A Note from our Pastor
Footnotes from Fr. Mark
This past week our Bishop, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon issued a pastoral letter to the Diocese of Joliet, which is titled “Go” He Said. It is a document which talks of the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Joliet in the 21st century. While we as priests are getting our first read of it, the challenges that are laid out by the Bishop are issues which are relevant to all the parishes of the Diocese, and ones that are most especially challenging to our community of St. Matthew. He states for example that roughly 20% of registered Catholics are attending Mass on a regular basis on the weekends. This continues to be an issue and one that needs to continue to be looked at here in the diocese and here at St. Matthew. A question that I constantly ask the staff here in the parish is “What we are giving the parishioners that makes them want to be here”? “Why should they come here”? These are questions which we will continue to look at and explore as a parish over the next few weeks, months and years. As we are all aware, the makeup of our parish is somewhat different than that of our neighboring parishes. We are a true diversity of culture and language. On any given weekend you can find people from most of the countries of Europe here, along with a very strong Filipino representation. There is a growing population of people from India and we also have the large contingent of Spanish Speaking. Within our parish boundaries as well, you can find two parishes which would have its members be in St. Matthew Parish if their churches were not there. They are Queenship of Mary which serves the Vietnamese community, who were first formed here in our parish buildings and in our community back in 1986, as well as Divine Mercy Catholic Church which serves the needs of the Polish speaking community. We truly are a true representation of what it means to be a parish and to “GO” and make disciples.
Yet we cannot have a church that is here only to sustain itself and its members only. A Church and the other church buildings are needed to help make sure that the parish can have a place to pray and to gather. The parish needs to have those buildings be in proper order and maintained so as to be most efficient in their use and in their cost efficiency. The buildings help to educate and to allow the community to gather. Here at St. Matthew we have our buildings, and our buildings are in need of some repairs. I will be talking to you in the next couple of weeks in regard to what is needing to be done, to make our campus an energy efficient, beautiful, prayerful campus where we can gather as a community of believers in Jesus Christ. Also there can be a time and a place where we go outside of our buildings and our campus to continue to bring the message of Jesus Christ and we spread our Catholic Faith. We as a parish need to see how we can make that happen as well.
Jesus told the Eleven, “Go therefore and baptize the nations, In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We as parish will listen to the call of Jesus Christ and of our Bishop, and we will Go and make a difference in the world. Hopefully you have noticed that there are a few changes in the church over the past few weeks. You have noticed there are new candle racks as well as new candles and different sized candles as well. They are there to be lit, so please let us remember as you offer your intentions and light that candle, all of us in the parish will see that lit flame and be praying for your intention along with their own intention as well. In the niche where the chapel used to be, you will find the new image of Divine Mercy. Fr. Michal was so kind to help us get this image for the parish at a very reasonable cost. You can also pray there for all your intentions. Very soon we will be adding a book of intentions by Divine Mercy. The book in the narthex is a book where people place their intentions for their ill or deceased loved ones, the one by Divine Mercy will be for personal intentions. So please be looking for that book in the near future. Finally, the cross has been centered in the church. And we are not done yet. Over the next couple of weeks there will be some new fabric hung along with a new image of St. Matthew to be placed in the church. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to add to our Worship space.
As we celebrate Veterans Day this week, let us remember all those Men and Women who have faithfully served our country and have given their lives in service so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today. Also thanks for those Veterans who have gone to their eternal rest who did not die in service, we thank them as well, along with those who presently are serving us in the Armed Forces. As a grateful people we Thank You so that we can gather here at St. Matthew Catholic Church and enjoy our freedom of Religion and practice our Catholic Faith.
Have a Good Week.