Christ is Our Hope magazine - Diocese of Joliet

dioceseofjoliet.org

Christ is Our Hope magazine - Diocese of Joliet

Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas

Living Life

While Dying

Life

Failure, Is it Neccesary?

Faith

Friends for Life

Stories

Facing Sorrow


From the Bishop

No Substitute

Visiting Catholic

schools is one of

the most enjoyable

parts of my job as

bishop. I revel in the

sense of purpose I find, the positive

atmosphere among teachers and

students, and the opportunity to do

a little teaching myself.

Next to its sacramental life, Catholic education

is the greatest gift that God enables

the Catholic Church to provide. Without

knowing Jesus Christ and being formed in

His way of life, the human person cannot

reach his or her fullest potential. Nor can

the Church be an effective force for goodness

in the world.

Of course, Christian formation can be

accomplished through formats other than

the Catholic school. Properly organized

and conducted, however, the Catholic

school functions as a unique community of

faith and love, serving both as an extension

of the nuclear family and a localization

of the larger Church. There may be

alternatives to Catholic schools. There is no

substitute.

The face of Catholic education in the

United States has changed dramatically in

many ways over the past 40 years. Three

changes in particular have had a negative

effect. These changes are interwoven.

The first change is the reduction of religious

personnel. Women and men religious

have made an inestimable contribution

to the life of the Catholic Church and her

members in this country over a very long

period. No measure of gratitude is adequate.

The absence of these teachers and

administrators in our schools today makes

achieving their Catholic mission more chal-

lenging and increases their cost.

Increased cost, naturally, is the second

major change. Nevertheless, even if our

schools were still staffed by large numbers

of religious sisters and brothers, costs

would still be much higher than in the past.

Class sizes would be smaller, technological

improvements would be instituted and the

salaries and benefits for the staff, no matter

their life vocations, would be higher.

The secularization of our culture is the

third, perhaps less obvious change. The

force of this secularization, coupled with the

loss of religious personnel, makes it harder

every day to fulfill the mission of Catholic

education: namely, to form disciples of

Jesus Christ who can bring His presence

into the world.

These changes, mixed together, mean

that fewer Catholic parents are choosing

Catholic education for their children.

(Some parents, inexplicably, allow their

children to make the decision.) And many

of those who do choose Catholic schools

are not committed to the mission just mentioned.

For them, a private education with a

Catholic label is sufficient.

In order to strengthen Catholic schools,

these three changes and their effects have

to be reversed.

First, we need to recommit ourselves

to the mission of Catholic education. That

means promoting religious vocations, providing

more intense formation for lay staff,

helping parents and students understand

and subscribe to the mission, and making

discipleship the true focus of everything in

our schools.

Second, we need to increase the number

of Catholic children enrolled in Catholic

schools, even if that means starting more

schools (instead of closing them). We need

to help Catholic parents appreciate how

great an act of love providing a Catholic

education for their children is. Even with

that appreciation, many families cannot

afford the full cost. A great push for tuition

assistance is needed. Our diocese’s

Catholic Education Foundation is an

excellent vehicle for generating funds for

tuition grants. Everyone needs to support

this enterprise, because every child who

receives a Catholic education benefits the

whole Church everywhere.

None of this will be easy, as it seemed

to be in the 1950s and 1960s when

most of the Catholic children of my

generation went to Catholic schools.

Precisely because the task seems so

daunting, it must be pursued vigorously.

Indeed, great effort and sacrifice are

already being demonstrated by parents,

teachers, administrators, pastors and

other supporters.

For years, Catholic schools have

formed young people in a major way to

follow Christ as members of His Church

and society. They have served as a partner

with parents and parishes to create a

consistent environment of faith. They have

helped to integrate people from disparate

backgrounds into the one body of Christ.

It hasn’t always been perfect. What is

this side of heaven? That’s not a reason

to settle for less or even to throw in the

towel. Besides, too much is at stake.

Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and

the life. He came to set people free from

sin and eternal emptiness. More than

ever, our society and our Church require

disciples of Jesus who are well formed,

thoroughly catechized and deeply com-

mitted to be a light to the world.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon

Diocese of Joliet

Christ is our Hope

December 2011

V

isitar las escuelas católicas es una de las cosas que

más disfruto en mi labor como obispo. Disfruto en

el sentido que encuentro un ambiente positivo entre

estudiantes y profesores y la oportunidad en que yo

ponga en práctica mis habilidades de enseñanza.

Después de su vida sacramental, la

educación católica es el mayor regalo

que Dios ofrece a la Iglesia católica

para dar a los demás. Sin llegar a

conocer a Jesucristo y sin haber sido

formado en su estilo de vida, el ser

humano no puede alcanzar su potencial

al máximo.Y la Iglesia no puede ser una

fuerza de bondad efectiva en el mundo.

Por supuesto que la formación

cristiana se puede alcanzar por medio

de otros modos que no sean a través

de la Escuela Católica. Propiamente

organizada y conducida, sin embargo,

las funciones de las Escuelas Católicas

como una comunidad única de fe

y amor, sirviendo tanto como una

extensión del núcleo familiar como una

localización de una Iglesia en general.

Tal vez existan alternativas a escuelas

católicas. Sin embargo, no substitutas.

El rostro de la educación Católica

en los Estados Unidos ha cambiado

dramáticamente de muchas maneras

durante los últimos 40 años. Tres

cambios en particular han tenido un

efecto negativo. Estos cambios están

enlazados.

El primer cambio es la reducción de

personal religioso. Mujeres y hombres

religiosos han hecho una contribución

inestimable en la vida de la Iglesia

católica y sus miembros han trabajado

en este país por un largo periodo de

tiempo. No hay forma alguna de poder

agradecer adecuadamente a todos

ellos. Por eso, la ausencia de estos

administradores en nuestras escuelas

católicas en estos tiempos hace que la

misión Católica sea más difícil y que los

costos de la educación aumenten.

Un aumento en el costo,

naturalmente, es el segundo cambio

significativo. Sin embargo, aun si

nuestras escuelas contaran con un

gran número de hermanos y hermanas

religiosas trabajando en ellas, los

costos aun serian bastante altos. El

número de alumnos por clase sería

menor, actualizaciones tecnológicas

tendrían que implementarse, los

salarios y beneficios de los empleados,

sin importar su vida vocacional serían

más altos.

La secularización de nuestra cultura

es la tercera, tal vez sea este un

cambio menos obvio. La fuerza de esta

secularización, unida a la pérdida de

personal religioso, hace muy difícil el

cumplir con la misión de la Educación

Católica, llamada a formar discípulos

de Jesucristo que puedan traer su

presencia a este mundo.

Estos cambios combinados, significa

que menos padres de familia católicos

se decidan por una educación católica

para sus hijos. (Algunos padres,

inexplicablemente, permiten que sus

hijos tomen esta decisión.) Y muchos

de los que se deciden por Escuelas

Católicas no están comprometidos con

la misión recién mencionada. Para ellos,

una educación privada con la etiqueta

de católica es suficiente.

Con el fin de reforzar las escuelas

Católicas, estos tres cambios y sus

efectos tienen que ser revertidos.

Primero, necesitamos comprometernos

a la misión de la Educación Católica.

Eso significa promover vocaciones

religiosas, proveer una formación más

intensa para los empleados laicos,

ayudar a los padres y estudiantes a

entender y suscribirse a la misión, y

hacer del discipulado, el verdadero

enfoque de todo en nuestras escuelas.

Segundo, necesitamos incrementar el

número de niños católicos que asisten a

Escuelas Católicas, aun si esto significa

comenzar más escuelas (en lugar de

cerrarlas). Necesitamos ayudar a los

padres de familia católicos realizar

el gran acto de amor que harían al

proveer a sus hijos con una educación

católica. Aun con esa apreciación

por la educación católica, muchas

familias no pueden alcanzar el costo

total. Es necesario un gran empuje a la

asistencia financiera para las matriculas.

La oficina de Fondos para la Educación

Católica de la Diócesis de Joliet es un

excelente recurso para generar fondos

para becas escolares. Todos necesitan

apoyar este proyecto, ya que por cada

niño que recibe educación católica

beneficia a toda la Iglesia en cualquier

lugar.

Nada de esto será fácil, como al

parecer lo fue entre los años 1950

y 1960 cuando la mayoría de niños

católicos de mi generación asistían

a escuelas Católicas. Precisamente

porque la tarea parece tan abrumadora,

debe de seguirse vigorosamente. En

realidad, padres de familia, profesores,

administradores, pastores y otros que

apoyan la misión ya están demostrando

grandes esfuerzos y sacrificios.

Por años, las escuelas católicas han

formado jóvenes de tal manera que

sigan a Cristo, como miembros de su

Iglesia y sociedad. Ellos han servido

como compañeros de padres de

familia y de las parroquias para crear

un ambiente consistente de fe. Ellos

han ayudado a personas de diferentes

orígenes a integrarse al Cuerpo de

Cristo.

Esto no ha sido siempre perfecto.

¿Qué es este lado del cielo? Esa no

es razón para conformarse con menos

y menos aún, darse por vencidos.

Además, hay demasiado en juego.

Jesucristo es el Camino, la Verdad

y la Vida. El llegó a liberar al mundo

del pecado y de un vacío eterno. Más

que nunca, nuestra sociedad y nuestra

Iglesia requiere discípulos de Jesús

que estén bien formados, enteramente

catequizados y profundamente

comprometidos a ser una luz para el

mundo.

Obispo R. Daniel Conlon

Diócesis de Joliet

Cristo es nuestra

Esperanza

diciembre 2011

2 Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

3


contents

The

Table of Contents

6 yourlife

6 Parenting Journey

This bullying has to stop

7 Marriage Matters

8 Catholic Life

Failure, Is it Neccesary?

10 Culture

A Light for Us All

18

12 yourfaith

12 Ask the Priest

13 Catholic Charities

Friends for Life

14 Saint of the Month

St. Francis Xavier

16 Spiritual Fitness

Bow Down

18 yourstories

18 Living Life while Dying

A deacon battles cancer

with faith

22 Making Heavenly Music

24 Facing Sorrow with Faith

26 Gift of Christmas

28 Reflexiones de fe

La Luz que

nos Enceguece

29 Local News

31 Last Word

The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Joliet

Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon

PUBLISHER

Doug Delaney

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Decmber 2011

Volume 4: Issue 9

Carlos Briceño

EDITOR

Miguel Moreno, Monica Harness

SPANISH TRANSLATORS

FAITH Catholic

Rev. Dwight Ezop

CHAIRMAN

Patrick M. O’Brien

PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Elizabeth Martin Solsburg

DIRECTOR OF CUSTOM PUBLISHING/

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Patrick Dally

ART DIRECTOR

InnerWorkings

PRINT MANAGEMENT

Christ is Our Hope (USPS 25288) is a membership

publication of the Catholic Diocese of Joliet, 101 W. Airport

Road, Romeoville, IL 60446-6527. Published monthly

except for February, August and November. Gift subscription

rates are $15 per year. Individual issues are $2.50. Send

all subscription information and address changes to: Christ

is Our Hope magazine, 101 W. Airport Road, Romeoville,

IL 60446-6527; (815) 834-4060 or email magazine@

dioceseofjoliet.org. POSTMASTER: Send address

changes to Christ is Our Hope magazine, 101 W. Airport

Road, Romeoville, IL 60446-6527 ©Christ is Our Hope

magazine, Diocese of Joliet. ©FAITH Publishing Service.

FAITH is a trademark of FAITH Publishing Service. No

portion of Christ is Our Hope magazine may be published,

broadcast, rewritten or otherwise reproduced or distributed

in whole or in part without prior written authority of the

Diocese of Joliet and/or FAITH Publishing ServiceTM .

For reprint information or other questions regarding use

copyright material, contact the Christ is Our Hope magazine

editorial offices at the Diocese of Joliet. Periodicals postage

paid at Romeoville, IL and at additional mailing offices.

To submit story ideas and news

Send e-mails to magazine@dioceseofjoliet.org

For subscription information

Please call (815) 834-4060

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY

NEW YEAR FROM ALEXIAN BROTHERS

A Healthy Community Begins with Alexian Brothers.

© 2011 Alexian Brothers Health System

www.AlexianBrothersHealth.org

Local News

Diocese Donates More Than $380,000 to the

Pontifical Mission Societies

The diocese contributed $383,457 to the

Pontifical Mission Societies during last year’s special

collection at the parishes. The money goes to

support about 1,500 mission dioceses around the

world. “I write to convey the prayerful thanks of

this Congregation to you and to the faithful of the

Diocese of Joliet for the gifts and sacrifices oered

during the year 2010 …” said the Most Reverand

Ferando Filoni, the prefect for the Congregation for

the Evangelization of Peoples, in an Oct. 10 letter to

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon. The money also went to

support the next generation of priests and help in

educating children about the Gospel in the poorest

places in the world.

Mary Hostert, a parishioner at St. Joseph Parish in

Joliet, prays the rosary in the recently constructed

prayer garden on the church grounds.

St. Joseph Parish in Joliet

Builds Prayer Garden

For those in downtown Joliet who need a place to

pray outside in a beautiful setting, St. Joseph Parish

has built something for you. Father Tim Andres, O.

Carm., thought of the idea to build a prayer garden

to make use of unused space that was the back yard

of the rectory between the rectory and the parish.

The space was mainly mud and grass, but Father

Andres envisioned something dierent and more

beautiful.

“I thought we could use a place where people

could come and spend in meditation and in prayer

in the beauty of God’s creation,” said Father Andres,

who celebrated his 25th anniversary of his priestly

ordination on Nov. 27 at the parish. “We have an

adoration chapel. We have an incredibly beautiful

church. But I thought we could find a place within

all the cement of an inner-city parish downtown

with all the streets around us and no grass where

people could be in the presence of God … and

also a place where they can meditate and seek the

intercession of certain saints.”

There are six dedicated prayer stations in the

garden, which encourage people to pray to the following

Catholics: Blessed John Paul II, St. Faustina

Kowalska, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Teresa of

Avila, St. Andre Bessette, and Blessed Anton Martin

Slomsek.

The garden was dedicated at the end of October,

and it was built through donations raised by those

who bought personalized bricks, which commemo-

rate the memory of past and present parishioners,

friends and supporters of the parish. Mike Dudek,

a parishioner, alumnus of the class of 1984 from

St. Joseph School and a landscape designer, helped

shape Father Andres’ vision into a plan that Jim

Phelps Landscaping brought into reality.

Bishop Conlon Meets Volunteers, Thanks

Donors at Sacred Music Event

The diocesan Catholic Education Foundation

thanked its dedicated volunteer community in

October by showcasing some of the best musical

talent from area Catholic schools. St. Petronille

Parish in Glen Ellyn was the site of an evening

of sacred music featuring the Benet Academy

Madrigal Singers. Also headlining the performance

were student and professional vocalists from

Catholic parishes in Woodridge, Wheaton, Glen

Ellyn and Lockport. The music was arranged and

choreographed by Father Gerald Riva, pastor of St.

Scholastica, Woodridge. Bishop R. Daniel Conlon

was on hand to greet donors and volunteers from

parishes and schools throughout the diocese. The

event was aimed to introduce the new bishop of

the diocese, to express appreciation to thousands

of donors who support diocesan Catholic schools,

and to celebrate Catholic education with numerous

volunteers and philanthropists in the area.

The event was hosted by St. Petronille’s pastor,

Father James Dougherty, and school principal, Dr.

Mary Kelly. The Catholic Education Foundation

distributes more than $1 million dollars each year

in need-based scholarships to the 55 Catholic

grade schools and high schools of the diocese. For

further information, contact the foundation, at

(815) 834-4023, or review their Facebook page or

website: www.dioceseofjoliet.org/edfoundation.

Priests from Around

Diocese Gather During Convocation

Priests from around the diocese gathered for several

days in St. Charles in early October at Pheasant

Run Resort in a sort of mini-convention known as

a Priests’ Convocation. These convocations are held

every two years in the diocese, and they are a time

for fellowship and spiritual renewal.

“The convocation is an opportunity for the

priests of the diocese to grow in our fraternity as a

presbyterate, united in and with Bishop Conlon,”

said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Siegel. “It is unique in

that there is very little business discussed. Rather

we come together to pray, reflect on our ministry

and enjoy each other’s company as we share meals

and times of fellowship. As we left the convocation

this year, I felt we were strengthened in our

unity as brothers in Christ as well as refreshed and

renewed to serve the Lord and our people with

greater zeal and dedication.”

One of the speakers was Father J. Ronald Knott,

a former director of the Vocation Oce for the

Archdiocese of Louisville and the director of the Institute

for Priests and Presbyterates at St. Meinrad School

of Theology. He spoke about the need for fostering

unity among priests in harmony with the bishop.

Another speaker was Cardinal Francis George,

OMI, who talked about the Second Vatican Council.

“[Cardinal George] exhorted us to continue the

vision of the council and to be aware of the cultural

climate in which the council was initially interpreted,”

said Father Steven Borello, from Notre Dame Parish in

Clarendon Hills. “Just as in families where it is necessary

for them to communicate frequently to stay close

and help each other, so, too, in the presbyterate we

need the opportunity to come together to be with our

family in both structured and unstructured ways, allowing

us to strengthen our friendships and help each

other in their needs.”

Father Borello added that he enjoyed the time spent

at the priests’ convocation.

“I heard so many wonderful stories about the history

of the diocese and all the dierent personalities

that make our history so rich,” he said. “They shared

their experiences in ministry, the miracles at which

God allowed them to be present, the struggles and the

crosses that they have been asked to bear, and the joys

found in a life of selfless love. … I look forward to the

next one in two years.”

Clarification

In the October/November 2011 issue of Christ

is our Hope, on page 7, in an article titled “Selective

Reduction: A Morality Tale,” the author, Susan E.

Wills, talked about “selective reduction” as it applies

to in vitro fertilization (IVF). She mentions how the

act of aborting one or more babies who were born

as a set of twins or triplets to “reduce the pregnancy”

to one child is “intrinsically evil.”

However, the author did not explicitly state the

Church’s position on IVF, which is that IVF is gravely

sinful. According to the Catechism (number 2376),

“Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband

and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than

the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate

uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous

artificial insemination and fertilization)

infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and

mother known to him and bound to each other by

marriage. They betray the spouses’ ‘right to become

a father and a mother only through each other.’ ”

The Catechism (number 2377) also futher explains

the Church’s teaching on IVF.

In 2009, the U.S. Bishops issued a document,

“Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology,” in which

they wrote: “Children have a right to be conceived

by the act that expresses embodies their parents’ selfgiving

love; morally responsible medicine can assist

this act but never substitute for it. Therefore, in vitro

fertilization (IVF) also is not morally justified, as the

procreative act is not performed within the loving

context of marital relations.”

4

Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

5


6

Parenting Journey

This Bullying Has to Stop.

What Do We Do?

My 4th-grade son has recently become really clingy

and has been making excuses not to go out on the

playground at lunchtime. After asking him a few questions,

I realized that a new classmate has been bullying

– hitting kids when they’re standing in line and threatening

them. My son is afraid it will get worse if he or I

“tattle,” but this needs to stop. What should I do?

Q bully

aAlthough your son may feel

lonely, he is far from alone.

Get school administrators

and teachers on board. A

tattle-tale is someone who gossips about

others. On the other hand, your son is

sharing important information with the

adults at school. Emphasize that you will

do your best, working with his teachers and

principal, to keep him safe. Write down as

many details as possible and share them

with the school administrators. Do they

have an anti-bullying plan in place? How do

they plan to respond to this situation? Now

that the school ocials are aware of the

problem, eorts need to be made to change

the classroom and playground climate. See

how you and other parents can support

Decorations

Are Over the Top

yourlife

these eorts. The solution should address

long-term concerns and not just focus on

this particular bully.

Discuss options that are under your

child’s control. Find out from your son

how he has been responding to the bully’s

actions. Help him figure out if there

are more eective eective ways to react in

each situation. “Why Why Are You Picking

on Me? Dealing With Bullies” ” by

John Burstein discusses

specific actions, such as

choosing a seat by the

driver of the school bus.

Role-play what your son

plans to do when the

I love Christmas as much as the next person, but my

neighbor’s decorations are over the top. He lights up the

house with so many bulbs that we end up with traffic jams from

the rubberneckers who come to view the display. Sometimes, I

have to wait to get into my own driveway – how can I stop this?

Regretfully, this situation has

created hundreds of disputes

every year. We all agree that

disputes between neighbors

can become very bitter and

cause great distress for both

sides. Initially, I suggest a

friendly approach. Visit your

neighbor and demonstrate

your sincere appreciation

for the gesture of enhancing

his house and even the

block with his decorations;

however, you would like to

approaches.

Talk to your child about cyberbullying.

It might seem as if home is a refuge from

bullying, 4/7 experience for many children.

Text messages and social media sites allow

the harassment to occur anywhere.

If your child remains anxious about

participating fully in school, then consider

having him talk to a school counselor or get

a referral to to a psychologist psychologist in your

community. community. Encourage your child

to to share his his fear and anxieties anxieties

with God through prayer. He can

choose a Bible verse to

bring to mind when the

bully is near. “When I am

afraid, in you I place my

trust.” (Psalm 56:4)

Dr. Cathleen McGreal is a psychology professor and certified spiritual advisor.

negotiate with him certain

inconveniences that are interrupting

the daily life of the

block. You can suggest that

the lights go on when people

have already come home

after work and go off before

midnight to allow people to

go to bed in a peaceful way.

Mediation, whether informal

or in the presence of lawyers,

is another option for settling

disputes. It is often the best

way to resolve them.

T. Gennara

Conflict Resolution

Dr. Gelasia Marquez is a

psychologist and family counselor.

Liturgical Calendar: St. Francis Xavier, priest December 3 | St. Nicholas, bishop December 6 | St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church December 7

S. Kendrick

HE SAYS: SHE SAYS:

“ I don’t want

my son raised

by a stranger.”

Steve says: We always agreed

that, when we had children, Kelly

would stay home with them. So,

when our son was born six months

ago, I assumed Kelly would

quit her job. However, once her

company’s family leave was up,

she announced that she intended to

continue working and we’d need to

find day care for Sam. I don’t want my

son raised by a stranger – I want Kelly to

live up to our agreement.

W

WHAT DO THEY DO?

This reminds us of a time within the history of the Roman

Catholic Church when a non-Catholic party to a Catholic

marriage was required to sign a statement saying

they agreed to raise their children as Catholic. On the

surface, that sounded right and proper; however, most

non-Catholics did not know what “being Catholic” really meant!

Logically and ethically, how can a person

be held accountable for something about

which they know nothing? In other words,

how can Kelly be held to an agreement

for something she had no knowledge of

– the future! Life happens and things we

once thought possible or probable most

often morph into some other blessing

(often disguised as an obstacle) we never

dreamed about. Jo and I faced a similar decision

in the first years of our marriage; Jo

wanted to continue working in the field for

which she went to school, yet we had two

children. Financially, we were just about

breaking even after paying for the day-care

center that our children did not like! It

was time for a “dierent” decision that was

not in our plans before we were married.

Circumstances and situations changed,

and our plans needed to change along with

them. And many people find that staying

at home with their children brings rewards

and blessings they could not foresee.

Living with a plan developed yesterday

seldom reflects today’s needs, and is only

a guide for tomorrow. Plans should be

situationally applied and reviewed often

for changes in circumstances, environment

and desires. Plans should not be viewed as

set in concrete because life events change

our needs, wants and desires. Flexibility

and adaptability are key ingredients for all

marriages if they are to survive these dicult

economic times and our changing families.

Kelly appears to be concerned about the

family’s economic security, and it appears

that Steve is not addressing her concerns.

Our experience says that worries

over the security of the home will

far trump previous agreements

that do not address

the principal worry faced

by members of the family

unit. Since Steve’s job is less

stable, and he is concerned

about day care, this might

“I love my job.”

Kelly says: I know we talked about

the idea of me staying home with

our children. But that was before

the economy took a nosedive.

Steve didn’t mention that his

company is doing poorly and that

he had to take a 7 percent pay

cut last year. Without that money,

we really need my job. Also, I

love my work, and in just these

few months, I’ve realized that being

a stay-at-home mother would bore

me to tears.

Your Marriage Matters

be an opportunity for the couple to consider

prayerfully the option of Steve staying home.

The important issue here is how this situation

is aecting Steve and Kelly’s relationship,

and in turn their relationship with a God

who is Love. Love is gentle, kind and considerate,

and we are called to be Love to our

spouse as Jesus is to his spouse, the Church.

When we become Jesus to our spouse, Love

becomes the driver, and solutions are developed

that work for both spouses and not just

one. There is something positive and lifegiving

to a relationship when both spouses

approach an issue out of love and respect for

their partner. It does not become

a contest of who is correct or

who won this particular round,

instead it becomes a gift of self

for the other. Steve and

Kelly would do well if they

changed their approach

from getting (what was

agreed on some time

ago) to giving (what can

I do for you, my beloved,

today).

Deacon Tom Fogle and JoAnne Fogle help prepare couples for marriage.

T. Gennara

7


Failure,

Is it Necessary? Father

Catholic Life

Success is overestimated,

and

failure is underappreciated.

When I was a

young boy, I listened, with

my father, to Notre Dame

football games. When they

lost, which was infrequent

in those days, I was distraught.

So was my dad,

but he would say “You

don’t win them all, Jack.”

And, he added, “It’s not

good to win them all.” Maybe

so, but I still preferred

an undefeated season.

We all want to succeed; no one wants

to fail. Yet, we all have an intimation that

failure, somehow, may not be all bad. As

a matter of fact, failure may be a necessity.

Is there some truth in these folk adages?

“The only thoughts worth listening to are the

thoughts of the shipwrecked.” “You are only

truly free when you have lost your reputation.”

Individuals who have been battered

by life may come to a point where they

acknowledge their inability to make their

lives go right, and they have to turn them

over to Another. I remember my aunt, who

spent years feeding her husband through

a tube in his throat, saying, “I don’t know

how anyone gets through life without

faith!” Some of the most “real” and loving

people I know have been brought to their

knees in life, but now stand again in faith.

Failure may be inevitable if we wish to

become mature and generous in life. It

may be inevitable if we are going to be

able to love God and our neighbor. Great

joys and celebrations can strengthen faith,

too. But, failure has a way of getting our

attention, and it may be our path to true,

trusting faith.

We struggle so hard in life to “make it”

that we become very self-preoccupied,

necessarily so. But, once we have constructed

a life and all the parts are more

or less in place, we may be self-satisfied

and ego-centric. Loving God and neighbor

means stepping outside our carefully constructed

life. It means a “letting go,” and

no self-respecting ego is going to “let go”

just because it is a good idea. We tend to

continue to fortify our life and try to grow

increasingly self-sucient. Failure teaches

us we cannot control life; we are not our

own gods. If we want to go on, we have to

step outside ourselves and acknowledge

our need for a strength beyond us.

To love God means to live in a way that

allows one’s will to be shaped by God’s

will. It means allowing God to find us.

God cannot find us if we are hiding in the

“home” of our self-sucient life. And the

experience of loss or failure may be something

we look back on with gratitude.

Failure, unbearable loss, humiliating

defeat, deep disappointment may not

always be “setbacks” in life, but may actually

move life forward in unexpected ways.

These experiences may be as much a necessary

part of life as inhaling and exhaling

are to breathing. The cross promised by

Jesus to his followers comes in unexpected

forms. Death and resurrection become the

pattern of life as we share in the paschal

mystery, the death and resurrection of

Jesus.

To love God is not a matter of feelings.

Nor is it a matter of beautiful thoughts

about God. As in any love, there is only

so much knowledge, so much data we

can gather about the beloved. At a certain

point, we have to simply surrender into

the mystery of the other person. So it is

with God. At a certain point in life, often

after a life has started to show cracks, we

have a golden opportunity to surrender to

mystery, with a truly biblical faith of trust

and hope.

At that point, having gone through our

personal hell and now lifted up by grace,

we have something to say, not only in

words but in the witness of our life. Love

of neighbor now becomes truly compassionate.

Instead of saying, “That poor guy,”

or, “Those poor people,” we now can say,

“We poor!” And we then wait in hope with

all who wait in hope for God’s mercy.

As Christians, our boast is not in a

trophy, or an Emmy, or an Oscar, or an

Olympic medal. Our boast is in the cross

of Christ through which we have true

and ultimate victory. It carries with it the

promise of a future when every season is

undefeated, and every tear is wiped away.

John Welch, O.

Carm., resides in a Carmelite

community in Joliet.

8 Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary December 8 | St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin December 9 | Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12 | St. Lucy, virgin and martyr December 13 | St. John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church December 14

9


YOUR LIFE

Culture

A light

for us all

Christmas is great. Winter is not. Outside

of the excitement for the holidays,

many of us struggle through these

short, dark days in the Northern Hemisphere.

So if you are like me, perhaps

you’ll benefit from the inspiration and motivation

that comes from one of our saints: St. Lucy.

The Church recognizes

the dark times of winter and

celebrates opportunities for

metaphor. Christmas, for

example, was placed on Dec.

25 (thought to be the shortest

day of the year) to mark

Christ’s arrival, bringing and

expanding light into the world

as the days begin to subsequently

lengthen.

It is also a time when we

celebrate the feast day of St.

Lucy, whose name means

light. As a child, I was intrigued

and interested in

this saint because my loving

grandma is named Lucy. At

the same time, I was haunted

by the saint’s macabre image

in my “Picture Book of

Saints” where she was depicted

holding a goblet containing

two eyeballs, staring directly

at me. But as I grew older and

overcame my phobia of dis-

embodied eyeballs, I learned

more about her, and I became

aware that she is the patron

saint of vision: a symbolic

contrast to the darkness of

December.

St. Lucy (Lucia) lived in

Syracuse, Sicily, under the

Roman Emperor Diocletian.

One can only imagine how

tough it was being a Christian

trying to live a devout

spiritual life in a violent and

pagan early fourth century.

One story has it that Lucia

refused to marry a pagan

and vowed to consecrate her

life and virginity to God. The

angry suitor handed her over

to the Roman government.

After several horrific but failed

attempts to kill her (including

the gouging of her eyes), she

finally died by a stab wound

to her heart. In studying saints

like these and the suffering

Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies)

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 ½ cups brown sugar

½ cup molasses

1 egg

3 ½ cups flour

they endured, I find the inspiration

to persevere through

the dark times of the year, and

the dark and tough times of

my life.

With Dec.13 marking the

feast day of St. Lucy, celebrations

take place in those

parts of the world where

she is particularly revered.

In Sweden, St. Lucy’s Day

marks the beginning of the

Christmas celebration where

local recipes are prepared as

part of the traditional festivities.

Among the homemade

sweets is a Swedish ginger

cookie called Pepparkakor.

How wonderful that during

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl or container,

combine all dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger,

cloves, baking soda and salt) and set aside. In a large mixing

bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in egg

and molasses until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients

into the creamed mixture. Knead and form into a ball.

Place dough into an airtight container and refrigerate for

about an hour.

Remove from refrigerator and divide dough in half (leaving

one half in refrigerator to stay firm). Roll dough to a 1/8inch

thickness onto a cool, floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. Using

a spatula, carefully place onto a parchment lined (or greased) baking sheet. Bake for 8-10

minutes and cool completely on wire rack. Repeat process with remaining dough.

this time of year, we can use

culinary arts to combat and

liven the somber gloom of

winter. I would imagine that

St. Lucy applauds the invocation

of her name within the

context of celebration, cuisine,

and the thwarting of winter’s

darkness.

Aside from being easy to

make, these crispy and delicious

cookies are easy to eat.

The next time winter gets you

down, warm your house with

a batch of these treats, take

inspiration from St. Lucy’s

perseverance, and find peace

in knowing that you will make

it to May.

Michelle DiFranco is a

designer and the busy mom

of two children.

10 Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the Church December 21 | St. John of Kanty, priest December 23 Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord December 25 | St. Stephen, first martyr December 26 | Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist December 27

11

T. Gennara


12

your

Ask the Priest

Dear Father:

Is Cremation Allowed?

Q

I remember when the Church did not allow

funerals with cremated remains, but

recently I attended one when the person

had already been cremated. What is the

Church’s position on cremation?

a

The short answer

is that the Church

does permit cremation;

she prefers that the body

is buried. Canon 1176 of the

Code of Canon Law sums it up:

“The Church earnestly recommends

that the pious custom of

burying the bodies of the dead be

observed; it does not, however,

forbid cremation unless it has

been chosen for reasons which

are contrary to Christian teaching.”

A Catholic may choose to be

Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

cremated. However, the cremated

remains must be treated with

respect, being stored in a worthy

vessel, carried in a manner of

respect, and “buried in a grave

or entombed in a mausoleum or

columbarium.”

(Order of Christian

Funerals, 417)

One may

ask why it

matters. It is in

the tradition

of the Church

QRecuerdo cuando la Iglesia no

permitía los funerales con cuerpos

cremados, sin embargo,

recientemente asistí a uno

en el cual la persona ya había

sido cremada. ¿Cuál es la posición de la

Iglesia ante la cremación?

a

La respuesta corta a esta pregunta es que la Iglesia si

permite la cremación, aunque prefiere que el cuerpo sea

enterrado. El Código del Derecho Canónico dice en el

canon 1176: “La Iglesia aconseja vivamente que se conserve

la piadosa costumbre de sepultar los cuerpos de los muertos, no

obstante, no prohíbe la cremación, a menos que haya sido elegida por

razones contrarias a la doctrina cristiana.” Un católico puede elegir

ser cremado. Sin embargo, las cenizas deben ser tratadas con respeto,

guardándolas en un recipiente digno, llevado en una manera respetuosa

y “enterrado en una fosa o sepultado en un mausoleo.” (Orden de

Funerales Cristianos, 417).

Tal vez, alguien pregunte por qué esto es importante. Es una

It is in the

tradition of the

Church to show

respect and reverence

for the

body because

it became a

temple of the

Holy Spirit.

to show respect and reverence

for the body because it became a

temple of the Holy Spirit (see 1

Cor. 6:19) when it was washed

in baptism and anointed with

the oil of salvation. It has been

fed with the bread of life and has

loved and been loved by others.

We are not solely spiritual; we are

made up of body and spirit, and

Jesus reveals to us through His

resurrected and glorified body

that we, too, will experience the

resurrection of the body, which

we profess in the Apostles’ Creed.

It is clear in the Rites and in

the literature of the Church that

the preference is to bury the

body or to at least have the body

present at the funeral liturgy

before cremation. Because of the

increase in

requests for

cremation,

and out of the

pastoral concern

that we

do not forget

the merciful

14 Saint of

the Month

16 Bow

Down

Father Matthew Pratscher

is parochial vicar at St. Dominic

Parish in Bolingbrook. To submit

questions to him, email

magazine@dioceseofjoliet.org.

work of commending a beloved

soul to God through our rites and

prayers, on March 21, 1997, the

Sacred Congregation for Divine

Worship and the Discipline of

the Sacraments granted an indult

that permits the local bishop to

allow for the cremated remains

to be present at the funeral Mass.

The appendix of the Order of

Christian Funerals contains ritual

adaptations for when the funeral

rites are celebrated in the presence

of the cremated remains of

a body.

tradición de la Iglesia mostrar respeto y reverencia

por el cuerpo, porque fue un templo del Espíritu

Santo (ver 1 Cor. 6:19), cuando fue lavado por el bautismo

y ungido con el aceite de la salvación. Ha sido

alimentado con el pan de vida, ha amado y a sido

amado por otros. No somos solo espíritu; estamos

compuestos por el cuerpo y espíritu, y Jesús nos

revela através de su cuerpo resucitado y glorificado

que, también nosotros experimentaremos la resurrección del cuerpo,

lo cual predicamos en el Credo de los Apóstoles.

Es claro que en los Ritos y en la literatura de la Iglesia la preferencia

es que hay, que el cuerpo sea enterrado o por lo menos tener

el cuerpo presente en la liturgia del funeral antes de la cremación.

Por la creciente solicitud de cremaciones y, fuera de la preocupación

pastoral, que no se olvide de la obra misericordiosa de recomendar

un alma querida a Dios a través de nuestros ritos y oraciones. El 21

de marzo de 1997, la Sagrada Congregación para el Culto Divino y la

Disciplina de los Sacramentos otorgó un indulto que autoriza al obispo

local permitir que las cenizas del cuerpo cremado estén presentes

en la Misa del Funeral. El anexo de la Orden de Funerales Cristianos

contiene adaptaciones del ritual, para cuando los ritos del funeral

sean celebrados en la presencia de las cenizas del cuerpo cremado.

Feast of The Holy Innocents, martyrs December 28 | St. Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr December 29

YOUR FAITH

ICatholic Charities

t was a rainy day in late August when I

visited Polly Anna Ellison-White. It also

happened to be her 109th birthday.

As she sat in her wheelchair enjoying

ice cream and cookies to celebrate

the landmark day, I watched as Polly Anna’s

friend leaned in to ask her a question.

“Do you think it was raining 109 years

ago today, Polly?” Midge Daucanski asked.

A smile washed across Polly Anna’s face as

she responded, “How would I remember?”

The two women chuckled, as they’ve

done hundreds of times over the course

of their 11-year friendship. The pair met

when Polly Anna and Midge were matched

through Catholic Charities’ Senior Companion

Program, which connects low-income

seniors with homebound seniors who need

extra attention. Midge had recently lost her

husband and sought volunteer opportunities

to help ease her out of her grief. “I was walking

around in a fog. I was just a robot,” she

recalls now of the difficult time in her life.

Polly Anna was 98 years old at the time and

living independently, but on a very limited

income. Plus, she needed some additional

care after a recent hospitalization.

Midge told me that Polly Anna has

taught her many things over the years. For

example, Polly Anna shared her passion for

cooking with Midge. The two would meet

for a visit and have six crockpots lined up

on the kitchen counter, full of traditional

Southern food.

The two women spend hours sharing

stories from their long and interesting

lives. Midge is fascinated when Polly Anna

To learn more about the programs and services provided by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet,

please visit catholiccharitiesjoliet.org

Friends

for Life

reminisces about her childhood in Alabama,

growing up with 13 siblings, jobs as a cook

and a nanny, escaping her abusive husband

and the journey to her home in Kankakee.

Midge shared many stories of her late husband,

helping her grieve.

A few years ago, Polly Anna needed a

higher level of care and moved from her

home into a nursing home in Bourbonnais.

Even though Polly Anna now receives fulltime

care, Midge still visits often.

It’s hard to imagine what Polly Anna and

Midge’s lives would be like without the bond

they share as part of Catholic Charities’ Senior

Companion Program. Perhaps Midge

would have spiraled deeper into her grief

and depression. Maybe Polly Anna wouldn’t

have been able to live independently in

her home for as long as she did. There’s

no way of knowing, but it’s clear to me that

both women’s lives have been enriched and

blessed by this invaluable connection.

Sitting with these two fantastic women, I

am struck by how perfectly matched they

are, despite the fact that they have almost

nothing in common.

“I just love Polly to death,” Midge explains.

“It’s a great connection.”

Story and Photography by Maggie Pielsticker

13


14

S

aint Francis Xavier, the

patron saint for the Diocese

of Joliet, never

set foot in America.

But, his connection

with the diocese can be tied to

the fact that Bishop Martin D.

McNamara, the first bishop of

the diocese, was a pastor at

St. Francis Xavier in Wilmette,

Ill., before being named bishop.

And he was the one who designated

the diocese’s patron saint.

So, who was this saint?

He was born in Navarre, Spain, in 1506,

and he is known for his evangelization eorts

in India and Japan. He was a co-founder, with

St. Ignatius of Loyola, of the Society of Jesus,

commonly referred to as the Jesuits. Here is

how one of his biographers, Horatio Tursellinus,

described St. Francis Xavier: “It is almost

impossible to imagine the charm of his face, his

gestures, his talk, his words. His natural gifts,

perfected by the grace of God, attracted and

held hearts. A smile always gay, a freedom without

reserve, sympathetic conversation – it was

enough for a sick man to see him to feel better,

a healthy one to be exhilarated and joyous.

Many went to him to stimulate their souls with

his heavenly force, to excite in themselves the

desire for a good life, to set their souls on fire.”

The seeds of his own fire started within his

family. St. Francis Xavier was the fifth and

youngest child of pious parents who instructed

him well in the faith. He attended the University

of Paris, hoping to return to Spain as a

scholar-priest to find a well-paying position.

But, at the university, he shared a dormitory

room with Ignatius of Loyola. One of the ways

the future St. Ignatius ignited a zeal for the faith

in his friend was by constantly asking Francis

one question Jesus posed in the Gospel: “What

profit is there for one to gain the whole world

yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Luke 9:25)

Growing in faith, the seven young men who

co-founded the Society of Jesus decided to oer

themselves at the service of the Church. In St.

Francis Xavier’s case, that meant he became a

missionary, something he did with great zeal.

Some of the places he traveled to included

the East Indies, Western India, Malacca, the

Malucca Islands and Japan. In all those places,

he preached and catechized, and thousands of

people converted to Catholicism.

“I wish [university students] would work

as hard at converting these people as they do

at their books,” he once wrote, “and so settle

their account with God for their learning and

the talents entrusted to them. This thought

would certainly stir most of them to meditate

on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what

God is saying to them. They would forget their

own desires, their human aairs, and give

themselves over entirely to God’s will and His

choice. They would cry out with all their heart:

‘Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do?

Send me anywhere you like – even to India!’ ”

One of the ways he catechized was to write

verses in the language of the people he was

visiting, illuminating them about the Catholic

faith. Then he would set the verses to a

“catchy” tune.

He suered persecutions. Traveling was not

easy in those days, so his life was usually spent

in constant danger. Reportedly, he did not fear

death because he felt he was being sent by the

Holy Spirit. “If I die, it is because God wills it,

and he will send other laborers,” he wrote to

friends once. In another letter he wrote, “Abundant

spiritual consolations … are to be found

on these islands; for all the toils and dangers

that are willingly encountered here for the

love and service of God our Lord are treasures

abounding in great spiritual consolations, so

much in fact that in here on these islands a

man might well lose sight of his bodily eyes

within a few years from the abundance of his

consoling tears … It would be better if they

were called ‘Islands of Hope in God’ rather than

‘Islands of Moro.’ ”

His love for others and for Christ compelled

him to evangelize far from his home.

As he put it once: “Many, many people

hereabouts are not becoming Christians for

one reason only: There is nobody to make

them Christians.”

San Francisco Javier, el Santo Patrón de la Diócesis

de Joliet, nunca puso un pie en América. Sin

embargo, su conexión con la diócesis pudiera ser a

través del Obispo Martín D. McNamara, quien fuera

el primer obispo de la diócesis, que siendo sacerdote, se le

asignó como pastor de la parroquia de San Francisco Javier

en Wilmette, IL. Fue el Obispo McNamara, quien designó a

San Francisco Javier, como Santo Patrón de la Diócesis.

¿Quién es este santo?

Nació en Navarra, España, en

el año 1506 y es conocido por

sus esfuerzos en la evangelización

en India y Japón. Junto

a San Ignacio de Loyola fue

co-fundador de la Compañía de

Jesús, comúnmente llamados

Jesuitas.

Uno de sus biógrafos,

Horatio Tursellinus, lo describe

así: “Es casi imposible imaginar

el encanto de su rostro, sus

gestos, sus palabras. Sus dones

naturales, perfeccionados por la

gracia de Dios, atraía y retenía

corazones, una sonrisa siempre

alegre, una libertad sin reservas,

conversación agradable- todo

esto era suficiente para sanar a

un hombre enfermo, ver a un

hombre saludable regocijarse y

ponerse alegre. Muchos acudían

a él para estimular su alma con

su fuerza celestial, para despertar

en ellos el deseo por una

buena vida, para prender fuego

en sus almas.”

Las semillas de su propio

fuego comenzaron dentro de

su familia. San Francisco Javier

fue el quinto y el último de los

hijos, tuvo unos padres muy

piadosos quienes le instruyeron

muy bien en la fe. Asistió a la

Universidad de Paris, con la

esperanza de regresar a España

como profesor para sacerdotes

y encontrar una posición bien

pagada. Sin embargo, en la universidad

compartió el dormitorio

con Ignacio de Loyola. Una

de las maneras en que el futuro

San Ignacio encendió la chispa

del entusiasmo de la fe en su

amigo Francisco fue al preguntarle

constantemente aquella

pregunta que Jesús hizo en el

evangelio: “¿De que le sirve a

uno ganarse el mundo entero si

pierde y arruina su vida?” (Lucas

9, 25).

Creciendo en fe, los siete

jóvenes que co-fundaron la

Compañía de Jesús decidieron

ofrecerse al servicio de la Iglesia.

En el caso de San Francisco Javier,

eso significó convertirse en

misionero, algo que él hizo con

gran entusiasmo. Algunos de los

lugares a los cuales viajó fueron

las Indias Orientales, el Oeste de

India, Malacca, las Islas Malacca

y Japón. En todos esos lugares

predicó y catequizó. Fueron

miles de personas las que se

convirtieron al catolicismo.

En una ocasión escribió:

“Deseo que [estudiantes universitarios]

trabajen arduamente

en convertir a las personas tal

como lo hacen con sus libros. Y

así saldar sus cuentas con Dios

por lo aprendido y los talentos

que se les encomendaron. Este

pensamiento ciertamente que

incitaría a cualquiera de ellos

a meditar sobre las realidades

espirituales, a escuchar atentamente

a lo que Dios les estaba

llamando. Ellos se olvidarían de

sus propios deseos, de cualquiera

de sus asuntos y entregarían

completamente a los deseos de

Dios. Gritarían desde el fondo

de su corazón: ‘¡Señor aquí

estoy! ¿Qué quieres que haga?

Envíame a cualquier lugar que

tú desees… ¡Aún a India!’ ”

Una de las maneras que

utilizaba para catequizar, era escribiendo

versos en el lenguaje

de los lugares que visitaba,

iluminándolos con la fe católica.

Y, después, convertía los versos

a una tonada “con gancho.”

San Francisco Javier sufrió

persecuciones. En aquellos días

viajar no era fácil, así que su

vida estuvo en constante peligro.

Se dice que él no le temía a la

muerte, ya que sentía que era

enviado por el Espíritu Santo.

En una ocasión escribió a sus

amigos, “Si muero, es porque

Dios así lo desea, y después

enviará a nuevos trabajadores,”

y en otra ocasión escribió:

“Abundantes consuelos espirituales…..

se han de encontrar en

estas islas; por todos los trabajos

y peligros que por voluntad

propia se enfrentan en este

lugar, por el amor y servicio a

Dios nuestro Señor, son tesoros

que abundan en los grandes

consuelos espirituales, tal es el

caso que en estas islas, un hombre

podría perder la vista de

sus ojos corporales en tan solo

unos años por la abundancia de

sus lágrimas de consuelo…sería

mejor si se les llamara “Islas de

Esperanza en Dios” en lugar de

llamarse ‘Islas de Moro.’”

Su amor por otros y por

Cristo lo llevaron a evangelizar

lejos de su hogar. Como el

dijera en una ocasión: “Muchas,

muchas personas aquí no se

están convirtiendo al cristianismo

por una sola razón: no hay

nadie quien los convierta en

Cristianos.”

t Francis Xavier Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

15

Story by Carlos Briceño


YOUR FAITH

Spiritual Fitness

Bow Down

The Meaning of the Christmas Crèche

T

he Word was made

flesh. The very source

of life, the creator of all

things of us sent His

son in the likeness of

sinful man. The Father sent His Son

in human flesh to dwell among us

that we might draw near to God. Do

we?

Often, I hear people say that “we will take our

children to the crib and explain to them what is

going on in this scene and who He is. It is so dear,

so good for the children.”

But what about us “world-weary” adults? What

do we think when we look at the crib scene?

Do we still believe? If we do, what exactly do we

Spiritual Exercise:

• I would encourage you to have a

manger scene in your home beginning

with Advent. Each day, visit that

little crèche and gaze upon this reminder

that God loved you so much He would

come down to you; He would stoop so

that you could gaze on Him and see

Him eye-to-eye in order to save you

from your sins and lead you home!

• This little child is your safety, your

security, your savior, the one who

conquered eternal death for you!

Does it take faith to believe that? Of

course. So come to the crèche and

kneel, bow down and ask God for faith.

Maybe you will feel like a fool, but the

Gospel is a paradox. It always turns

things upside down and inside out.

believe? Will we kneel before the manger scene in

church this Christmas and thank God, our Father,

for what He has given us in His Son, Jesus Christ?

God, the Father, gave us His only Son and that

Son, Jesus, came into our world as a vulnerable,

helpless infant depending on total care from human

beings. He made Himself utterly helpless so

that we could draw near and not be afraid. God

our Father did not want us to be terrorized by

seeing His infinite majesty. So he came “in human

form, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:7)

We were made for union with God. But God

will not coerce! He gave us the awe-full gift of free

will so we are free to choose. We can choose to

utterly reject, or we can choose to draw close to

that tiny infant in a cold manger, a food trough,

who became like us in all things but sin so that

we might more easily bow down.

God, the Father gave us His only Son and that Son, Jesus, came

into our world as a vulnerable, helpless infant depending on total

care from human beings. He made himself utterly helpless so that

we could draw near and not be afraid.

Embracing truth will set you free. “Bow

down in order to be raised up.” Unless

you become like a little child, you cannot

enter the kingdom of heaven. The

Gospel is a paradox over and over. God

turns the world’s priorities upside down

and inside out

• When we bow down before that

manger, we are saying in effect:

“Lord, I kneel before you. I need

your help, your saving grace in my

life. I need to grow in faith that I might

be able to trust you with my life.” You

may feel foolish but God hears that

prayer and will respond. Give Him the

gift of your humility this Christmas, the

admission that you don’t have all the

answers, even that you don’t have any

answers. Many things we’ve tried in

life have failed, have turned to dust…

16 Christ FAITH Christ FAITH Christ FAITH Christ is Magazine our Hope / July/August / December 2011

2011 /

www. www.FAITHmag.com

/ Dioceseofjoliet.org

FAITHmag .com

Feast of the Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph December 30 | St. Sylvester I, pope December 31

Sister Ann Shields is a

renowned author and a member

of the Servants of God’s

Love. Questions can be addressed

to Sister Ann Shields,

Renewal Ministries, 230

Collingwood, Suite 240, Ann

Arbor, MI 48103

For more

reflections

on

prayer and a

fuller treatment

of this topic,

see my book: Pray

and Never Lose Heart,

available from Renewal

Ministries, 230 Collingwood,

Suite 240, Ann

Arbor, MI 48103. $12.

we feel empty, helpless, in need. And

every time you kneel down in front of

the manger during Advent, ask Him for

faith — faith to believe that He is a God

of love, faith to believe that He forgives

your sins when you admit them and

ask him for forgiveness, faith that He

knows you and loves you and wants to

shepherd your life, if you will allow Him

to do so.

• Then, on Christmas Eve, go to

church, and, before Mass, go to the

manger and offer that small baby

your whole life – to begin again

to follow Him or to follow Him more

closely. That infant is your Savior, your

Lord, your Redeemer. God paid the

ultimate price for your life: His life to

save yours. Bow down and accept His

gift; His gift that is beyond price.

T. Gennara

17


Living Life

While Dying

YOUR STORIES

Cover Story

D

eacon Tom Richardt, from

St. Joan of Arc in Lisle,

is dying. Diagnosed with

pancreatic cancer earlier in

the year, he does not know

how long he has to live. What he does know

is his cancer cannot be cured – it’s spread

to his lymph nodes – and his medical care

these days consists of a morphine patch

and chemotherapy.

“The chemotherapy is not curative,” he said, “but the doctor is

trying to slow down the growth of the tumor so that I don’t have to

increase the pain medication.”

At one point during the summer, his level of pain discomfort

was so intense that his wife had to help him out of the door of

their home. He was on his way to see a Franciscan nun who

has a healing ministry, and the day after he saw her, he said the

intensity of the pain had disappeared. And since then, even before

his chemotherapy, he has not taken any supplementary pain

medication, he said.

He attributes the decrease in pain to the power of prayer.

After the pastor, Father Gabriel Baltes, O.S.B., at his parish told

parishioners at all the Masses in the spring that Richardt had

cancer and asked others to pray for him, dozens of people let him

know about health problems within their families or that they were

praying for him.

“My eyes were opened,” he said. “My heart was opened to them.

I could listen with much empathy and could understand what they

were saying. Because of my diaconate, I think I’m able to bring

some spiritual wellness into the conversation. I tell them the Lord

is there for us with His hand out. He has His arm around us. We

are not alone.”

In terms of his own spiritual life, he said that before his illness

he thought he was in good spiritual shape. He tried to live out the

Gospel message, he said. But, since his diagnosis, he has developed

a better relationship with Jesus.

“I’m not looking at Him as somebody way, way far away that

I’m trying to serve but someone that I am close to, walking with,

talking with, conversing with every day,” he said. “There’s a

dierence there. He’s not two miles away. He’s in this room. He’s

sitting next to me. He’s holding my hand. I feel that.”

His wife, Barbara, has also felt the power of other people’s

prayers.

“The prayers of others help get me up in the morning,” she said.

The illness has made her realize how much she needs God in

her life.

“I hope each day that I live I am growing closer to God,” she said.

“The illness has opened my eyes to how much I depend on God.

18

Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

19


20

Each day I feel Him walking with me, with us. And each day,

as I continue to pray that His will be done, I hope that His

will is my prayer: healing for Tom.”

But in the end, she knows that God will continue to be

there for her, no matter what happens.

“The love that Tom and I share is a gift from God,” said

Barbara, who has been married to her husband for 42 years,

“and I cherish each moment and touch that I have with

him. I cannot conceive life without him. But, in my heart,

though, I know God will not forget or abandon me. I’m

torn between knowing that Tom will be in the arms of God,

which is our goal, and knowing that when I reach out, I

will not be able to touch his hand.”

To thank people who were praying for him and to share

with them what he was experiencing, he gave the homily

at all the Masses during a weekend in June. (The homily is

printed at the end of this article.)

The homily resonated with a lot of people, he said, as

many asked him for a copy of it.

He made the point that people should live every day as if

it were their last.

“One of the biggest frustrations that I have is I see time

as something that is very, very precious, and I need to do

so much in such a short period of time,” said Richardt,

65, who has been a deacon since 2007. “Sleep is a thing

Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

of premium. I find myself getting up and spending half

a night doing things I fear I am not going to get done.

Things around the home. I don’t want to leave my wife with

something that needs to be done or is only partially done.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but two nights ago I got

up and mopped the kitchen floor at 3:30 in the morning. It

came over me while I was sleeping that this was something

I needed to do. Or I will get up and put together some

things for the ministries that need to be done in terms of

specific details.”

He said he realizes that all that he is trying to take care of

before he dies is “ridiculous” because it is never-ending.

“There is never going to be a time when I can finally say

I’ve got everything done,” he said, “because my life is too

complex to ever let that happen so part of this emptying

myself is I have to learn how to turn things over to our Lord

and say, ‘You know, Lord, I can’t do it all. You’re going to

have to kick in here.’ And He has. And I’m learning how to

do that.”

He is sleeping much better, as a result, he said.

“My conversations with our Lord have much more

meaning now, and I’m able to be more at peace. This is part

of that emptying yourself, and I think I’m finally going to

get to a point where I turn everything over to Him and say,

‘You know what, Lord, I’m ready.’ ”

Deacon Richardt’s Homily About God’s Love

For those of you new to the parish, I am Deacon Tom.

It has been nearly three months since Father Gabriel

announced to you of my untreatable cancer diagnosis.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the

cards, well-wishes, encouraging dialogue, suggestions, health

foods, healing touches, sacramentals, Masses, novenas and the

continuing prayers. Without these acts of sincere kindness and

the “stormin’ of heaven,” I can only guess what state of mind I

would be today, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that

with these prayers you have given me life, a wonderful life that

can only come from Christ our Lord through the intercession

of the Holy Spirit. I feel our Lord with me every moment. The

sky is bluer, the rainbows brighter, the presence of God’s love

is so much more vibrant – even the evening lightning bugs are

brighter. I see God’s mercy and I feel His love. My conversation

with Him is frequent, spontaneous and more meaningful;

the love for my wife, Barbara, is deeper than ever. I could go

on and on, but I won’t. Let me sum it up by telling you I feel

surrounded with love – from you, my sisters and brothers. I pray

each day for all of you that God’s mercy and love will permeate

your life as well. Thank you!

All is not as comfortable as I would like; I have good days, and

then I have better days; but, all of us could say that! I know that

many of you are enduring much more pain and discomfort than

I, and I pray for your relief. My doctor has told me my cancer

has not gone away. Sometimes I wonder if he is surprised that

I am still here. But, I can tell you what has gone away – thanks

to your prayers – is my fear, my fear of hearing what the Lord

expects of me and not being able to meet those expectations

because I am a sinner – one unworthy of God’s love. But I have

rid myself of that fear and having no fear is, in fact, emptying

yourself to God – trusting in Him and admitting to yourself that

you are dependent on Him.

That God loves you always despite our sins against Him and

one another. The more I accept that, the more I love Him. This

was a conversion step for me! And, the psalm today captures

that: “Lord, you are good and forgiving.”

Several months ago, I was finishing my consultation with the

wonderful sta at the Mayo Clinic. At the end of my visit, the

doctor looked over my report, raised his eyes to me and told

me there wasn’t anything medically they could do for me. Like

a voice from someone I should have recognized, he said, “Live

every day as if it were your last.” You could have knocked me

over with a feather! I immediately thought to myself – shouldn’t

I be doing that anyway? Hasn’t Jesus told us we don’t know the

hour or the day? During His time on earth, didn’t He give us

the example for how to bring heaven on earth? Didn’t He reveal

to us so many things that can bring happiness to each one of

us now and forever? Didn’t He send us the Holy Spirit, give us

the Church, the sacraments and the community of saints and

sinners to help us?

All my life, I have listened to His word. Yet, I confess I have

not always heard Him! Why is it that I hear what my doctor tells

me but have ignored what our Lord has been telling me? Could

it be that it was Christ attempting to reach me in another way

through the guise of a doctor?

When I was growing up in rural southern Indiana, our family

had a quarter-acre family garden and eight kids to care for it.

My dad didn’t believe in chemical weed killers, so finding ways

to get a good harvest of fresh vegetables was always a challenge.

There were times when the weeds were as plentiful as the good

plants. My dad, like the master in the parable, would tell us to

make sure the plants with the weeds were watered and cared

for, and at “pickin’ time” we would separate the vegetables from

the weeds. He would say, “Don’t uproot the garden to take out

the weeds.” In today’s Gospel, God uses the weeds as an analogy

for our sins – steadily forgiving our sins – letting them stay with

us, reminding us of our faults, without uprooting us. Certainly,

God wants to forgive us. He does not want to preserve the weeds

(in other words, our sins), but He loves everything about us. He

loves us because we are sinners; we need Him!

I love the good-guy, bad-guy movies. I used to watch Superman

and the bad guy battle it out in the comic books. They would

fight man-to-man, wielding secret weapons and tricks, sometimes

somersaulting across the tops of skyscrapers, spinning kicks to

the head. Finally, the bad guy would fall lifeless over the edge.

Retribution was accomplished. A silent roar of approval would

swell within me. Good was again the winner. All were relieved

and happy – except, of course, the bad guy.

Just for an exercise, pretend you are the bad guy. As the bad

guy, maybe there is a moment when a deep-down whisper says,

“I wish I could stop this ugliness and be a good person.” I think

we all have had those moments. If this is so, we have hit upon

the point of today’s Gospel in still another way. Admitting that

we are full of weeds and sins is so important to us and to our

God. We can call it a step – a conversion step – realizing that He

loves us despite our sins and those ever-present weeds.

Imagine Jesus saying from the cross, “Father, send all these

people who have hurt me to Hell forever.” Now that would be

a major case of tearing out both weeds and veggies. Instead, He

leaves the weeds and says, “Father, forgive them, they know not

what they do.” Emptying ourselves – having the faith and trust

that God will not rip out the weeds in us, but will forgive us as

many times as it takes because of His infinite love for us – makes

every day the best day of our life.

Forgive the weeds!

Catechism Tip: God Oers Forgiveness

through Sacrament of Reconciliation

The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists

in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in

an intimate friendship.” Reconciliation with God is thus

the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those

who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite

heart and religious disposition, reconciliation “is usually

followed by peace and serenity of conscience with

strong spiritual consolation.” Indeed the sacrament of

Reconciliation with God brings about a true “spiritual

resurrection....” (Catechism, number 1468)

Story by Carlos Briceño | Photography by Alexus Jones

21


22

Making Heavenly Music

from the Cathedral

N ick

Thomas’ job as director of

music at the Cathedral of St.

Raymond Nonnatus started

25 years ago. He was working

as the choir director at

Holy Ghost Parish in South Holland when

he saw an ad in a newspaper for the job at

the cathedral in Joliet. After he got hired, his

first month at work was a bit of a doozie in

terms of an introduction.

He played the music at the cathedral for the funeral of a congressman,

Rep. George O’Brien, who had recently died. One of

the dignitaries at the funeral was then Vice President George

H.W. Bush’s wife, Barbara. Then, shortly afterward, one of the

prisoners held captive in Iran during the hostage crisis that

began during President Jimmy Carter’s tenure and ended when

Ronald Reagan became president was welcomed back. Father

Lawrence Jenco, a former hostage who was born in Joliet, attended

a Mass at the cathedral.

“It was my third week on the job,” Thomas said. “It was a

nationally televised event. I didn’t know the choir. That was

very wow.”

In the years since, Thomas has obviously had time to get to

know the people who make up the choirs – there’s a cathedral

choir and a diocesan choir, made up of singers from the cathedral

and from around the diocese who usually perform during

special Masses, such as the ordination of a bishop.

The cathedral choir season usually runs from September

through June. They rehearse every Wednesday during those

months, between one-and-a-half hours to three hours. Their

preparation includes learning two dierent choral anthems

every week, rarely repeating, Thomas said.

But one of the strengths about the choir is that most of them

know each other really well. There are about 35 members in

the cathedral choir, and he added that he’s known 25 of them

for about 20 years or more.

“We’ve become like a very close family,” he said.

One of the choir members, Michael Zafran, has known

Thomas since 1982. Zafran sang for Thomas when Thomas

was the choir director at Holy Ghost Parish and then continued

the friendship by joining the cathedral choir.

“He’s real friendly,” Zafran said. “He draws you in like he’s

a friend to everybody. Even though he’s a director, he still has

that likability.”

Megan Goolsby, another cathedral choir member, has known

Thomas for more than 20 years. She is a music teacher in the

Plainfield School District, so she appreciates the eort Thomas

puts forth.

“He’s entertaining as a musician,” she said. “It’s such a thrill.

It’s so much fun. The music he puts out is phenomenal. Some

of it is very challenging. The end result, when you hear it with

the orchestra playing, it’s just spectacular. Every holiday, every

season, I have chills. I remember the first Christmas we did with

him. I remember my husband, my son and I came home, and

I said, ‘Oh, my gosh. That was so beautiful.’ He goes above and

beyond with all of his music.”

In terms of his other preparation, Thomas also rehearses on

Tuesdays with members of the cathedral and diocesan chorale

before special liturgies. During this past summer, the highlight

of their eorts was the installation Mass for Bishop R. Daniel

Conlon, the diocese’s fifth bishop, who was installed on July 14

at the cathedral.

There were 135 singers and an orchestra consisting of 18

members for that Mass – the most ever for a Mass he’s been

involved with, he said. He spent around 40 hours in the weeks

before to prepare, he said.

“Some churches are known for their contemporary music, and

others are known for their Gregorian chant music,” he said. “And

others who strictly do hymns. I try to do a little bit of all of that.”

Excellence is something Thomas always has strived for in

presenting music at the cathedral.

“The music people all know that, and I also strive for professionalism,”

he said. “If you are professional, it comes forth in

what you do.”

But there also are other things that he hopes for: that the

music helps people to pray and sets a good example.

“The cathedral is the example of what the liturgy should

be for the diocese,” he said. “I always tell [the choir members]

what we do, whether we know it or not, in some way or

some how, will go back to a visiting person, or a person from

another parish or another state. In the summer, I’ll have people

come up to me and say, ‘I’m visiting from Michigan. Or I’m

visiting from California. We just love the music. It’s so dierent

than from where we worship.’ A lot of times people will ask – I

guess it’s a good thing because they liked it – they’ll ask what

music we did that day. They get a title and a composer so they

can take it back to their church choir director.”

Thomas’ love for music was probably born because his father

played the drums and played in a local band. Thomas sang in

choirs while growing up in Lafayette, IN, and the Chicagoland

area.

“In junior high school, I was the only boy in the choir with 8

million girls,” he said.

He didn’t learn how to play the piano or organ until his first

year in college. He went to Thornton Junior College, which is

now known as South Suburban College, in South Palos for two

years and then went to Chicago State University, where he got a

bachelor’s degree in music, with an emphasis on choral music.

He taught music at Laramie Junior High School in Oak Forest,

while getting his master’s degree in music, with a choral em-

YOUR STORIES

Feature Story

phasis, from Governors State University. He taught at the junior

high school level for eight years and then got his first full-time

job at a parish. He also taught as a part-time instructor at South

Suburban College for 16 years; 13 years ago he was hired at

Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills as the music

instructor and co-ordinator and now he is the head of the Department

of Fine Arts and Humanities there.

When he arrived at the cathedral, he directed the choir in

back of the altar, by the side of the pulpit. Then the location

was changed to the side of the cathedral where the St. Joseph

statue is, during the renovation 20 years ago. Then, after the

arrival of former Bishop Peter Sartain and with his approval,

the choir ended up in the balcony, its present location, he said.

Renovations had to be made, with Thomas leading the fundraising

charge. The choir raised more than $96,000, which

went toward purchasing an organ and leveling the pews and

getting choir risers and a carpet and storage space, he said.

Over the years, he added, he and the choir have raised more

than $297,000 to help purchase equipment, such as pianos,

hand bells, choir robes, hymnals and timpani.

But, in the end, it’s really the music that makes it all worthwhile.

As for what kind of music he likes, Thomas said he likes

the music of Aaron Copland, George Gershwin and the Beatles,

though he also likes the Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry. Some of

his favorite songs are “Amazing Grace” and “Panis Angelicus.”

“A standing joke in the choir is if they know I like something,”

he said, “then they add it to my ongoing funeral list

of choices that I’m going to have at my funeral, which totals

around 200 songs.”

Until then, Thomas will keep on leading beautiful music at

the cathedral.

Danae Iacovella

Story by Carlos Briceño

23


YOUR STORIES

Feature Story

Facing

Sorrow

with Faith

I

t was going to be a great trip for Jim Hoeflinger and his wife, Marie, a romantic

getaway to Hawaii, where the couple had gone on their honeymoon 20 years

earlier. The trip wasn’t as expensive as it could have been because Jim’s sister,

Cheryl, and brother-in-law, Tom, had invited them to stay at their time-share resort

in Maui. And Marie had no inkling that Jim had set up a special surprise – a ceremony

for them to renew their wedding vows. Everything was perfect, except for one thing:

Marie was dying. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2004 and, by

the time of the trip to Hawaii, the cancer had spread to her brain.

Usually Hawaii is like paradise, but when

the couple arrived, the island was experiencing

a tropical depression. So it rained. And

rained. And rained.

But then, after three days, on the day the

ceremony was supposed to take place, the

horizon began to clear. And, with tears of joy,

they were able to renew their vows during a

beautiful sunset, he said.

He could not sleep well that night, he said.

So, without waking his wife, he rose around

5:30 a.m. and began walking on the beach.

He said he felt extremely calm as he walked.

At one point, he came across a small bonfire,

though no one was around. Then he saw the

sunrise.

“I began to notice the bright orange-red

sunrise coming over the eastern hills as the

sky began to change colors,” he said. “In

the distant western sky, it was still dark and

gloomy from the storms around the island.

Suddenly, as the sun began to rise further, I

saw the most beautiful double rainbow over

the other distant islands. The sky reminded

me of puy pink, blue and orange cotton

candy as the sunrise worked its way around

the distant stormy skies. As I continued

to walk back to the hotel, I noticed sprays

of water in the distant waves. I [gave] a

closer look and realized I was watching

whales swimming and spraying water in the

distance.”

He eventually returned to the hotel, where

Marie was still asleep, and started to reflect

on what he saw.

“I realized that God was talking to me,” he

said. “He held me in His hand, showing me

the miracles and beauty of His creation. The

calm I felt was Him telling me everything was

going to be all right. Marie was on her way to

a glorious place in Heaven. He was telling me

that I was going to be safe, too. I believe this

passionately from the depths of my heart and

my soul. I felt Jesus in my heart.”

Marie died several weeks later, on May 5,

2006.

He had met Marie about 25 years ago. She

was a receptionist at a law firm he worked

at. He invited her to lunch one day on her

birthday. They started dating. And then they

got married and had three children. They

moved from Chicago to Plainfield.

He went to Catholic grade school growing

up. He was an altar boy and attended a

Catholic high school.

“I always felt connected spiritually with

God,” said Hoeflinger, a parishioner at St.

Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield.

Marie, though, did not often attend Mass

with him. The only times were usually dur-

ing Christmas or Easter.

She developed a cough during the summer

of 2004. Tests revealed she had spots on

her lungs, though she didn’t smoke. She was

diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She

started chemotherapy, which did not help. In

time, the disease spread to her brain.

At a certain point, with the urging of some

friends, he felt he needed to prepare her,

spiritually, to get closer to Jesus.

One day, coming home from the doctor’s

oce with his wife, Hoeflinger decided to

stop by St. Mary Immaculate Parish, where

a statute of Our Lady of Fatima was set up

on the church grounds. He wanted to have a

conversation with her about her need to get

closer to Christ in order to prepare herself

spiritually for when she died.

They held each other and cried. He asked

her if she was ready to accept Jesus as her

Savior and if she was mentally and spiritually

ready to take the journey into heaven. They

also recited the Apostles’ Creed.

“I had never prayed like that with her

before,” he said. “Never. At that moment she

finally let Christ into her life, and I felt she

was spiritually ready.”

She had been afraid before, but he said

he saw her more at peace after that. She also

received the Anointing of the Sick, which,

according to the Catechism, is defined this

way: “The special grace of the sacrament of

the Anointing of the Sick has as its eects:

the uniting of the sick person to the passion

of Christ, for his own good and that of the

whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and

courage to endure in a Christian manner the

suerings of illness or old age; the forgiveness

of sins, if the sick person was not able to

obtain it through the sacrament of penance;

the restoration of health, if it is conducive to

the salvation of his soul; the preparation for

passing over to eternal life.”

Since her death, he has had to play father

and mother to his three children: Kelly, 22;

Ryan, 16; and Erik, 9. His faith has helped

him cope, he said.

“You cope through prayer,” he said. “You

cope through asking for the Lord’s support

and asking for the wisdom to get through

a situation. It’s really amazing when you’re

in that continual daily connection in prayer

with God, whatever you’re doing, life doesn’t

seem as dicult.”

He has tried to pass on that strong faith to

his children.

One time, as part of his middle child’s

preparation process for Confirmation, they

had to keep a prayer journal in which they

read Scripture passages and wrote down and

discussed faith-sharing questions.

He recalled two questions from the journals.

The first question was “Have you ever

prayed for something and received ‘no’ for an

answer from God?” He said his son replied

by saying, “Yes, I prayed my mom would live

and not die from cancer.” The second part of

the question was, “Do you think God knows

best’? His son replied, “Yes.”

Another question, Hoeflinger said, was

“How has God shown his faithfulness to you?

His son replied,

“I’ve felt Him in

my heart.”

Added

Hoeflinger: “I

am very proud

and happy he

has felt the

hand of God in

his life.”

He said he

has not been

angry at God at

any time since his wife’s death.

“I’ve accepted my faith 100 percent in

knowing this is God’s plan,” he said. “Is it

hard? Is it sad? Is it frustrating at times?

Absolutely. It’s His plan. Who knows what

would’ve been or could’ve been. This was His

plan. I don’t ask Him why; I just say, ‘Help

me cope. Help me understand. Help me be

the best I can be on this new journey because

there is nothing you can do about it.’ ”

What’s been the greatest lesson he’s

learned?

“If you truly believe in God and are truly

faithful to His plan, then you realize that

when you have a loss like I have had that it’s

not a permanent loss. It’s a temporary loss

because, if you truly believe in God’s plan,

you truly believe then that your eternal life is

not here but in heaven. That’s where she is,

and one day we will be together again, and

meanwhile you have to continue to live out

God’s plan the best way you can and let His

life shine through you and your family and

live your life by the commandments.”

But if Hoeflinger had to sum what advice

he would give to others who are facing a trial,

he said it would be to turn to Christ.

“What people need to get out of my faith

journey is that they should not be afraid to

ask Jesus to come into their lives and to ask

God to hold them in His hand and help

them,” he said. “It’s an easy gesture if it’s done

with passion and love in your heart. It was

a miracle for my wife, and it can happen to

anyone who has the courage to ask Jesus for

that same relationship. It’s truly that simple.”

24 Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

Story and photography by Carlos Briceño 25


The Gift of Christmas

Giving Hope to Those in Need

C atholic

Charities and Christ is our Hope magazine have collaborated to

offer the Gift of Christmas charitable campaign. To help others in need this

Christmas season, read the following stories, choose a family to support and

make a donation to Catholic Charities. Give others hope this holiday season!

Claudia and her five children recently

became homeless after a domestic violence

situation left her suddenly single and unable

to aord housing for her large family.

They are staying with Claudia’s sister until

they can get into an aordable apartment.

It’s been a challenging year emotionally and

financially, and Claudia’s young children

would love to have presents for Christmas.

Your gift of $300 could help purchase gifts

for this family.

Kelly has a chronic disease that caused her

to become paralyzed from the waist down.

She cannot work or drive, but is responsible

for her four children. Despite these dicult

circumstances, Kelly remains cheerful. Your

gift of $250 would purchase household

items and clothing for this family.

Grace is a senior who has lived with paranoid

schizophrenia for many years. She is

a great advocate for herself and others with

similar challenges. She lives on a very low

income and is unable to pay for anything

beyond her basic needs. Your gift of $150

would pay for the Tai Chi classes Grace

wants to take to help manage her stress.

Nia is six months pregnant with her third

child and is working with a nurse in Catholic

Charities’ Expectant Mothers Initiative.

She recently graduated from college and is

eager to find a job with her new degree, but

is currently unemployed and concerned

that she won’t be able to buy Christmas gifts

for her children this year. Your gift of $200

would buy clothes and toys for this family.

Mona and Jason are struggling to pay

their bills with one part-time income.

These loving parents volunteer in their

3-year-old daughter’s Head Start classroom.

They live with Jason’s mother, but hope to

rent their own apartment soon. Your gift

of $250 could get this family basic necessities

and also something special for their

daughter, Isabella.

When Alex’s wife of 16 years was killed in

a tragic accident this fall, he became a single

dad to the couple’s five children. While the

family grieves this sudden loss, Alex also

struggles to pay bills, provide basic necessities

for his children and continue to pay

funeral costs. Your gift of $300 could give

Alex and his family a bright Christmas.

Josefina works hard to provide for her

large family, but her limited income barely

covers the cost of food. Despite their challenges,

Josefina’s teenagers are all honor roll

students. Josefina would like to buy clothing

and bedding for her children – and a

new vacuum. Your gift of $300 would help

make that happen.

Imani and her two children stayed in a

refugee camp in a war-torn country after her

husband was killed. After barely surviving

her time in the camp with very little food or

clean water, the family came to the United

States. Although Imani spoke very little

English and suered from Post Traumatic

Stress Disorder when she arrived in the U.S.,

she is flourishing with help from Catholic

Charities’ SHIFT program, a Permanent

Supportive Housing Program for homeless

families in DuPage County. Your gift of

$150 could allow Imani to buy gifts for her

children this Christmas.

John is 55 years old and lives alone with his

dog in a mobile home. He suers from de-

mentia in addition to several other medical

problems. When Catholic Charities began

helping John, he was behind in his rent and

in danger of eviction. He had no food and

couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten.

He’s now getting caught up on rent and

benefiting from home-delivered meals. John

would like to buy a vacuum to help clean

up the pet hair in his home. Your gift of

$150 would make this happen.

Amanda is facing an unplanned

pregnancy. She’s working with a case

manager from Catholic Charities’

Maternity Services Program and is

deciding between adoption and parenting

her child. Amanda is unable to work

during her pregnancy and needs to buy

household essentials. Your gift of $150

could help Amanda get these items.

Nicole is known for her strength and

determination to make a better life for her

five children. She and her family recently

escaped a violent relationship and ended

up at a Catholic Charities’ homeless

shelter. With little income and no family

support, Nicole was in a tough situation.

However, she found a job, saved money

and rented an apartment with help from

Catholic Charities. The family is looking

forward to spending their first Christmas

together, safe in their new home. Your gift

of $300 could help Nicole obtain household

items for her new apartment.

Sofia suered major brain

trauma when she was

beaten by her husband.

After sustaining this horrible

injury, she became a homeless

single mother with

no income and very little

family support. Catholic

Charities helped Sofia rent a

home where she can recover

and keep her family safe.

Although her own personal

struggles could be overwhelming,

Sofia’s top priority

is caring for her children.

The whole family needs

coats and boots for winter.

Your gift of $250 would make this happen.

Ana has custody of her two young nieces

and works hard to provide a safe and loving

life for them. She is proud of recently

becoming a Certified Nurses’ Assistant and

hopes that, with her new certification, she

can find a new job and move the family to

a better neighborhood because her current

job barely pays the bills. Your gift of $150

could help this family buy winter clothes

and a few new toys for Christmas.

Jasmine entered Catholic Charities’

Transitional Housing Program after she

courageously left her abusive husband

while she was pregnant and had three

other young children. She returned to work

immediately after her baby was born and

is working hard to take care of her family.

Jasmine needs professional clothes for her

new job, in addition to diapers and other

household items. Your gift of $250 could

make this happen.

Kiara had a tough childhood and now that

she’s a mom her main goal is ensuring that

her children receive the best education

and attend top colleges. Her children

participate in Catholic Charities’ Head

Start program to gain the experiences

that she was not fortunate enough to

receive. As a single mom, Kiara struggles

with meeting the basic needs of her five

children. Your gift of $300 would provide

this family with the warm winter clothing

they desperately need.

Marie is a senior who was the victim of

financial exploitation for many years. She

lives on a very limited income and came to

Catholic Charities for help because her bills

were going unpaid and she was ashaned

to lose her utilities. After working with a

case manager at Catholic Charities, Marie

has caught up on her bills. She would be

thrilled with new sheets for her bed and a

blanket for winter. Your gift of $150 would

make this happen.

Cassandra is a mom to four young girls

who became homeless last year and stayed

at Catholic Charities’ Hope House shelter.

Now the family lives in Catholic Charities’

Transitional Housing, and Cassandra works

two jobs in an eort to pay o her debts

and save money for her own place. Your gift

of $250 would help Cassandra purchase a

home computer to take online classes.

Although Shanice hadn’t intended to

become pregnant, she chose life and is optimistic

about parenting her child. Shanice’s

pregnancy is considered high-risk because

she struggles with mental illness. With the

help of her case manager from Catholic

Charities’ Maternity Services Program, she’s

reading books and taking classes to learn

how to be a good parent. Your gift of $150

would help Shanice buy baby items to

prepare for her bundle of joy.

To read about many more families in need and how you can help, visit

Catholic Charities’ website at www.catholiccharitiesjoliet.org and click on

the Gift of Christmas logo at the top of the page.

• Monetary gifts can be made for the Gift of Christmas in several ways:

call (815) 724-1140;

• Make your gift online using your credit card at www.catholiccharitiesjoliet.org

and clicking on the Gift of Christmas logo at the top of the page.

• Or, send a check payable to Catholic Charities. Mail it to Catholic Charities,

Gift of Christmas, at 203 N. Ottawa Street, Joliet, IL 60432.

For more information, call Maggie Pielsticker at (815) 724-1165 or

send her an email at mpielsticker@cc-doj.org.

26 Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

Story by Maggie Pielsticker | Photography by Carlos Briceño

27


28

Reflexiones de fe

La Luz que nos Enceguece

este tiempo santo, los

libros de oraciones presentan

un himno que nos invitan a

pensar en el gran misterio del

amor de Dios:

E n

Al seno de Madre santa

baja gracia celestial,

y el vientre de la doncella

lleva un fruto divinal.

En nuestros cantos se entrelazan la figura de la Virgen María

y del Salvador del mundo.

No podría ser de otro modo, pues, desde el anuncio del ángel

Gabriel, María se hace madre y el Creador se hace criatura.

¡Qué verdad tan Misteriosa! ¡Qué misterio tan Amoroso!

La luminosidad nos enceguece, tal como ocurre cuando miramos

el sol. El sol no se apaga, sigue brillando como siempre;

sin embargo, nuestros ojos se vuelven

incapaces de absorber tanta luz.

María, la bella joven de Nazareth;

María, la morenita del Tepellac: ¡Bendita

tú que llevaste por nueve meses al Salvador

del Mundo en tu seno!

María, cuéntame: ¿qué miró Dios en

ti, que te llamó para tan gozoso encargo?

María, que nos regalaste tu plasmada

imagen en la tilma de san Juan Dieguito,

cuéntame ¿cómo fueron esos nueve

meses de maternidad?

María, ¿qué hubo en tu corazón al no

encontrar un espacio aquella noche de

diciembre? ¿Qué sintió tu corazón al recibir al Creador en aquel

lugar dedicado a los animalillos? Cuéntame, Morenita mía, lo

que sentiste, viviste, pensaste. Dime tú, la llena de gracia, tu

alegría, tu contento, tu jubilo, al ver al niño Dios envuelto en tu

regazo.

Y, a través de María, nos llega el Salvador del mundo, cuyo

nacimiento, desborda el pensamiento de todo mortal. Una vez

más, la luminosidad de Dios nos enceguece. Una vez más,

reconocemos y ensalzamos la grandeza y el amor profundo

de Dios por todos y cada uno de nosotros. ¡Qué dios es más

grande que nuestro Dios! Nuestro Dios ha visitado y redimido

a su pueblo. Dios ha llegado a tu casa y a la mía, ha compartido

con nosotros el Pan del Cielo y nos ha ofrecido la salvación.

En este tiempo, se canta las virtudes de María, la joven y humilde

mujer de Nazareth; como también, la misericordia y bondad

de Dios que llega ha establecerse en medio de su pueblo.

Es imposible hablar de Jesús, sin hacer referencia a María.

Es imposible evangelizar, evitando decir el nombre de quien

Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

Por la fe concibe al Hijo,

no por obra de varón;

y su seno casto y puro

se toma templo de Dios.

tuvo en sus brazos al Salvador de todo ser humano. Tal vez,

por eso, con mucha sencillez, pero reconociendo también que

Dios ha hecho grandes maravillas en ella, expresa con una

alegría desbordante una verdad profética: “Desde ahora, todas

las generaciones me llamarán la llena de gracia.”Y eso es tan

cierto, que lo empezó diciendo el ángel Gabriel, su prima Isabel

y, a lo largo de la historia, la Iglesia Católica no ha dejado de

reconocer las bondades y misericordias

que Dios ha tenido con María, Madre del

Salvador. Pasarán los años y donde quiera

que se proclame la grandeza de Dios, la

misericordia de Jesucristo, la salvación del

ser humano, el nombre de María también

será pronunciado.

Este tiempo santo de Adviento y

Navidad, nos invita a renovar nuestra

fe, esperanza y caridad en Jesucristo y

su Iglesia. Este tiempo es una invitación

a dejar la envidia, el rencor, el enojo. Es

una invitación a ser mejor cristiano, mejor

hijo, mejor hermano, mejor amigo, mejor

esposo y esposa. Es un tiempo de gracia, es un tiempo que nos

debe llevar a la eternidad.

El himno de nuestra Iglesia durante este tiempo, refresca

la profecía de María, recordándonos a la llena de gracia: “Tu

vientre se hace templo de Dios.”

También, el mismo himno nos

expresa: “Se dará a luz a la Luz del

mundo.” La luminosidad de Dios nos

enceguece y nos fortalece.

Hermanos y hermanas,

hemos sido salvados en

Jesús, en aquel niño que

María tiene en su regazo.

¡Feliz tú que crees!

Y dio a luz la luz del mundo,

al que Gabriel anunció,

al que encerrado en su seno

el Bautista presintió.

Miguel Moreno es el Director de la Oficina Diocesana

del Ministerio Hispano. Usted puede comunicarse con él a

mmoreno@dioceseofjoliet.org.

El artículo por Miguel Moreno

Local News

Diocese Promotes the Sacred Heart

Devotion in Catholic School System

Father John Belmonte, SJ, the diocesan superintendent

for Catholic Schools, wanted to

unite Catholic school children across the diocese

in prayer and to get them closer to Jesus.

And one idea he had to do this was to create

“Perfect Friendship: A Sacred Heart Project,”

which promotes devotion to the Sacred Heart

of Jesus, helps develop the devotional life

of children and adults and implements the

Catholic identity strategy called forth in the

strategic plan for schools.

The project started on Oct. 17, which was

the feast day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque,

who is widely credited as one of the people

responsible for spreading the devotion after

seeing visions of Jesus that started in late

1673 and lasted for 18 months. In the visions,

Jesus told her she would be instrumental

in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart.

“The Sacred Heart of Jesus is an inexhaustible

fountain and its sole desire is to pour

itself out into the hearts of the humble so as

to free them…” she wrote in a letter. “From

this divine heart three streams flow endlessly.

The first is the stream of mercy for sinners;

it pours into their hearts sentiments of

contrition and repentance. The second is the

stream of charity which helps all in need and

especially aids those seeking perfection in

order to find the means of surmounting their

diculties. From the third stream flows love

and light for the benefit of His friends who

have attained perfection….”

A special day of training was held in mid-

October at the St. Charles Pastoral Center in

Romeoville, during which Catholic school

children from around the diocese attended

to learn about the devotion and to go back to

their schools to teach their fellow classmates

about the devotion.

One of the school children who attended

the training day was Aylin Padilla, an

8th-grade student at St. Andrew School in

Romeoville.

“I think it is really good that we get to

come out and represent our school so we

might be able to teach the younger ones

about it,” she said. “It’s pretty important to

learn about the Sacred Heart. We get to know

more about Jesus.”

Prayer activities and catechesis on the

devotion are being held at the schools every

Friday through mid-February, which is the

ending date of the project. A consecration to

the Sacred Heart Mass will be held on Feb.

23, with Bishop R. Daniel Conlon presiding.

Teachers at the schools have been encour-

aged to coordinate activities and lessons at their

individual schools and develop materials for

families at their homes, while parents have been

encouraged to promote family prayer activities

and home enthronement to the Sacred Heart

ceremonies.

A teacher who also attended the October

training day said she went through years of

Catholic schools growing up, but she never

heard about the Sacred Heart devotion.

“It is something I can use as an adult,” said

Rhonda Johnson of Immaculate Conception

School in Morris, who teaches fourth and fifth

grades. “This is a new outlook on how we look

at our faith.”

The Diocese Celebrates the Many Years of Service by Those in the Religious Life

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon celebrated a Mass honoring those who are in their jubilee years in the religious life in mid October. The following are

the jubilarians living and/or working in the diocese (listed with their order abbreviations and years of service):

80 Years

Sister Bernita Hessling, SSND

75 Years

Sister Rita Greene, OSF

Sister M. Judith Kurry, OSF

Sister Johanna Murphy, SSCM

70 Years

Reverend Louis B. Antl, OFM

Sister Cabrini Ganz, SSND

Sister Agnes Kulas, OSF

Sister Mildred Slabenak, OSB

Sister Marcellita M. Weller, OSF

65 Years

Sister Mary Patricia Fallon, OSB

Sister M. Josephine Kallus, OSB

Sister Mary Virginia Kallus, OSB

60 Years

Sister Marlene Bemis, OSF

Sister Dorothy Birk, OSF

Sister Eleanor Blake, OSF

Sister M. Yvonne Brais, SSCM

Reverend Warren Carlin, O.

Carm.

Sister Marguerite Caulfield,

IBVM

Sister Elizabeth Crotty, IBVM

Sister Julianne Diebold, OSF

Sister M. Francis Gresser, OSM

Siste Benita Jasurda, OSB

Sister Rosemary Lynch, IBVM

Sister Evelyn McCloskey, IBVM

Sister Jerome Marie Menard,

SSCM

Sister Anna Marie Metz, OSF

Sister Thomas Leo Monahan,

OP

Sister Rosemary Rafter, SP

Brother Bernard Rapp, FSC

Sister Barbara Rowan, OSF

Brother Nicholas Schumer, FSC

Sister Josephine Sincak, SFCC

Sister Mary DePaul Stava, OSB

Sister Patricia Ann Wagner,

OSF

Sister M. del Rey Waite, IBVM

Sister Patricia J. Walsh, OP

Sister Mary Lou Wcislo, IBVM

Reverend Donald R. Wehnert,

CSV

Sister Helen Zulka, OSF

50 Years

Sister Louise K. Bernier, OSF

Reverend Robert Colaresi, O.

Carm.

Sister Catherine Cox, OP

Sister Alice Drewek, OSF

Reverend James F. Fanale, CSV

Sister Ann Freiburg, OSF

Sister Madelyn Gould, OSF

Reverend John Guiney, SMA

Sister Judith Ann Heble, OSB

Sister Helen Kavanaugh, CND

Sister Martha Kienzler, OSF

Sister Mary Martin, O. Carm.

Sister Lois Prebil, OSF

Reverend R. William Sullivan,

OSA

Sister Elaine Teders, OSF

Sister Juanita Regine Ujcik,

OSF

Brother Thomas Dominic

Vance, FSC

40 Years

Sister Linda K. Hatton, SSCM

25 Years

Brother Christopher Ford, FSC

Sister Kamila Wojdyla, MChR

29


Sixth-grade students from St. James the Apostle School in Glen Ellyn recently dressed as their patron saints and/or their

favorite saints on All Saints’ Day as part of a school tradition, giving them the opportunity to learn about the lives of these

saints. During the Mass, which was presided by Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, they processed into the Mass and gathered

afterward for a photo with the bishop.

The Diocesan Pastoral Council: An

Advisory Board to the Bishop

The Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC)

consists of lay members, clergy and religious

who meet every three months as an

advisory board to the bishop. According to

their mission statement, they are “called to

dialogue and reflect on the directions of the

diocesan Church.”

During their most recent meeting in

early October, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon

spoke of his hope to enlist the DPC to assist

him in shaping the pastoral direction for

the diocese, said Sharon Pierscionek, the

council’s vice chairperson and a parishioner

at Christ the King in Lombard.

With that in mind, the Council created a

list of 33 suggested topics to be presented

to the four regional commissions for

consideration – and who will then return

to the full DPC with a list of four priorities.

Some of the topics include figuring

out how to assist those in financial distress

while community programs diminish;

promoting marriage; and encouraging

vocations.

In addition to the clergy and religious

who serve on the council, each diocesan

cluster has two representatives, one man

and one woman, who meet with the parishes

of their clusters, said Tom Kappel, the

Council’s recording secretary and a parishioner

at Ss. Peter and Paul in Naperville.

Following the cluster meetings, written

reports are filed and then presented at the

next full council meeting.

“Bishop Conlon wants to know what’s

on the parishes’ minds and where the diocese

can essentially be of the most help,”

said Kappel.

Another big aspect of the DPC is its

A Mass for persons with disabilities was celebrated on Oct. 16 at Holy Family Parish

in Shorewood. The brunch after the Mass was provided by the Joliet Chapter of

the Knights of Columbus. The volunteers were from several councils from around the

Diocese, including the Father Frank Anksorus Council 6521, who did all the cooking,

and officers of the Joliet Chapter. Several of the volunteers pose during the brunch with

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, who presided at the Mass.

role in organizing the Diocesan Assembly,

which is held every two years. According

to Kappel, “It usually has a significant

theme and the whole diocese is involved.

There’s a prominent speaker, and it’s a real

shot in the arm to the participants from our

parishes who attend. It’s an invigorating

diocesan-wide event.”

Annual Collection Provides Support

for 34,000 Elderly Sisters, Brothers,

Priests in Religious Orders

The 24th national collection for the Retirement

Fund for Religious will be taken up

in most U.S. parishes on Dec. 10-11. Sponsored

by the National Religious Retirement

Oce in Washington, the annual appeal

asks Catholics to Share in the Care of more

than 34,000 women and men religious past

age 70 who benefit from the collection.

As religious continue to age, fewer mem-

bers are able to serve in compensated ministry,

leading to a sharp decrease in income. By 2019,

National Religious Retirement Oce data

projects that retired religious will outnumber

wage-earning religious by nearly four to one.

For more information, visit www.retiredreligious.org.

Join Bishop Conlon and Bishop Siegel in a

Pilgrimage to Ireland

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon and Auxiliary

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel will be going to the

50th International Eucharistic Congress in

Dublin, Ireland, from June 9-19, 2012. Join

them on this pilgrimage of faith, which will

also include other cities and sites of interest to

Catholics in Ireland. The cost is $3,498 per

person. For more information and to register,

contact Patrick McKenna at 800-206-TOUR,

ext. 109, or at patrick@206tours.com. Or go

to www.pilgrimages.com/bishopconlon/

Barbara Gfesser Frank Stock

Last Word

30 Christ is our Hope / December 2011 / Dioceseofjoliet.org

31

31


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