St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Updated Message from the Bishop

Office of the Bishop

March 26, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we continue to respond to the spread and the danger of the coronavirus, I write once more to offer a word of encouragement. Many exceptional steps have been taken both in the Church and in the wider society, in an effort to protect individuals from exposure to the virus or from becoming a carrier that might expose others.

As Catholics, we recognize a particular obligation to see Christ in every moment of our lives, both the good and the challenging. Every sacrifice that we make is another step on our way to choosing for Christ, and therefore for eternal life in heaven itself.

We are a people of hope and trust in the Lord. Jesus has told us that His true followers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That means that we have received not only the gift of faith, but also the responsibility that comes with that gift. The current moment challenges us to live as those who truly believe that Jesus has not left us alone, but is with us even more closely when difficulties arise. Others, especially those who are fearful, ill, lonely or without faith, need to have our witness, especially now.

As the coronavirus problem is projected to intensify in the coming days, I write to convey to you some further dispositions to address the projected spike in cases and the longer timeframe that appears to be anticipated for protective measures. To that end:

1) Through Easter Sunday (up until and including Easter Sunday), all Masses are to continue to be celebrated privately without the presence of the faithful.

2) I also take this opportunity to extend the dispensation given to all the faithful from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass through Easter Sunday.

3) All adoration chapels are now to be closed in order to increase our response to protect the faithful from the spread of the coronavirus.

Given the continuing unavailability of the sacraments to the faithful except in grave circumstances, there is a widespread feeling of longing to be with Christ and with the Church. It is important that we continue to recognize the ability of Jesus to be close to us even in such an exceptional time.

I have asked Father Jonathan Bakkelund, Director of the Office of Divine Worship of the Diocese of Rockford, to prepare some thoughts on the Plenary Indulgences that the Vatican has made available at this time, as well as means for a spiritual communion when Eucharistic communion is not available, and likewise the richness of making a perfect act of contrition when sacramental reconciliation cannot be accessed. His very helpful comments are attached.

Please know of my prayers for all of you during this unprecedented time. I ask for your prayers as

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend David J. Malloy Bishop of Rockford


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We still need your help!

Our parishes are going to be hit hard financially with no Mass availability and no collection.
Please continue to be generous and give.
You can send a check in the mail or sign up for online giving by going to the parish’s website.
There you can give once, or put yourself on a schedule so that we can rely on your gift.
Thank you for your generosity. 

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Schedule during the Corona Virus

The Mass schedule will go on, even though they will not be celebrated publicly. The Masses will be streamed live on the Facebook pages respective to where the Mass is celebrated. That means that if the Mass is celebrated at St Mary Church, it will be streamed live on the St Mary Facebook and vice versa. The stations of the cross will also be streamend live as well as many other prayers that I pray as a priest every day. You can call in for confessions and set up a time. I am offering confessions at the regular times standing at the curb at St Mary’s church and St Joseph I will be at the Holy Family Statue in the courtyard area between the Church and the rectory. I do not want the virus to be spread by contact in the confesional with so many people coming in and out. I am looking at being in that same courtyard area at St Joseph Church for the previously scheduled “Be Reconciled Day”, Wednesday,  April 1. You may come and join me and go to confession. I plan on being out there all day. (Click more for the updated schedule) Continue reading

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Mass Celebrations and Intentions During the Public Mass Suspensions

Due to the Corona Virus and concern for your health, all the public Mass times and events are cancelled. If you have scheduled a Mass time for a loved one during this time, a Mass will be celebrated, just not in public. We hope to get the Mass and possibly other prayers streamed live on the Facebook pages. May God Bless you and keep you healthy.

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Holy Week Schedule

The Mass times will be celebrated privately as scheduled on the calendar for Holy Week and will be streamed live.

Palm Sunday 8am Mass will be streamed live on the St Mary’s Facebook. The other Mass times for that weekend wil not be streamed live.

Tuesday Morning Mass will be streamed live at 8am on St Mary Facebook, not the Tuesday evening Mass

Wednesday Morning Mass streamed live at 9:30am on St Joseph Facebook.

Thursday evening Mass will be streamed live at 5:30pm on St Joseph Facebook.

Good Friday Veneration of the Cross streamed live at 12noon in St Mary Church Facebook.

Easter Sunday Mass streamed live at 8am in St Mary Facebook.

The law in Illinois allows for up to 10 people at a gathering. This allows us to have lectors to add solemnity. Anybody who would volunteer to lector must abide by the protocol set by the state of Illinois and the Diocese of Rockford.

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It is a beautiful and praiseworthy tradition to recite an act of spiritual communion when one is unable, for whatever reason, to receive Holy Communion. Below is an act of spiritual communion composed by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri.
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.

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1 Corinthians 3

Paul is scandalized by the behavior of the Corinthians. He also shows his understanding of where they are at spiritually and their inability to grow. They are still living in the flesh. His complaint is not far from what we do. Paul states, “Brothers, the trouble was that I could not talk to you as spiritual men but only as men of flesh, as infants in Christ” (v1). He is referring to when they first became Christians.

This is somewhat of an expectation. When a person first comes into the faith, they are still learning the language and habits of faith, practically speaking. Paul is expecting the faithful to grow in faith and in knowledge of spiritual things, but they cannot make that step. Paul continues, “I fed you with milk, and did not give you solid food because you were not ready for it. You still are not ready for it even now” (v2). He points to the quarrels as proof of this spiritual immaturity.

Not much has changed today. As humans, we look at what physically happens, and many times only that. This is what Paul is referring to when he says they are “still very much in a natural condition” (v3). We think about the natural and spend no time thinking about the supernatural. We obsess about what is visible, but pay no attention to what is invisible. As we say in the creed, God made both, but one is more eternal. This is where he challenges us, too: “is not [this] behavior that of ordinary men?” (v3). We fuss over such trivial things. Things that do not bring any good fruit. Paul wants to guide us to think as God does.

It is a supernatural way of thinking, not of the lower natural ways. We were cut above that. Paul is stressing all of His works are just that: His works. It does not matter who is doing the labor, it is God in all things. Don’t look at the minister. It is God working through the minister. It is His name that should be praised and not Paul, or Apollos or anybody else. Each minister is doing their part as God ordains it. “He who plants and he who waters work to the same end” – our salvation (v8). That is why we need to ask God to continue to send out laborers for the harvest. We do not have to judge the works of God’s workers; it will be tested in due time.

God tests with fire each and every one of us. On the day of the testing, all will be made apparent. “If different ones build on this foundation with gold or silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw, the work of each will be made clear” (v12-13). God will test our works as with the foundation. If the foundation is good, it will stand, but if out of hay, the reality of our lives will be made apparent and therefore judged accordingly. Yet this analogy is meant for those who are intent on good works. They are not necessarily bad people. They built; how well they built is the question. So it is tested. If we come short of God’s expectations, we “will suffer loss. [We ourselves] will be saved, but only as one fleeing through fire” (v15). This is purgatory. When we remain thinking at the natural level, this does not mean damnation, it means we come short of God’s desire for us.

God destined us for greatness, not mediocrity or to be “ok.” He wants you to be a light to the world, something special. But if we remain at the natural level, we limit God’s plan for us. It holds us down. To inspire the Corinthians, Paul makes them aware of this great calling God has given them. “Are you not aware that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (v16). You are so precious to God that He wants to live in you. When we see these realities and live by them, we discover the true wisdom of God.

Paul turns around his previous argument, “If anyone of you thinks he is wise in a worldly sense, he had better become a fool. In that way he will really be wise” (v18). What seems to the world to be wise is in fact foolishness to God. Because God is seeing things at a supernatural level. With a God that sees all things, it is good to know that He is our helper. The question is, are you open to what He has to say?
Father Barr

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Pro Life Corner

Baby Feet Pro-LifeWhy is it that the very people who say the government
should “stay out of my bedroom” are the same ones who
want the government to pay for abortions with our tax
dollars? Why is it that pro-abortionists fight so viciously to
keep parents from having a say in whether their minor
daughter has an abortion or not? We must choose
politicians who respect and defend life at all stages.