Fr. Daniel Gifford
The Shepherd is Calling
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
Last week, I focused on one of the two images that I personally chose for the Saint Jerome Room during the design process. The Road to Emmaus was an obvious choice for the room under the patronage of a great Scripture cholar because it is study of Scripture within Scripture itself. I also wanted another Gospel scene, which would capture the personal call to discipleship that we are to hear when we read the Gospels. With this criteria, the first clear choice to come to mind was Caravaggio’s classic depiction of The Calling of St. Matthew. The call of the Lord Jesus - “Follow Me” - is not only given to the Twelve. It echoes through the ages in the pages of the Scriptures into the hearts of believers of every time and place. The Good Shepherd wants all of us to hear His voice and to follow Him. One of the best ways we learn to do this is with Sacred Scripture. As I have said before, He does speak to us all in different ways, but Scripture is one place that we know He speaks to all of us. It is not sufficient to say ‘I don’t hear His voice there.’ He is speaking to each of us there. We must learn to take the time to listen to Him where we know He is speaking. This takes commitment and discipline, which I would suggest is best helped by a healthy balance of both prayer and study. These are two different, but intimately related, levels at which we read Scripture, which support and inform one another. Study guides our efforts to accurately interpret the Scriptures, thus expanding our capacity to dive into texts, which might have previously been virtually inaccessible to us before. As I have time and time again, I strongly recommend the various studies, videos, and talks which you can access on Formed.org (through our website), among other great resources, which can be found. There are also many great commentaries, which I would recommend, such as The Navarre Bible and Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Regardless of whether we venture into Scripture
for study or primarily for prayer, we should always be ready to hear the voice of the Lord and to answer His call to follow Him. “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.”
CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD: Recently, we had the opportunity to offer a tour of our atrium (the environment used for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) to a catechist hoping to get the program started at her own parish. She shared with us how her daughter, who now studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville, now lives a
very vibrant life of faith as a young adult, which she unhesitatingly attributes to her experience with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd as a child. This was a blessing to hear just as we were preparing for this “Good Shepherd Sunday.” As we come close to wrapping up another year of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, let us thank God for the gift of the good work He is accomplishing in the hearts of our children.
PARISHIONERS HONORED: We have some hard-working parishioners! Later this week, Mary Harmon and Cathy Trowbridge will be honored by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women with their annual volunteer women's appreciation award, given to women of the parish who go above and beyond in volunteering many hours in many different ways of serving our parish community. Also, last weekend, at a recognition dinner held by the Peoria Diocese Chapter of Knights of Columbus, Dave Boylan was honored for his service to our local council, church, and community. This is a prestigious honor that is only given to a select number of individuals each year and it is great joy to have one
of our own, very deservingly, receive it. Thanks, Dave, Cathy and Mary for all you do!
AWAY THIS WEEK: Finally, this is just to inform everyone that my week of vacation begins the moment the bishop says “Go in peace,” at Confirmation this Sunday [:)]. I share this so that you understand why I will be unavailable this next week. You are welcome to leave messages for me through email or with the office, most of which should not expect a response before my return, early in the week of April 30th. During office hours, the office staff will also do their best to assist you in finding a priest in the event of an emergency.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!