St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church #22

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We have some flags in our Church. They are the Papal flag (also known as the Vatican flag), two American flags and the flag of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights of Columbus are a group of men that got together in response to the Catholic Irish persecutions about the turn of the century (1900). Irish Catholics were having a hard time finding jobs here in America. They left the persecutions in Ireland as they were denied the ability to purchase food there. At least they could eat if they could find work and get the food. There were many signs in windows at the time that read, “Irish Catholics need not apply,” meaning they would not get the job. Various organizations would work hard at making sure Catholics could not work. The only jobs that were available were jobs with high death rates. These jobs were particularly working on the high wires and police. Many Irish Catholics died hanging wires on the power lines. This is before the unions were established. So many men were dying, it is said that the life expectancy for Irish males was 35 years of age. So Father McGivney helped establish the Knights by offering fellowship and life insurance. The Knights promised to help each other’s families when the father died. They quickly grew because of the great need. God, country and family are their priorities, in that order. Today they have grown so much and offer so much more. They do a super amount of good with all the fundraising and offering events for the handicap, church and women’s health by offering ultra-sounds for other non-profit organizations. This group of faithful men do more than we can appreciate. This is their flag, and we are proud of what they have done for the community.

We have two American flags, on at the entrance and one in the sanctuary. To say the least, the Knights are big on patriotism. Both these flags are due to the Knights. Most people can look up what the meaning of everything is on the flag and its deep roots in our culture. In short, the red reminds us of the blood that was spilt for our freedom from the Revolutionary war to today. It is a great price and should remind us of the blood of Jesus that was spilt on the cross for us. The white should remind us of purity and innocence. To be a great nation, sin must be avoided and virtue encouraged, putting God above all. The blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. As a nation, we must be vigilant and persevere in Justice, not for self-gain. These things must be maintained in order for the American dream to continue and society to grow and be good. All of these ideals come from the teachings of Our Lord Jesus the Christ. As citizens, we need to guard these virtues or this republic can fall to the slavery of sin and death.
That is why we need to acknowledge something greater than the state. The papal flag reminds us of more than the fact we have a pope. This flag does not change with each pope. It is the office of Peter and the apostolic teachings that we have with it. Faith is the highest form of citizenship. It makes us better people. When Jesus died on the cross for us, He not only saved us, but gave us an example. The good works of Jesus is now at work in us. This flag also should remind us that we have another citizenship; in heaven. As great as our country is, how much greater is heaven. But only through the grace of God can we get there. Humanity cannot save itself. Thank God that He is so kind to us! Thank God He gave us a Church, a community of believers to help us trudge our way to that happy destiny. With the graces of the Sacraments, sacramentals, our Blessed Mother and the whole heavenly host in the power of the cross we can get there.
Notice on top of each flag is a cross donated by the Knights of Columbus. May the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ be our guiding light.

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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