Father David’s Letter
Dear Friends in Christ,
“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”
What?! Did Jesus really say this?! Yes, he did. And he wasn’t joking. But keep in mind he spoke these challenging words to the chief priests and elders, the so-called “holy and righteous ones” of God’s people. And why did he speak this way to them? Because they believed they were righteous, and that their interpretation and observance of the Law was pure and impeccable. They meticulously followed the Letter of the Law, and expected everyone else to follow suit; if anyone failed in the slightest way to observe the leaders’ interpretation of the Law, the priests and elders would often come down on them mercilessly with harsh condemnation. While the priests and elders held strictly to the Letter of the Law, they did not embody the Spirit of the Law. Jesus was calling them to embrace a deeper understanding and practice of the Law.
Jesus, the Author of the Law, is Himself the Fullness of the Law. In Jesus the Law is personal, life-giving, an encounter with the Living God who is rich in love and mercy. The Law is not just about Do This and Don’t Do That. At its deepest level the Law is about Friendship with God. Out of Friendship we love Him and are loyal and obedient to Him, thus striving to do those things that honor Him and avoid such things that offend him.
If the chief priests and elders truly embodied the Spirit of the Law, they would have looked with compassion on those around them who were stuck in lives of sin. They would have reached out in kindness and generosity to assist, guide, and encourage them to be better people. Instead they stood above the “sinners” in condemnation. Jesus, however, did not act this way. He looked into the hearts of sinners and saw their pain, and gently led them through it to a New Life of Joy and Purpose in following after him. When offered a loving hand, many of the “reprobates” took it and turned their lives around, thus “entering the kingdom of God” even ahead of the “righteous” who refused to accept the Fullness of the Law.
You may have heard the saying that “the Church is not a Hotel for Saints, but rather a Hospital for Sinners.” Indeed, that it is. We would always do well to remember this.
Sincerely in Christ,
Hey! Did you order your copy of St. Mary’s 125th Anniversary Cookbook yet?? Better hurry and do it now while supplies last! Go to our About Us Menu then click on Special Events page to download an order form now!!
COVID-19 Mass Directives
As some parishioners do not feel comfortable attending Mass for at this time, you are encouraged to watch Mass on ETWN, local channels, and on St. Mary’s, St. Patrick’s and Holy Apostles’ websites. Bishop Malloy will also offer Masses on Sundays at 9am and reflections on Wednesdays at noon. These will be available on the diocesan website and their Facebook page. Here is the link to Spiritual Communion and Chaplet of the Blessed Sacrament: https://www.virgosacrata.com/spiritual-communion.html
Below is a video that shows how attending Mass in the next few weeks will look like. We are now able to accept 50 people per Mass on the weekends. Some of our parishioners have come back to Church during the week and on the weekends. Many – especially those who are 65 or older or who have compromised immune systems or other health issues – have decided not to attend. That being said, dispensation for non-attendance for Sunday Mass is granted until further notice.
Tutorial for Diocesan Directives: https://youtu.be/GgwAQ6j8Zck
To attend Mass, please remember to bring your face mask! This a requirement to wear a mask during the Mass. You can remove the mask when receiving Communion. Hand sanitizers are available in the church for your use as well. Our highest prioritiy is to keep our parishioners safe! We are following all the directives issued by the Diocese of Rockford and the Archdiocese of Chicago regarding social distancing, sanitizing, etc.
Here’s something to SMILE about! 🙂
St. Mary’s Church is now connected with AMAZON.SMILE! What is Amazon.Smile? Amazon is dedicated to giving back to charitable organizations like our parish. When you buy online at Amazon, you have the opportunity to have .05% of your purchases donated to St. Mary’s by Amazon. When you sign up for AmazonSmile, you’ll be asked to select from over a million of charities to support. But you can skip this step and click on our unique link. Then you’ll be taken to smile.amazon.com and then automatically asked if you want to support St Mary Church. Our unique charity link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/36-2182123
Don’t forget to sign up for St. Mary’s MyParish App today!
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enhance your spiritual life and get updates on what’s happening at St. Mary! Just text App to phone number 88202 or visit myparishapp.com to download. St. Mary’s will not automatically be one of your choices because we are a national parish which means we have no boundaries. Just type in St. Mary 1407 and the site will be available for you to click on and join. Keep yourself up to date on parish events, daily readings, messages, Pope Francis messages, and programs to enhance your faith journey.