Dear Friends in Christ:
A most blessed Easter to each and every one of you! We continue to keep you in our prayers and hearts every day, and are so grateful to be able to keep the church open for private prayer. Feel free to stop by any day between 8:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. if you feel comfortable doing so. We have decorated the church for the Easter season just like any other year, and the flowers look and smell beautiful! But please be aware that the Dundee Road entrance will be temporarily closed for a couple of weeks as we finish the last phase of the parking lot renovation. Simply use the Kreutzer Road entrance for the time being, and you will still have access to the sidewalk in order to enter the church through the main front doors.
Divine Mercy Sunday
We hope you can join us for the live-streaming of Mass this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. It is a timely celebration, to be sure, as we hear about and celebrate the Father’s tender mercy and love for all of us! Please be aware, too, that it is still possible to receive the Plenary Indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday even though you are not able to attend Mass in person and receive Holy Communion! The original Vatican decree in June of 2002 which established the indulgence has a special provision entitled, “For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill.” In that section, the document states: “all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes…may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday.”
Of course, as with all plenary indulgences, the one for Divine Mercy Sunday still involves the usual three conditions in order to receive it- sacramental confession, Holy Communion, and praying for the Pope’s Intentions. The decree states that these three conditions must be met “as soon as possible.” With that in mind, you would certainly want to participate in a live-streaming or a tape-delayed Mass this Sunday.
However, under our current conditions with the Illinois “stay at home” mandate, that also means you can wait with a clear conscience until public Masses are once again offered (however long that takes) in order to fulfill the specific condition regarding Holy Communion and still receive the indulgence! You must, however, on Divine Mercy Sunday itself, pray for the Pope’s intentions by offering an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be for his personal intentions.
Regarding the condition to make a sacramental confession (with a priest): you may certainly do so during our usual Confession times here at St. Mary’s (Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) As of this writing, those times are still available to you! If, however, you must remain at home at this time because you are in an “at risk” group, or because (no matter your age or condition) you are not comfortable coming to the church, you may wait with a clear conscience for the “stay at home” mandate to be lifted before coming to confession and still receive in the indulgence!
Beyond the usual three conditions for any plenary indulgence, the specific actions that must be taken on Divine Mercy Sunday itself involve the following: with an internal detesting of any sin, and with the sincere intention of fulfilling the three usual conditions as soon as possible, recite the Our Father and the Creed before any image of the Merciful Lord Jesus (see the cover of this weekend’s bulletin, for example), and pray a devout invocation to Him by saying: “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!” It’s as simple as that! Of course, it would be a good and holy decision to do a bit more than that if you can, by reciting a Divine Mercy Chaplet and perhaps a Holy Rosary, as well. But neither of those devotions are required in order for you to obtain the Plenary Indulgence for this Sunday.
There is no doubt that Pope St. John Paul II was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he established this powerful plenary indulgence with these special provisions, which clearly apply during this time of social restrictions due to the pandemic. In this way everyone can still obtain the incredible gift of the total forgiveness of all sins and punishments for either themselves or for a deceased loved one. Praise God for His mercy and love, for the offer of salvation through Christ, for the gift of Easter faith, and for the blessing of our Catholic Church and traditions!
I would also like to extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to all of you who have continued to financially support our Parish Family. I know it is not easy to do at this time, especially with so many folks being forced to deal with a reduction in their own income. Please be assured, too, that if you are not able to help during the pandemic, that is just fine with the parish! We want you, first and foremost, to be doing whatever you need to do in order to provide for your own family and household. That is a far greater priority right now. But thank you to those of you who have been able to still make donations. Your response has been touching and overwhelming. You are allowing us to not only keep the doors open and pay our bills, but also to continue to pay our outstanding staff, to financially support our sister parish in Haiti, to keep funding the St. Vincent DePaul Society and the important work they continue to do, and to make parish tithing contributions to the various charities and organizations that are relying on our help these days more than ever.
Beyond the financial contributions, though, thank you just as sincerely for your on-going prayers and faithfulness! It has been inspiring and heartwarming to see so many people deepening their faith and their love for Jesus in so many ways as they adjust to the sacrifices we are all being asked to make for the Common Good and for the health of our neighbors. Our prayer, of course, is that those efforts regarding personal growth and reaching out to help others will continue long after the pandemic has come to an end. And knowing the hearts and character of the people of our wonderful Parish Family, I have no doubt that with the grace of God that will indeed be the case!
Please be assured of our love and prayers for all of you and your loved ones. We are honored to be here at St. Mary’s with you and to be a part of your spiritual home. Watch our parish website for more updates and videos, and take some time to sign up for “flocknote” if you haven’t yet done so. It will allow you to receive more frequent communication from the parish on a regular basis. Most importantly, of course, stay close to Christ! Keep on praying and asking for a spirit of trust and joy and perseverance. Jesus will be triumphant, and we will be back together once again in the pews of our beautiful church. And may God bless you with invincible Easter faith!
In Christ, Fr. Max
Bishop Malloy’s Letter (Updated 4/9/20)