March 18, 2018

Our busy season is upon us.  We pack a lot of life into the next two months.

In the eleven days from March 22 through April 1, only Tuesday, March 27 is “regular.”  Every other day has a special liturgy or event.   It all begins this Thursday with our Hours for the Lord.  We will offer non-stop confessions in the Cathedral from 9:00 a.m.—9:00 p.m.

This event is co-sponsored by the parishes of the Joliet deanery.   The 118 parishes in the diocese are grouped into 8 deaneries.  Our deanery includes the Joliet parishes plus Crest Hill, and Rockdale.

Since 2016, we have been hosting Hours for the Lord twice a year—in Advent and Lent.  Only last week did I learn that it came from an edict from the Holy Father.

In the Papal Bull written to announce the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis requested that at least one church in each diocese offer “24 Hours for the Lord” during the fourth week of Lent.

I love the Pope’s writings:

“So many people, including the youth, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God's mercy with their own hands. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace.”

In the Diocese of Joliet, the Pope’s request was adapted a bit (a   decision that was made way above my pay grade if anyone from the Vatican comes asking…) to involve one parish per deanery.  It was also decided to do it twice a year, for twelve hours each time.  Every time we host Hours for the Lord, we adapt it a bit to better serve the people.

For this Thursday, we’ll have 3 or 4 confessors available all day.  Most of the priests are in the confessionals for either face-to-face or traditional behind-the-screen confessions.  If you prefer to not be in the confessional, one priest will be in the sanctuary in most shifts.  Twenty priests from throughout the deanery will be helping out,    including some who speak Spanish, German, French and Polish.  (Check page 3 for specifics.)

At our Advent Hours for the Lord, 608 confessions were heard.  That’s more than 50 per hour!  Please join us for this special day.

One other note:  As I mentioned, this is the busy time, so we have to be creative in our scheduling.  On Friday, Bishop Conlon will ordain three men to the diaconate.  These men will serve as transitional  deacons for a year in preparation for priestly ordination in the spring of 2019.

Such a great moment requires planning and practice, so from 5:00—6:00 p.m. on Thursday, Fr. Burke Masters and Deacon Ed Petak will be conducting a quiet rehearsal for the next day’s ceremony. As is tradition, a Holy Hour for Vocations with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction will follow the rehearsal at 6:00 p.m.   All are welcome!

The three men to be ordained--Eduardo Flores Garcia, Nestor F. Sánchez Arriaga and Santiago Corona Bernal—are all originally from Mexico.  Most of their families still live there and are planning on coming to the priestly ordination next year.  I’d like to invite you be part of their family and witness their transitional ordination this year.

The ordination Mass begins at 7:00 p.m. this Friday and should end before 9:00 p.m.  If you have never been to an ordination, it’s a      glorious liturgy. The rite is rich in symbolism and meaning.  It would be lovely to have you with us in support of these men as they mark this significant milestone in their path to the priesthood.

Busy days and short bulletin deadlines mean no column for the next few weeks.  I wish you all a grace-filled Holy Week and Easter.

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development
815-722-6653, extension 242



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