From the Pastor’s Desk

Now Known as Chardonnay W(h)ines!


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

 

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

September 12 – Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

You have heard the expression “time flies when you are having fun” – well, 40 years of priesthood must have been lots of fun! On Sunday, October 10th I will celebrate my fortieth anniversary of ordination. On the cover of today’s bulletin is an invitation to the celebration.  I want to be sure that all parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy know they are welcome and invited to attend.  While I will be preaching all our Masses the weekend of October 9/10, I will offer a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday at 2:00PM followed by an outdoor reception weather permitting or in the PLC.   Also attending this Mass will be some of my family, priest friends, and parishioners from the previous seven parishes I have served before coming to Our Lady of Mercy.  To prepare adequately for the reception, I need to know how many OLM parishioners plan to attend the 2:00pm Mass and reception.  Please RSVP to me at: frdon@olmercy.com.  I hope to see many of you there!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks the question, “Who do people say that I am?”  There is a great opportunity starting this week for you to find your own personal answer to Jesus’ question.  Fall ALPHA starts this Thursday, September 16th.  If you have been searching, if you have questions, if you trying to find meaning in your life, then ALPHA is for you!  ALPHA is on Thursday evenings starting with a meal at 6:30pm and runs for 11 weeks.  There is no charge, just your time.  Sign up online at www.olmercy.com/alpha or contact Zara in the parish office.

In light of Jesus’ question in today’s Gospel, a British writer in the 1800’s once said: “Be careful how you live.  You may be the only Bible a person ever reads!”  Many people form their idea of who Jesus is by listening to what Jesus’ followers say and watching what they do. Many years ago, a popular Christian song posed the question, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  Today’s readings speak of the kinds of evidence to which true followers of Christ give witness.  Faith AND action go hand in hand.  What is one practical way you can make a difference this week in your family? In your school?  In your workplace?  In your neighborhood?

Have a blessed week!

Father Don

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

September 5 – The Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week on Thursday, September 9th we celebrate the memorial of St. Peter Claver.  A native of Spain, young Jesuit Peter Claver left his homeland in 1610 to be a missionary in the colonies of the New World.  He sailed into Cartagena (now in Columbia), a rich port city washed by the Caribbean.  He was ordained there in 1615.  By this time the slave trade had been established in the Americas for nearly 100 years, and Cartagena was a chief center for it.  Ten thousand slaves poured into the port each year after crossing the Atlantic from West Africa under conditions so foul and inhuman that an estimated one-third of the passengers died in transit.  As soon as a slave ship entered the port, Peter Claver moved into its infested hold to minister to the ill-treated and miserable passengers.  After the slaves were herded out of the ship like chained animals and shut up in nearby yards to be gazed at by the crowds, Claver plunged in among them with medicines and food.  With the help of interpreters, he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God’s saving love.  During the 40 years of his ministry, Claver instructed and baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves.

His apostolate extended beyond his care for slaves.  He became a moral force, indeed, the apostle of Cartagena. The Holy Spirit’s might and power is manifested in the striking decisions and bold actions of Peter Claver.  A decision to leave one’s homeland never to return reveals a gigantic act of will difficult for our minds to imagine.  Peter’s determination to serve forever the most abused, rejected and lowly of all people is stunningly heroic.  When we measure our lives against such a man’s, we become aware of our own barely used potential and of our need to open ourselves more to the jolting power of Jesus’ Spirit.  Peter Claver died on September 8, 1654.  He was canonized in 1888, and Pope Leo XIII declared him the worldwide patron of missionary work among black slaves.

To continue his work of addressing the sin of racism, I encourage you to participate in a bi-lingual prayer service “Stations of the Cross: Overcoming Racism” which will be held on the memorial of St. Peter Claver, Thursday, September 9 at 6:30PM.  The service will be held at our outdoor Stations of the Cross on the west side of church.  In the event of rain it will be indoors.

People in our day suffer unjustly simply because of the color of their skin or their national origin.  Let us acknowledge the sin of racism and work to combat it in our social structures, our institutions, and our hearts!

Have a blessed week!

Father Don