The weekend of February 12-13, throughout the Archdiocese, will be the beginning of the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). This year's theme is "Making all things new… God’s promise and our responsibility." Many Catholics, throughout the Archdiocese, will be receiving the Annual Catholic Appeal mailing from Cardinal Cupich soon. On behalf of those served by the ministries, parishes and schools who receive funding from the Appeal, your generous donations help to support those ministries.
The Annual Catholic Appeal offers a wonderful opportunity to answer Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me ...” This is especially important during these trying and challenging times. Many in our parishes are affected financially by the pandemic, and we encourage giving at all levels to support this initiative. In addition to providing for ministries and services throughout the archdiocese, the Annual Catholic Appeal funds services in our own area.
When we financially support the work of St. Peter's Church, the archdiocese and the Catholic Church throughout the world, we experience a feeling of deep gratitude, especially when we contemplate God’s many gifts to us personally. By sharing our wealth through gifts to the 2022 Annual Catholic Appeal, we demonstrate our commitment to the Church and each other.
In the coming weeks more information about the Annual Catholic Appeal will be offered through our church bulletin, in the Chicago Catholic and on our web site and the web site of the Archdiocese.
For those who wish more information now or might want to contribute at this time you can visit the website annualcatholicappeal.com to find more information or to make your pledge online.
Though it seems we just put away the Christmas trees and nativity scenes Lent will be here soon. Before Lent arrives however, there are a number of special events.
Chuc Mung Nam Moi (Happy New Year!) Tuesday, February 1 is the Lunar New Year. For many people throughout the world this a very important day to celebrate the New Year, to come together as a family and to honor deceased relatives and friends. In Vietnam it is called TET and this year is celebrated beginning Feb. 1. The Franciscans in Vietnam will celebrate a special Mass on February 1 for the people and celebrate with their families. Let us all pray for peace and understanding among all people of the world. And let us pray that Catholics throughout the world will be able to worship in freedom and without danger or persecution.
We celebrate the feast of St. Blaise on Thursday, February 3. St. Blaise is the patron of those who suffer from diseases of the throat and other illness. As is our tradition, we will bless throats at the conclusion of the 7:30 am, 11:40 am and 1:15 pm Masses on Thursday, February 3. Because many people might not be able to attend Mass on February 3, we will also bless throats after the 5 pm Saturday Vigil Mass on February 5 and after the Sunday Masses of 9 am and 11 am on February 6.
February 14 was, for many years, known as the feast of St. Valentine. Studies and scholarship of the last few decades have raised enough conflicting stories and uncertainties about the legend of St. Valentine that the Church removed the feast from the Calendar of Saints. However, the tradition of sending greeting cards of warm wishes, flowers to those whom we love and other expressions of care and devotion continue to be a noble and caring gesture towards others. So tell those whom you love of your care and concern for them on February 14 in the spirit of what Valentine’s day celebrates…… our care and love for others.
The weekend of February 19-21 is Presidents Weekend and a holiday for many people. As we remember our Presidents, let us especially reflect upon those presidents whose birthday we remember i.e. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. In the midst of the recent tensions about our National leadership it would be good to recall the ideals upon which our country was founded. If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bills of Rights lately, then Presidents’ weekend would be a perfect time to read again these most important documents for everyone who lives in our country. You can find copies in any public library, in local bookstores, on the internet and in many other places. As Catholics, we are called to not only follow and live out the Gospel, but also to be good citizens of the country. Now more than ever, it is important that everyone who lives here participate in our democracy and not take our freedoms for granted.
As I mentioned in last weekend’s bulletin, these winter months are a good time to read and learn more about our faith, our country and experience reflections from others. As I wrote last weekend here are a couple of books I suggest for your winter reading.
The Soul of America by Jon Meacham An insightful look at our past and the present reality of our country today.
His Truth is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham A powerful narrative of congressman, John Lewis, and the battle for civil rights in the USA.
Children Under Fire by John Woodrow Cox An important look into the violence gripping our country today.
A Life of Jesus by Shusaku Endo A unique perspective of Jesus from one of the leading Catholic authors of Japan.
Along with the above books here are a few other suggestions for your winter reading:
From Slave to Priest by Caroline Hemesath. A biography of Fr. Augustine Tolton, the first Black priest in the USA. Born in the slave state of Missouri in 1854, raised in Quincy, IL and ordained in 1886. Fr. Tolton was pastor of St. Monica’s Church here in Chicago and died July 9, 1897 at Mercy Hospital. He was declared Venerable by Pope Francis in 2019 and his cause for canonization continues in Rome.
Francis: The Journey and the Dream by Murray Bodo, OFM A classic and prayerful reflection on St. Francis of Assisi by a well-known Franciscan priest.
Breakthrough by Joyce Smith. A true story of the miracle survival of the author’s 14 year old son who survived a fall through the ice near St. Louis, MO in January 2015. It’s powerful story of faith and prayer and the dedication of the medical team at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. The book was made into a movie that is available on DVD.
Don’t forget to wear your masks, obtain COVID vaccines and a flu vaccine, if you have not already done so, wash hands frequently, avoid large crowds and let us all remember to keep one another in prayer.