Friday, 3rd Week of Lent by Deacon Len

The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Yesterday we received some difficult news from Bishop Pates, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Joliet.

“All Church services, beginning with weekend Masses, daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, etc., in the parishes and institutions in the Diocese of Joliet will discontinue immediately.”

As difficult as this is to swallow, we must be charitable in our response to what our President, our Governor, and our Bishop is asking of us and not simply look through the lens of what is being taken away from me.  

Lent is a season of sacrifice built on the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  The charitable thing for us to do is to consider the wellbeing of others as well as our own wants and desires.  I venture none of us would be very happy if our own Mother, Father, Grandparents, Sisters, Brothers, spouses, children, or any loved one contracted this virus from someone else while attending a mass or Stations Of The Cross.  

Since this virus doesn’t always present itself immediately, people can be carrying it without knowing.  As a schoolteacher, I understand the sheer number of students that I typically encounter daily puts me at risk.  I am thankful that our school and government leaders have chosen this path in an effort to stop the rapid spread of this terrible virus.  We all must do OUR part.

Our Lenten practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant to help us refocus our daily lives from the stresses of this life to the promises of the next.  Our increased prayer reminds us and leads us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  We need to take advantage of this “forced time out” to increase our prayer for others and for ourselves, that we might focus on using our talents in serving each other.  

Fasting is a way of sacrificing.  Sacrifice means to make holy.  And although I would never recommend fasting from going to church, I do think our sacrifice at this time can be offered for the good of others.  This extraordinary sacrifice of ours can make our Lenten journey holy and actually help us to focus on God by serving others.

Almsgiving may be the more important this Lent than ever.  There will be difficult times ahead.  As look out for our family, friends, neighbors and community we will truly need to sacrifice by practice almsgiving to help those in need.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

At the risk of being repetitively redundant (ha ha), we need to be charitable to others as opposed to joining the many who are hoarding the daily necessities of life.  Brothers and sisters we are truly being called to “Return to the Lord our God”.  

Today I saw a great video from Bishop Barron where he addresses this same topic.  He also includes a segment on Lectio Divina.  I have attached the link for you below.

Please know that you are in my prayers and I ask you to pray for me as well.  I look forward to the day we can celebrate together again at the table of The Lord.

Good health, Blessings and Peace to you and your families.

– Deacon Len                  lpenkala@st-raphael.com                   630-615-7644

Solemnity of St. Joseph by Deacon Dan

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  • Today we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph – probably the second most important saint after Mary.  Joseph is not quoted in today’s gospel of anywhere in the Bible, but much we know much about him:
    • We know he was a righteous, just and holy man
      • Of all the men in history, God entrusted him to protect Jesus and Mary.  Knowing that Jesus would be the target of many, this is an enormous responsibility.  Joseph went about this in a quiet, confident way.
      • Every husband and father has been entrusted to love and protect our wives and our children.  It is for this reason that St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers and husbands.
      • As Christian fathers, it is also our role to make sure our children are raised to follow Jesus’ commandments.
    • We know that Joseph was prayerful and obedient
      • He understood bible teachings, he prayed and was receptive to the Word of God
      • Today the angel appears to Joseph and asks him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Mary is pregnant and he cannot be the father.  Mary could have been stoned to death according to Jewish law.
      • For Joseph, this is crushing news and his world was being turned upside down.  But he decides to quietly divorce her and protect her from shame and cruelty.  He chose to bear whatever embarrassment this may cause him.
      • God knows our fears and our anxieties – he also knows what we need and what is best for us – He wants us to understand the truth and to not be afraid.
      • If an angel came to us, would we even hear it?
        • God may not send an angel to us in a dream, but he will reveal his plan for us through our experiences, our interactions with others, our struggles and our joys.
      • If we did receive God’s message, would we have the confidence to obey?
        • He is probably not going to ask us to do anything extraordinary, but he may ask us to give up a recurring sin, to forgive someone, or to move our lives in a different direction.  To follow will likely require sacrifice and discomfort.
      • He was humble
        • Listened more, talked less
        • with a perfect wife and perfect son, how could he not be humble?
      • Patron saint of a happy death
        • presumably dying in the arms of Jesus and Mary
        • We should pray to Joseph for ourselves / loved one, that they too may have a happy death with Jesus at their side.
  • So today, let us reflect on what we can do to hear God more clearly and to have the strength of Joseph to obey God and protect our wives and children. May God bless each of you.

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CREEDS

 

Catholics Reflecting Experiencing Evangelizing Declaring Scripture

CREEDS Members’ page

 2020/2021 CREEDS SCRIPTURE STUDY

“What’s Next?”: The Reason for Our Hope

CREEDS is a parish wide bible study designed to meet the spiritual hunger of both beginners and veterans. Please join us on Wednesdays, contact-free via Zoom meetings.  This year’s study is timely – “What’s Next?”  will offer a study of the afterlife, of eternity, of the “last things.”   Our presenter, Fr. Bob Carroll, O.Carm., Ph.D., will present this series based on Scriptures from Isaiah, Daniel, St. Paul’s letters, and current theological studies about our eternal destiny.  We will learn how God’s people grew in their understanding of the afterlife.  We will see how Christ’s life, death. resurrection and ascension brought completion to the mystery of eternal life.  And we will deepen our understanding of what it means to pray the final words of the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in…the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen” 

The 2020 study will officially kick off on Wednesday morning September 23 continuing through April 7, 2021. Participants choose to attend either the morning session from 9:30-11:30am or the evening session from 7:00-9:00pm.   This year our study will begin on-line using the ZOOM application or Zoom.us website on your computer.  Each registrant must be able to use their own device (PC, laptop, smart phone, or tablet) to access Zoom.  For those interested, we will have an Orientation Session on Wednesday, September 16 at 9:30am & 7:00pm to demonstrate how we will be utilizing Zoom for our sessions.  Once registered we will send you an instructional email on “How to get started.”

Whether this is your first-time studying scripture, or you are a seasoned veteran, CREEDS will enhance your faith life in wonderful ways through prayer, individual study, small group discussion and large group presentation. Fr. Bob Carroll is the author and lecturer for CREEDS and welcomes active participation at the weekly meetings.

The $75 registration fee includes the 23-week study and all materials. If you have questions or concerns, please call Luanne Roth at (630) 229-1876. 

Click here to register.

Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com

Cursillo

What is Cursillo?  
Cursillo is an opportunity to form and live in community with other Catholics and clergy members. It is immersed in Catholic Doctrine and the Sacraments. Cursillo is patterned on Jesus’ own example. He searched out and welcomed a small group of disciples, trained them by word and example and inspired them with a vision. He linked them together and sent them out into the world to bring the world to Him

The goal of Cursillo is the goal of the Church: to welcome and bring all to the Christ. Cursillo helps to renew and deepen Christian commitment. Many people have said Cursillo provides an important learning experience which causes them to feel like newly made Christians with a purpose and with support.

Pre-Cursillo: 
During this period, sponsors (i.e. those individuals that have been to the three-day Cursillo weekend and are living the Fourth Day) identify those Catholics who are leading an active Christian life and are a living witness to their love for Christ, recommending their candidacy. Potential candidates are welcomed to learn more about Cursillo and even invited to join a small group before actually attending a weekend. It is also the period that selected candidates are informed of what to expect at the three-day weekend and assist in appropriate preparations.

Are there Cursillo Secrets?
  You may have been told by some who have attended the weekend that they cannot tell you what Cursillo is all about or what goes on during a Cursillo weekend. This is not correct. Everything that goes on during the weekend may be told to anyone. Cursillo literature is available to anyone who wishes to read or purchase the materials.


Dates:  Vary based on Diocesan schedule

Time Commitment:   An overnight weekend retreat beginning on a Thursday evening and ending on Sunday evening. You stay at the retreat center for the entire weekend. Meals and snacks are provided.


More Information about Cursillo and to see upcoming retreat dates visit  www.jolietcursillo.org

Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com

Community of Catholic Mothers

Community of Catholic Mothers welcomes Catholic women who would like to grow in their roles as mothers, wives, and family spiritual leaders. Meetings are held twice a month on Thursday mornings and childcare is available.

As a group, we aim to:

  • Enhance our spirituality as individuals, women, mothers, and loving partners
  • Validate and affirm the role of motherhood
  • Offer support in embracing a Catholic lifestyle
  • Offer opportunities for socialization with other Catholic women

We welcome moms of children of many ages. Whether you are mom to a newborn or mom to an 8th grader, Community of Catholic Mothers is for you!


Meetings are held on designated Thursday mornings. Childcare is available by loving adults for a minimal cost. Refreshments are provided.  


Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com

Faith Breakfasts

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The Faith Breakfast Talk Series is designed to feed us spiritually, mentally and physically. Faith Breakfasts are offered periodically throughout the year and feature diverse yet crucial topics to today’s modern Catholic. Recent Faith Breakfasts have focused on such issues as marriage, spirituality, leadership, and scripture.

Come join us for hearty nourishment for your body, mind and soul, as we continue to explore our faith.  The Faith Breakfasts are held on pre-announced Saturday mornings throughout the calendar year.  Please watch the bulletin for specific information.

The theme of our breakfasts this year is spirituality; specifically, the spirituality of Catholic religious orders that serve our area.  Come and hear how Benediction monks or Franciscan priests and brothers model the life of St Francis of Assisi.  Talks this season will be held in October, January, February and March.


Dates: Faith Breakfasts are held on Saturdays quarterly during the year. The morning begins after the Morning Mass in room 162, usually around 9:15 with a hard stop at 10:30. 

Time Commitment: 2 – 3 hours, 4 times yearly. Volunteers can spend from 1-3 hours helping with portions of the morning.


Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com

Online Learning – VLCFF

Empower yourself with knowledge of your faith!  Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation(VLCFF) is a growing initiative to offer adult religious education and faith formation anytime and anywhere via the internet. It is an internet based distance learning initiative which supports adult faith, lay ecclesial ministry and catechetical formation of the Church. The VLCFF is coordinated and sponsored by the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton. Its goal is to support the church’s professional ministry of religious education and faith formation in cyberspace.

Have you ever wanted to take courses to learn more about your Catholic Faith but did not have the time or know where to go? Have you ever thought about taking an internet class? As members of the Joliet Diocese, there is a wonderful opportunity for learning open to us.

Topics Include:  Catechesis — Catholic Doctrine — Church History — Liturgy — Sacraments — Prayer — Scripture

5 Week Courses $40
3 Week Seminars $30

To explore the course offerings and registration dates, please go directly to the VLCFF website:  http://vlc.udayton.edu/ 


Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com

 

RCIA – Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults

Are you interested in becoming Catholic?  The process to explore the Catholic faith is called the RCIA (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). This journey of study and prayer generally takes a year. Gatherings occur on Sunday mornings, molded around the 9:00 Mass. The process is twofold. The first being an opportunity to uncover God’s loving presence in your personal life and the second, a means to help a person embrace the rich treasury of the Catholic faith.


Dates: Sessions begin in September and run weekly through Easter Vigil

Time Commitment (for catechists and sponsors): 2 hours weekly during the class session year. 


Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com

Young Adult Ministries

The Young Adult ministry, “Circles,” welcomes young adults age 21-30. This ministry connects married and single adults in a spirit of acceptance to share their journey of faith. As the future of the Church, St. Raphael looks to engage and empower young adults with the faith, resources and enthusiasm to bring the spirit of God alive in their world.


Dates: Thursdays at 7:00pm

Time commitment: varies, but never more than a few hours a month


Contact: Kurt Lange at (630) 615-7607 or klange@st-raphael.com