Food for Thought ...
As we began the process of returning to a more normal schedule, and deciding how to resume some of our usual activities, I was reminded of the many people who have contributed to keeping our parish functioning during the last 15 months. The Covid-19 shutdown came suddenly, and opening again for worship in a safe way required a lot of extra effort on the part of many people, not all of it obvious.
A heartfelt thank you to –
- the volunteers who stepped up to check people in for Mass and other services, provided masks and hand sanitizer, and helped clean the church afterward;
- the ushers who helped guide people to socially distanced seating;
- Gina and the other musicians who managed to make beautiful music through masks, without a choir or congregational signing;
- our maintenance team Tom and Dino, who sprayed, reorganized, decorated and generally did whatever was needed to make things work;
- our deacons Louie and Jim, who helped with all the extra steps necessary during our liturgies, in addition to their own responsibilities;
- Barb Ciegelski, who managed virtual RE classes and First Communions and Confirmation under new and trying circumstances;
- our office staff Natalie and Celia, who, along with our accountant Donna, managed to keep the paper moving and the telephone answered, operating remotely and with limited access to the office;
- our stream team and its donors, who came up with a plan, put it together, got it installed and operating – a wonderful Christmas gift to the parish;
- Ann Moorman, Ann Geraci, and Mary Nelsen, who had to figure out how to continue serving the parish in safe, yet efficient ways;
- our sacristans, who managed to prepare for our more complicated liturgies, and the wonderful ladies who donated and maintained our altar linens;
- all those who continued to support the parish financially at a time when unbudgeted expenses became essential – the many gifts on line, mailed or dropped in the mail slot were needed more than ever.
All these, and others as well, have contributed to making this a year which, although limited in many ways, was not a lost one. We have managed to continue to be the presence of the Lord in Highland Park, and will begin to reinvent ourselves as things return to normal. Thank you all, and may God bless you richly for your service to Immaculate Conception Parish.
Father Michael F. McMahon
Wednesday Evening Holy Hour: 6:00PM
Saturday: 5:00PM (Vigil)
Your donations and support are vital to funding our parish operations.
If you already donate via your bank debit or through the electronic giving platform, we thank you!
If not, it’s easier than ever to sign up for electronic giving through our safe, secure and easy to use electronic giving platform. Please visit the givecentral.org website here and follow the prompts to donate to Immaculate Conception.
It’s that easy and we are so grateful!
You can also make your donation directly to Immaculate Conception Parish, at 770 Deerfield Rd Highland Park, IL 60035.
Thank you! We appreciate your support as we journey together through this in prayer, with and for, one another.
God Bless, Father Mike McMahon and the IC Parish Staff
Father Mike’s Homiletter – June 20, 2021
Scripture: Job 38:1, 8-11; Psalm 107:23-26, 28-31; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41
Happy Father’s Day to all who fill that role in any way! It is wonderful to be getting back to more normal gatherings of our faith community! After 15 months of masks, “social” distancing, and sanitizing everything whether it moves or not, it is a relief to see faces, be able to shake hands again and not have everything smell of sanitizer. Hallelujah!
I think our readings for this week fit right into the spirit of liberation and celebration. In our first reading, God is speaking to Job, that long-suffering model of patience. Job has been afflicted in every way imaginable – the loss of his wealth, the death of all his children, physical disease and pain, and yet he has not blamed God for his suffering. Three friends tell him he must have disobeyed God’s laws for all this to happen, but Job won’t agree – he has tried to be as faithful to God as possible, and he does not want to admit to what is untrue. His friends are trapped in an image of a vengeful God, but not Job. Yet he is discouraged and sad.
In our Gospel, after a long day of preaching and teaching, Jesus suggests to his disciples that they cross to the other side of the sea of Galilee. They agree, and Jesus curls up in the back of the boat – he’s exhausted. A squall comes up, tossing the boat, filling it with water, blowing the sails out of control. The disciples are terrified – and Jesus continues to sleep. They try to wake Jesus saying “Don’t you care that we’re going down?”, but the Gospel tells us Jesus woke after that statement. Just like us when we are wakened suddenly – it takes us a minute to come into the present and understand what’s going on. All Jesus can say is “Don’t you have faith yet?” He’s been trying to get through to them, but they are not there yet.
After Job’s debate with his friends, God speaks to Job, and tells him He, God, will be asking the questions. God asks where Job was when God was creating the universe – the sky, the sea, rivers, the dawn, the mountains and valleys, and setting their boundaries. I encourage you to look at the last few chapters of the Book of Job – they are very poetic, and give a beautiful picture of the gift of creation which God has given to humanity. God’s presence in all of creation is very vivid – the writer must have been a nature-lover. It is a lesson in how beautiful our world is meant to be, and a call to treat it with respect to preserve its beauty, not for our own sakes, but because it belongs to God, who tends to His creation with care. The Gospel presents a vivid picture of the threatening storm and Jesus’ control over the elements. When the disciples ask “Who is this who controls the wind and the sea?”, the answer is obvious to us, though not yet to them.
The two readings paint a comprehensive picture of God’s presence in all of creation. He is the Lord of creation. And He has shared it with us out of love. St. Paul points to Jesus’ life and death for our sakes – because He loves us. He has established a new creation – living for others out of love, and we are called to live for others as well. We have had a number of examples of living for others this year in our parish. The volunteers, men and women, who checked people in for Mass each week, who made sure all had hand sanitizer and masks, who cleaned up after Mass – they signed up for a service expected to end by Labor Day last year. Yet, like St. Joseph, the model father, they have continued quietly and faithfully, for almost a year, making it possible for us to be open for liturgies and other services. We had a group I called “the stream team”, who organized the electronics to stream Masses to those who could not come to church in person – they remained in the background, but made a gift to everyone else. The parishioners who asked if they could rehab the meditation garden, trimming the shrubs and planting flowers, so that the garden is now a much more inviting space for all to pray. The parishioner who arranged a repair for the statue of Mary in front of the church. All of these disciples got it – respectful of God’s creation, they also saw their role in maintaining it in whatever way they could.
Our parish has many gifts to share. As we rebuild parish life, we need to use the many talents we have to also rebuild a vibrant parish spirit – learning from the past year, confident in what we managed under very trying circumstances – and moving forward to recreate not just a schedule, or events that were missed, but also a new spirit of love and gratitude, of energy and welcome.
Peace! Father Mike
Readings for the week of June 20, 2021
- Sunday: Jb 38:1, 8-11 / Ps 107:23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31 [1b] / 2 Cor 5:14-17 / Mk 4:35-41
- Monday: Gn 12:1-9 / Ps 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 and 22  / Mt 7:1-5
- Tuesday: Gn 13:2, 5-18 / Ps 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5 [1b] / Mt 7:6, 12-14
- Wednesday: Gn 15:1-12, 17-18 / Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 [8a] / Mt 7:15-20
- Thursday: Vigil: Jer 1:4-10 / Ps 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17 [6b] / 1 Pt 1:8-12 / Lk 1:5-17
- Day: Is 49:1-6 / Ps 139:1-3, 13-14, 14-15 [14a] / Acts 13:22-26 / Lk 1:57-66, 80
- Friday: Gn 17:1, 9-10, 15-22 / Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5  / Mt 8:1-4
- Saturday: Gn 18:1-15 / Lk 1:46-47, 48-49, 50 and 53, 54-55 [cf. 54b] / Mt 8:5-17
- Next Sunday: Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24 / Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13 [2a] / 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15 / http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062821.cfm
- Mk 5: 21-43 or 5:21-24, 35b-43
Immaculate Conception Parish offers a very fine Religious Education Program (P.R.E.P.) to provide the very best in formation and education for our grade school parishioners.
Immaculate Conception Parish does not have a parochial school. For those who would like to consider the time honored option of a catholic school we are happy to provide the following links to the Catholic School options in association with the parish.