Family, Faith, Francis - Mercy!
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Parent Newsletter

Dear Webmaster

Wasn't the visit of Pope Francis to our nation in September amazing?
The main reason Pope Francis came to the US was to participate in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. It was an occasion for the Church to celebrate the blessing from God that is "the family". I encourage you to see his address at the Festival of Families when he delivered a message from the heart about the grace and beauty, and ... yes, the struggles... in being a family.  You'll be moved because he is encouraging you.

There is another important development beginning now thanks to Pope Francis.  our Holy Father has declared a Year of Mercy.  This means that we, as Catholics across the world, will be giving particular focus to the gift of God's love and forgiveness during the coming year. The Year of Mercy begins on Dec. 8th with the Pope opening the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It will remain open until the Feast of Christ the King on Nov. 20, 2016.  

Through the World Meeting of Families and the Year of Mercy our Church sends two messages  very much needed in our world today. First, the family is precious to God. It is the most important human institution we have.  We must care for the family, collectively and individually. And second, Jesus introduces us to a God who is utterly in love with us and extends his mercy again and again to us beyond any human reason.  God desperately wants intimacy with each of us!

I invite you to embrace this message of God's unconditional love and bring it into your home. Embody divine mercy for your children, spouse and extended family and teach about this good news proclaimed in Jesus Christ.  But first, take time during this Year of Mercy to quiet yourself and receive God's mercy into your own life.  We must have it to give it.  And each of us is in constant need of God's healing and strengthening love to be who God calls us to be...for one's family...for the world.  

I will be passing on much information and resources on the Year of Mercy throughout the remainder of this program year.  Our Family Sessions will be on this theme.  An author that I can recommend to you to be a friend and companion on your spiritual journey is Fr. Henri Nouwen. He was a humble, wise and gentle man and a gifted author. His inspired writings will bless you and those in your life.

Finally, I want to thank you for the ways you are a hero.  You don't have to be a perfect parent to be a hero.  You just have to keep showing up day after day, ready to take up the challenges (the Cross) and give your best to them.  The great wisdom of our Catholic faith is not to try to do this alone.  There is no reason to. Lean on God and others.  Open your heart to God's mercy and each day and most powerfully experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Feed on God's Word and on the greatest gift of Jesus in  his Body and Blood, the Eucharist. Take advantage of the Tri-Parish Advent Mission and other eents in the parish this month (see the calendar).  And live prayerfully and joyfully, continually conscious of God's nearness and goodness in your life.      

Have a blessed Advent and Christmas!,

Kevin Cody, DRE

The first half of the program year will be coming to a close if a few weeks.  Before we break for the holidays, the children will be given an assessment to provide feedback on how they have retained the core concepts thus far for their grade-level.  There are no grades given… these are not like school exams.  Please help your child to review what has been covered to this point, but try to avoid the perception that they are studying to perform well on a test.  The children don’t need more anxiety put on them.  We just want them to grow in their understanding of the Catholic faith, leading to a deeper relationship with God through Jesus.
We've heard that a lot lately as young people become disillusioned with organized religion, and distrustful of all institutions. Columnist, Henry Brinton, points out that a middle-aged woman who spends Sunday mornings on a hiking trail might say, "I'm spiritual ... but not religious." A young man who says he loves Jesus but hates the church might identify himself as SBNR. According to USA TODAY, 72 percent of Millennials describe themselves as "more spiritual than religious." Books talk about the end of the church and the birth of a new spiritual awakening.

But guess what? I don't think that you can be truly spiritual without being religious. It just doesn't work. A sociologist of religion named Nancy Ammerman has finished a new study of religion in everyday life. She concludes that the SBNR is a unicorn. By this she means that it is a species that does not exist in reality...  The bottom line is that religion supports spirituality. It's hard to have one without the other.  More...

The Worship Commission would like to extend an invitation to all parish families to light the candles of the Advent Wreath at all masses.  If you and your family would like to join us in this tradition, please contact the Parish office at (630) 257-2414.  Thank you.

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You may have been asking yourself how can you make Advent special for yourself and your family. Following are a few ideas...

Jim Campbell—father, grandfather, religious educator, and author writes daily messages to help us explore the Scripture and feast days of Advent, especially paying attention to themes of mercy and incorporating the words of Pope Francis each day.This encounter is a great way to embark on the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that begins on December 8, 2015.

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Best Advent Ever!
Join Matthew Kelly and other leading Catholic voices on a life-changing journey through Advent with daily inspirational emails, short videos, encouragement, and coaching. 
Advent Mission

Reflections on Jesus the Messiah
With Fr. Larry Gorski
Monday & Tuesday
Nov. 30th & Dec.1st
7:30 - 8:30pm
St. Patrick Church
Women's Advent Afternoon of Reflection
From Mary's Heart to Yours

Sunday, December 6th at Noon
See flyer
Celebrating Advent At Home

Looking for ideas on how you can bring Advent into your home this season?  
Click here!
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