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Urban Impressions of the Stations of the Cross

Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 31 - The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

The True Light

Lord, let your light shine on me!

In today's Gospel a man named John was sent by God to testify about the "light".

John was not the light, but he was sent to testify to the "light". Why? Because the true "light" was coming into the world.

The "light" was not accepted by his own people. He was in the world but most of the people did not know him.

To the ones's who accepted him, and who believed in him received power to become children of God. The Word became flesh. He walked with them, he talked with them, and he taught them parables. They listened and believed in him because they knew he was in control and that he had power to do all things. The believers followed him and they were happy to be in his presence.

When I go into Cook County Jail twice a month to visit the Ladies in The Maximum Security Division, they are happy that someone has taken time to come and visit with them. However, they come to hear the Word of their Lord. They listen, they pray, they take communion, they laugh, and sometimes they cry. They hunger to learn how powerful God is and how he can make a change in their lives. I tell them that he will embrace them with his everlasting love. Let's be clear, we know that a "wrong" has occurred on their behalf, but they pray for forgiveness and pray for him to walk with them and guide them through this challenging time. These Ladies are striving to make a difference in their lives once they have served their time.

John testified to the "light" and cried out "This is he whom I said". "The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me".

Lord you are powerful and awesome!!

Catherine White

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30 - The Holy Family of Jesus

In Our Hearts, Minds & Action

The readings today highlight the importance of having love in my heart, mind, and actions. As we approach the end of 2016, and spend Christmas with friends and family, the text that resonates the most for me is from Colossians, Chapter 3. This reading provides me with a good reminder to reflect on the relationships I have with my family, neighbors, and friends in order to identify areas of improvement. As I pull key words from the scripture, such as, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, and thankfulness; I am able to review and identify areas where I have fallen short in letting “the peace of Christ control [my] heart” (COL 3: 15). Moving forward into the New Year, I will remind myself, “in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (COL 3: 17). 

  • Which relationships can you let the “peace of Christ” be more in your heart?
  • Forgiveness is hard to do, so what steps can you take to release yourself from this distress?
  • Family matters can be large and overwhelming, or small and disregarded. What is hindering you from being more compassionate, kind, patient, gentle, etc.? How can you have more love in your heart, mind, and actions?
Huneth Lor
RCIA Catechumen



Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29 - The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

God's Love

During the Christmas season, we hear from the scriptures written by St. John, the Beloved Disciple. St. John enlightens us with his message: 

When we honor God's word and Commandments, God's love is perfected in us, and we are truly in union with God. God lights our path and leads us to Him with His divine love.

God lays a stone pathway to His light through His holy Commandments. We make choices each day to follow God's righteous path. When we choose to turn away from God's word and Commandments, we spiral down a path in a double life of lies. It is a life without God's light and without authenticity. When we enter this path, we are self-propelled into arrogance, deceit, and spiritual darkness. One who chooses to stray away from God's Commandments becomes spiritually blind and disoriented from his faith. What he considers truth is illusion. Instead of having God at the center of his life, he has a self-centered focus and can no longer clearly see what is good and what is evil. Rather than being in union with God, he has become lost and blind and is no longer listening to God's divine word.

We learn from Simeon about the exalted reward of listening to God. Simeon had strong faith and walked in the Light. Because he listened to God in prayer, he was able to hear God's inspiration to go in the Temple on the day that Mary and Joseph presented Jesus as the Messiah. Simeon witnessed the miracle of the Messiah and gave praise and thanks to God.

As we celebrate Christmas, let us spend time in prayer asking for strength to live our lives in union with God, to honor His holy Commandments, and to listen to His divine Word. 

  1. What can we do each day to live in union with God and to bring spiritual light into our lives? 
  2. How do we recognize if we have started down a path to spiritual blindness? How do we find our pathway back to God's light from spiritual darkness? 
  3. How do we rise above the temptation of breaking God's word and Commandments? 
  4. What can we do in our faith to better listen to God's word?

Sherry
Holy Name RCIA participant

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28 - Feast of the Holy Innocents

The Silence

The leaving of one's home at a moment's notice and living as a refugee. The death of a child. There is so much chaos, noise, and bustle in those first moments. Then there is the silence.

The silence of the unique isolation of living in a foreign land, not knowing the language, being totally 'other' from all around you. The silence from having those closest to you be so very, very far away. The silence of looking all about you and seeing nothing familiar, just the overwhelming task of starting over.

The silence of a room that was supposed to be filled with the cries of a long expected child. The silence of friends and family who can't possibly find the right words. The silence of a heart broken and eyes drained of all possible tears.

It is when the silence descends that we are called all the more to be a presence for those around us. It is in the silence that we are called to be Christ's presence for others. Words and actions will never be sufficient, rather, we may be called to sit in silence with those who suffer.

If you are suffering through a period of silence, reach out to others if you can. If you find yourself unable to do do that, find one person, just one with whom you can sit in that silence.

For the rest, I invite you all to silence. See where your presence could be gifted to someone this Christmas season. Where might you be called to be the silent presence of God's love - a hospital room, hospice, a grieving mother, a desolate father, a child?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 27 - Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist

The First to Tell

Mary Magdalene has been given a bad name by history. In actuality, she is best known as the Apostle to the Apostles. She is the one who first carried the Good News of the Resurrection to the Apostles. She ran with the joy, confusion, and hope of the miracle she had witnessed. She gave voice for the first time to the hope of eternal life.

Through her words, Peter and John ran, saw, and believed. Due to his belief, the Apostle John became the source of today's readings and feast. He and those who followed his spirituality offer us the beauty of the first reading and the power of the Gospel of John.

May you have the strength, joy, and hope of Mary Magdalene.

May you share the Good News with others as Mary and John did.

Monday, December 26, 2016

December 26 - Feast of St. Stephen, Martyr

But...just yesterday...

Wasn't it just yesterday we were celebrating? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were wrapped in the warm comfort of the familiar Christmas story?

The martyrdom of St. Stephen reminds us that there is more to being Christian than enjoying the fun and joy of Christmas. As disciples of Christ we are called to follow Christ in the everyday moments, in the profound challenges of our lives, even into the times and places when we face ridicule or hate for our faith.

The martyrdom of St. Stephen reminds us of the profound impact one person can have. Through his life and his death he directed others to Christ. He pointed to the immense power and glory of God. He knew his vision, he knew to what he was called and he fearlessly lived it.

  • How may you live such conviction in your life?
  • Where might you need the intercession of St. Stephen to help you through difficult times of doubt or hardship due to your faith?



Sunday, December 25, 2016

December 25 - The Nativity of the Lord

Merry Christmas

In an epic drama, worthy of the most poignant holiday movies, Christmas is an annual reminder of one of the most traumatic moments of my childhood. In first grade, I knew deep in my bones that the teacher in charge of casting the Christmas Pageant at my school would get one look at me and decide to go against the traditional casting of an 8th grade girl as Mary and pick me. In a cruel, cruel twist of fate, I found myself that cold December night standing in front of all my family and class mates singing, "All I want for Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth" as I had sadly lost my front teeth in perfect time for the casting of this role. To add insult to injury, I had to wear those little footed pajamas as my 'costume' and do a little patty-cake hand game and dance with another boy in my class named, I believe, Charlie. As I was convinced, again, deep in my bones, that Charlie had cooties, this seemed like absolute torture. I'm surprised I didn't need therapy to recover from this.

As with many similar childhood experiences, when you look back on them as an adult you see the humor, hubris, and gentle lessons. This memory is now one I am happy to smile over each Christmas season.

In hindsight these dashed dreams of stardom remind me to approach Christmas with a touch of reality. Everyone brings such expectations of perfection to the season. Whether it is the perfect party, meal, family experience, or Mass we face so many pressures of what we think Christmas must be. The absolute let down of the footed pajama episode oddly puts me in the ideal place to celebrate Christmas each year.

Christmas, the original one, is a day that is all about the unplanned or even the disappointments. I really don't think that Mary and Joseph planned to bring Jesus into the world in a manger. They probably had plans to have family supporting them in their own warm and safe home. Those shepherds had their daily routines that were overwhelmed by a choir of angels (and don't you think the sheep were startled, scattered, and had to be gathered into a flock again?). And I wonder what the angels thought when they saw God Incarnate wrapped in folds of fabric, lying in the straw...hardly the grand moment that these celestial beings were used to, I would imagine.

Christmas isn't about the ideal. Christmas is not about perfection. Christmas is about Love. It is about the unimaginable love of God for us. Even when that Love came to us, it was in the messy and real way we each encounter love in our lives. 

My wish for you this Christmas day is that where ever you are, whether your day is perfect, whether you are with family or friends or in solitude, whatever the circumstances of this day you experience the unexpected, all-encompassing, all-saving Love of Christ. 

May you be blessed beyond measure today and every day. May you be open to the unplanned, unexpected, and unsought. May you find the grace, love, and beauty in the unexpected and chaotic moments of life. May you embrace the messiness of life and love. 
Jennifer Delvaux

December 25 - The Nativity of the Lord

Meaning


Merry Christmas, everyone. As we get together for celebration and festivities, it's important to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Western culture has had a heavy influence on our straying from the true meaning with the image of Christmas being Santa Claus, gift giving being the focal point of the day, and being merry amongst family and friends. Christmas is a time to humble ourselves and reflect on the greatest gift humanity has received, Jesus Christ. As we look to Luke 2: 1-14 we can see that even kings, who at the time thought of themselves as gods amongst men, stopped to acknowledge the true king the King of all Kings our Lord and Savior. What's really interesting is how Jesus was brought into this world. As God I would think the best place, a palace of the highest comfort, but instead our humble Lord brings himself to us in a barn. Our God is a humble God and we must remember to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. 

  • Do you feel that the more inclusive to all Christmas becomes the more of its meaning is lost? Why or why not?
  • Who is the king of Christmas in your life? What part of the holiday do you focus the most on? 

Jordan Bradshaw
RCIA participant

Saturday, December 24, 2016

December 24 - Saturday of the Fourth Week of Advent

The Canticle of Zechariah

The Gospel reading for today, is sometimes called the “canticle of Zechariah.” The father of John the Baptist, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, have quite the back story. Earlier in Luke, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, announcing that he and Elizabeth would soon have a son, and they would call him John. Astonished, Zechariah questioned Gabriel, because both he and Elizabeth were advanced in years. In fact, Elizabeth was post-menopausal! I do not blame Zechariah one bit for doubting Gabriel. But, because Zechariah did not immediately believe, Gabriel rendered him mute (speechless) for about 9 months. 

How devastating this must have been for Zechariah, who, as a priest, was not able to preach during this time. I can relate to Zechariah’s plight. As a Cathedral singer, I would have been absolutely shattered if this happened to me. Would my reaction be as gracious as Zechariah’s? Although he must have been frightened, and frustrated, Zechariah put his faith in God, and persevered in doing the Lord’s will. 

When the baby arrived, Zechariah was still mute. But, when he and Elizabeth named the baby “John,” immediately Zechariah was able to speak. Zechariah’s “canticle,” follows, in which Zechariah blesses God, welcomes the Savior, prophesizes his son John’s role in the salvation narrative. Zechariah’s actions remind me to be grateful for the plan God sets before me, even though that plan might be different than my own. He reminds me to say “yes” to God.

Dr. Christine E. Lawless 
Cathedral Singers 
HNC small group facilitator

Friday, December 23, 2016

December 23 - Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Trust, for He Keeps His Promises

Elizabeth knew her son had a great destiny, especially after Mary's visit. Perhaps Elizabeth knew what Malachi's words about a messenger in today's first reading would mean for her son. Perhaps she knew to have faith in the Lord's promises – no matter how long ago made – when she knew to call him John, and that this was what the Lord intended. Her husband chose to have faith in her faith, and by this, he was able to speak again, when he also upheld the will of the Lord. All this before baffled neighbors, who were all for tradition and had much to say on the matter in their surprise at witnessing such a miracle; “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

As we think upon this short scripture, take a moment to think on your trust in God, and the promises he has made to us – Even when we feel like we have no "great destiny" like those whose stories we know from the Bible. Even when our friends, families and neighbors cause us to doubt those promises or question our reasoning for our belief. Even when it takes longer than you expected – Do you trust the Lord to keep His promises, not just to us all, but to you?

Raina Shannon
Designer

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December 22 - Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

The Lowly

This time of year we get so caught up in the bright lights, perfect gifts, joyful parties...all the excitement and exuberance of the season permeates the air around us.

Yet today's readings offer a discomforting reminder - God reaches for the lowly, the forgotten, those down trodden or desperate. During this season when our own concerns, our own celebrations, our own traditions dominate our thoughts it is challenging to remember those of whom Mary sings in today's Gospel. 

Today's Gospel reminds us to remember the lowly. Remember those who are suffering cold, hunger, loneliness, pain, and trauma in our own homes, neighborhood, and city. Remember those who are suffering throughout the world from hunger, displacement, war, lack of medical care, drought, and poverty. Remember that God hears the lowly. God calls us to be like him, so let us hear the cry of the lowly and answer. How may you be the hands, feet, and heart of God today?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21 - Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Time is near

This is such an exciting time in the Church, this advent time. We are waiting for the birth of Jesus in just a few short days, and as we wait, we are also filled with our own preparations for Christmas. "Our soul waits for the Lord" I can't wait and I am sure Mary could not either, as when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, Jesus leaped in her womb. A new baby is certainly a time of joy for one and all. In my family we have a new baby coming in December, we don't what it is but we are so happy and there is another one coming in February-a boy. 

This is the time of year that we have a chance to reflect on all our happiness and joy and be thankful for all our blessings. Have you counted your blessings???

This gospel is also the beginning of our Hail Mary prayer, a very powerful prayer that is devoted to Mary. Mary accepts and believes in the Lord's promises to her. We also believe in the promises from the Lord and rejoice in his word.

Time is getting close as we wait for the Lord and we trust that he has come to save us. Be happy that the Lord will be here for us and any help you need. Rejoice for the future and renew your love for him at this time of year. How can you renew your love for the Lord at this time of year?

Patti Noonan
RCIA Sponsor

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December 20 -Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

She was greatly troubled


Each Hail Mary we say begins with the greeting from Angel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation that causes her to feel “greatly troubled at what was said.” We say it easily, often mindlessly, but not until thinking about this reflection have I considered that Gabriel’s greeting caused our beloved Momma distress, concern, and confusion. And now that I think about it, this may be my new favorite line from this familiar scripture reading. Why? Because it makes Mary so human, so real, so relatable.

Following God’s call is hard. I fight almost every nudge, every call, usually kicking and screaming. I do not like the idea of my safe comfortable life being shaken up. What if I’m not good enough for what God is asking of me? What if it’s hard? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I disappoint someone else? What if I fail? Gulp, greatly troubling. 

But Gabriel eased her mind. Nowhere in this reading does he tell our beloved Momma that her life is going to be easy, comfortable, or safe. But he does seem to tell her to have faith that God’s got her back. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” And she trusted Gabriel; she listened and responded that she was all in. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

What would happen if the next time we are troubled by a nudge or calling from God, we take comfort remembering that Mary was also greatly troubled but God’s call? Could we follow her example by asking Gabriel what it means and trust that God’s got our backs? Could we, too, respond that we are all in?

Courtney Sanger
Year of Mercy Pilgrimage Participant

If the idea of a pilgrimage appeals, consider joining Fr. Brad Zamora and Jennifer Delvaux on pilgrimage to Lourdes, Spain, and Fatima this summer. Details can be found here.

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19 - Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Strong Faith

As I have grown older and experienced adulthood in the Christmas season, my appreciation and admiration towards the miracle of the birth of Jesus has grown. Mary gave birth to Jesus not only as a virgin, but also as a very young woman looking to begin her new life with her husband Joseph. As an adolescent, I did not grasp the life-changing aspects of what God asked of Mary, and have only appreciated them more in recent times. 

We are all aware of the story of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary and proclaiming the good news, but in today’s reading we are reminded that God has done this is the past. God approached the wife of Manoah and proclaimed that she would give birth to a boy that would “begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.” God furthermore asked the wife of Manoah to abide by strict rules while bearing Samson and never to cut his hair. The rest is history with Samson.

In the Gospel, we are told the story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Elizabeth and Zechariah. Gabriel proclaims the birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth, who is very old and “barren.” God asks Elizabeth again to have faith and outlines strict instructions for John’s upbringing. Zechariah, however, shows less faith and does not believe Gabriel at first. Zechariah is left without speech until John’s birth due to his questioning.

God asked a heavy burden of Mary, Elizabeth, and Samson’s mother and all possesses the faith to answer the call without a grievance or shred of doubt. Although I am a young, single man in the modern age, I can still grasp how difficult it must have been for these women to face God unprepared and agree to a life changing decision on the spot! I probably would have at least questioned God much like Zechariah did. These readings and the Gospel remind me to have strong faith and to “not be afraid” during the Christmas season, whether it is simply making a sincere effort to attend mass or to participate more in the faith community. 

Lastly, God notes to all three mothers that the birth of their sons would be a joyous occasion and celebrated by all. Christmas is a time of happiness and celebration, but there are that those who are struggling in our community that can be left out or avoid the Christmas spirit. I hope to be able to share the joy of Christmas with them during the last few weeks of the season, and I ask you, as well, to share the cheer to those who need it.​

Michael Piccatto, Jr.
Young Adult Board

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

God is with us

In today’s gospel according to Matthew, the reading is about a virgin named Mary who is to give birth to Jesus. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

As I reflect on this reading, I am drawn to the words “God is with us”. How is it possible that God is with us at all times? What does this mean? 

To me it means that through the gift of holy baptism, I have been initiated with the Holy Spirt who lives within me challenging me to get rid of old sinful ways to become holier each day that I live. This involves deep faith and focus on hearing God’s voice and not the world’s. It involves daily reflection and reconciliation.

St Joseph and Mother Mary were deeply aware of the living God who speaks to us as we live out our lives. Their blessed awareness and affirmative response through faith in God’s voice is the reason “God is with us”. 

Paul Mettler
RCIA sponsor

Saturday, December 17, 2016

December 17 - Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Genealogy

Today’s Gospel reading outlines the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David. 

It is common these days for individuals to be interested in their family’s genealogy in order to carve out a place for one's family in the larger historical picture and to fulfill a responsibility to preserve the past for future generations. 

This Gospel from Matthew, tracing the genealogy of Jesus Christ, is driven by these same motives. Yet, the Gospel also highlights how His genealogy speaks to the mystery and grace surrounding the birth of the son of man. 

There are 14 generations from Abraham, the father of Israel, until the birth of David the king; 14 generations from the birth of David until exile in Babylon and 14 generations from the exile in Babylon until Joseph, the husband of Mary and the birth of Jesus Christ. 

The message in this Gospel heeds the future coming of a new king, Jesus Christ, who lived among the people to reveal the mysteries of his ministry as the son of man. He gives hope to the poor, to those suffering and in need, and guides us to find peace in our lives. His birth brought a light to the world and fills our hearts with a grace to live a life in his service. 

As you take your place in your family’s genealogy, will future generations speak to your devotion to living your faith in the example of the son of man?

Ken Henriksen
Faith Formation Commission

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16 - Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Prioritizing Praising God

At first glance, today’s readings shared few similarities. Yet upon further reflection, there is an emphasis on welcoming everyone into God’s flock, making praise a priority and finding salvation. In Reading 1, we are reminded that God will exclude no one who obeys his commandments. The Responsorial Psalm encourages all people, regardless of their ties, to praise and exalt the Lord. Finally, the Gospel reminds us that Jesus’ presence and miracles are testimony enough to His purpose. 
  1. In your life, what does it mean to acknowledge Jesus’ testimony/presence?
  2. How can you make praising God a priority in your life? What situations/events stop you from prioritizing praise?
J. Donald
RCIA Candidate



Thursday, December 15, 2016

December 15 - Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

God loves us no matter what our sins or how long we have been away from him

In today's reading from Isaiah, Jesus compares Jerusalem as a wife who has been barren and deserted now suddenly finds herself with innumerable children returning from exile. Though they have committed many sins and have been exiled from the Lord. The Lord has called them back telling them that for a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back. 

God is a forgiving God!!!

God loves you no matter how many sins you have committed. You may abandon God for a time or feel like God is far from you for the moment, but God is always there to welcome you as a loving and forgiving God.

Rosalyn R. Howard

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 14 - Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Keeping in mind what is important

As I reflect on the first reading from Isaiah, Ch. 45, it makes me think about the importance of trusting in God and having faith that he will lead us. It also reminds us to attempt to avoid the distractions of life. We must point our compass toward the Lord and not be distracted.

I recently got back from Holy Name’s Pilgrimage to Italy. Before going on the trip I felt nervous about what the experience would be like. Would this trip be too religious? Would I like the people I traveled with for 13 days?

But as this first reading said: “Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other!” 

By the grace of God, I put my trust in him that the trip would be rewarding and the experience would be memorable. Sure, I worried about whether I packed the right items or if I brought enough Euros. But I got on the plane and put my faith in God that this experience we saved up for would live up to my hopes. 

And it did.

What made the pilgrimage special wasn’t necessarily the sites I saw or the souvenirs I purchased. It was the friendships I made and the memories we created as one group on this unique and special journey. The trip truly changed my life for the better and strengthened my faith not only in God, but in those people in my life.

And I think that is what God promises us in this reading – if we put our trust and faith in him we will find life’s rewards, sometimes when we least expect it.

Olivia Silver
Parish Pastoral Council Chair, 
Extraordinary Minister and Docent

If the idea of a pilgrimage appeals, consider joining Fr. Brad Zamora and Jennifer Delvaux on pilgrimage to Lourdes, Spain, and Fatima this summer. Details can be found here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 13 - Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

St. Lucy's Feast Day

At a time when the days are short and night falls quickly, we need a lamp to light our way. St. Lucy, whose name means “light,” is the patron saint of the blind. We call to mind her faith, a beacon of light, filled with courage and fortitude. St. Lucy was martyred for her faith and it is said that her eyes were plucked by her persecutors for refusing a life opposed to one in Christ. Her own mother disapproved of her devotion until she suffered a life threatening illness, and was healed. In a dream, St. Agatha, another virgin and martyr, appeared to Lucy in a dream heralding her mother’s recovery. With that news, the hardened heart of her mother was melted. Hearts are changed and lives are transformed by St. Lucy’s love of God, courage and fortitude. 

During Advent, the season of hope and anticipation, we seek a path that enlightens our way from the darkness of our lives. Pray to St. Lucy for her intercession to light a flame of love that we too see with the eyes of Faith and share in her perseverance and devotion.

Julie Yacopino
Faith Formation Commission Member
RCIA team member

Monday, December 12, 2016

Perspectives from Italy

A few of our pilgrims have sent photos that they think are particularly memorable moments. Here are a couple from Michael -


Several of our pilgrims pose outside of St. Peter's Basilica following the consistory.

One of our pilgrims was interviewed by a local Chicago news station.

December 12 - Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Christmas overflows with joy and love because it celebrates the greatest love of all time. It celebrates God, who is love, becoming man, so that by His perfect love all men and women could know Him more personally, and share Him more deeply. This love, in God, existed before all creation, but in human form, it began in the womb of Mary.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we celebrate the love that brought Christ into our world, not because Mary loved us then, but because Mary loves us always.

The feast today celebrates her appearance to Juan Diego and his uncle, Juan Bernadino, in 1531, in what is now central Mexico, and the enduring image of her presence, imprinted on the tilma that Juan Diego wore, that remains there to this day. It reminds us that her love for us is not a mere abstraction or symbol. It is a force with which she actively reaches out to us and touches us in our lives, with the power to transform us, helping bring us to her son, as she first brought her son to us.

Millions of Aztecs converted to Catholicism in the years that immediately followed her appearance to those two peasants. Her saving work, like her love, and like her Son’s love, as humble as it is exulted, is intended to be universal, for all of us, even as it is deeply personal, for each of us.

The readings today are filled with love for Mary. Since Jesus is not only the Son of God, but also the Word of God, they are filled with His love for His mother. The Word of God is with us to help us more fully love Christ, but also to more fully love Mary, just as Jesus does.

In more fully loving Mary, we come to better love as she loves. We more fully love God, and we more fully love all of our brothers and sisters for whom her Son entered into this world, and gave His life.

The image of Mary, still present on Juan Diego’s cloak after almost half a millennium, is miraculous and beautiful. But even greater is the miracle in the beauty of the image of herself that she plants in our hearts—the image of her love.

John Manley
Young Adult Board

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December 11 - The Third Sunday of Advent

Patience

During Advent when I was a child, my mother had to constantly preach patience to me, as I could not wait to rush through Advent and arrive at Christmas Day, so I could play the latest Atari video game I was given as a gift. My mother also had to remind me that Advent was really the time of year to be patient-to wait in great anticipation for the greatest gift-the coming our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In today’s Second Reading from the Book of James, we are all reminded of the importance of patience. 

“See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient.

This passage reminds me of the many times that I was not patient with the Lord as I asked for His help during challenging times. In fact, many times I have missed “the early and the late rains”, the many gifts the Lord continues to give me (His love, the love of others), in order to make it through my life’s difficult situations.

During the remainder of the Advent season, be patient with the Lord. Think of all of the challenges that you are facing, and truly appreciate the amazing gifts He is already providing. 

Just as the farmer waited, will you too wait patiently to receive the Lord’s precious fruits?

Michael Cozzi
Year of Mercy Pilgrimage participant

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 10 - Saturday of the Second Week of Advent

The Ultimate Preparing

It seems we are always preparing for something each day; preparing for work, preparing meals, preparing for family travels, preparing Christmas lists, etc. But have we taken the time for the ultimate preparation of our hearts for Christmas?

As we are approximately half way through Advent Season 2016, let us pause a few quiet moments to take inventory and reflect on where we are in our personal Advent journey. Are we taking time away from the hustle and busy-ness of “material” Christmas to prepare our hearts for the true coming of Christ this Christmas? 

Can we, like Elijah, the holiest of prophets, do our part to turn back hearts? Maybe we cannot call down fire as Elijah did, but we can light a fire of love for the Lord that is evident and contagious in the way we treat others and live our lives.

Can we be courageous like John the Baptist to prepare the way in the places we abide? We can trust that as the Lord of Hosts cared for His vine (Israel) that He will continue to protect us as we turn to Him. With this confidence, we can bring the love of the Infant Jesus into our hearts, into our families, into our work environments and into our neighborhoods. 

Do your part to usher in the Age of the Messiah! There is still time for the ultimate preparing!

God bless you!

Ruth Ann Nguyen
Volunteer team member for RCIA at Holy Name Cathedral

Friday, December 9, 2016

December 9 - Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Paradox

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus calls out "this generation" for its quickness to criticize, especially when it criticizes two opposites for different reasons! He says:

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’ 
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’"

Jesus' words remind me of G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. Before Chesterton converted, he was amazed at the diverse criticisms leveled at Christianity, especially when there were two groups criticizing it for opposing characteristics: 

"As I read and re-read all the non-Christian or anti-Christian accounts of the faith... a slow and awful impression grew gradually but graphically upon my mind -- the impression that Christianity must be a most extraordinary thing. For not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other.... What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?"

Chesterton thinks these criticisms are caused by Christianity's many apparent paradoxes---pairs of seemingly self-contradictory ideas. 

What are some examples? Here are three: the penitential seasons like Advent and the feasts like Christmas, the sacredness of both consecrated celibacy and marital fruitfulness, and, in today's Gospel, the value of withdrawing from the world in a spirit of penance and the simultaneous value of sharing in the ordinary lives of the people we encounter. Maybe we shouldn't be too surprised when the critics (and the media!) get confused. 

Here's another one: the value of meditative reflection and charitable action. As Chesterton (and we) engage in reflection, Jesus' next words in the reading point us to action: "But wisdom is vindicated by her works." Jesus reconciles the paradox: reflection is not an end in itself but, if it leads to wisdom, it will naturally yield good fruits.

Kevin Gimpel

Thursday, December 8, 2016

December 8 - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A Letter

Dearest Joachim and Anne,

How blessed were you to bear witness to the sinless dawn of Mary's existence that helps to wipe out the sinfulness of my existence! In every moment of my life, I invoke Our Blessed Lady's intercession. Because of the Spirit-filled obedience of the both of you, we have a Blessed Lady in our lives, through whom we can give Glory and Honor and Thanks to GOD for His Grace of the past and supplicating Divine assistance for His Grace to come. Through the house and line of David, dearest Anne and dearest Joachim, you nurtured Mary, taught her, and brought her up to be a worthy Mother of GOD. Guided by your teaching, she faithfully responded to GOD's request to become His Most Holy Mother. Guided by your teaching, it was your faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed Our Blessed Lady to stand by the Cross, as Our Lord was crucified.......and still believe. 

Mary, GOD's Mother and Mine...... Please stay with me always.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 7 - Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

St. Ambrose

What a privilege to share some thoughts on these beautiful readings today. St. Ambrose was one of the original four doctors of the Church. While reflecting on today's message I applied the process of Lectio Divina, a type of holy listening. Several words "spoke" to me.

Let me start with the Gospel reading from Matthew 11: 28-30 and then I will incorporate some thoughts on the other readings. Matthew offers us a great invitation. He states "Come to me, ALL you who labor & are burdened". GOD CALLS EVERYONE! Isn't this a comfort. He knows our daily struggles, trials, tribulations & burdens. All the things that weigh us down.

It is in this calling that he invites us to bring our "heavy loads" to HIM, and then HE assures us REST!

The readings in Isaiah also invite us to ponder the Salvation promised by GOD, who is all powerful & all knowing. God pardons, renews, heals & calls us each by name. He truly comes to save all. What a blessing. It is in this "calling" that we need to prepare ourselves to meet Him. The Greek word "Metanoia" means to change ones heart or mind. This season of Advent invites us to prepare & ready ourselves to welcome Him into our hearts again. Our all knowing, all powerful GOD who abides in mercy and kindness, comes to renew & save us. He invites us to "SOAR" as on Eagles Wings. How I have come to love this beautiful hymn, which is typically sung at funerals. For many years, because it touched me so personally, I couldn't sing it without crying. Now these powerful words truly lift me. Such a profound promise. GOD calls us to acknowledge His divine plans for all of us. He loves us so completely as to "carry us" on Eagles Wings!

In closing my thoughts on today's readings, let's be sure to rest & ponder the goodness of GOD, as we wait patiently & prayerfully during this season of Advent. Then we will truly be "blessed" & prepared to meet Him. I wish you ALL, a Happy Advent of Holy Waiting!


Linda Nardone


Women of the parish are invited to join us on Saturday mornings at 8:30 am in the rectory for the women's spirituality group that reflects on the Sunday gospel using the lectio divina method. Please consider dropping by!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 6 - Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

Of Ourselves

When my sons were growing up I told them about the tradition of putting shoes by the chimney so that St. Nicholas would fill the shoes with candy on December 6th. At the same time I asked them to figure out a special gift for one of their friends so they could experience Christ’s generosity by giving to another. That person was not to know that the gift was from one of them but hidden so that the person would know it was from Christ. As they begin their families, I hope they will continue the tradition

Jesus is the pivotal point of our life in home, work, school and all of what we are. During Advent we sometimes get distracted by all the glamorous things that seek our attention. Jesus seeks that attention and wishes us to chose Him. We return to the pivot and focus our attention on Him through prayer.

St. Nicholas whose feast we celebrate today has that sense of goodness and mercy toward all. The best gift we have to give to others is the gift of ourselves enhanced by God’s graces and the joy of gifting ourselves to another. When we give the gift ourselves to another we replicate God’s generosity In the Scriptures for today, the psalmist refrain is: "Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will." We place ourselves in God's loving embrace.

Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
Parish Pastoral Council

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5 - Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Transformation

In today’s Gospel, we see the life of the man on the stretcher completely transformed by Jesus in two important ways: his sins are forgiven and his physical paralysis is completely healed. This transformation happened because of friends who brought this paralyzed man on a stretcher to the presence of Jesus. I often neglect to bring others to the presence of Jesus partly because I feel too small to be an instrument of such a great transformation in others’ lives. However, today’s gospel shows that the simple actions of friends can be the catalyst for great transformations. The Lord asks us: “who is the man on the stretcher in your life today? Will you carry the stretcher and bring this person to my presence?” On Thanksgiving Day I served lunch for our homeless brothers and sisters at Catholic Charities with five other women from our parish’s Women’s Spirituality Group as well as many other volunteers. This was a small step of answering the Lord’s invitation but the Lord continuously invites us to carry others to him despite our own brokenness and imperfections. Whenever I feel small in being an instrument of love to others, I will remember: “carrying the stretcher” is all it takes on my part. The Lord will do the rest, the real transformation.

Hye-Sung Kim
RCIA Sponsor

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 4 - Second Sunday of Advent

Building God's Kingdom

Our first reading presents a startling vision of what the kingdom of God will look like in it’s fulfillment:

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.

It sounds quite fantastical, even absurd. How could such interactions ever take place? Can a wolf and a lamb become friends? Is a lion really going to eat hay? It seems to go against the very essence and nature of who these creatures are and what they are created to be. 

For followers of Christ today, called to be co-creators in building this kingdom, such a vision of peace is profoundly challenging. Yet, if we look closely, we can see it taking shape in our midst. I glimpsed this myself during a visit to the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Back of the Yards where their restorative justice ministry brings together mothers who have lost children to violence who then go visit young people currently incarcerated for violent crimes. Yes, God’s kingdom of peace is being built in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center!

All of us, in some real and concrete way, are called to be ministers of peace. Let us discern together:

How can we bring peace into our hearts, into our families, into our community, into our world?

What is God calling you to do? What is God calling us to do?

By Matthew Burkhart
RCIA Sponsor

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December 3 - Saturday of the First Week of Advent

Still Small Voice

I moved to Chicago in 2001 from Oklahoma, where I was born and raised.  There, the interstates are referred to by their numbers:  I-35, I-40, and the like.  When I moved here and needed to find my way out of the city, people would tell me to take the Eisenhower…or the Edens…or the Kennedy.  Needless to say, I often felt lost, confused, and in need of direction!  Thank God for GPS—that reassuring, knowledgeable, and (usually) accurate voice, who leads me step by step in how to get to where I need to be.          

One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in today’s Old Testament reading from the prophet Isaiah:  “While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears, ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you would turn to the right or to the left.”  One of the greatest blessings of our Christian faith is that we have been given the Holy Spirit to comfort us, teach us, and guide us into truth.  If only we will be still—and listen for that voice.     
    
I know it’s hard to do, but in this busy season of preparing for Christmas, I encourage you to try to carve out a bit of quiet, where you can listen for that still, small voice.  I know it’ll help you get you where you need to be!

  1. Think of a time when you weren’t sure which direction to take in life and that still, small voice provided you with the answer you needed.  Offer a prayer of thanks to God for that grace.
  2. Take a moment to be still and get in touch with a true desire you have for this Christmas season.  Ask God for that grace—and watch for what happens!


By Shane L. Tytenicz
RCIA Sponsor



Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2 - Friday of the First Week of Advent

In the Silence

The verse that struck me the most today is the comment by Jesus to the two blind men to “see that no one knows about this.” It seems like at this point in the story of Jesus’ life we are at the end of his ministry and most people were very aware that he was walking around performing miracles. So why did he tell them to keep the story to themselves? 

How many times have I experienced God’s blessings in my life and I immediately shared the good news with everyone I know. How many times have we shared a blessing, when perhaps God granted us that blessing so we could cherish it in silence and come into a more heartfelt relationship with him? As Catholics we are called to deepen our relationship with Jesus in the silence of our hearts. Just like the Blessed Mother when she ‘treasured all things in her heart and thought about them often”, we are also called into silent prayer. It seems from today’s Gospel that sometimes Jesus calls us to silence so that we may feel a stronger bond with him and clearly hear what he is asking us to do, so we can fully enjoy the infinite blessings being offered to us. 

Perhaps we are being asked to read these readings at the beginning of Advent to encourage us to take time out of the busy holiday season to pray, to meditate and to reflect on our relationship with Jesus Christ so that we can receive the restorative healing that only he can provide. During this season of Advent, let’s allow God to speak to us in the silence of our hearts as we prepare for Jesus’ upcoming birth. Let’s discover God in the silence where he offers true healing.

Kathy Montague
Baptism Preparation Facilitator

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1 - Thursday of the First Week of Advent

The Three Little Pigs

As I read from Matthew’s gospel during this first week of Advent, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Jesus’s exhortation to “be like a wise man who built his house on rock” and . . . the tale of the Three Little Pigs. Remember that story? The one with the wolf and the pigs who each built a different kind of house?

The first two pigs built their homes from straw and sticks. The wolf huffed, and puffed, and blew those houses down with no problem. In the gospel,
“a fool . . . built his house on sand. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

The person who doesn’t have a solid faith foundation is much more likely to crumble when that faith is tested.

The third pig took the time to build a solid home, one built of brick. The wolf couldn’t blow it down!

Matthew’s gospel tells us that:
“The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”

This man had his house built on a firm foundation. When you take the time to set yourself up for success, the trials that life throws at you are not going to destroy you. Preparation is key. 

Take some time to reflect on your faith foundation. Is it made of straw, sticks, or sand? Or is it made of brick, set firmly upon rock?

By Amy Greene
Stewardship Associate 
Holy Name Cathedral

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30 - Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Things Not Seen

Today’s readings have a common theme of faith in things not seen and living your faith in order to believe in those things that are promised, yet unseen.

The first reading emphasizes how faith and action are intertwined. There is no way to experience what we expect from God without believing and acting at the same time. You would not be able to expect something without taking action to achieve that goal. Likewise, you would not be able to have achieved something without setting a goal or the expectation that your consistent efforts would lead to achievement. In order to realize what is promised, we must take the first step, and that first step, literally and spiritually, is to walk with Jesus and proclaim what he has promised by acting and believing at the same time.

In the responsorial psalm, we also respond with “Your words Lord, are spirit and life”. Not only is the Lord’s promise in belief, but also in those things that are seen, the life that we experience daily. Faith and action again are seen as intertwined.

The second reading is an extension of what the first reading is about. Those who follow the Lord are still fishermen. However, in addition to their vocation, they are able to also leave everything behind and follow Jesus. Even though we may become dedicated to what we do in everyday life, it is not meaningful unless we take time to reflect on the word of God. While we may think that there is no time to reflect, it is only in reflection, faith and belief that we are able to continue living the word of God and what the Lord has promised.

When have I been so attached to the outcome of a situation that I have completely forgotten the word of the Lord? Can I let go and let Jesus lead me according to God’s will and be okay with that?

Noelle Bond
RCIA sponsor and member of the Young Adult Board







Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29 - Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Hear Us O Lord!

He shall rescue the poor when he cries out 
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him, 
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; 
the lives of the poor he shall save.
Psalm 72

God knows how to watch over the disabled, broken hearted, widow, and widower. He appoints and anoints others to pray, speak out, and help those that are in need. There are seasons when we all may feel afflicted or broken hearted; and during this uneasy transition it is important to remember there is a God who knows how to comfort us during this hurtful process. I would like to pose a question, “When was the last time you went out of your way to help your fellow brother or sister in need?” May you always remember to count your blessings no matter how big or small. 

Heather B. Duke member of Young Adult Ministry.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Reflection from Florence

While we were in Rome, pilgrims in our group prepared reflections to share. Each day, as we were in a different location with different daily readings, we heard thoughts from the women and men with whom we journeyed.

Here is a reflection that was shared by Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight on our first full day in Florence while we were at the Duomo. You may want to take a glance at the day's readings, found here.

As we start the second day of our pilgrimage we ask you, Lord to place ourselves in your presence in a deeper way then we’ve accomplished before. We are yours and yours we wish to remain always.

First of all, in recognizing you we recognize the specialty of this sacred place. This place where many of us have never been before. In the book, “The Lure of the Lord, a sense of place in a multicentered society.”, Lucy Lippard directs us to the sacredness of place. Today we celebrate with you the sacred place at the Basilica of St. Maria de Fiore her in Florence where we put our prayerful mark on this side of the planet. Lippard states, “This land is important to me but even more important is the idea that it becomes a sacred place because someone has lived there, been there and loved someone in this place. We are here Lord with you in a special way.

In the Scriptures for today, Jesus tells His disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. 

It seems to be a curious pair – the Gospel reading from Luke and the reading from the 3rd letter of John - The Gospel seems to encourage personal advocacy in prayer. We are to be as determined as the widow in thw story who comes again and again before the unjust judge demanding a just decision against the judge’s adversity. John, however, urges us to be faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters especially for strangers. Assuming that all you do includes prayer, it is to be done for others and in a particular way for strangers. One seems to focus inward in regard to prayer and the other seems to focus outward. 

Luke presents a picture of a woman who will not relent. If we are unrelenting and unwavering in bringing the needs of the stranger before God, if we are unrelenting and unwavering in working with and for the stranger, we can be sure of one thing – the strangers will cease to be the alien in our midst, becoming the one who is known and near, in our hearts and in all we do. 

Today, I beg of you my Lord, for all of us, to remove anything which separates me from You and You from me.

November 28 - Monday of the First Week of Lent

Faith, Courage, Love

Faith 
Courage 
Jesus love for all humanity 
the Kingdom of God is open to all who Believe and have Faith! 

Imagine yourself as the Centurion. You have 100 men under your military command. You have heard of Jesus' healing ability, at all cost and reverence, you must reach Jesus quickly to have your beloved servant healed and his life saved. Your servant is your best friend, he has served your family for ages.   
Can you imagine going to Jesus and asking him to overlook your sins and make expedient healing under your roof to save your best friend? 

Imagine the love the Centurion felt not only for his servant most importantly the faith, love and hope in the Kingdom of God he has for Jesus. 

What are the people of the gospel thinking? Here is a man, a military officer in search for Jesus who is not accepted by the upper class of his time the pharisees and Sadducees! He has the courage to bypass the political climate of Jesus' time to save his servant and introduce himself as a believer and demonstrate his love and fidelity to Jesus. 

How can you inspire others such as the Centurion to follow Jesus? As a result of his actions, he convinced Jesus to open the door for all gentiles to be included in the Kingdom of God, not just the Israelites. 

Martha Medina
RCIA sponsor

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27 - The First Sunday of Advent


The Coming


The word “Advent” is from the Latin “Adventus” which means “coming.” Advent is the beginning of the new Liturgical Year in the Church as we switch from Year C to Year A and begin reading from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew quotes Jesus speaking about the need for wakefulness, for watchful waiting, for the coming of the Son of Man.

The Gospel selection is perfect for the season, which is intended to be a period of preparation, much like Lent. Prayer, penance and fasting are appropriate during Advent as we prepare for the celebration of Our Lord’s birth on December 25. 

Matthew’s Gospel focus is not on the birth of Jesus, but rather his second coming in glory at the end of time. The message in the Gospel passage is more about the manner of waiting rather than preparation for the Lord’s coming. Jesus compares our waiting to that of a homeowner who knows the plans of a thief. He tells us to be watchful and prepared for the moment of his return, for like the thief, it may come at any time.

Nick O’Hearn, parishioner and RCIA team member

Saturday, November 26, 2016

No Knowing

Here we are, at the conclusion of this little project. One month with the challenge to spend just five more minutes with God. To make yourself a bit more aware of God’s presence in your life. To acknowledge God’s presence in the world. To challenge yourself to more fully live your faith in the world. To give thanks for all that God has blessed you with.

The journey with Christ does not end today. It is a journey that continues until our dying breath. Like most things, this blog will now transition. With the conclusion of this series and the conclusion of the liturgical year, we are on the eve of Advent. Tomorrow the daily Advent reflections written by a wide spectrum of parishioners will offer you a way to journey through Advent while continuing to take one step closer to God.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in The Fellowship of the Ring, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” This is a good reminder for us on our faith lives. We must pay attention to where our feet are and where we are heading. The world is full of that which wants to push us off course. May you mind your feet and walk ever more closely with your God.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sights of Color

Today is Black Friday - a day normally associated with getting up before the sun rises, standing in long lines for a store to open, racing around a store gathering up the deals...all to get what we want. Black in this context signifies money being spent, revenues growing and moving retailers "into the black."

Black is a solemn color, frequently marking a major passage. For Catholics, black is normally a sign of mourning. We see it used on Good Friday and the recent All Soul's Day.

Our day of thanks with family is now in the rear view mirror. We are now off on a race for the next month to "get ready for Christmas." Perhaps we can pause on Black Friday as a moment to prepare for the upcoming Season of Advent. Consider reflecting on who you want to "be" during Advent in addition to all you need to do and what you want.

Maybe get up early and be thankful for all you have been given by God and how you can share it with others. And if you do go out on Black Friday, spread the "thank you's" generously today and throughout the Advent Season.

*********************************************************************************

JUST FOR FUN - HOW IS COLOR USED IN OUR FAITH?
As Catholics, we use color as an important signal of the various parts of our liturgical year. We see it in our priests' vestments and the colors of decorations and flowers present in the church.

  • White and gold - Most appropriate for Christmas and Easter - Symbol of purity, it is used on all Feasts of Our Lord except those relating to the Passion, all Feasts of Our Lady, and on the Feasts of Saints who are not Martyrs.
  • Red: For on feasts of the Passion of Jesus and for the Holy Spirit, representing red tongues of fire, in addition to being worn for the feasts of martyred saints, who shed their red blood for Christ.
  • Green: The color of vestments used during ordinary time. (Ordinary time is the rest of the year that’s not the Christmas or Easter season)
  • Purple or violet: Symbol of penance, it is part of Advent and Lent, and along with white and black, these colors may also be used at Funeral Masses
  • Rose: These are a substitute for violet on the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the color rose may be worn as a sign of anticipated joy.





Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Be Blessings

Most of us are probably double checking that the turkey is defrosting or that our reservations are set or that we have the right channel for the big game. We are looking forward to a day off work and a day spent how we like, surrounded by people we care for, enjoying a bountiful meal.

Most of us probably don’t know what it is like to be a refugee. Most of us probably don’t know what it is like to exist in a giant camp, with a flimsy tent protecting us from the cold and the rain. Most of us probably don’t wonder whether the aid workers will have enough supplies to offer us our daily meal. Most of us, thankfully, are not refugees.

Thanksgiving of 1943, Norman Rockwell painted this Refugee Thanksgiving cover for The Saturday Evening Post

As we prepare to celebrate our abundance, our blessings, there are 65.3 million refugees*. This exceeds even the record number of displaced persons from World War II, the time of Rockwell's painting. There was a refugee team at the Olympics; if those 65.3 million people were a country, they would be the 21st most populated country. You might be surprised to learn that Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran have the greatest number of refugees they have allowed into their nations. The fourth on that list, Lebanon, a country of just 4 million, hosts 1.1 million refugees.

As we give thanks, may we remember those who are thankful merely to be alive, to have escaped war, torture, terror, and the specter of death. May we remember that we are called to welcome the stranger to our table, whether it be for a simple meal or a new home in our nation.

Let us give thanks for our blessings.

Let our actions be blessings to those without home or shelter or nation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song

- Opening lyrics to In Christ Alone





Listen to Glad sing “In Christ Alone” and take some time to reflect on what God has done for you!

What does it mean to be a Comforter? A Cornerstone? What does it mean to be bought by His Precious Blood?

God wants nothing more than a relationship with us. What can you do today to get “one step closer” to Him?

Amy Greene
Stewardship Associate

Monday, November 21, 2016

Joy and Peace


I love that this section that focuses on giving thanks to God has the header of joy and peace in my Bible. I think that these things are closely woven together: gratitude, joy, peace. Each feeds the other.

Recognizing all that we have to be thankful for and offering our thanks, daily, for those blessings leads to a sense of joy and peace. If all we focus on are the things we wish we had or that which is just out of our reach, we will never be at peace, never able to recognize the holiness in the present moment.

Today, spend some time with this passage from Philippians.

Spend time today praying and pondering upon, “whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Let your prayers of thanks be heard. 
Let your heart rest in God’s peace. 
Let that peace become joy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cardinal Cupich & His Titular Church

This evening in Rome, Cardinal Cupich took possession of his titular church, San Bartolomeo all'Isola.

While we'll be posting more pictures & descriptions of the close of the Jubilee of Mercy, we wanted to get a few things out to the Holy Name Community ASAP!
San Bartolomeo all'Isola


The interior of San Bartolomeo

Cardinal Cupich enters, blessing the people with water.


See our other Year of Mercy Pilgrimage Posts here.

If this pilgrimage sounds of interest to you, 
I invite you to consider joining us on the 2017 pilgrimage 
to Lourdes, Spain, and Portugal. 

See details here.