St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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July Food Truck

On a hot sweltering day, one hundred twenty-nine persons lined up to receive free groceries from the Northern Illinois Mobile Food Pantry. Approximately 7,300 pounds of free groceries were distributed, which fed four hundred and fourteen family members.
Many thanks to the following volunteers: Jan Ackerman; Kim Alber; Paul Brown; Candy Daacon; Heather, Anna, Grace and Clare Dailey; Don Davis; Steve and Peg Ehlbeck; Ruth Geary; Joe Ginger; John Guenther; Karen Hildebrand; Mike Kavran; Charles Koppi; Jan Krieger; Betty McKenna; Laverne Mensen; Laura and Asea Mills; Carol Mullens; Donna Nevenhoven; Bobbi Nicklaus; Ann Sauer; Lana Schuck; Frank and Sandra Steiner; Pat Weigel; and Millie Whitford.
I am very grateful to all who gave of their time to help those in our community who are in need of a helping hand. God Bless. — Mary Koppi

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St Mary Volunteers

Thank you to all our volunteers for doing such a wonderful job of sharing your time and talents at St Mary Church and the Holy Family Community Center. Volunteers cover many tasks including church cleaning, lawn mowing, weeding, trimming, flower planting, and helping out with all of our fundraisers. You are a valued asset to St Mary Church – God Bless you.

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Symbolism in the Church #21

The stained glass above the main entry doors has the beautiful gothic arch with two keys crossing each other. These are the keys of Peter. They symbolize the meaning in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, when Jesus tells Peter, “and I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven” (v19). This was given to St Peter himself and not the other disciples. Even in the early church by the year 200, St Clement of Alexandria said, “The blessed Peter, the Chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples for to whom alone…” (Who is the rich man saved). Tertullian wrote in the year 211, “remember that the Lord left the keys of it (heaven) to Peter here, and through him to the Church” (Antidote Against the Scorpion). So we can see from very early in Christendom, it was taught about Peter and his primacy and authority to bring God’s mercy to all.

Peter is depicted many times to have the keys in his hands. It is the first statue we see on top of the wall when coming into the Vatican square. We look for that statue because we have seen so many pictures of it. They are keys, but not a sword. Peter has been charged by God to bring as many people as possible to His mercy. Jesus prefers mercy (Mt 9:13). He trained his disciples in that particular ministry culminating in the crucifixion. Then He said, “come follow Me” (Jn 21:19). These keys are depicted above the doors, hoping that this mercy may be extended to all who pass through these doors.
On the right side over the doors is an image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This has specific devotions. The Immaculate Heart is depicted by a heart crowned with roses, the sword pierces the heart, and lilies come out of the top of the heart. The sword should remind us of the Gospel of Luke when Simeon says, “and your heart too, a sword shall pierce” talking to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 2:35). Jesus died on the cross for us and Mary; His mother was with Him all the way through. She was there even after His death when the soldiers pierced His heart and out came blood and water (Jn 19:34). Moms have special relationships with their sons. What the sons experiences, the mothers experience, and it was no different with Mary and Jesus. Jesus’ heart was pierced, and so Mary’s heart was pierced as they were bound by love.
Mary represents humanity, and so the roses are given to her to give to all God’s children. She was immaculate, reminding us that as she was preserved from sin by the power of God, so we will be washed clean from sin by the power of God. Jesus gives his mother roses, as she gave him his humanity. We are now bound to Jesus in our humanity. He is our brother in humanity. Of course, Jesus loves His mother, but He loves each and every one of us. Nothing else could explain why He would want to die on the cross for us. Without Jesus on the cross, Mary could not be saved. The lilies on top of the heart represent purity. Her love for Jesus remained pure like most mothers for their children, the difference being that her child is God.
On the left side above the doors is an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is depicted very similarly to the Immaculate heart, but this heart has a crown of thorns. Roses have thorns. I picture Jesus picking roses for Mary; He took the thorns and gave to roses to Mary, and Mary gives them to us. Doesn’t that fit the description of Jesus? It is how we understand Mary as Catholics. Jesus is always willing to take the thorns, just to give us many roses. The sword represents the pierced heart of Jesus after His death on the cross. The cross is to remind us how He loved us, and of His power to save us in this life and the next. There is much more to this image and devotion which I encourage you to study.

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Domingo XVII tiempo ordinario ciclo C 2019

Jesús enseña a sus apóstoles el Padrenuestro que es, en muy pocas palabras, la más alta cumbre de la teología. Y nos muestra un Dios Padre que va a ocuparse de nosotros en lo material y en lo espiritual. A Dios podemos pedirle pan y santidad, justicia y paz, protección y futuro. Tras mostrar el Padrenuestro, Jesús comunica dos condiciones de la oración que, a veces, dejamos de cumplir y utilizar. ¿Por qué no rezamos constantemente? ¿Por qué, asimismo, no importunamos a Dios con nuestras peticiones? Dios nos lo va a dar todo. Pero rezamos poco. Y puede ser prueba de nuestra soberbia o de nuestra desesperanza. Continue reading

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Visiting Missionary July 27-28

Fr. Marco César Riveros, of Salesian Missions, will be visiting and celebrating Masses at St Joseph and St Mary Church next weekend. Fr. Marcos was born in 1973 in Cúcuta, Colombia. He made his first vows in 1992, and after ordination in 2003 he served as the youth minister at the Colegio San Medardo, Neiva, Colombia. While there he organized retreats for the students, and organized the religion curriculum for the school. In 2006 he became the provincial delegate for youth ministry for the Bogota province. Later he was made the provincial delegate for Vocation ministry and for the Salesian Family. Continue reading

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C. S. Lewis, p. 132

“On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” –