St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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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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The Symbolism in St Joseph Church #3

Jesus leads us through the storms of this life: all our uncertainties, sufferings and joys, both individually and communally. Sometimes we “see how strong the wind {is, we} become frightened” (Mt 14:30) and start wondering why He is leading us to such turbulent territory. We question if He is even leading us or if He cares. But He has the helm. He has His boat under control. He is leading His Church to the safety of the dock. The winds and the waves may be pushing this old barc and our very lives around, but we still have nothing to fear as Jesus is the one who leads us. He is the one who saves us (Mt 14:30-31). Continue reading


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Be Bold, Be Catholic 1

Many of you may be wondering what this Be Bold, Be Catholic thing is all about. In the last ten years we have continued to see a dramatic plummet in attendance and faith life in God’s people. This is not something that is only happening in the Catholic Churches in Freeport, IL. This is a plummet nationwide in nearly all Christian faith communities. Particularly here in Freeport, it is taking its toll in our lives.

We have so many struggles in our lives. It would be easy to fall into depression or despair going on the way we are going. The degradation of our culture into promiscuity, lies, violence, manipulation and false “fun” are the norm. The empty promises of this world are leaving us lonelier and wondering if there is anything more. We start chasing after things that only bring more emptiness and pain instead of chasing after the God that can satisfy.

As Catholic Parishes, we have missed the boat on helping people through their tough times and bringing them to Jesus in these times. We have focused on doing things and on helping others, but we have forgotten that it is Jesus and our relationship with Him that really helps us all. There are a growing number of people who have no idea that a relationship with God is even possible. Moreover, that our relationship with Jesus can bring us happiness and peace. There actually is hope, but it depends on our relationship with Jesus.

Because of the lack of education and inspiration, many people today have a very low level of understanding of their Catholic faith and so are easy prey for anything that would take them away from finding their fulfillment in Jesus. We need to do something about that. We cannot go on ignoring the real and basic needs of God’s people.

This is where the Be Bold, Be Catholic comes in. The mission of Be Bold, Be Catholic is; “We the Catholic parish communities of Freeport, IL, commit to bring all souls to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” This is the purpose of Be Bold, Be Catholic. We aim at serving others and leading them to Jesus and their fulfillment. We hope to make the faith more alive and meaningful for you. We will look at all we do from the liturgy to community events to personal needs. Ultimately, we plan on serving the community at large as well.

We can no longer do the same old thing. “We have always done it this way” is no longer a valid way of doing things. Every person has the basic need to grow in their spiritual life. This is what Jesus designed Catholic communities to do. The intent is to help us grow in our spiritual life. This life is a long journey, a pilgrimage of discoveries and possibilities that we may never have known otherwise. It is a pilgrimage of love, grace and fellowship in Christ Jesus.  We hope that you will make this pilgrimage of faith with us.