St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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The Pearl

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I remember when I moved into Wonder Lake, before I went into the seminary, I built my house in a neighborhood closer to Rt 120. My neighbors across the street were very nice to me. They called me “the next day neighbor”. I cheated a little on building my house; it was a pre-made home from Pittsville, Wisconsin. My neighbors were very welcoming. When I asked my neighbor across the street where the nearest Catholic Church was, they responded that I would have to go to one of the neighboring towns. I figured since they grew up there, that was the best place to start. Two weeks later I found a Catholic Church right in town. Oops!

It was a great parish to be in. The people were very welcoming. One family took me under their wing as a new parishioner and new to the town. I got to know so many more people. I was invited to become a Knight of Columbus, but was afraid of joining a group and obligations involved. Nonetheless, I did volunteer much time at the Church. I was growing a bond with people I would not have otherwise known or benefited from.

I started to realize the benefits of giving my time to Jesus. Even after working twelve hours in construction, I still had energy to do things for Jesus. I did not think about how people benefited from me. All I knew is that when I gave time to Jesus, I had a great joy and serenity.

I also became more open to what the Church taught. It was a great time of learning what Jesus said and why the Church teaches what it does. I was flabbergasted at how wise the Church really was. Sure, the Church seemed so backwards in things, but when I learned about the wisdom for such seemingly backwardness, I was all in. I had spent so much time listening to the world, I forgot Jesus and His Church. How much suffering I endured because I was ignorant of what the Church taught. How much more at peace I am now that I have the wisdom of God at my disposal.

My joy got so intense before I went into the seminary that I would be smiling more than I ever had before. In fact, most of the guys at work thought I had a girlfriend. I would tell them I didn’t, but they thought I was holding a secret. Most people assume that only sinful relationships can bring such happiness. Truth be told, it was my relationship with Jesus that brought me so much joy.

It was a relationship based on prayer and work. Since most of my work was driving the truck and using a pick and shovel, I could pray all day. My favorite at that time was the rosary. I learned so much just by these meditations of the Scriptures. I also volunteered a lot of time at church. It seemed that whenever I came in to volunteer for something, Jesus was with me. While I was doing things, I still talked to Jesus and He would speak to me through the people we served and through contemplation. The time I spent helping out at Church became a very important part of my spiritual life and my relationship with Jesus.

The prayer infused into the labor gave me a great balance in life. It gave me great joy and a sense of fulfillment on a daily basis. I write this to encourage you so that you may have this same joy and sense of fulfillment. Prayer and volunteering at the Church made my house a home, gave me a sense of belonging and increased my joy because I knew I had a relationship with Jesus. I had found the pearl of great price. It can be yours too.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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