Well, what I have been telling you in the bulletin for the past month has now arrived. Let me review a little of what I have written previously in order to put what is happening this week into perspective. Once every three years each province of the Franciscan Order holds what is called a Provincial Chapter. At each of those chapters advisors (councilors) are elected and every six years a Provincial Minister and his Vicar are elected. In addition to these elections, those in attendance hear reports about the health of the province, finances, vocation efforts and formation, care of senior friars, etc. Any necessary business is discussed and voted upon, much of which sets the direction of the province for at least the next three years. Everything is conducted in an atmosphere of prayer and fraternity since the chapter gives the friars a chance to meet and visit with each other because often many of us have not seen some of the friars for some time due to our geographical distances. The Provincial Chapter is an essential part of our life and serves as the chief legislative body of the province.
This little piece of our history brings us to the present moment. Our 2014 Provincial Chapter is scheduled to be held in St. Louis from the evening of June 8th until noon on June 13th. It is a very significant meeting for our Sacred Heart Province and for all the other provinces in the United States since we all are discussing how we can make better use of friar personnel and to better serve the needs of the Church in ministry and witness. We ask that you keep us in prayer that we will be open to the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit during this week and that we will be faithful to our Franciscan Rule and way of life.
As a result of the legislation I mentioned above, the majority of the friars from St. Peter’s will be in attendance, and that will result in some schedule changes for that week here at St. Peter’s. Our entire lay staff will be here the week of June 8-13, so the church will remain open for the same hours as usual. The gift shop will have its regular hours, the security personnel will be here, and the social workers will be available on the lower level to assist the needy and the homeless as they always do so well. However, I ask you to take note especially of the following schedule changes that will be in place from Monday, June 9, through Friday, June 13:
1) There will be only three Masses daily: 7:15, 11:40 and 5:00.
2) Confessions will be heard only two times daily: 11:00-1:00 and 4:00-6:00.
3) The front office will be open only from 10:30-4:30.
4) There will be no priest available on the mezzanine.
5) There will be no change in programs on the lower level.
This schedule allows the friars to participate in the Provincial Chapter while it tries to accommodate the needs of our people to the extent possible. Neither the weekend before the chapter nor the weekend following will be affected; therefore the Saturday schedule and the regular Sunday Mass schedule will remain the same. The majority of the friars will return to St. Peter’s by Friday evening.
If we are to serve you well and with the spirit of St. Francis, it is necessary that we periodically refresh ourselves to keep alive the charism that our Franciscan life brings to the Church. We feel confident that you understand this even though it may mean that you change some of your own schedule that week because of the shortened services. During our time at the chapter we will be praying for you, and we know you will be raising us up in prayer as well. You might tell your friends also in case they miss these published changes. May the Lord bless you and keep you always!
Luke’s narration of Pentecost in Acts relates the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that the disciples “will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” For Judaism, the feast of Pentecost celebrates the Sinai covenant. In the wilderness, 72 elders were given a share of “the spirit that was on Moses” and “they prophesied.” When the Spirit descends on the disciples, they “began to speak in different tongues” so that “devout Jews from every nation” who were in Jerusalem for the feast could understand what they were saying. The gospel is for all people.
Paul tells the Corinthians that the gifts of the Spirit are many. It is the Spirit that enables us to acknowledge that “Jesus is Lord.” Through this Spirit “we were all baptized into one body” and have become united with each other in Christ. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts,” Paul says, “but the same Spirit.” We should not boast of our gifts as though they were greater than the gifts of others. The Spirit distributes them “to each person as he wishes,” and they contribute to the good of all.
For John, the gift of the Spirit is given to the disciples on Easter, “on the evening of the first day of the week.” Jesus appears to his frightened disciples, showing them “his hands and his side,” revealing the wounds of his passion and confirming his identity. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” he says. To be sent is to share in the mission of Christ. Breathing on them, he gives them the “Holy Spirit” and empowers them to forgive sins. Their fear is transformed into a boldness that enables them to proclaim the gospel. This gift of the Spirit, celebrated on Pentecost, unites us in the life of the Trinity and empowers us to proclaim the good news with our lives as well.
For Reflection: Have there been times when I experienced God’s Spirit active in my life? What would my life be like without the Holy Spirit? Do I ever ask the Holy Spirit whom I received in baptism and confirmation for help and guidance in making important decisions?
SECOND COLLECTION THIS WEEKEND
Last week in the bulletin we announced the annual Collection for the Retired Priests of the Archdiocese, which is scheduled to be taken up in all the parishes of the Archdiocese this weekend. This collection helps to defray the costs of the retirement benefits for diocesan priests who are retired whether they are still in ministry, part-time in ministry, living in a retirement center, or so sick that they must be in a nursing home. Now we ask you to read the following letter from Cardinal George:
Dear Friends in Christ,
On the weekend of June 7-8, 2014, we will take up a special collection for the Retired Priests of the Archdiocese. During 2013, we mourned the death of thirty of our retired priests—the most who have died in a single year. At their funerals, I listened to accolades for their ministerial service—the children they baptized, the homilies they preached, the Masses they celebrated, the hospitals and nursing homes they visited, the children they taught in our schools and religious education programs, the weddings they witnessed and the families they comforted at countless funerals. Time and again, I heard stories of the selflessness with which our retired priests helped many parishes avoid reducing Mass schedules and other services.
Our retired priests still number 193, and they rely upon your help now. The Priests’ Retirement and Mutual Aid Association (PRMAA) cares for our retired priests. As you know so well, the costs for health care, prescription drugs and nursing home care continues to increase. Also, the priests’ pension fund remains seriously impacted by the economic downturn. This special collection will help us continue to support our retired priests. This special collection in June is different from the December collection for retired men and women religious where the collection goes to those in religious orders; Archdiocesan priests do not receive any funds from that collection.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our retired priests for their lives of service and devotion. I also remember in prayer all of our retired priests who have died. I am thankful to all of you for your immense generosity in this collection last year. I ask you to repeat your kindness this year. Your donations, your prayers and your good wishes are an affirmation of our retired priests. Please pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood. You and those you love are in my prayers; please keep me in yours.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
SAINT PETER’S MEN’S GROUP
You may not be aware that every Monday evening at 5:00 P.M. we have a meeting down in the auditorium called “Saint Peter’s Men’s Group.” You will find it listed every week in the bulletin in the Activities section. This group has been meeting for many years and has played a great part in the lives of many men who have been coming together for support and assistance as they grow and mature. The primary reason for the group’s existence is for men who are dealing with some aspect of sexual addiction: it could be pornography, masturbation, marital infidelity, visiting adult book stores, seeking massage for something other than relief of sore muscles, feeling sexual temptations to be too much to handle, etc.
At a meeting you will find you are not alone in what you are dealing with; others have been struggling with the same problems. You will also find individuals who can testify that there is hope because they are now free of their subjection to addiction. There will also be persons who are willing to be your sponsor, and you will find all this done in an atmosphere of spirituality and Christian love of neighbor. We invite anyone to try this Men’s Group who wants to get better. That’s Mondays at 5:00 P.M. in the St. Clare Auditorium. Spending this hour a week could very well save your life and save your marriage!
AN OPPORTUNITY TO GRIEVE
A program entitled “Moving on with Grace: A Spiritual Journey for Men and Women Grieving the Death of a Spouse” will be presented at the Shine of Our Lady of Pompeii, 1224 West Lexington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607 (telephone 312-421-3757) on Saturday, June 14, 2014, from 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. Cost is $25.00.
After the unthinkable has happened, how do you go on? Finding peace and healing after the death of a spouse can seem impossible. Yet, facing fear, anxiety and overwhelming sadness cane lead to embracing a new life. It is possible to once again know happiness and live with a full heart. The program will be led by Amy Florian, who was widowed at the age of 25 and with an infant son. Amy is a grief coach and helps people who are grieving a life-changing loss.
A WEEKEND FOR SINGLE ADULTS
ages mid-30s to 50s
A REFLECT weekend is a unique opportunity to meet with other mid-life single men and women—those who have never been married, are divorced, or widowed—who struggle with some of the same things you do…sadness, loneliness, fear of “getting out there” and meeting people in what can often seem like a couples’ world.
It’s not so much a chance to get to know other singles for the purpose of pairing up, but it’s more a time to find a group of people who are like you…looking to renew their spiritual batteries, reflect on their lives, meet new people, laugh, and relax.
The REFLECT team is made up of Catholic, single lay men and women who have been called to minister to their peers through this weekend. We are people you meet every day at work, stores, sports activities, and church. Our mission is to reach out to single adults in mid-life so that they may come to know that they are not alone and that God has a plan and purpose for their lives.
This retreat from June 20-22, 2014, is hosted by Cardinal Stritch Retreat House, 1300 Stritch Drive, Mundelein, Illinois 60060. It begins on Friday at 5:45 P.M. and ends on Sunday about 4:00 P.M. You may contact them at 312-532-8286 or at www.ReflectRetreat.com. You may also call Cathy at 773-202-0466 or Mark at 773-849-3719 for further information. Cost of the retreat is $185.00.
Raising Faith-Filled Kids One Word at a Time
Research shows that children whose parents volunteer to help others are far more likely to volunteer when they grow up. My mother has inspired her children and grandchildren in this way for decades. She coordinated so many events at the parish when I was growing up that we began to think that setting up tables and chairs was the Eleventh Commandment. Now in her 80s, Mom continues to volunteer—working with young people with special needs, washing and ironing the altar cloths, and working an afternoon each week at the thrift store that supports the local hospital. Here are two questions to add to your prayer before meals that will inspire your family to serve now and in the future: What am I grateful for today? Whom did I help today?—Tom McGrath
A PENTECOST CHUCKLE
There was a little old lady who was nearly blind. She had three sons, and they wanted to prove which one was the best son to her. So son #1 bought her a 15-room mansion, thinking this would surely be the best any of them could offer her. Son #2 bought her a beautiful Mercedes with a chauffeur included, thinking he would surely win her approval. Son #3 had to do something even better than these, so he bought her a trained parrot. The parrot had been trained for 15 years to memorize the entire Bible. You could mention any verse in the Bible and the parrot could quote it word for word. How useful his nearly blind mother would find that!
Well, the mother went to her first son and said, “Son, the house is just gorgeous, but it’s really much too big for me. I only live in one room, and it’s much too large for me to clean and take care of. I really don’t need the house, but thank you anyway.” Then she explained to her second son, “Son, the car is beautiful; it has everything you could ever want on it, but I don’t drive and I really don’t like that driver, so please return the car.” Next, she went to son number three and said, “Son, I just want to thank you for that thoughtful gift. The chicken was small, but it was very delicious.”