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The Pastor's Column

Msgr. Gray's Column in the Parish Bulletin

You can see past bulletins on-line by clicking here.

June 10, 2012

As I celebrate my farewell, I thank each of you for your support, encouragement, and prayer as parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. There are many reasons for me to look back on my time with pride, but I humbly recognize that no good work would have been possible without your participation, your dedication, and your faith in this parish.

As the parish is about to enter into its 50th anniversary year, I draw your attention to the informal parish picnic on July 1st. Lunch will be a potluck, so please bring a dish to share. The parish was established by decree of Bishop Franz on July 1, 1962, so this is a good time to gather in gratitude. While the more formal celebrations will take place in the fall, please consider coming together as a parish family to share a dish and fellowship with other parishioners on this momentous anniversary. You will also have a chance to meet our Totus Tuus team at this picnic as we anticipate our summer youth camp.

I ask for your continued prayers as I begin my service to the Holy See in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. I will keep a mailing address care of the Diocese of Peoria, c/o 419 NE Madison Ave, Peoria, IL 61603. I will also keep my e-mail addresses through the Diocese of Peoria and my website.

May God continue to prosper the work begun at St. Vincent de Paul through this anniversary year and for many years to come.

June 3, 2012

Congratulations to our eighth grade graduates and those graduating from Peoria Notre Dame this weekend. This is a good time to give thanks for all our parishioners graduating from grade school, high school, or college this spring.

This weekend we bid farewell to Fr. Paul Ngoku and thank him for his time with us as he takes up his new assignment in Pontiac, Illinois. Fr. Paul will be available in the foyer after all the Masses this weekend. He thanks you in advance for your cards and notes, but especially for your prayers and best wishes.

Next weekend, I will have my farewell. I look forward to greeting you in the foyer after Masses, but I also invite you to an open house in the Parish Hall, Sunday, June 10, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.

When I arrived at this parish, I also had other diocesan responsibilities including my work at the Tribunal. One of the great blessings that Fr. Pallardy will bring to St. Vincent de Paul is that he will be assigned solely to this parish and will not have any other responsibilities apart from serving as pastor. I am sure that this parish will offer his a very warm welcome when he arrives.

May 27, 2012

We express our gratitude to Fr. Paul Ngoku for helping us over this past year at St. Vincent de Paul. His farewell weekend will be June 2-3. He will be available in the foyer after the Masses that weekend. Please extend your thanks and congratulations as he takes up his next assignment at St. Mary Parish, Pontiac, Illinois.

My last weekend in the parish will be June 9-10. I have many things to be thankful for over my six years with you at St. Vincent de Paul. I look forward to greeting you after Masses that weekend and during an open house in the parish hall on the afternoon of June 10th. Please pray for me as I move to work in Rome for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Fr. Jim Pallardy’s first weekend at the parish will be June 23-24. Please give him a warm welcome when he arrives.

I am also happy to announce that the parish has recently received a bequest that will be enough to pay for the cost of replacing the kneelers in the church. I know from my conversations with many parishioners that there is great interest in addressing this problem. I am happy that this project will be paid for without having to draw funds from our regular budget, and without diverting any campaign donations from paying off our debt.

May 20, 2012

I ask for your prayers for the following intentions: Our eighth grade students at St. Vincent de Paul will graduate this Saturday, May 26th. Please pray for them as they finish grade school and move to high school.

Please remember the four deacons to be ordained as priests for the Diocese of Peoria also on Saturday, May 26th. These new priests will be a gift to our Diocese and deserve prayers that their priestly service will be fruitful.

Finally, I also ask for prayers as I have been asked by the Prefect for the Congregation for Causes of Saints to work in Rome. I have been here at St. Vincent de Paul for six years. While I was not looking for a change in assignment, I have been ordained for service to the Church. It is my desire to faithfully fulfill whatever task the Church asks of me. I count on your prayers during this time and ask for prayers for your new pastor who will arrive in June.

May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers! May the Lord grant you every blessing.

Next weekend is our school’s presentation of Beauty and the Beast. This will be the fourth annual spring production performed by our students. This performance promises to rival past shows. Please see the bulletin for the dates and times.

We will see the ordination of new permanent deacons for the Diocese of Peoria on May 19th, and four new priests will be ordained the following weekend. This will be a great blessing to the people of this diocese. I encourage you to pray for these men who are to be ordained. I also ask you to pray for vocations and to encourage our young people to pray about the possibility of a vocation to religious service.

I will be preparing the summer schedule for high school students in a few weeks. Any young adults who would like to volunteer as an usher or lector should fill out the "High School Volunteer" form in the foyer of the church.

May 6, 2012

I have invited a number of high school students to help at Mass by serving as an usher, a lector, or even an extraordinary minister. At the end of this school year, we will bid farewell to five of our high school ushers and lectors who are graduating. Any high school student (including next year’s freshmen) are invited to help in one of these roles. I hope the parents and grandparents in the parish will encourage our young men and women to volunteer for this ministry. “High School Volunteer” forms are available in the back of the church.

Regarding our budget, I have worked with the finance council to provide a balanced budget for next fiscal year. Even so, we have made provisions for increases in some critical areas, namely: tuition, technology, and textbooks. We plan to increase the financial aid we offer by 7%, the monies for computers and technology by 20%, and the funds for textbooks by 25%. (The state has not authorized the textbook funding program that we had in previous years.)

In planning this budget, we maintain healthy teacher salaries (even though they are somewhat less than what is offered in the public system) and an overall balanced budget. I thank you for your contributions not only to our capital campaign, but also to our parish. Your regular contributions help sustain the good work we do.

April 29, 2012

Our 8th grade graduation will take place on Saturday, May 26th, at the 4:30 pm Mass. We will try a Saturday afternoon graduation at the request of our education commission. I want to alert our parishioners that they should expect this Mass to be well attended.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a new document on religious liberty: "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty." You can find the document at usccb.org and following links under "Issues and Action" and "Religious Liberty." This document discusses the long history of religious freedom in this country as well as several examples of ways in which religious freedom is under assault.

The document ends by calling for the observance of a "fortnight for freedom" from June 21 (the vigil of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—who would not bow to the unlawful edicts of King Henry VIII) to July 4 as we observe the Independence Day holiday. We are invited to pray, to sacrifice, to study, and to teach in the interest of protecting the freedom of the Catholic Church, and religious people of all faiths, to practice their faith free of government influence. I have placed some information from the USCCB on our bulletin boards.

April 22, 2012

St. Vincent de Paul and the other Catholic parishes in town work to coordinate visits to the sick who are homebound and in local hospitals. The priests and extraordinary ministers at St. Vincent visit all the Catholics at Proctor Hospital, whether they belong to our parish or not. Likewise, other priests and volunteers in the area take charge of visits to Methodist and OSF St. Francis. I would like to share the following recommendations:

First, Proctor Hospital has had a change-over in their computer system and is temporarily unable to provide us with a list of Catholic patients. If you, or someone you know, is a patient in Proctor, please call the parish office so they can be visited. I encourage you to call, especially if they have been in the hospital for a few days and have not yet been visited.

Second, OSF and Methodist do not automatically alert St. Vincent each time a parishioner is admitted. Again, I encourage you to call the parish office to alert us if you would like a visit.

Third, be aware that federal law prohibits hospitals from releasing your information unless you give permission. When you are admitted, please tell the hospital staff that you are Catholic and you would like your admission to be released to the clergy.

Fourth, visits with the shut-ins and homebound are coordinated individually with our priests and extraordinary ministers. If you know of someone who is not able to get to church, please contact us or our homebound coordinator to make arrangements.

April 15, 2012

This year, our parish grade school will bid farewell to some of our teachers who will retire after more than 30 (or even 40!) years with us. These teachers have certainly earned their retirement, and they will be remembered fondly. Because of these openings, a few of our teachers will be shifting into different roles or different grade levels. Dr. Minick will announce the complete list of changes and recognize those who are retiring at the end of the school year.

As a result of these changes, our school has listed some positions that will be open in the fall. If you, or someone you know is interested in one of these positions, please contact the school. Teachers may also apply through the Office of Catholic Schools on the Diocese of Peoria’s webpage.

I also urge our husbands and fathers in the parish to consider the Permanent Diaconate. This year’s class of Permanent Deacon candidates will be ordained in May and the Diocese of Peoria will begin a new process for discerning our next class of Permanent Deacons. The training takes place over five years and consists of approximately one weekend per month of formation. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact me.

April 8, 2012

I wish a very Happy Easter to each of our parish families and to those visiting us for these Holy Days. May the blessings of the Risen Christ remain with each of us during the Easter Season.

I am grateful for the encouragement, help, and support that I have received as we begin our efforts to pay down long-term debt. I thank those who have already stepped forward to volunteer or assist with our United in Faith campaign. While this campaign is a special effort to pay down debt, I also remind each parishioner that we depend on your regular generous Sunday giving to meet the needs of our ordinary annual budget.

Many Catholics make a special effort during Lent to focus on their spiritual lives, especially through daily Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. I have been very much impressed with the large turnout at our daily Masses and Stations of the Cross. I think we had better attendance at these devotions this year than any previous year since my arrival at our parish. As we begin the Easter Season, I urge our parishioners to keep up these practices. Daily Mass is a wonderful spiritual way to begin the day, and regular confession is a great help to our growth in holiness. May God bless each of our efforts to remain strong in our faith.

April 1, 2012

Today we enter into Holy Week, a more intense time of prayer as we bring to a close our Lenten practices and look forward to the joy of Easter.

Please join us as we commemorate the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, and welcome the new converts into the Church on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil. Please be aware that there are no Saturday afternoon Masses of confessions and the only Saturday Mass is the 8:00 pm Easter Vigil.

The traditional Divine Mercy Novena begins on Good Friday. Information about the devotion to Divine Mercy is available in the foyer. The Novena concludes on the Second Sunday of Easter. Please join us before Mass to recite the chaplet of Divine Mercy before Masses on April 15th. The chaplet will be sung before the 12 noon Mass on April 15th and we will reconsecrate the image of Divine Mercy at that Mass.

March 25, 2012

This weekend is volunteer weekend for our parish debt reduction capital campaign. I hope that many of you will consider volunteering to help with our campaign receptions, phone calls, mailings, or parish visits. We will fold our goal for the Annual Diocesan Appeal into our debt reduction campaign, so we will not conduct a separate Annual Diocesan Appeal this spring.

We are getting closer to the end of Lent, so I draw your attention to our remaining times for confession. We will add additional confession times during Holy Week, which you will see in the bulletin.

As we enter into Holy Week, I also encourage you to attend the special Masses and liturgies that we celebrate on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. We will look forward to receiving more than a dozen people into the Church this Easter Vigil.

March 18, 2012

Primary elections are held this week in Illinois. This is a good opportunity to make some recommends to every adult parishioner. I encourage you to take the time to register to vote in the fall if you are not already registered. I also encourage you to become as well informed as you can about each candidate and his or her positions, including candidates for the U.S. House and our State Legislature.

Normally, we might assume that the separation of Church and State would protect the Catholic Church from governmental interference. However, in these days, I urge you to consider the positions that each candidate holds with respect to freedom of Catholic Charities and our Catholic institutions serve in a way that is consistent with the Catholic Faith.

Many of our Catholic institutions (including Catholic Charities and OSF St. Francis Medical Center) provide direct and valuable assistance to some of the most poor and vulnerable in our society, whether Catholic or non-Catholic. The religious liberty of our Catholic institutions to practice the faith must always be safeguarded and defended.

March 4, 2012

It has been a pleasure to see so many people joining us for daily Mass in the morning as well as the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening. I encourage these devotions for Lent as ways of deepening our devotion.

I wish all of our Catholic grade school and high school families safety in travel and a pleasant spring break. Because school is not in session this week, there will be no adoration during the day on Thursday. We will have our normal Lenten confessions and adorations on Friday evening as scheduled.

February 26, 2012

As we enter into the season of Lent, I draw your attention to our Lenten schedule. Please join us during Lent for daily Masses at 6:30 am or 7:45 am. On Friday evenings, we will offer confessions and adoration beginning at 6:00 pm followed by Stations of the Cross and benediction at 7:00 pm. Please plan to come as a family for these devotions. Young children may benefit from following the pictorial stations around the perimeter of the church.

We will continue to add additional confession times as we go through the season of Lent.

Lent is also a time to offer up personal sacrifices and undertake individual penances. As we continue to pray for our religious liberty and the freedom for Catholic institutions to observe the faith without government interference, I ask you to offer a portion of your sacrifices and penances for the freedom of the Church in our country.


If you are out of town, you can still find an archive of our parish bulletins on-line: Go to seekandfind.com and search for St. Vincent de Paul or use this hyperlink: http://seekandfind.com/directory/st.-vincent-de-paul-church_260.html

February 19, 2012

I have received a request to print the St. Michael the Archangel prayer, especially since some may have learned that prayer with some slight variations. For your convenience, the prayer is printed in the bulletin.

The USCCB has rejected the compromise offered regarding the health care mandate and our legitimate freedoms of religious liberty and rights of conscience. I encourage you to continue to speak out, to pray, and to offer sacrifices for greater respect for our liberties.

The term “abortifacient contraception” has been used recently in the debate about religious liberty. Therefore, it may be helpful to explain this term in greater detail. I have provided an explanation in more clinical language in this bulletin.


What does abortifacient mean?

The Church teaches that marriage is both for the good of the spouses whose love unites them together, and for the good of children as the gift of new life is brought into the world by the love of a husband and wife. Therefore marriage is both unitive and procreative. Contraception seeks to remove the procreative element of the marital act by preventing the fertilization of an egg.

However, there are some methods that go further. Should conception occur (a fertilized egg), some methods prevent that egg from implanting within the mother, such that the embryo is not allowed to develop. This situation is different because it does more than prevent fertilization; it harms the embryo after fertilization has occurred.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” (CCC 2270). For this reason, any method that harms an embryo after conception is referred to as abortifacient.

These issues can be very personal and difficult, and so it must always be remembered that God is always very merciful. God always welcomes us when we come to him with hearts eager for understanding, in humility, or with a desire to receive his grace. The Church also promotes Natural Family Planning which is a way to legitimately space childbirth without the moral problems of other methods. More information about Natural Family Planning can be found by calling or visiting the website of the Office of Family Life of the Diocese of Peoria.


St. Michael the Archangel Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host – by the Divine Power of God – cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

February 12, 2012

The Catholic Post is in the midst of its annual subscription drive. Please see their information in our bulletin. For $25 you can receive a subscription to our diocesan newspaper with news about the Catholic Church in our diocese as well as in our country and throughout the world. A donation of more than $25 allows the Catholic Post to make more editions available to the diocese at large, which is a great service in the work of evangelization.

I share the sentiments of regret that I have heard from many parishioners on learning that the national headquarters of Susan G. Komen reversed their decision to separate themselves from funding Planned Parenthood. Those who support abortion spoke up loudly and had an effect in restoring this funding. I know that many of our parishioners are dearly and personally devoted to the good work done in the area of breast cancer research. I urge you to this opportunity to speak up and make your pro-life interest known to this organization dedicated above all to curing cancer.


Pro-Life News

Sometimes in the media we may feel like we are in the minority in our secular world, but opinion polls show us that is not true. A majority of Catholics, and a majority of all Americans consider themselves “pro-life.” Among practicing Catholics, the majority is much higher. A majority of Americans believe that abortion should be banned in all cases or only to save the life of the mother. Only a minority of Americans believe in abortion on demand. When polled on the question of religious liberty, a vast majority of Americans—from many religious backgrounds—believe that churches should be free to practice their beliefs without outside interference.

Remember, we are not a minority. We are in the majority.

“Separation of Church and State” is not a one way street meant to keep the Church out of politics. It is a two way street meant also to keep the government out of telling us what we should believe as a Church.

February 5, 2012

I would like to thank all of our parishioners, parents, grandparents, students, faculty, and staff for making Catholic School’s Week so successful. I appreciate your support and all the hard work that went into planning this week.

Last week, I spoke to the parish about the importance of defending religious liberty. We must never allow our government or any other authority to infringe the right of the Church to practice the faith, nor the rights of individual citizens to follow our consciences. I asked every parishioner to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, asking “What is God asking me to do to defend religious liberty?” Have you taken action in some way? In word, in action, in prayer? For some suggestions, visit the Bishop’s website: www.usccb.org/conscience.

Many parishioners have taking advantage of the convenience of on-line banking and find it convenient to contribute to our parish electronically. There is an electronic contribution form in the foyer for those who are interested in this service. For your convenience, I have included a copy of this form in our bulletin. If this method of contributing is of interest to you, please return this form to the parish office in the mail, or in our Sunday collection. Thank you for your generosity.

Scripture Passages referenced during January 28-29, 2012 homily

On the dignity of life, the body, and marriage:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen 1:27).

Shun immorality. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:18-20).

“Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mt 19:4-6).

On the challenge found in the Gospel:

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn 6:60-63).

Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:67-69).

On the opposition we will encounter in the world:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15:18-19).

“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God (Jn 3:19-21).

On the courage of the Apostles to obey God rather than men:

So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).

On our reason for confidence in the battle:

And Jesus answered [Peter], "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:17-18).

Msgr. Gray responds to Pam Adams article in the Peoria Journal Star

Pam Adams’ column, “Catholics weigh decree over contraception (Jan 28),” is unfair and unbalanced for the following reasons:

  • Pam only interviewed people against the Bishop’s decree. She did not interview any supporters, of which there are many in my experience.
  • Pam focused primarily on contraception, downplaying the fact that our Government is requiring the Catholic Church to pay for abortifacient medication—which is the most serious moral problem.
  • The Catholic Church is not attacking any politician, but rather defending itself against an immoral and unjust law. Does Pam not believe in the First Amendment that gives Catholics the right to the free exercise of their religion without government interference?
  • Catholics are not divided on the issue of abortion. Opinion polls show that a majority of Catholics, and even a majority of all Americans, are pro-life.
  • Pam included an anonymous quote attacking the Catholic Church and celibacy. This is not only off-topic, but also contemptible, hateful, and beneath the dignity of the Journal Star to print.
All Americans, regardless of their personal opinions, should be able to agree that our government should never compel a religion to violate one of its central moral teachings.

Msgr. Jason Gray

January 29, 2012

From the Office of the Bishop:

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the history of the United States, Friday, January 20, 2012 will certainly stand out as a moment of enormous peril for religious liberty. On that day the Obama administration announced regulations that would require Catholic institutions to offer insurance programs providing abortifacients, sterilization, and contraceptive services. If these regulations are put into effect, they could close down every Catholic school, hospital, and the other public ministries of our Church, which is perhaps their underlying intention. What is perfectly clear is that this is a bigoted and blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of every Catholic believer. Under no circumstances, however, will our church ever abandon our unshakable commitment to the Gospel of Life.

I therefore call upon all the faithful of this Diocese to vigorously oppose this unprecedented governmental assault upon the moral convictions of our Faith. Under the Constitution, no president has the authority to require our cooperation with what we consider to be intrinsic evil and mortal sin. We must therefore oppose by every means at our disposal this gross infringement upon the rights of the Catholic citizens to freely practice our religion. This country once fought a revolution to guarantee freedom, but the time has clearly arrived to strongly reassert our fundamental human rights. I am honestly horrified that the nation I have always loved has come to this hateful and radical step in religious intolerance. I hope and pray that all people of good will would support the faith based resistance of us, their Catholic neighbors.

While it is primarily the laity who should take the leading role in political and legal action, as your Bishop, it is my clear responsibility to summon our local Church into spiritual and temporal combat in defense of Catholic Christianity. Have faith! Have courage! Fight boldly for what you believe! I strongly urge you not to be intimidated by extremist politicians or the malice of the cultural secularists arrayed against us. Always remember that the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Until these grave issues are favorably resolved, I ask that every parish, school, hospital, Newman Center, and religious house in this Diocese insert the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel into the Sunday General Intercessions just before their concluding prayer. It is God’s invincible Archangel who commands the heavenly hosts, and it is the enemies of God who will ultimately be defeated. This prayer should be announced as a Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel for the freedom of the Catholic Church in America.

May God guide and protect his Holy Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C.
Bishop of Peoria

January 22, 2012

This week we observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I thank you for joining in prayer for a greater respect for human life. I also invite you to observe some form of penance on Monday, January 23, to sacrifice in prayer in reparation for this worthy cause.

Next week, we celebrate Catholic School’s Week. Please join us in kicking off these festivities with our Chili Supper this Friday! Catholic Education has been a vibrant part of our history as a Church in this country, one that we should celebrate and be proud of. I invite you to consider choosing a Catholic Education for your children or the young people in your family. St. Vincent de Paul Grade School or Peoria Notre Dame High School are two excellent institutions that teach more than knowledge, but also the gift of faith in a nourishing and supportive environment.

In this parish, I believe in working to keep Catholic Education affordable for every family. If you or someone you know would benefit from tuition assistance, please use the FACTS form to apply for aid from the diocesan John Lancaster Spalding fund or from our parochial school endowment. Please see the bulletin or contact the school or parish office for more information.

January 15, 2012

The Bishops of the United States ask us to mark January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as a day to pray for greater respect for life. In particular, let us pray that the freedom of conscience of Catholic institutions and individuals will be respected by our government. No one should be forced to support something that violates our conscience or religious liberty.

We mark this anniversary with a day of penance for abortion. In particular we are asked to pray for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life, and we are also asked to observe some penance for the violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion. Because January 22nd is a Sunday, we are asked to observe January 23rd with some prayer or sacrifice. The choice of penance is left to the individual.

January 8, 2012

As we begin the spring semester, I urge our school families to take the time to consider applying for financial grants through the Diocese of Peoria for Catholic education. The diocese offers assistance through the John Lancaster Spalding scholarship fund to families with a financial need. These Spalding scholarships come from diocesan funds, not our own parish funds.

In order to qualify for this scholarship, a family needs to complete a FACTS form and provide information from your 2011 tax return. Applications must be submitted by February 15th, so I encourage families not to delay preparing your taxes for the previous year. Additional information will be available from the school or parish bulletin.

Beyond the Spalding scholarship, the parish provides additional funds from our school endowment to help families in need. We have been blessed to be able to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for families attending our parish grade school. These funds serve to make a Catholic education affordable for every family.

January 1, 2012

We wish everyone a happy New Year’s Day as we honor Mary, the Mother of God. If you haven’t picked up a Catholic calendar for 2012, please help yourselves as we have many extra calendars in the foyer.

Next week, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord which brings the liturgical Christmas season to a close. Please note next that we will take down the decorations after the noon Mass on January 8th. If you are able to help us, please come. The process is not difficult and it goes very smoothly, especially if we have a good number of volunteers.

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