Sunday, February 12th
By Fr. Tom Hurley
I just wanted to use this column this week to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your gracious and kind receptivity to my message last Sunday, February 4th at all the Sunday liturgies here at Old St. Pat’s. I received many emails throughout the course of the week that were very complimentary and likewise very affirming of people’s intentions of participating in the Annual Catholic Appeal. For those who could not be with us last Sunday, by way of summary, I spoke at all the liturgies last week about the significance of Mark’s gospel of Jesus reaching out and grasping the hand of Peter’s Mother in Law who was sick with a fever. The mother-in-law gets more than just a cure. She understands the deep power of healing which goes beyond just the elimination of a fever. She realizes the importance of discipleship and our call to participate in it.
This is what Jesus is trying to show his newly formed group of friends. And then the whole town gathers at the door- way, because everyone is carrying some burden that is in need of healing. Our call as disciples is to transform the town, offer healing and second chances, and then move on to the next town.
Connecting that beautiful gospel text to the Cardinal’s energetic call to keep renewing the Church of Chicago and our shared responsibility to ‘transform our town,’ I made the “ask” for everyone to help us achieve our goal for the Annual Catholic Appeal this year. As I mentioned, the goal for Old St. Patrick’s Church is $170k and because of your ongoing generosity, I know we can both meet and exceed that goal. I pointed out last Sunday that when we go past our goal, everything else we raise will be used for our newly formed Old St. Pat’s Relief, which is our way of respond-ing to humanitarian needs around the world. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and following our previous outreach to victims of Katrina many years ago, a group of Old St. Pat’s members felt it was necessary to build a fund and a process so that we can be better prepared to respond immediately when, unfortunately, a need arises. So remember, anything that goes beyond $170k remains with us! Therefore, I just want offer a gentle invitation again to please consider a pledged gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal. As I mentioned in the e-blast from last week and my reflections last Sunday, I am making a $1,000 pledge to the ACA this year. I don’t keep mentioning that for the purpose of bragging (that’s not good) but only to be transparent and let you know that I think a pastor’s involvement is really important. I never want to ask you to do something that I myself am not willing to do also.
Okay, enough about the ACA. Let’s move on to Lent! This week we begin what is known as the Springtime of the church year. Beginning Wednesday with Ash Wednesday, we usher in this sacred time of the year for us to keep deepening our faith and being aware of our spiritual hungers. Even though the calendar says February 14th and thus Valentine’s Day, what better way to show our Love than to gather for ashes and begin this holy time together.
So I hope you’ll join us throughout the day on Wednesday and likewise during this season of Lent. Among the various opportunities to be inspired and renewed, I invite you to mark your calendars for February 20th with internationally acclaimed speaker Edwina Gately and March 21st for our Evening of Reconciliation and we welcome renowned scripture scholar Diane Bergant. Both of these will be evenings you will not want to miss. These are incredible voices in the church today.
Have a great week. See you on Ash Wednesday.
Fr. Tom Hurley