St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Holy Day of Obligation January 1

This Wednesday is a holy day of obligation. It is the feast day of Holy Mary, Mother of God. The Mass times are as follows.

  • New years Eve 4pm Mass in St Joseph Church
  • New Years Day 8am Mass in St Mary Church
  • New Years Day 10:30am Mass in St Jospeh Church

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Symbolism in the Church #36

S1290019On the right side as we look at the altar, there is a round stained glass window of an eye. This is there to remind us that God sees everything. God sees all things and know all things. Everything we do is not as secret as we think. He knows every giggle that happens every night when we are supposed to be sleeping. Who knows, maybe He is giggling too. Like Santa Clause, or even more so, He sees when we are sleeping, He knows when we’re awake; He knows when we’ve bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! He actually knows not only all actions that any person has ever made in all of time, He also knows every thought we have ever had in all of our lives. He knows every emotion we have ever had in our lives throughout all of time. Absolutely nothing is hidden from God. Because of this, God can never be deceived or manipulated.

This can either give us comfort or discomfort. The kind of knowledge God has is unique. It is the only kind of knowledge that gives a person the ability to be the judge of other living and the dead. It is the kind of knowledge that only Jesus has. For those of purity of heart it should give peace, but to those who have evil in their heart, it should give discomfort. Many people think that if they get by with something in human affairs, they got by with doing evil – that somehow that is proof that either God does not exist or that He really does not care. Nothing could be further from the truth. God judges our life after we die. Nobody escapes death or God’s judgement. God’s judgement is just and true. That is why it is most important to remain in virtue, for virtue is our guiding light on how to live rightly and not to offend God.

Yet for those who have a pure heart, this judgement is welcome. It is welcome in two ways. First, as a test that you know you are ready for, and secondly, as protection from the unjust. I remember when I was in the seminary; I had a great teacher when I was taking a class on the Gospel of John. The class was a delight to take. However, halfway through, all the students realized that nobody was taking notes. We all started to worry; we were just hanging on every word he spoke and forgot to take notes. We started to pull our pens and paper out and class would begin, and we forgot to write anything. When it came time for the test, it was amazing: we all remembered everything he said. We actually enjoyed the test and wrote down all the wonderful information we had learned. In the end, with the blessing of an A on the paper, we rejoiced all the more in amazement. This is the kind of blessing Jesus wants for us in the end of our test here on earth.

The other joy is when we need God’s protection and He fulfills it. We have many worries and injustices we all have to suffer in this life. It is good to know that God is there when we need His help most. Walking in truth, goodness and virtue keeps us under His protection. If we are the one causing the injustice, then we will be the ones corrected. But if we remain with good intent for others, particularly to those who do evil to us, this calls on God’s mercy and many times intercedes for us.

So having this sign in the church can either give us comfort or challenge us to get right with God before we are before His judgement seat. Does the thought of it scare you or does it bring you comfort? I suppose we will never know until it comes to our last breath. All we can do is have faith in Him and give Him our hearts. Jesus, I am totally yours!

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Smile Ministry

The Smile Ministry names are in the back of the church. Please take a name and send a Fall greeting!

Do you know someone who can’t get out and needs a smile sent their way to brighten their day? Ask them if they would like to have their name put on our Smile list. They will be sent a greeting at each holiday throughout the year. Call the office to add a name to our list.

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Want to Become Catholic? Not Confirmed?

Come to our RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) classes starting Sunday, September 8. The classes are from 12:30pm-2:00pm every Sunday in the rectory at St Joseph Church. We will be going over the basic teachings of the Catholic Church with Fr Barr and our deacons. We will learn about the Catholic understanding of the Bible, the sacraments, prayers, traditions and practices. Come and discover the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith and of the love our Lord Jesus has for you.

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Symbolism in the Church #20

The Millennial Cross is located in the foyer area above the enclosed bulletin board to the right as you enter the building. This cross was made in commemoration of the new millennium (the year 2000). Pope John Paul II saw it as a new era of holiness that we are all called to bring God’s goodness to all the world. Jesus and His triumph over sin and death, hence the cross, was the symbol he chose as the symbol of His mercy and the new era of reign. It is to be a reign of mercy, reconciliation and peace. It is to be all a part of the new evangelization and the Church’s role and contribution to society. It involves all Catholics in whatever state in life they are in. All Catholics are called to take part. Jesus is calling even you today. Have you stopped to hear His voice? Continue reading