St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church #11

The third façade in the rotunda in the high altar is for Easter and Christmas season, as well as for Pentecost and Palm Sunday. The red makes it obvious for Palm Sunday and Pentecost. Granted, there is a dove above the Holy Family in the image for ordinary time, but that image is more to remind us that in the ordinary day of family life, the Holy Spirit is always there as our helper and guide, and that we are always to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. That is something different than Pentecost.
In this façade is an interesting combination of images that pulls everything together when we celebrate at these times. In the dome part is a cross above each panel. The red reminds us of the reason why the cross has power; it is Jesus’ blood that was spilt on the cross. Palm Sunday is the day that lead Jesus directly to the cross. The jealousy of the Jewish leaders of the time sealed His fate as the people hailed Him as Messiah and King. The reaction would be swift and strong. Continue reading


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Domingo de Ramos ciclo C 2019

Así comenzamos la Semana Santa: gritando entusiasmados la llegada del que viene en nombre del Señor, dando vivas al Altísimo. El que grita es el pueblo sencillo, la gente pobre que espera y desea la llegada de un futuro mejor, de un reino nuevo como el que predica este profeta de Galilea. El domingo de Ramos siempre ha tenido en la tradición católica un aire de fiesta, de entusiasmo, de alegre fe y esperanza cristiana. “El que no estrena en Ramos, o es cojo o no tiene manos”, decían antaño en mi pueblo. Comienza la semana más grande del año, la Semana Santa. Gritamos porque no estamos contentos con lo que somos y lo que tenemos, y esperamos que alguien venga a sacarnos de nuestra postración y nuestra miseria. Eso le ocurría a la gente sencilla que acompañaba a Jesús en su entrada triunfal a Jerusalén. Veían a Jesús como a un redentor, como un liberador, … Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #10

The façade in the rotunda above the tabernacle was refurbished when we installed this high altar back in the spring of 2011. Great care was taken to get as much of the original design as possible. The façade for ordinary time is the one we could not get to, so we decided to put the image of the Holy family on until we could get to it later. The image of the Holy family was made available to us by the person who restored it for us for free. It was pasted on so that it would come off without having to take a scraper to it, with the intentions of restoring it to the original. Since then, many people have become attached to this image, which makes it harder to let go of. This makes sense, since it is probably the only image a person can see from the pews. So I am not sure we will get around to restoring this façade to the original. Continue reading


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V domingo de Cuaresma ciclo C 2019

1. – No se puede obviar la capacidad descriptiva de San Juan en el fragmento de este Evangelio de hoy. Jesús escribe en el suelo con el dedo. Enfrente, un grupo vociferante arrastra a una mujer hasta Él para acusarla de adulterio. Jesús los ignora. Sigue trazando signos en la tierra. Continúa escribiendo ante el estupor de los que gritan. No se esperaban esa aparente pasividad. Está claro que no buscan ninguna clase de justicia y menos alguna suerte de perdón para la mujer que traen. Sólo pretenden atrapar al Señor al algún juicio no adecuado a la Ley oficial. Podían prever que la misericordia de Jesús buscaría argumentos exculpatorios divergentes con la mencionada Ley. Pero Jesús expresa lo único que se puede decir un grupo de hombres cuando intentar culpar o ejecutar a uno de sus prójimos. “El que esté sin pecado que le tire la primera piedra…” ¿Quién de nosotros puede juzgar como pecador a sus semejantes? Pues, nadie, porque todos somos pecadores. Y pobre de aquel que no repare en su condición de pecador. Jesús, a su vez, no minimiza, ni por un momento, el pecado, porque le dirá a la mujer: “Tampoco yo te condeno. Y en adelante, no peques más”. Jesús no tiene pecado, pero tampoco condena. Y le pide que no vuelva a pecar. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #9

In St Joseph Church, there is a special feature that you would not find in many places. Above the tabernacle, where many times we place a crucifix, is what is called a rotunda. It is part of the façade of the reredos that changes according to the season. I call it a rotunda because in the reredos, the rotunda spins around to show three different facades: one for ordinary time, one for advent and lent, and another for Christmas and Easter time. So the rotunda adds to the diversity of the reredos to apply to the various times of the year. When we first got this high altar and reredos in 2011, it had many different layers of paint on it. These layers were carefully taken off in order to find out what the original design of the painting was. This is what we attempted to paint on it. There were a few adaptations to it, but for the most part it was done the same way it was originally painted for St Mary’s Church in Dubuque, which is now closed. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #8

On the far sides of the reredos of the high altar there are certain, what I will call, cut-outs of the wood. These “cut-outs” leave shadows on the wall behind the high altar. These shadows leave an image of three candles on the wall that increase in height as they go in. These are symbolic of the procession of the saints ascending into heaven as they sing their praises to God. They are going up to their heavenly place that has been prepared for them. They are entering the heavenly kingdom. These candles that are depicted on the wall have, above each one, something similar to sparkles. It is as if they are the halos of each person that gets such a high privilege of being with the company of the Holy. Continue reading


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III domingo de cuaresma ciclo C 2019

Descubrir la vocación no es sencillo. Nace de la escucha de Dios que nos habla a través de su Palabra y de otros signos. Sin embargo, hay personas en las cuales esta palabra se perfila con claridad sólo de modo progresivo, después de un largo camino. Moisés es, sin duda, el prototipo de una vocación de este estilo. Sólo después de muchas experiencias llega por fin a comprender qué es lo que quiere Dios de él, cuál es el objetivo de su llamada. A diferencia de Abraham, que desde el principio, como ya hemos visto el domingo pasado, tiene claro el objetivo de su llamada (un pueblo, una tierra y una Palabra de la que fiarse), las cosas con Moisés suceden de un modo totalmente distinto. Gradualmente va comprendiendo cuál es su verdadera vocación. El Señor le habla y le pide que libere a su pueblo. Moisés pide pruebas, no lo ve claro, quiere estar seguro…. Dios le revela su nombre: “Soy el que soy”. Moisés entonces ya no duda…. y desde este momento se va a convertir en liberador de su pueblo Continue reading