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Book Discussion on “Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved” By Kate Bowler

Book Discussion on “Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved” By Kate Bowler

Join other parishioners via ZOOM on Monday September 14 @ 7pm for a discussion of the book written by Kate Bowler.

Description of the Book:

Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God’s disapproval. At thirty-five, everything in her life seems to point toward “blessing.” She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son.

Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with “a surge of determination.” Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you “can’t do” and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before.

Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, mega-church preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live.

Please email Dr. Doug Muir (dmuir@smip.org) to receive the ZOOM meeting ID.

New Mass Schedule

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During these crazy days of pandemic, I’ve prayed very often for wisdom, much as good King Solomon did in his day.  These are unprecedented things that we are having to discern; there is no roadmap on how to handle them, so everyone is doing the best they can.  That’s important to remember when we get impatient with how things are going.  There is a balance between moving forward so that society can function and keeping people well, and sometimes the line between those two things is a little fuzzy.

Many have asked about us having more Masses, and that’s reasonable.  However, some things have hindered us moving forward, which I had hoped to do a month ago.  We had some staff people with potential exposure to the disease, so we had to slow down a bit.  And we have also had rather tepid participation in the Masses we do have, which is puzzling.  They typically “sell out” with 100 people making reservations, then of those that do, only 50-80% show up.  We have told people to stay home if they’re sick, so that would explain some of it, but not 20-50%.

All that being said, we are prepared and will be moving forward with a new schedule, beginning Saturday, August 1.  This is the new weekend schedule:

Saturday

2:30pm

Confessions (until all have been heard).  Come at 2:30 and do not wait until later, or we may miss you!  Confessions take place in the Commons.

4:00pm

Vigil Mass in the parking lot.  No reservation required.  Livestream available or listen on 107.7 FM in the parking lot.  Communion will be brought to you in the car, weather permitting.

Sunday

7:30am

English Mass in church.  Reservation required.

9:15am

English Mass in church.  Reservation required.  Livestream available.

11:00am

Spanish Mass in church.  Reservation required.  Livestream available.

12:45pm

Polish Mass in church.  Reservation required.

First Holy Communion will take place on August 8, 9, and 15.  Information will be sent to families soon, and registration will be taken through our Religious Education Office.  Also, our parish school, religious education and Confirmation programs have submitted re-opening plans to the Diocese of Joliet, and we will have more information for you once those have been approved.  Please keep everyone in prayer about all of this!

Yours in Christ and His Blessed Mother,
Father Pat Mulcahy, Pastor

New Way to Stay in Touch!

We are excited to announce the parish has adopted a new way to keep you connected to the life of the parish. This coming week you may receive a welcome message from the new system of our parish, Evangelus. This is not spam. We encourage you to open the message and follow the link to create a profile and select your preferred form of contact. There will also be groups for you to join. Take a moment and see if there are any groups that may interest you. Feel free to join as many groups as you wish. Take a moment to join groups which you are already a part of and see if there are any other groups that interest you. If you are not a registered parishioner here, you will not receive a message because we don’t have your information on file, so just follow the instructions below.

Of course, we recommend you register as a parishioner here in general. You can also follow us on Social media and download our parish app as well. There are so many amazing things going on at the parish. Follow the link and tell us how to best send you messages so you won’t miss out.

Click the link to register for emails or text messages: eva.us/SMIP

You can also text SMIP to 55321 to sign up!

In-Person Masses Returning!

We have good news! We are able to begin slowly reopening our parish for in-person worship. We have already been celebrating reconciliation, and just June 7th, we had a trial reopening of the church for Mass with our parish leadership. Now we are ready to roll that out to the whole parish.

Watch this video from Father Pat (and staff) to learn the new process of Mass and what to do to reserve your tickets to attend!

Get your tickets for english Masses here: www.smip.org/sundaymasstickets

Get tickets for Spanish Mass here: www.smip.org/boletos

Parking Lot Mass

Welcome to the new age of Masses at St Mary Immaculate!!!    For now at least.

Things are definitely different, but basically the same.  Let me explain.  You get up, get dressed and drive to St Mary Immaculate.  Please enter the parking lot at the traffic light on Route 59.  You will then be directed by wonderful volunteers to a specific location where you will park your car and wait for Mass to start.  The volunteers will ask you a few questions.  Most importantly, if anyone in your vehicle has a fever or is experiencing symptoms.  They will also ask the number of people receiving Communion today.  If someone in your party needs to receive a low-gluten host, you need to tell them that so that a low-gluten host can be consecrated and distributed to that person.

We have arranged our sound system so that you can listen live to Mass on your car radio tuned to St. Mary Immaculate’s channel located on your FM dial at 107.7.  You also should secure a Facebook or Youtube connection if you wish to view the Mass that will be live streamed. 

Now you are ready for Mass as normal.  Oh wait except for receiving Holy Communion.  So let’s prepare.  After the priest receives the Eucharist, he will give Communion to the Extraordinary Ministers that will be distributing in the Parking Lot.  They will be wearing face coverings and face shields for both your and their protection.  When they have received and sanitized their hands, they will come to the parking lot. 

Communion ministers and parking lot attendants will pass on both sides of the rows of cars. The attendant’s job is to collect any offertory envelopes your family has brought, make certain all in the car have their face coverings securely in place, and spray sanitizer on everyone’s hands.  One attendant will be on each side of your car.  If you have a back row of seats that cannot be reached without the door being opened, please open the door or window so the Extraordinary Minister doesn’t have to enter your vehicle.  If you bring your own sanitizer, just let the attendant know and you will be ready.  

As the Minister of Communion approaches your car, hold out your hand to accept the Eucharist, remove one side of your mask and immediately consume the host.  Put your mask securely back in place. Please leave the radio and live stream on through the Communion process so you can finish the Mass.  

God bless you and thank you for coming to Mass.  We hope receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist was a long awaited, but well received experience for you.  We certainly hope to see you again next week. 

#wearesaintmarys  

Bullet Points:

  • If you or any member of your family is experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms, or is feeling ill, please stay at home.
  • Arrive through the traffic light on Route 59.
  • Follow the parking attendants to your parking spot.  
  • Answer these questions:
    • Is anyone in your party sick today?
    • How many people will be receiving Jesus today?
    • If anyone requires a low gluten host, inform the attendant.
  • Tune to FM 107.7 and/or Facebook or Youtube for the livestream Mass.
  • Participate at Mass as you always do. 
  • When the Ministers of Communion come outside, get ready to receive.
    • Put on your face covering.
    • Sanitize your hands.
    • Roll down windows and be ready to open doors if necessary. 
  • Hold hands out if not sanitized, and an attendant will place hand sanitizer on them.
  • Hold your hand out to receive Jesus.
  • Remove one side of your face covering and consume the Eucharist.
  • Secure your mask back in place.
  • Continue listening to the radio or live stream and have a blessed day.
  • After Mass, please follow the directions of the parking lot attendants to exit the campus on Frederick Street.
  • Remember Jesus is in you and your car as you drive home.  In other words, please be patient!

Limited Campus Reopening

With the Stay-at-Home Order lifted, our staff is returning to work on campus, in a limited capacity.  We will welcome visitors into the parish building during the week, beginning Monday, June 15 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., by appointment only.  In keeping with the state’s and diocese’s current guidelines, we ask that any questions or requests that can be handled by phone or email, continue to be handled in that manner.  Items such as registration forms or donations can be left in our drop box in front of the Commons doors. 

If you feel that an in-person visit is necessary, visitors are asked to please make an appointment by phone or email with the person they would like to see, to determine a date and time to come to the parish.  When arriving for an appointment, all visitors are asked to enter through the Commons doors.

All visitors must wear a mask or face covering over their nose and mouth and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.  There are markers on the floor identifying a six feet distance.

Visitors should check in with the Commons Receptionist first.  She will let the staff member or priest know that their guest has arrived.  At that point, the visitor will be asked to proceed to the appropriate location.  If someone needs to wait, they will be asked to take a seat or possibly stand in the Commons, maintaining a six feet distance from others.

If you made an appointment, but have a fever or are experiencing any symptoms associated with the Covid-19 virus, please stay home.  Please feel free to call the office and reschedule your appointment for when you are well.  If the meeting cannot wait, you may consider conducting your business via telephone instead of an in-person appointment.  The office staff would be happy to assist you.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we do our best to keep everyone safe.

Hopelessness

Scripture

Matthew 8:23-27

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Reflection

A few weeks ago as the Coronavirus swept through Italy, Pope Francis led a prayer service in the rain in the darkness of night in the middle of St. Peter’s Square. It was an eerie picture seeing a lone figure praying in this huge square that is typically filled with thousands of people. For me, in a way it was a modern re-telling of the story from Matthew’s Gospel quoted above.

It seems that in our world today, many become overwhelmed and begin to feel hopeless. It appears that things will never return to normal. All of the things that we cling to in order to receive hope we have found to be empty. Our lives have been turned upside down. Some have lost jobs, we worry about having enough money to pay the rent/mortgage, or to buy groceries to feed our families.

What is hope? Hope is placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817). This is key – hope comes from NOT relying on my own strength but one the strength of the Holy Spirit. Our hope is  based in part on the assurance of all the times God had proved faithful to his promises throughout history. How can we find hope when we feel hopeless?  Here are 3 suggestions I found that have helped me.

  1. Know the reason for our Hope! God!
    God is both the reason for and the source of our hope.  He provides the strength for us to be able to find hope in all circumstances through the many graces he has bestowed on us. On a mission trip to Jamaica where we built a little blue 14×16 house for a family when we went to hand over the keys to this family the husband/father told us that this house was a symbol of God’s Grace. He didn’t earn it, he could not have paid for it, but it was a gift. A gift freely given to his family.
  2. Read the Bible, as well as the teachings of the Catholic Church and writings of the Saints.
    Reading and re-reading the stories of those who have gone before us will give us the inspiration to place our hope in God.  A few weeks ago I was reading the book of Lamentations and was struck by how the Israelites saw in the dawning of a new day a renewal of the promises that the Log God had made to them.  Knowing that the God of today is the same God of yesterday and of the future, we can be confident that He will provide for us in the same way that He has provided for all men and women who have gone before us and placed their trust in Him.
  3. Prayer. Pray without ceasing!
    Prayer takes us out of ourselves and places us in the hands of the Lord. We learn from the Psalmist that we need to verbalize our feelings and emotions to God. Some prayer or maybe even just whisper the words, ‘Jesus, I trust in you!’ is all that is needed to remember “He is the source of our hope.” Prayer is a way to acknowledge that what is happening is bigger than me and I can’t but together with the Lord we can.

    G. K. Chesterton’s great bit of wisdom: “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.”

Song

Prayer

My Lord, I bring my burdens to You, knowing You will take care of me. You will not permit me to slip and fall. I trust You to save me out of this hopeless predicament.

O God, have mercy on me, for I feel like I’m being hounded all day long. But I will put my trust in You. I praise You for Your promises of deliverance. I trust in You, so why should I be afraid? Thank You for carrying my burdens.

Amen.

The Sacrament of Penance

Saint Mary Immaculate has gained approval from the diocese to be open for the Sacrament of Penance on Saturdays at 3:00pm until all are heard.

Please note that we are expecting a large number of people, so if you experience that, please come back at a later time.

When you come, your cooperation with the following is necessary and appreciated:

  1. IF YOU ARE SICK (WITH ANYTHING), DO NOT COME TO CHURCH. We understand you want the sacraments, but staying home when you are sick is an act of charity.

    a. If you have a fever, stay home.
    b. If you have traveled in the last 14 days, stay home.
    c. If you have a cough, or any shortness of breath, stay home.
  2. Before you come, please wash your hands thoroughly. You will be asked to use hand sanitizer when you enter the building.
  3. You must wear a covering over your mouth and nose (a mask or bandana) when you are on the church campus (inside or outside of the building). This is not optional; those without a face covering will not be admitted to the building. If you need a face covering, please let us know and we will try to get one for you.
  4. Confessions will take place in the Commons. Please line up outside the building. There are marks on the sidewalk every six feet; please use those to maintain social distance. No one will be permitted to wait inside the building.
  5. If you have issues walking or standing in line, please let one of our staff know and we will address your needs if at all possible.
  6. Please understand there may be staff in the parking lot directing traffic. Please follow their instructions for safe arrival and departure. Also be extra careful leaving the parking lot as we anticipate many persons arriving and departing throughout each session.
  7. Confessions will be done behind a screen. Face-to-face confessions will not be available at this time.
  8. After you have made your confession, please leave the Commons so that we can admit the next person. Please do not linger on the parish grounds. Remember that we still need to maintain social distance so that all may remain well. This is not yet the time for a social gathering. We are praying for that opportunity soon.
  9. We are expecting many penitents, so in consideration of others, we cannot offer spiritual direction or counseling during these times. Please make a good examination of conscience before you arrive and plan to be as expedient as is possible so that others may also be heard. We want to be able to provide the Sacrament of Penance for as many as possible, so we appreciate your cooperation.
  10. You are asked to say your Act of Contrition either before or after, and not during your confession. You can find the Act of Contrition at https://smip.org/online-chapel/prayers/act-of-contrition/
  11. If you are able to support the parish during this time, there will be a box in the Commons for you to make your contribution. You are also able to drop contributions in the drop box outside the Commons at any time, or mail them in, or contribute online through our website. THANK YOU for your support during this difficult time.

THANK YOU for your cooperation. We know it’s difficult having to adhere to all of these guidelines, but it’s more difficult to go without the sacraments, as you have no doubt experienced. Let’s work together so that we can have everyone experience the remedies of Holy Mother Church to the extent that we are able, while still helping everyone to remain well. Please know of our continued prayers for everyone at this time.

SMIP Sacramental Reopening Volunteer Form

As we approach reopening our parish, we will need help from some very special people in a variety of roles, all of which will need to be trained on the new procedures we will need to follow to allow us to eventually fully reopen. If you would like to volunteer, please follow this link and fill out the form:

https://smip.org/volunteer-form