Dear Parishioners of Holy Family: (Dec 8 Bulletin)
As we continue on the journey of Advent, we encounter the familiar passage of John the Baptist calling us to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” While Advent is not primarily a penitential season, it does challenge us nonetheless to look at how we live our lives as disciples of Christ. As we harken to the call to live in the expectation of Christ’s coming, we ask ourselves how we measure up to the standard He has laid before us. All of us can do better at following Christ. And it is in this light that we acknowledge John the Baptist’s call to repent.
This past week the Religious Education students celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation in order to prepare themselves for Christ’s return. The school children will receive the sacrament on Monday. Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a wonderful way to respond to the gospel proclaimed this weekend. Coming before the Lord to receive His love and mercy in this great sacrament is a concrete way to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. The parish Advent Reconciliation Service will take place on Wednesday, December 18th at 7 PM. We will have extra priests available to make sure the sacrament is readily available to all who desire to receive it.
Many people have commented on the Advent wreath hanging from the ceiling in the church. It definitely reminds us of the great season we are in. Many, many people worked on making this project a reality. (It started with a crazy thought from the pastor in July!) To all the many staff and volunteers who worked to make this a reality, a deep thank you!! Your hard work is really helping us to prayerfully enter into the Advent season.
CRHP is coming to our parish...stay tuned for more information.
Some of you may be aware that today is December 8th which is traditionally the day we honor our Blessed Mother and patroness of the United States under her title of the Immaculate Conception. But since we are in Advent, the 2nd Sunday of Advent supercedes this Marian feast. The Immaculate Conception will be observed on Monday, December 9th, but no Holy Day of Obligation is attached.
The Christmas Carol Festival will be taking place on next Sunday, December 15th at 7:00 PM. This celebration is a very simple evangelistic outreach to the people of our community. If you know anyone that you have been wanting to invite to Holy Family but they are unwilling to attend one of our Sunday services, this would be an ideal way to introduce them to our parish. This promises to be a fun evening. Please make plans to attend.
Fr. Dennis Paul
Dear Parishioners of Holy Family, (Dec 1 Bulletin)
I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving with their family, friends and loved ones. We welcome all visitors who are still in town before they head back home. We wish you all safe travels.
Hard to believe we start a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent. Of all the seasons, Advent seems to be the one most overlooked for the simple reason that all around us everyone else is celebrating Christmas. The simple message of Advent’s “preparing the way for the Lord” is overlooked with the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Yet, Advent’s tone of hope-filled, joyful anticipation is exactly what we need today. With all the pressures people are facing, with all the uncertainties, with all the stresses and fears, Advent’s message is needed precisely right now. Advent beckons us to reflect on God’s vision for the world. It reminds us of all the promises God has made.
In the first reading, Isaiah tells us that there will be a time when God “will judge between nations.” And that these nations “will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Isaiah 2:4) For over the last 10 years our troops have been deployed fighting the war on terror and other conflicts around the world. Our nation is understandably war weary. Isn’t this promise from God something worth reflecting on? Isn’t this a message we need to hear. There will be a time when there will be true peace. But it will be brought about by the arm of God. During Advent, this is one of our prayers—that this time of true peace among all peoples and nations will be brought about. This will be brought about when the peoples “come to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his way, and we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:2). It is precisely in our Sunday gatherings at the Eucharistic table that we learn from the Lord and are instructed in his ways so that this day of peace will be brought about.
When this day comes no one knows. In the gospel, Jesus reminds us to “stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24) The follower of Christ lives each day in this tension of waiting for His return and at the same time knowing that He could return today. To prepare, the disciple must simply “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12)
Let us enter into this Advent season and ask the Lord to renew us in peace and hope. May He gives us a longing for His return and the grace to persevere in running the race and fighting the good fight.
We had a tremendous parish mission two weeks ago. I would like to thank Fr. Tom McCarthy, OSA for his instruction helping us to appreciate the great gifts that the sacraments are. It was great to se the church filled each night. Special thanks to Peni Heffernan for organizing this event. Thank you, too, to Laura Dankler and Michelle Kmety from our Music and Liturgy staff here at the parish as well as all the people who sang, and planned, and cleaned up. Thank you for a wonderful three days. We are already planning on our mission for next year. We will keep you posted.
Fr. Dennis Paul
Dear Parishioners of Holy Family: (Nov 24 Bulletin)
Hard to believe we wind up another liturgical year this week as we celebrate Christ the King. Next Sunday, we will enter into another season of Advent. After all we have remembered as we followed the life Christ in the gospels this past year, the title, Christ the King is fitting. Jesus was the one who came into our world as a light shining in the darkness. He was the Word the Father spoke when He wanted to express His love and mercy to our brokenness and sinfulness. Jesus is the visible expression of our invisible God. Jesus is the one who suffered and died and rose triumphant to restore us and make us whole. Through the gospels, we learn of the primacy of the law of love which Jesus taught and lived. We also learned that the greatest among us is the humble servant of all. Let us rejoice as we pay homage to Jesus Christ our King, our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer.
This week we also gather to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. While a secular holiday, it has deep religious significance. This holiday reminds us to pause and reflect on all the bountiful blessings God has so lavishly poured out upon us, our families, our Church and our nation. True, things aren’t perfect. Human nature tends to see where there is something lacking. For this week, let us enter into it with a spirit of humble gratitude for all that we have. We give thanks for food, family, friends, and faith. We remember that everything we have is God’s gift to us. It is important to recognize that and to give him thanks. May you all have a truly blessed Thanksgiving.
Fr. Dennis Paul
Welcome to the Roman Catholic Community of Holy Family
Holy Family was orignally established in 1959 in Joliet on Larkin Avenue. In 1998, the parish was moved to its current home in the Village of Shorewood to meet the needs of the people in the area. Since that time, the parish has grown to over 3500 registered familes with a school enrollment (Pre-school thru Grade 8) of 330, and another 1,000 students enrolled in our Religious Education Program. For those in high school, we have Emmaus youth ministry to help them grow and deepen in their Catholic faith. We also have an adult faith formation program that strives to make sure we all continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the faith. There is hopefully something for everyone here at Holy Family.
You are welcome to journey with us as we worship Christ, share our Catholic faith, strive to grow in holiness and reach out in service to our brothers and sisters in need. We hope that your on-line visit will encourage you to visit us in person or perhaps join our family. If a personal visit is not convenient, simply call Ginger, our parish secretary, at (815) 725-6880 to register.
Rev. Dennis J. Paul