it is completely illegal to use aborted fetal stem cells in the development of any vaccine.

Another ethical and scientific point to clarify is that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA.  When the vaccine is introduced into the human body, our white blood cells see the foreign material and will attack and engulf the mRNA particles.  Once inside the cell, it transforms only that individual cell to mimic the COVID-19 virus.  Once all the vaccine particles are engulfed, another set of white blood cells sees these transformed white blood cells as foreign and attacks them.  This how we form antibodies and develop immunity to the COVID-19 virus.  At no time does the mRNA interact with our core DNA. Additionally, while the mRNA technology is new to vaccine production, the science has been present for approximately the last ten years in the development of cancer medications.

I have spoken to the scientific aspects concerning vaccine to help bring clarity.  For the religious and ethics, I will leave that to our Holy Father, Pope Frances.   In short, he also recognizes the enormity of the decision to be vaccinated and calls upon all Catholics to consider the ethics and impact your decision to be, or not to be, vaccinated will have on society.  He asks all Catholics to consider our fellow brothers and sisters health when making our decisions.  He even goes as far as to call it a Corporal Work of Mercy to be vaccinated.  Meaning we are performing this act not for ourselves, but for the potential health and wellbeing of our neighbor.  When we perform corporal works of mercy, we are placing our desires aside for the sake of others.  To read for yourself, you can visit the Vatican website, or simply search ‘Pope Francis COVID-19 video’ on YouTube.

Peace,

Deacon Tony

 

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

October 10 – Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The theme of today’s gospel is obviously detachment.  We are told that a man ran up to Jesus and asked him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him to obey the commandments.  The man responds that he has done that since his youth.  Jesus, looking at him, loved him, as he does us, and said to him….”You are lacking in one thing.  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.”  At that statement the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. It is hard to give up those things we treasure.  Our possessions sometimes possess us!  And it’s not only material things…..we sometimes can’t let go of grudges, attitudes, silly traditions, our pettiness, etc.  Jesus goes on to say how hard it is for those with wealth to enter the kingdom of God.  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich.  Amazed, the disciples ask, who can be saved?  Jesus tells them, and us who can’t let go of our possessions, that for human beings it is impossible, but not for God.  This means that if we cooperate with God’s grace, we will be so overwhelmed with God’s love, that it will be possible to let go of our possessions.  Try it!

Today is my 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood….October 10, 1981.  Continuing with the gospel of today, Peter says to Jesus that “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus responds saying “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age….”

In 40 years of priesthood, I have seen this scripture passage fulfilled in my life!  I give praise to God for how my life has been blessed with many parishioners in my past seven parish assignments, and now all of you at Our Lady of Mercy, who have opened your homes to me.  Been there as a mother or father, brother or sister to me in times of struggles and joys!  Have given me the opportunity to be a part of your family celebrations, neighborhood parties, and console you in times of sorrow. Through your laughter, tears, ups and downs, shared memories you have brought me closer to God.  I only hope and pray that, despite my unworthiness, you have been brought closer to God through the power given to me in my ordination to absolve you from your sins, and to feed you with the very Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Thank you, and God Bless You!

Father Don

 

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

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

September 26 – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

An interesting phenomenon of our times is the emergence of social media.  Through websites and mobile applications, we can access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Tumblr, Forsquare, and Pinterest, to name only a few.  It’s hard to know how many of these sites there actually are, but it would be safe to say they are in the hundreds.  Some of these sites have redefined the very meaning of friendship.  It’s possible now to have “friends” whom we’ve never met and might never meet in person.  While the ability to “connect” with others during the COVID pandemic through this technology has been helpful, the one thing I hear the most that people have missed is in person contact with other family and friends.  Our faith is a community effort requiring “real presence.”  Just as Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, we are community of “real presence” to one another.  We need to worship with one another.  With our safety protocols in place, I encourage those who have not yet returned to Mass to join us.  Facemasks are required, there are hand sanitizing stations, and an air filtration system was installed in the church last year and runs continuously.  We long to see your face!

I ask your prayers for the success of the radioactive iodine ablation treatment for my thyroid cancer I began last Monday.  This past Wednesday, I was given the radioactive iodine pill and have been in isolation since.  That’s why you don’t see me this weekend as I am in isolation at the rectory until Thursday, September 30.

I also ask your prayers for the priests of the Joliet Diocese who will be on a convocation with the bishop September 27 – 30.  The Joliet priest convocation is held every other year, and this will be the first time with our new bishop.  Due to being in isolation, I will not be able to attend.

On the cover Sunday’s bulletin on September 12th was an invite to all Our Lady of Mercy parishioners to celebrate my 40th anniversary of ordination on Sunday, October 10.  I will be preaching all Masses that weekend. I was ordained a priest on October 10, 1981.  There will be coffee and donuts after all the Masses.  I will celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving at 2:00pm followed by a reception in the PLC and outdoors weather permitting.  You are welcome to attend this Mass and reception at 2:00pm.  If you plan to attend this Mass, please RSVP to me at frdon@olmercy.com so we have an accurate count when we order food for the reception.  If you are attending one of the regular scheduled Sunday Masses, there is no need to RSVP.  I look forward to celebrating this milestone with my Our Lady of Mercy parish family!

Have a blessed week!

Father Don

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

September 19 – Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

An interesting phenomenon of our times is the emergence of social media.  Through websites and mobile applications, we can access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Tumblr, Forsquare, and Pinterest, to name only a few.  It’s hard to know how many of these sites there actually are, but it would be safe to say they are in the hundreds.  Some of these sites have redefined the very meaning of friendship.  It’s possible now to have “friends” whom we’ve never met and might never meet in person.  While the ability to “connect” with others during the COVID pandemic through this technology has been helpful, the one thing I hear the most that people have missed is in person contact with other family and friends.  Our faith is a community effort requiring “real presence.”  Just as Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, we are community of “real presence” to one another.  We need to worship with one another.  With our safety protocols in place, I encourage those who have not yet returned to Mass to join us.  Facemasks are required, there are hand sanitizing stations, and an air filtration system was installed in the church last year and runs continuously.  We long to see your face!

I ask your prayers for the success of the radioactive iodine ablation treatment for my thyroid cancer I began last Monday.  This past Wednesday, I was given the radioactive iodine pill and have been in isolation since.  That’s why you don’t see me this weekend as I am in isolation at the rectory until Thursday, September 30.

I also ask your prayers for the priests of the Joliet Diocese who will be on a convocation with the bishop September 27 – 30.  The Joliet priest convocation is held every other year, and this will be the first time with our new bishop.  Due to being in isolation, I will not be able to attend.

On the cover Sunday’s bulletin on September 12th was an invite to all Our Lady of Mercy parishioners to celebrate my 40th anniversary of ordination on Sunday, October 10.  I will be preaching all Masses that weekend. I was ordained a priest on October 10, 1981.  There will be coffee and donuts after all the Masses.  I will celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving at 2:00pm followed by a reception in the PLC and outdoors weather permitting.  You are welcome to attend this Mass and reception at 2:00pm.  If you plan to attend this Mass, please RSVP to me at frdon@olmercy.com so we have an accurate count when we order food for the reception.  If you are attending one of the regular scheduled Sunday Masses, there is no need to RSVP.  I look forward to celebrating this milestone with my Our Lady of Mercy parish family!

Have a blessed week!

Father Don

 

 

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