St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Domingo XX tiempo ordinario ciclo C 2019

Son múltiples los textos en los que se nos dice que Cristo sí vino al mundo a traernos la paz. Por citar sólo algunos textos que sabemos de memoria todos los cristianos, podemos recordar lo que todos los días oímos en nuestras eucaristías. Después del Padrenuestro, rezamos siempre: Señor Jesucristo que dijiste a tus apóstoles <la paz os dejo, mi paz os doy> e inmediatamente después el sacerdote desea a todos los fieles que <la paz del Señor esté con todos vosotros> e invita a todos los fieles a darse mutuamente la paz. Al terminar nuestras eucaristías despedimos a los fieles diciéndoles: <Podéis ir en paz>. El mismo Cristo cuando se hace presente entre sus discípulos, después de la resurrección, siempre les saluda diciendo: <la paz esté con vosotros>. Podríamos añadir textos y textos del evangelio, de san Pablo y de los santos Padres, en los que se dice muy claramente que Cristo es nuestra paz, pero no es necesario. ¿Cómo explicar entonces este texto del evangelio según san Lucas en el que el mismo Cristo nos dice que él no ha venido al mundo a traer la paz, sino la división? La explicación más clara la tenemos en un texto del evangelio según san Juan en el que se nos dice literalmente: <os dejo la paz, mi paz os doy; no os la doy como la da el mundo> (Jn 14, 27). La paz que nos da Cristo no es simple ausencia de guerras, o simple sumisión a las autoridades, es, sobre todo, lucha esforzada contra la injusticia. La justicia y la paz se besan, como se nos dice en distintos textos de la Biblia, dándonos a indicar que sin justicia social y moral no puede haber paz evangélica. Mirando a la vida de Cristo esto lo vemos muy claramente: Cristo no vivió en paz con las autoridades sociales y religiosas de su tiempo, sino en franca oposición. Por eso le mataron, porque denunció la injusticia de los injustos y criticó valiente y públicamente a los que querían hacer de su interesada y mundana justicia un arma con la que hacer callar a los que vivían explotados y marginados. La paz de Cristo, la paz del evangelio es enemiga muchas veces de la paz del mundo. Continue reading


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Symbolism in the Church #22

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. Continue reading


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Domingo XIX tiempo ordinario ciclo C 2019

En el Libro de la Sabiduría hace alusión a la “noche de la liberación”. Todos los israelitas saben que es el momento crucial de su historia: noche de la acción de Dios y del futuro del pueblo. El recuerdo de aquella noche da ánimo para superar las dificultades actuales. La promesa de Dios sostiene el ánimo de los que pasan la prueba de la fe, lo mismo ayer que hoy. Esta “misma acción” es la muerte de los egipcios perseguidores y la liberación de los israelitas cuando el paso del Mar Rojo. Este es un principio clave en el libro de la Sabiduría: una misma cosa, un mismo suceso, por la mano de Dios, se convierte para unos, el pueblo elegido, en salud, y para otros, los enemigos de Israel, en condena. El creyente israelita tiene la seguridad interna de que Dios actúa en la historia entonces como ahora. Si entonces les libró de la opresión ¿por qué no ahora? Hay aquí una alusión al sacrificio del cordero pascual que se hacía en cada casa. Se sabe unir el aspecto transcendente y la actuación del hombre. El banquete en común expresa y corrobora ese vínculo con una sanción sagrada. Para vivir una fe con cierta profundidad hay que tener siempre ante los ojos el hecho fundacional, en nuestro caso el bautismo. El creyente de hoy, más que estar preparado y en pie para comer la pascua, tiene que estar en una actitud real de ayuda mutua y de lucha codo con codo contra lo que es contrario a la sabiduría: la falsedad que engendra toda injusticia, la tranquilidad engañosa del tirano, cualquier degradación del hombre…….. Continue reading


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Domingo XVIII tiempo ordinario ciclo C 2019

Las lecturas de la misa de hoy, mis queridos jóvenes lectores, se complementan entre sí y son de actualidad. En mis tiempos de enseñanza primaria teníamos unos libros destinados a adiestrarnos en la lectura, tal como un piloto de aviación se entrena en un simulador de vuelo. Ahora bien, el contenido de los textos de las tales antologías, siempre era didáctico. Al leer el evangelio de hoy me he acordado del cuento de la lechera, una fábula de Esopo, que nunca faltaba en tales manuales. La narración, pues, era de dominio público, jóvenes y viejos, escolares y abuelos. Continue reading


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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