January 24, 2021

ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL (ACA)

Next weekend, throughout the Archdiocese, will be the beginning of the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). This year's theme is "Come, follow me...and bring hope to the world." 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 ... and bring hope to the world.” 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 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal, we demonstrate our commitment to the Church and each other.

Due to COVID protocols and the continuing need to provide safe guidelines at Masses the usual ACA collection in-pew procedures will not be used this year. As a directive I received recently stated,  “This year’s appeal is slightly different from other years because we are not collecting in-pew pledge forms. Rather, you will have the option to pick up a mail-in giving envelope located in the back of the church where the envelopes will be available next weekend and you will be able to take one on your way out of Masses next weekend."

Another alternate will be to make your gift to the ACA online. As the note I received from the Archdiocese indicated, “We highly encourage you to consider making your gift online this year. It only takes a few simple steps and is secure. You can visit the website annualcatholicappeal.com to make your pledge online." More information will be available at Masses and in next weekend's bulletin.

LENTEN SEASON

The past week was filled with a number of e-mails, notices and directives from the Archdiocese. One of the e-mails I received was from Bishop Robert Casey, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese. I have copied the letter he sent regarding the up coming Lenten Season. Along with the letter was enclosed Guidelines for the Celebration of Lent and Holy Week in 2021. As Bishop Casey indicates many of our usual prayers and services for Lent this year will have to be modified given the continuing need to safeguard everyone from the COVID virus.

The Liturgy Committee of St. Peter's has met and will continue to develop how we might be able to celebrate Lent this year here at St. Peter's in light of the pandemic. One concern we have is how we will celebrate Ash Wednesday and other Lenten services. We will be sharing what Lent will look like here at St. Peter's in 2021 soon through the weekend bulletin and on-line through St. Peter's web site.

LETTER OF BISHOP CASEY REGARDING LENT 2021

Dear Clergy of the Archdiocese,

Though we are hopeful the vaccines, now in the early stages of distribution, will quicken our ability to overcome the pandemic, we must remain committed to our protocols and safety guidelines for the foreseeable future. And while our Lenten and Holy Week observances will be different, by the grace of God, we will have ample opportunity for in-person worship and devotion this year.

 As we reflect on the past 10 months – the lives lost because of the virus, the pain and suffering of racial injustice in our communities, the economic hardships of the unemployed or underemployed, the loneliness and despair felt by so many during times of isolation – we can feel as though we’ve been in Lent for nearly a year already. Thankfully, the wonder and awe we just experienced at Christmas gives us the strength to bring all of this to the only One who can transform our suffering into new life through the Cross.

 In a special way, I pray during this upcoming Lenten season we will all unite ourselves more closely to Jesus’ own Passion and Way of the Cross. With complete and childlike trust in Him, we will be led to the joy of Easter Sunday.

 Peace,

Bishop Robert Casey
Vicar General

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. HOLIDAY- January 18, 2021

Last Monday we celebrated the National Holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Archbishop José Gomez (Archbishop of Los Angeles) and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement commemorating that day. In his statement Archbishop Gomez gave all of us many things to reflect upon in this time of unrest in our country. Archbishop Gomez wrote,

In 1958, Rev. King wrote: “Along the way of life, someone must have the sense enough and the morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.” This is the challenge for every one of us who believes in the promise of America and seeks to renew the soul of this great nation.  

In the spirit of Rev. King, we must meet the forces of hate and ignorance with the power of love. We must learn again the wisdom of the Gospel and love our enemies and bless those who oppose us. In this moment, Rev. King would counsel everyone in public life to seek reconciliation and reject the easy temptation to reprisals and recrimination. 

We do not love those who oppose us because they are loveable, or even likable, Rev. King once said. We love them because God loves them. And by our love, we seek their conversion and friendship, not their humiliation. This is our Christian duty in this moment — to be healers and peacemakers, to overcome evil and lies, not by more of the same, but with words of truth and works of love. 

We ask our Blessed Mother Mary, the Queen of Peace, to guide us in this moment of transition and uncertainty in our country. May she help us to keep believing in the power of love.

Let each one of us continue to pray for our country and our government leaders. Let us remember to follow all safety protocols against the COVID virus. Keep in your prayers those suffering because of the virus and all those who are caring for those who are sick.

Fr. Michael