Jeremiah was a prophet in Ancient Israel when Babylon destroyed Israel. He was a shepherd trying to help his confused flock. Unfortunately, there were fake shepherds competing with him: bad influences who led the people astray. "Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture" (Jer 23:1).
When Jesus Christ came around 600 years later, there were no shepherds, good or bad. "When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things" (Mk 6:34).
Are there shepherds 2000 years later? Yes. They are the Catholic priests.
We try to be good shepherds, preaching the Truth to you to help you live fulfilled lives and know Christ Jesus. We are like Jeremiah, competing with "bad shepherds" in the world. These negative influences might not necessarily take the form of human persons, but could be something like, for example, an obsession with video games—things that take us away from God.
Please pray for us priests, for us good shepherds. And pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood.
I'll conclude with a quote from John Henry Newman: "Had angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled you, sympathized with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from old selves into a new life, as they who come from the midst of you."
I like to give periodic updates on our charitable giving from the last few months. Back in April, we gave $3160.00 for the Retirement Fund for Religious. The annual Mother's Day Flower Sale in the back of the church brought in $1355.00 for the Women's Centers of Greater Chicagoland. Also on Mother's Day we raised $2443.00 for Catholic Charities. The Baby Bottle Drive in early June for Aid for Women generated $2042.00. During our First Responders Appreciation Mass, the pancake breakfast for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation raised $2,280.00 (see page 11 for the thank you note). Finally, the latest collection for the Little Sisters of the Poor in Chicago at the end of June, for the parish's annual missionary appeal when we had the sisters speak at Mass, was over $6000! Thank you all so much for your generosity. You truly have a giving spirit and seek to do our Lord's work of serving those who need assistance. God bless you!
St. Juliana Parish is starting the Queen of Hearts Raffle. You may have read recently how some parishes on the south side, as well as a few VFW Halls, have run this raffle to tremendous success (some producing a pot of over $1 million). This could be a huge fundraiser for our parish. Please stay tuned for more details.
I depart tomorrow, Monday, for my annual trip with my priest friends. As I've written before, these are the men with whom I went to seminary over six years ago. There are six of us, all from different dioceses in the United States. This is the only time a year we see each other. Needless to say, it's something we all look forward to. And it's fitting that in the Gospel this Sunday Jesus tells the apostles, after they had done much work, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). We will be traveling to the Ozark Mountains in Kansas. I return Monday, July 30th and will be away from phone and email. I will, however, be keeping you all in my prayers, as I always do!
Yours in Christ,