Wednesday has dawned bright and very cold here in the Midwest. I heard on the radio this morning that today's normal high temperature is 51 degrees; of course it was only 18!
The parish mission has been going quite well. These things take alot out of me, so I am so grateful to the pastors and people of Saint Pascal, Our Lady of Victory, Saint Bartholomew, and Saint Robert Bellarmine for their kindess and hospitality. These are four parishes, all located within a few miles of each other, that are serving the people of their portion of the Northwest Side of Chicago so well. I have had dinner each night with the four pastors and the deacon from Saint Pascal's. I don't usually hang out with priests. I have found our conversations stimulating and their dedication to their people admirable. It has been wonderful to see four parishes come together as one for a parish mission.
Saint Pascal's itself is quite large. Here is an image of the interior I found on the web:
I am not used to speaking in a place with such a long main aisle; I have felt somewhat disconnected with the folks who sit way in back. The crowds have been large and people seem to be responding well to the message. Last night we focused on the Eucharist from three perspectives: table of sacrifice, table of nourishment, and table of reconciliation.
I quoted Pope Francis, reminding those gathered of his words from Evangelium Gaudium:
"The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize
for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."
I find particular solace, comfort, and challenge in this statement of Pope Francis. I hope those at the mission found the same. One more session of the mission takes place tonight. I hope I remember to take some photos to share with you.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.