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The Canaanite Women

  • 16 August 2020 |
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Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Have you asked or hoped for something recently and not received? Then you are in company with the Canaanite woman from the Gospel.

Let me quote at length words from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the preacher of the papal household.

"Therefore, God hears even when he doesn't seem to hear. His delay in granting even what is good is, in itself, hearing and granting. In fact, by making us wait he makes our faith increase and helps us to ask for something better. At the beginning, we usually ask God for little things, for the little needs of this life. We are not aware of what really counts. When we are not heard at once, little by little our real needs emerge, the need to have God, faith, patience, charity, humility, more than material things. And so in the end when God has opened our hearts, he can fill them in a measure worthy of himself. Let us take the Canaanite woman, for example. If Jesus had heard her at once, at her first petition, what would the result have been? Her daughter would have been freed of the demon, but then things would have gone on as before, and the mother and daughter would have ended their days like all others. Instead, by delaying his answer Jesus allowed her faith and humility to grow and grow until she forced him to exclaim with joy, 'O woman, great is your faith!' (Matthew 15:28). She went back home not only to find her daughter cured but herself transformed. She had become a believer in Christ, one of the first pagan believers, as she was Syrian-Phoenician. And this would remain for eternity. This is what happens when we are not answered immediately, so long as we continue to pray."

This Monday we will start what I'm calling Monday Evenings of Prayer. We will have Eucharistic Adoration in the church from 6pm-8pm. The holy hour of reparation group will pray their set prayers from 6:30pm-7:30pm, for those who wish to join, though you are welcome to come during that time anyways if you wish to pray in private. Confessions will be offered from 6:30-7:30 and I will give a 20-25 minute talk on prayer and the spiritual life at 7:30pm. We will conclude the evening with Night Prayer (Compline) and Benediction. I intend to have these Monday evenings of prayer throughout the fall, so please come and invite others.

We are still intending to return to school in person on Monday, August 24th with an e-learning option. This has been an incredibly stressful time for, well, just about everyone: parents, students, teachers, administrators. I have been praying for all of you. Ms. Scotkovsky our principal has been working incredibly hard to ensure students are safe and able to thrive academically. I'm grateful to her and all who have worked with her—parents and staff—to implement the plan provided by the Archdiocese of Chicago.

I met with the Finance Council this past week. Generally speaking, we are doing well financially. Our collections have not taken a huge hit and our school enrollment has maintained itself—a testament to this community’s generosity!

Thanks to the hard work of Dan Pritt, we have finished the renovation of the school hall (the lunchroom). This was one of the items marked at last year's Emerald City Gala. The space looks great and will be a wonderful new area not just for our students, but also for the many groups that use it in the evenings for meetings when they are allowed to return.

And thanks to a very generous, anonymous donor, the bell tower at the church will now have bells! Many of you have asked me this over the years: why don't we ring the bells? My answer was simple: we don't have bells. Soon the neighborhood will hear chimes praising our Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. James

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