Dear Parishioners of Holy Family, (from May 19 bulletin)
Today the Church celebrates its “birthday” of sorts—Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and those who would come to believe in them. It was only through the promised gift of the Holy Spirit that the disciples were able to evangelize and bring people to belief in Jesus Christ. As we celebrate this great feast, it reminds us of our own need for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in our church today. There is one sad reality that separates the culture of today from the “pagans” (non-believers) of old—at least they were hungry and desirous for the truth. In the neo-paganism (secularism) of today, truth is not a high value. Many want to believe that there is no absolute truth, and accept moral relativism. The effects of this moral relativism are all around us—abortion on demand, redefining of marriage, increase in violence and a general moral ambiguity and pessimism in our society to list just a few. And sadly, many within the Church are succumbing to this moral relativism and clamoring for the church to “get with the times.” The temptation is appealing—who wouldn’t want an easier gospel, an easier moral code, an easier way to follow Jesus? If the church could just simply teach what “I” want it to teach, then it would be so much easier. But this temptation doesn’t lead us closer to Christ, but further away. This temptation to align Church teachings with the passing fads of the world goes contrary to who the Church is ultimately responsible to—Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit, whose outpouring we remember today, guides the Church into the truth and protects the Church from error. With this great gift comes a certainty to know that the Church teaches is true and trustworthy since it comes from God who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Why trade the enduring truth of faith for the passing whims and fancies of the world? On this Pentecost Sunday, let us ask the Lord for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon us as followers of Christ so we can strive to remain faithful to His teachings. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to empower us so we can go out, like the disciples of old, and evangelize the world around us instead of allowing the world to evangelize us. On our own, we can’t hope to succeed, but with God all things are possible.
As a reminder, there are two opportunities for the men of the parish to get involved with their faith. For those who are looking for ways to deepen their spiritual lives, The Fishers of Men men’s group is up and running. This group meets on Saturday mornings at 7 AM in the Family Room. See Father Dennis or Deacon Karl if you want more information. Second, we will be starting a Knights of Columbus council here at the parish as well. Once again, all men of the parish 18 years of age or older are invited to attend the informational meetings that will take place later this month. Please see this week’s bulletin for more information.
Fr. Dennis Paul,
Dear Parishioners of Holy Family, (from May 26 bulletin)
Today the Church directs our attention to one of the central mysteries of our faith, the Trinity. This doctrine forms our basic understanding of God. We believe in one God, who exists in three-ness of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This belief is founded directly upon the scriptures as well as the experience of the early Church. From our Jewish roots, we believe and acknowledge in one God. This is the God who revealed Himself to Abraham and Moses. Even from the earliest parts of the bible, though, we see “hints”, if you will, of the Triune nature of God. In Genesis, we read how “a might wind swept over the waters” (Gn 1:1) an indication of the Spirit. When God became flesh in the Incarnation, this revealed the Son to the world. Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Most High God, came to show us the Father’s love. He is the fullness of the revelation God. After the Ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the early Church to empower it as it continued on His mission in the world.
The Trinity is so much more than just a static doctrine. It reminds us that God is a communal entity unto Himself. While God is one, he exists in a “community” of Father, Son and Spirit. The Father perfectly and totally loves the Son. The Son, receives the love from the Father and perfect, and totally loves the Father in return. The love between the Father and Son is of such a nature that it spawns the Spirit which unites them all and makes them one. We believe in God who is both transcendent and immanent. A God who is so far above and beyond our world and at the same time so intimately close and connected with us. Because God exists in a perfect community, we too, created in His image and likeness, are made for community. Because God is love, we, too, are created for love and to love.
This weekend I would like to welcome a new permanent deacon to our parish: Manuel Guerrero who comes to us from St Mary Immaculate in Plainfield. Manny has been a deacon for many years and has decided to join our parish since his family has been members here for a while. I am most appreciative for Manny coming to join our parish and he will be a tremendous blessing helping us out with baptisms, marriage preparation, liturgies as well as other aspects of parish life. Please make sure your introduce yourselves to Manny and get to know him. Please make him feel right at home. I would like to thank Fr. David Meadow, pastor of St Mary Immaculate, as well as Bishop Conlon for agreeing to transferring Deacon Guerrero to our parish.
As the warmer weather returns to our area, let me make a few gentle “pastoral” reminders. First, there will not be an ideal temperature in the church! It will always seem too cold to some and too warm to others. Generally, the air conditioning is set between 69-70 degrees. If you are someone who tends to be a little chilly in general, please dress accordingly. If you are someone who tends to be warm (like me), please be aware that the church may seem warm to you even with the air conditioning on. We do the best we can to keep it comfortable for everyone, but it is impossible to find a temperature that is agreeable for everyone.
Second, while discussing summer dress, just a reminder for modesty in our dress for Sunday worship especially during the summer. We still want to dress in a way that is respectful for our Sunday gatherings and give it the dignity it deserves. Also, we want to make sure that what we wear is not distracting for those around us. Remember, even tough it may be warm and muggy outside, the church will be a little cooler and pleasant. Just a simple, gentle reminder as summer begins.
With this being Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of the summer holiday season, we hope everyone will be safe and sound in their travels. Also, starting this Friday the parish offices will be closing at noon on Fridays until August 15th to give our staff a chance to enjoy their summers as well.
Finally, congratulations to the eight grade class of 2013 who will be graduating from our school on Tuesday this week. Our prayers go with them as they close one part of their journey and venture on to high school. We pray that God will continue to bless them in their efforts.
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