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  • Writer's pictureFr. Daniel Gifford


This time of year has a way of feeling like we are just beginning a new journey, as we embark upon a new season of great opportunities for growth in discipleship together for all. Yet, as we continue in our Sunday reading of Luke’s Gospel, we are reminded that we are in the midst of a journey that has already begun, namely Our Lord’s journey toward Jerusalem. As we set out on our own journey, we are reminded that Christ is with us every step of the way. Along the journey to Jerusalem, He was frequently preparing them for what would happen not long after they arrived. He would carry a cross and ultimately be nailed to it for our salvation. This weekend, in particular, He reminds us that we too must be prepared to take up our cross, if we are to walk the journey of discipleship. If we have begun to take any steps on this journey, we probably know that it can be quite difficult. In our weakness, we can stumble and fall. Even in those lowest and most discouraging moments, Christ is still with us on the journey. We might be reminded of this every time we come to the Seventh Station of the Cross (front cover). This station is the second of the three falls that we remember in the Stations of the Cross. It might be an opportunity to recall that He has been with us in the past, even when we stumbled and fell, and likewise, He will be with us in the future. He has always been there for us. And He always will be. Looking back enough to remember the enduring faithfulness of God helps us to look forward with courage and hope. These are days for looking forward. Remembering this station can help us look forward, prepared for the reality that the cross does get heavy; we will make mistakes sometimes and we can sometimes be greatly weighed down by our own weakness. But, this is just the beginning. It is not just about the kind of realism that some, who consider themselves more optimistic, would consider pessimism. With the eyes of faith, the passion becomes a sign of hope and of love. If we look at images of the passion and see only a discouraging glimpse of suffering, it is probably a good time to take up that prayer from the Gospel: "I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief." Reflecting on the passion is not just about preparing for the worst. It is about rediscovering the strength and the promise of victory that we find in the compassion of Christ. It is only by beginning with a firm conviction to carry our cross with Him, to get up every time we fall, and to persevere with the help of His grace, that we can truly be prepared for the path ahead of us. Whatever that path holds, we do not walk it alone. Let us strive every day to walk humbly with our God. Then, we shall find the grace that every step requires.

TIME WITH HIM: One of the most important things we must do, in order to remain with Him along the path is to make time to be with Him each day. If we are to walk with Him, we must also rest with Him. One great way to do this is by coming to Eucharistic Adoration. I have three recommendations of how you can do this here at Saint Louis Parish: 1) Every Monday and Thursday, we have a Holy Hour, in which Adoration is available in the Church, beginning at 4 PM. 2) Every Tuesday morning, we have Adoration in the chapel (Chapel door unlocked at this time), beginning after the 7 AM Mass, until noon. 3) While we commonly speak of Adoration in reference to these times when the Eucharist is exposed in the monstrance, He is always available to be adored in the Tabernacle in the chapel 24/7 (don’t hesitate to inquire to receive the door code from the office!). Regarding the Tuesday morning Adoration, in particular, we are presently in need of some assistance. You don't need to sign up in order to come and adore. However, we could use more people willing to take a regular time slot to be with the Lord, or even to be on the list as a fill-in substitute. If you are interested in signing up, please contact Cathy Trowbridge (815-876-6952).

VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION: I do appreciate you! Whenever people comment on how many great things are going on at Saint Louis Parish or even about occasions when we are really busy with a number of funerals at one time, I often try to point out that it takes many generous servants to accomplish all of this. No one person could do all of this on their own. I certainly can’t! And I am constantly reminded of how many great stewards of time, talent, and treasure we have in this parish. I believe that we do have a vibrant parish life and I also believe that this is the case precisely because of the generosity of your own servant hearts. So, while it seems long overdue (mea culpa), I would like to show my appreciation to you in the form of the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner! Hopefully this goes without saying, but this is not a potluck. Please, don’t bring anything besides your smiling face. Whether you serve as a lector, usher, server, sacristan, or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, help with our programs for children and youth, help lead a group for your peers, contribute to meals hosted by Knights of Columbus, CCW, or the funeral luncheon committee, or take a prayer slot for a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat or for the summer mission trip for our youth (or anything else I have forgotten), I hope you can join us for this dinner.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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