28 May

Happy Memorial Day!

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Memorial Day! We remember all who have died in the service of our country, and particularly those from our parish. But let us also take the opportunity to remember and thank all of our veterans and parishioners currently serving in our armed forces.

One of my favorite hymns is "We Remember", by Marty Haugen. Here is the refrain:

We remember how you loved us to your death, and still we celebrate, for you are with us here; And we believe that we will see you when you come, in your glory, Lord, we remember, we celebrate, we believe.

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21 May

Lord of our Hearts

Dear Parishioners,

“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts (1 Pet 3:15).” What an interesting exhortation from our second reading this weekend. First, it is amazing to think that we can sanctify Christ. Usually we see it the other way around—Christ sanctifies us. He does, yes, but we also make Jesus holy. One of the ways we make Jesus holy is when we make him the Lord of our hearts.

This is the second point. It's not by mighty works of charity or piety that we bless God, but by what we "" in our hearts. What we are called to "do" is to make Jesus the complete master of our hearts. This isn't as easy as it seems. I would argue, in fact, that it's easier to say a rosary, go to a soup kitchen, or attend Mass than to say with all sincerity that Christ, and nothing else, rules our hearts. Think of all the other things that occupy a space in our hearts: family, career, hobbies, and pleasures. Does Christ come first and is he above all these other things? That is, are all of these things regulated and determined by God? Christ might be in our hearts, but he is the Lord? Yes, that is difficult.

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14 May

Happy Mothers' Day!

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Mother's Day! To all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and any women who embody motherly attributes, thank you for who you are and all you do for us. You make the world a joyful, loving place.

To all the female parishioners at St. Juliana (as well as from my previous parish—Mary, Seat of Wisdom) who are like mothers to me because of the hugs, smiles, affirmation, meals you drop off, and so much more, thank you. I love you. To all the females on my staff who are like mothers to me, thank you. I'm sure you want to strangle me at times, like a son, but I love you. To my two sisters and sister-in-law who are like mothers to me, thank you. I love you. To my grandmother, thank you. I love you. And, of course, to my own mother: thank you. I wouldn't be the man and priest I am without your love and influence in my life. I love you.

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07 May

Fishers of Men

Dear Parishioners,

Today is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. It's a day, above all, to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Chicago. We need more priests, and not just warm bodies, but good, holy men willing to serve and bring Jesus Christ to the world.

Saint Peter was a priest, and a good one at that. In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2: 14, 36-41), Peter boldly proclaims Jesus Christ and baptizes 3,000 people in one day! Peter was effective. Obviously it was because his message was clear and attractive, and the subject of his message, Jesus Christ, even more attractive. The last line of our Gospel, a statement from Jesus, sums up Christ's attractiveness: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 1:10). But there was something else that made Peter effective, and it was more than his words.

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