Dear Parishioners,

I spent a decent amount of time in the Sistine Chapel during my six years in Rome studying to be a priest at the Pontifical North American College. The Sistine Chapel, of course, contains perhaps the most famous works of art in human history: Michelangelo's painting of the Last Judgement. It is also where the papal conclave is held. I must confess, though, that I usually smirked at least once on each visit to this sacred place. As noticeable as the works of art were the Vatican Security Guards yelling, “Shush! Silenzio! No foto!” Upon this command, the throng of people would stop, silence their conversation, and put away their cameras...for about a minute. Then, after a minute, would come the, “Shush! Silenzio! No foto!” This tennis match between the tourists and security guards went on all day.

I would often, in the midst of chaos in the Sistine Chapel, close my eyes and try to pray. But then, I would realize, with my eyes closed I was missing the point of viewing the Last Judgment! So, I would cement myself in a position, block out the noise, and stare. Though this was difficult too, as I got pushed by the crowd—like getting off the L at Addison for a game at Wrigley—and couldn't help but marvel at people looking at their iPhones.

In all my six years I never once took a picture in the Sistine Chapel. The place is forever in my head. More importantly, it's etched in my heart.

When Peter wants to build a tent during the Transfiguration (cf. Mk 9: 2-10), he is like all those tourists trying to capture a picture of the Sistine Chapel. Instead of just taking in the moment and letting it permeate the depths of his being, he attempts to bottle it up for later.

Don't be like Peter and those tourists, trying to capture the present moment for later. There may never be a later. Enjoy what God is gifting you with right now and let it impact you.

Thank you to all who participated in the Annual Catholic Appeal these past several weeks. We are almost near our goal of $53,000! That is remarkable and truly a testament to those generous families who have made their support for the church a priority. For those of you who haven’t already contributed, please consider making a pledge. Remember, all funds go to support the important ministries of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as the ministries and services here at St. Juliana.

We have begun work on a new multi-stall, handicap-accessible restroom facility in the back of the church. This restroom will be located in the old library/reconciliation room and the current restroom facilities will be in operation during this construction. This is one of the To Teach Who Christ Is projects. I will keep you updated on the progress and we apologize for any inconvenience.

My Tuesday Theology Talk this February 27th at 7pm in the chapel will be discussion on our parish book selections: Resisting Happiness, Jesus Shock!, and Broken Mary. Please join us, even if you haven't read the books, as there will be much to discuss on the Eucharist, Mary, and the spiritual life in general.

Following my talk on Tuesday I will have a meeting with the Finance Council. On Wednesday we have a penance service for our RE students, and Friday, of course, we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all day in church. Saturday the Missionary Spirit Team will be traveling down to the Mission of Our Lady of Angels for the food pantry. Please consider joining them if you are interested in some good service work. A caravan of cars will depart from the parking lot at 7:30am.

Please join us next Sunday, March 4th at 3:30pm in the church for a discussion of Broken Mary with Kevin Matthews himself! Kevin will talk about his book, sign copies, and then assist at the 5pm Mass. We are grateful to Mr. Matthews for coming to St. Juliana for this exciting event.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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