Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turning 100

Tonight I met with a committee of parishioners to plan our parish's 100th anniversary.  We actually have a bit of an interesting history.  The Diocese of Rockford, Illinois was formed in 1908.  St. Catherine of Genoa Parish was formed in 1912.  It is the first parish to be formed after Rockford became a diocese.  It had a very meager beginning and has grown during the past century to the extent that a new building was erected in 1968 to accomodate the growth.  I am proud to be a part of the history of this faith community and am exctied about what will become of our anniversary celebration.  It should be a fascinatng event.

Monday, September 5, 2011


A couple weeks ago I saw a report on the news about a man, I cannot remember his name, who is on the boards of some charitable institutions where he lives that help the homeless find shelter, and the unemployed find work.  This man works in a food line during the day to feed hungry people who don’t have any food.  In his spare time he edits a newsletter that the homeless can sell so that they can find shelter at night. 

This philanthropist who does great work for the poor in his community is both homeless and unemployed.  He is not mentally ill.  He is not addicted to drugs or alcohol.  He did not gamble away his income.  He was not raised in poverty.  He is an educated man whose own financial situation just became very difficult.  He made a few financial mistakes; probably bought a home that was above his pay scale and he started falling behind on his payments.  Then he lost his job.  His home was foreclosed upon and he had nowhere else to go.  Now he helps the homeless find shelter each day not knowing where he is going to sleep.  He eats the same food he feeds to those who come off the streets. 

And because of my poor memory he remains another nameless person who walks out into God’s vineyard to do the work of harvesting.  He does the work of the Church in anonymity and in deep compassion for the poor.

As we celebrate Labor Day with pride in the work we do, as we relax and enjoy this beautiful day, let us remember that there is a task of profound importance in the world that we, who are disciples of Jesus Christ must complete without fanfare, but in the anonymity and compassion of our hearts, and that is the work of harvesting God’s love for a hungry world.