Rejoice because your names are written in heaven...

Fathers. Derek, James, Connor, and Tom will be looking to win the priest golf outing this year

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 7, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

"Rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). In baseball, a defining moment is before the game even starts when the manager writes up in the dugout on a piece of paper the starting lineup.  If you're an everyday player, it's not that big of a deal, but if you're a player who plays sometimes, it is significant.  If your name is written on the lineup card, you're focused, you loosen up, pay attention to the pitcher throwing warm-up pitches.  If you're out of the lineup, you relax, pop some more sunflower seeds, and are somewhat disengaged.  There's a difference.

Our Lord tells the seventy-two, and each of us: we're in the lineup.  Our names are written down on that scorecard.  We're due to play: to get to heaven, to be a saint. 

The question is, are we engaged as we should be or are we disengaged as if we were on the bench?

What does it mean to be engaged?  Well, many things, but three come to mind.  An engaged Catholic is one who prays, knows, and lives.  We pray regularly—every day.  We know our faith—we read about what it is we believe as Catholics.  Let me tell you that theology and spirituality and morality are fascinating material. Finally, the engaged Catholic is one who lives well.  We're kind, compassionate, merciful, honest and hardworking, generous, humble.  In regards to humility, remember, Paul says don't boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord (cf. Galatians 6:14). 

A lot of people are disengaged with Mass.  Church is boring, the homilies are bad, I don't agree with the Pope on this so I don't want to go to Mass they say.  The question I would ask them is: are you focused and prepared?  Remember with baseball: if a player doesn't warm up and pay attention, he will come up to the plate and strike out.  Perhaps we could try praying more, reading more, and living well to make our Mass experience more alive and enjoyable. 

We're meant to be "in the lineup."  We are destined for heaven.  And heaven is pure bliss.  Just like playing baseball—if you're playing it well—is fun, so too is being a Catholic fun. 

We are excited this week to host our annual Vacation Bible School by Totus Tuus.  Last year was our first year doing Totus Tuus, and it was a great success.  There are two to four college-aged students who will be at our parish to teach the kids and help evangelize.  This is a great program.  Each day, Monday through Friday, we will have a special Mass for the program, along with the opportunity for Confession.  Tuesday evening we will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for the kids and teens.  On Wednesday, Deacon Hank, who was himself a Totus Tuus helper when he was in college, will give a church tour for the group.  The program ends with a water balloon fight in the parking lot on Friday.  Thank you again to Mary Petrash for helping arrange and coordinate this, and to David Plier and his company for making all the signs and helping with the advertising.  Please encourage your child to sign up for this incredibly worthwhile (and economical!) program.

Thursday is the annual Archdiocese of Chicago Priest Golf Outing at Pine Meadow.  This is a great day of fraternity with my brother priests.  Last year my foursome (the young bucs) came in second place to the longtime reigning champs (the old guard).  We're hoping to have the crown shift this year.  If you don't read anything in next week's bulletin, you'll know what happened!


Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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