St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Lent Almsgiving: What Is It?

Almsgiving is the gift of self. It is based on CHARITY, to love God and others as oneself. It is the action that leads us to see our fellow man, love them, listen to them, and give them our time, help, advice, money, shelter, company, and affection. To give alms is to be united to God in his poverty. Continue reading

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1 Corinthians #1

The last bulletin article was the final article describing the beauty and symbolism of St Joseph Church. My hopes are to put together a book on Amazon with as many pictures of marriages, baptisms, and first communions as possible that were celebrated here. I am also looking for any pictures that were taken of St Joseph Church. As we proceed, in light of the new feast day, I have decided to continue to make commentaries on the Bible from where I left off a little over a year ago. I had just finished the letter to the Romans from Paul. The next book in the Bible is the first letter from Paul to the Corinthians. After we get through the rest of the Bible, my hopes are to start offering meditations on the symbolism in St Mary Church. Continue reading

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Symbolism in the Church #42

Most Churches have what they call a cruciform. In some churches it is more obvious than others. For some churches, even the outside is shaped like a cross, but for many others you have to go inside to understand the cross shape. When you think of the aisle going up the middle, that is the vertical beam. The horizontal beam is up in the sanctuary that goes from one wall to the other crossing the vertical beam. The altar is where the head of Jesus would be. Jesus is our head and that is where the sacrifice takes place. The steps are where Jesus’ heart is pierced, and out flows the water and blood, washing His peoples’ sins away and strengthening them with His sacred food. The pierced feet are His suffering church, nailed to the cross with their Savior. He suffers with us and we with Him. It truly becomes a wedding banquet. This is the place where we become one flesh with our Lord. I in Him and He in me.
This intimacy with Jesus goes deep into our souls. It makes this place an experience of the holy of holies. It constantly calls us back to Him. It is a place where we experience the love of God. It is a place where friends are found and relationships are built. It is where we were baptized, confirmed, forgiven of our sins, married and received our first communion. It is a place where the divine has touched our hearts so dearly that we wish it could remain forever. After all, why not? “For His love endures forever” (Ps 136).

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Symbolism in the Church #41

One of the last pieces of artwork we will look at is the painting on the wall with Jesus holding bread and a chalice. This painting is on the right side as you are looking at the altar. This picture is in reference to the Eucharist, what we as Catholics know to be the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Himself. The Eucharist is Jesus, so much so, that it is Jesus as if He just walked in the room. Jesus manifests Himself in a similar way as He multiplied the loaves. In fact, it is in the bread that He manifests Himself. He chose to be with us, not just in a spiritual way, which is a comfort in itself. Jesus chose to be with us physically in what appears to be bread and wine. We see in this picture, Jesus is saying to us, “Take this and eat… take and drink”. He is inviting us to participate in such a holy relationship with Him. This is no mere bread; it is the bread of angels. Continue reading