As we gather this weekend to celebrate the sixth Sunday of Easter we also honor and pray this Mother's Day for our mothers, those living and those deceased. As I wrote in last weekend's bulletin it was one hundred seven years ago, on May 9, 1914, that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. As he wrote in his proclamation, "... we proclaim this special day as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country." Initially it was a day to honor our mothers during church services in various congregations. In the years since 1914, greeting cards, dining out, gifts, flowers and various other activities have become associated with Mother's Day.
As we begin the month of May (a month traditionally dedicated to the Virgin Mary) we are given an opportunity to recall the important part of Mary in God's plan, as the Mother of God. As we celebrate Mother’s Day 2021 let us to do all we can to provide support for mothers and all women in creating an atmosphere of respect for them and all of God’s people. At each of our Masses this weekend we will give a special blessing to mothers and those who show a mother’s love to others. May God bless all those who have given birth to each of us who gather to worship this weekend.
As our country continues to make progress in reducing the danger of the COVID pandemic. We will continue to follow the guidelines and protocols of the Archdiocese and local health departments. As more of us receive the available vaccines, wear masks, wash hands frequently, keep safe distances in large groups and do all we can to promote safe health practices, we will continue to adjust our safe health guidelines and practices here at St. Peter's and hopefully be able to open the church up more for prayer and reflection. This weekend we returned to celebrating the 5:00 pm Mass on Saturdays and continue to have the 9:00 am and 11:00 am Sunday Masses. We have also been able to increase the number of people who may attend our present schedule of Masses. We continue to be required to have those coming to Mass to reserve a space with your name and phone number. Everyone must wear a mask inside the church and sanitize your hands when entering. Hopefully the number of those testing positive for the virus will continue to lessen and we will be able to initiate further reductions in the present protocols for Masses. We will keep you informed as we learn more.
Fr. Jim Hoffman, OFM died on March 6, 2021 after a long illness. His funeral was celebrated at our retirement home of Bl. Giles Friary in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Following the funeral Mass Fr. Jim was buried in the friars' plot at Calvary Cemetery. Fr. Jim was raised in Quincy, Il. Fr. Jim spent many years in ministry at Franciscan Outreach Association here in Chicago working with the poor and homeless. He lived here at St. Peter's Friary for many years. He would often spend his day off visiting our retired friars in Manitowoc. We will celebrate a special Memorial Mass for Fr. Jim this Monday, May 10 at the 11:40 am Mass to honor the memory of the many years of dedicated service Fr. Jim gave to the poor of Chicago. If you wish to attend the Mass please be sure to call and reserve a place for this Mass. May God grant Fr. Jim the blessings of eternal life for his faithfulness to the Gospel call, "Whatever you have done for the least of my people you have done for me."
Please note that due to the Memorial Mass for Fr. Jim on Monday, May 10 there will be shortened times for confessions that day. Confessions will be available Monday, May 10 from 10:30 am until 11:15 am. No confessions from 11:15 am - 12:45 pm on Monday, May 10. Confessions will be available 12:45 pm -3:00 pm. Regular hours for confessions resume on Tuesday.
As I mentioned last week, I would like to ask for your assistance when you call the church office. If you are calling on a cell phone please be aware that sometimes hearing you is difficult. Please speak clearly and slowly when you call or when leaving a voice mail for us. While you know your name and phone number those of us who answer the phone rarely can identify callers. When giving your name or phone number we try to write it down quickly but sometimes we can't write the information fast.....so please be patient in case we have to ask you to repeat a name or give a phone number slowly. If you are leaving a voice mail it is very important that you not rush through your message or when leaving a call back number.
As is traditional in the Archdiocese, Mother's Day weekend is the annual collection to support the work of Catholic Charities. This annual collection helps bring relief and hope to mothers and children who make up the largest group of people served by Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese. Your support provides food, shelter, housing, counseling, maternity assistance, childcare, domestic-violence support and other life-changing programs. You can learn more or make a gift at your phone. Please read the letter from Cardinal Cupich below regarding this collection for Catholic Charities.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Mothers are the great unsung heroes of the pandemic. And they need our help. The responsibilities and stresses of motherhood have increased tenfold over this past year. Keeping family members healthy, housed, fed, on-task with schoolwork, and supported amidst fear and uncertainty is a staggering undertaking.
Add to this the hospitalizations or deaths of loved ones from COVID-19; lost jobs, wages, and child care; and the complete erasure of what little stability many families could count on, and you begin to understand the devastation the pandemic has wrought for so many mothers.
The health and economic repercussions of COVID-19 have been disproportionate for people already facing the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, mental health challenges and lack of health care. This is particularly true for women of color, who have experienced higher rates of infection, more loss of life, and greater job losses.
Your gift to the Catholic Charities Mother’s Day Collection means those bearing the most direct impact of this crisis don't have to struggle and lose ground they've worked so hard for. Your gift means they can access the resources—food, rental assistance, counseling-and professional help they need to ensure their families don't fall further behind.
What better way to honor our own mothers and other women we admire than by helping another mom provide for and strengthen her own family? To be part of their resilience and success? To live out the lessons our mothers—many of whom had their own struggles—worked hard to ingrain in us.
You have my sincere gratitude for your past support of the Mother's Day Collection, and my most urgent plea to give again. Contributions can be made at www.catholiccharities.net/donate, or mail your gift to Catholic Charities, 721 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60654.
This Mother's Day, the face of need is mothers and their children; the face of hope is you. Please join Catholic Charities in bringing God's infinite mercy and profound hope to thousands of mothers who are heroically shepherding their families through this unprecedented time.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Blase Cardinal Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago