Children’s Liturgy of the Word is back!

Sunday at the 8:00 am Mass, children ages 4 through grade 2 have the opportunity to participate in Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Children are led out of church before the First Reading and return Preparation of the Gifts. During that time, kids hear the readings on their level, listen to a homily, pray the Prayers of the Faithful, and the Creed. There is no registration necessary. Listen for Father to ask the children who would like to participate to come forward during the 8:00 am mass. 

If you would like to be part of this rewarding ministry please Contact Jenn Pfundstein at jennpfun@yahoo.com or 630-780-8336 

Bishop Hicks’ Monthly Column

September 2022

Memories of St. Oscar Romero arise from today’s Nicaragua 

In 2005, I began an extraordinary assignment in my priesthood, working and living for five years in the country of El Salvador. This small Central American country embodies and emanates the spirit of St. Oscar Romero. When I first arrived to begin my missionary work, I started learning about this martyred archbishop. Needless to say, he quickly became one of my heroes and eventually one of my favorite saints.

During the 1980s, El Salvador had plummeted into a polarized and violent civil war. When the government began killing priests, nuns and laity, Archbishop Romero began to speak against the oppression with a loud and courageous voice. He became known as the “voice of the voiceless.”

Officials with this brutal government began to threaten this dauntless shepherd and told him bluntly that if he continued to preach against their regime in favor of peace and justice for all people, he would be silenced by imprisonment or even death.

Regardless of these threats, the archbishop continued to use his voice against the corruption, hatred and killings of innocent people. Then, on March 24, 1980, while Romero was celebrating Mass in a Carmelite chapel, a lone gunman opened fire on him and killed him.

After Romero’s assassination, a bloody civil war continued to rage in El Salvador, in which the poor, the Catholic Church and the people were cruelly persecuted. Finally, after more than 12 years, the war formally ended in 1992 with the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords.

Over the years, I have taken family, friends and visitors to see the “holy sites” of St. Oscar Romero in San Salvador, including the chapel where he was martyred and his tomb. I have always thought we were visiting “historical” sites, thinking to myself, “That all happened in the past, and thank God things like that no longer happen here and in our modern world.”

That overly innocent idea of mine was recently shattered, as we have been following the current persecution of the Church in Nicaragua. The secretary-general of the United Nations has indicated he is “very concerned” about the Nicaraguan government’s actions against democracy, civil society organizations and the Catholic Church. A few weeks ago, the Nicaraguan police conducted an overnight raid on the main offices of the Diocese of Matagalpa. They forcibly took and arrested several people that night, including Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who had been under house arrest. Leaders around the world have called these actions by the Nicaraguan government a systematic persecution and harassment against the Catholic Church. As I write this, Álvarez is reportedly being held under yet another house arrest, at his parents’ home in the capital city of Managua.

One might wonder: Why is this government targeting and repressing the Catholic Church and its leaders?  Part of the reason is the Church continues to follow the example of St. Oscar Romero by being the voice of the voiceless, especially by speaking out against human rights violations throughout the country.  During his house arrest at diocesan headquarters, Bishop Álvarez posted a message on social media: “We have to respond to hate with love, despair with hope, and fear with the strength and courage given to us by the glorious and resurrected Christ.”

On August 19, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops conveyed our support of the Church and people of Nicaragua through a statement from Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, who serves as the chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace: “I express our continued steadfast solidarity with our brothers in the Nicaraguan episcopate, along with their priests and foreign missionaries, in their calling to freely proclaim the Gospel and live the faith. The faith of the Nicaraguan people, who stand in solidarity with their bishops and priests, is an inspiration for us all.”

Because we are a church that embraces the ideals of justice, peace and human dignity, please join me in solidarity with our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters.  Let us also work and pray for an end to persecution against the Church, as well as for the protection of religious freedom – not only in Nicaragua, but throughout the world. 

Jesus stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the passage where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me to bring the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4: 17-19)

En español

septiembre de 2022

Los recuerdos de san Óscar Romero surgen de la Nicaragua de hoy  

En 2005, comencé una misión extraordinaria en mi sacerdocio, trabajando y viviendo durante cinco años en el país de El Salvador. Este pequeño país centroamericano encarna y emana el espíritu de san Óscar Romero. Cuando llegué para iniciar mi labor misionera, comencé a conocer a este arzobispo mártir. No hace falta decir que se convirtió rápidamente en uno de mis héroes y, finalmente, en uno de mis santos favoritos. 

Durante la década de 1980, El Salvador se sumió en una guerra civil polarizada y violenta. Cuando el gobierno comenzó a matar a sacerdotes, monjas y laicos, el Arzobispo Romero comenzó a hablar en contra de la opresión con una voz fuerte y valiente. Se lo conoció como “la voz de los sin voz”. 

Los funcionarios de este brutal gobierno comenzaron a amenazar a este intrépido pastor y le dijeron sin rodeos que, si continuaba predicando contra su régimen en favor de la paz y la justicia para todo el pueblo, lo silenciarían con la cárcel o incluso con la muerte.

A pesar de estas amenazas, el arzobispo continuó usando su voz contra la corrupción, el odio y los asesinatos de personas inocentes. Entonces, el 24 de marzo de 1980, mientras Romero celebraba la Misa en una capilla carmelita, un pistolero solitario abrió fuego contra él y lo mató.

Tras el asesinato de Romero, continuó una sangrienta guerra civil en El Salvador, en la que los pobres, la Iglesia Católica y el pueblo fueron cruelmente perseguidos. Finalmente, tras más de 12 años, la guerra terminó formalmente en 1992 con la firma de los Acuerdos de Paz de Chapultepec.

A lo largo de los años, he llevado a familiares, amigos y visitantes a ver los “lugares sagrados” de san Óscar Romero en San Salvador, incluida la capilla donde fue martirizado y su tumba. Siempre he pensado que visitábamos lugares “históricos”, pensando para mis adentros: “Todo eso ocurrió en el pasado, y gracias a Dios ya no ocurren cosas así aquí y en nuestro mundo moderno”.

Esa idea mía, demasiado inocente, se hizo trizas recientemente, ya que hemos estado siguiendo la persecución actual de la Iglesia en Nicaragua. El secretario general de las Naciones Unidas ha indicado que está “muy preocupado” por las acciones del gobierno nicaragüense contra la democracia, las organizaciones de la sociedad civil y la Iglesia Católica. Hace unas semanas, la policía nicaragüense realizó una redada nocturna en las oficinas principales de la Diócesis de Matagalpa. Esa noche se llevaron por la fuerza y detuvieron a varias personas, entre ellas al Obispo Rolando Álvarez, que se encontraba bajo arresto domiciliario. Líderes de todo el mundo han calificado estas acciones del gobierno nicaragüense como una persecución y acoso sistemático contra la Iglesia Católica. Mientras escribo esto, se informa de que Álvarez se encuentra bajo otro arresto domiciliario, en la casa de sus padres en la capital, Managua.

Cabe preguntarse: ¿Por qué este gobierno apunta y reprime a la Iglesia Católica y a sus líderes? Parte de la razón es que la Iglesia continúa siguiendo el ejemplo de san Óscar Romero siendo la voz de los sin voz, especialmente denunciando las violaciones de los derechos humanos en todo el país. Durante su arresto domiciliario en la sede de la diócesis, el Obispo Álvarez publicó un mensaje en las redes sociales: “Tenemos que responder al odio con amor, a la desesperación con esperanza y al miedo con la fuerza y el valor que nos dio el glorioso y resucitado Cristo”.

El 19 de agosto, la Conferencia de los Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos. transmitió nuestro apoyo a la Iglesia y al pueblo de Nicaragua a través de una declaración del Obispo David J. Malloy de Rockford, que preside el Comité de Justicia y Paz Internacional de la USCCB: “Expreso nuestra constante e inquebrantable solidaridad con nuestros hermanos del episcopado nicaragüense, junto con sus sacerdotes y misioneros extranjeros, en su vocación de anunciar libremente el Evangelio y vivir la fe. La fe del pueblo nicaragüense, que se solidariza con sus obispos y sacerdotes, es una inspiración para todos nosotros”.

Porque somos una Iglesia que abraza los ideales de justicia, paz y dignidad humana, por favor, únete a mí en solidaridad con nuestros hermanos y hermanas nicaragüenses. Trabajemos y recemos también por el fin de la persecución contra la Iglesia, así como también por la protección de la libertad religiosa, no sólo en Nicaragua, sino en todo el mundo.

Jesús se levantó para leer, y le entregaron el Gran Rollo de Isaías. Desenrollando el pergamino, encontró el pasaje donde está escrito: El Espíritu del Señor está sobre mí, porque me ha ungido para que dé la Buena Noticia a los pobres; me ha enviado a anunciar la libertad a los cautivos y la vista a los ciegos, para poner en libertad a los oprimidos, para proclamar el año de gracia del Señor”. (Lucas 4: 17-19)

Interested in helping with local mission trips?

Jordan River Farm is a ministry through the Joliet Diocese. The Service Ministry of St. Raphael Church is looking into creating a team of adult volunteers to assist with this effort. We would begin with a daylong mission trip. Activities would include painting and repairing homes, prayer and fellowship. If you are interested in joining the team contact Barry O’Donnell at the Service Ministry Office

Ionization sanitation system used in Church

We are delighted to announce that on Thursday, August 20th, we installed a needlepoint ionization sanitation system in our Church.  The system works with the overhead units and the technology works to safely clean the air inside the building.  Bipolar ionization is capable of killing viruses that are spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing as well as the germs that live on surfaces where an infected person has made contact.

In this case needlepoint bipolar ionization is a multi-purpose solution for targeting germs within a building.  After 30 minutes the overall average decrease in an active virus is 99.89%.  These units will have multiple benefits for our Parish Community. Please click here to read additional information on the system.

RPM Events & Trips

Through RPM teens will also have the opportunity to experience nationwide conferences like NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference) and the Steubenville Conference, which have the best speakers, music, workshops, and thousands of other Catholic teens in attendance. These weekends have been very transformational for those who have attended! 

Join us for our annual summer mission trip! Each year we go for a week somewhere new to serve those in need. Projects include extensive painting, building wheelchair ramps, fixing decks/porches, yard work, and other house repairs. The times we aren’t working at our resident’s home we are enjoying free time or the fun Jesus centered programing. It’s a life-changing week not only for the resident you serve, but for you as well! 

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction)

  • Spiritual direction focuses on religious experience. It is concerned with a person’s actual experience of a relationship with God.
  • Spiritual direction is about a relationship. The religious experience is not isolated, nor does it consist of extraordinary events. It is what happens in an ongoing relationship between the person and God. Most often this is a relationship that is experienced in prayer.
  • Spiritual direction is a relationship that is going somewhere. God is leading the person to deeper faith and more generous service. The spiritual director asks not just “what is happening?” but “what is moving forward?”
  • The real spiritual director is God. God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not “direct” in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director helps a person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper relationship.

Please contact Deacon Kurt, 630-615-7607, regarding more information on obtaining a Spiritual Director.

Living Word Scripture Study

If you are looking for a more relaxed Scripture study, Living Word may be for you! Read, ponder, share and pray in a small group setting as we learn to apply the Sunday Scriptures to our lives today.  There’s no cost, just show up!  All are welcome! Come and see where the Spirit is leading you!  We meet each Thursday morning from 9:30 to 11:30.  Contact Kathleen Meisinger for more information at kcmeisinger@gmail.com