The Month of April 2024

My Friends,
Easter Peace
            Over and again during the Fifty Days of Easter we will retell the Gospel stories which recount the appearances of the Risen Christ.  Over and again he greets them with His peace.  It is the peace which surpasses all understanding.  It is the peace which springs from our sure and certain hope that, as Christ rises triumphant from the grave, death dies and there is only Life! In Baptism, then, we have all been new-made and are – one and all – alive in Christ. There is a resilience about us that is more than merely human.
        We celebrate Easter this year with the pall of ongoing conflict with tragic loss of life in Ukraine and in the Holy Land.  We celebrate Easter this year in the midst of polarization in this nation with national and local elections on the horizon.  We celebrate Easter this year with crime and violence still plaguing our metropolitan community. Those are but a few of the sobering realities enveloping us.  Still, though, we know the truth, in an especially compelling way, that an Easter hymn sings, “death and life have contended in a combat stupendous”.  We believe that always and ultimately life will be victorious.  That is our sure hope.  That is the cause of our joy.  That is our abiding peace.
        So now, may the Easter peace of the Risen Christ abide with you and yours now and always!
We declare the victory…”
            Bishop Robert Barron is no stranger to us at St. John’s.  We know him from his exceptional multimedia presentations on Catholicism.  They have been a lively springboard for our Adult Faith Formation Program and now for our Adult Faith Enrichment Group.  When we first came to know him here he was Father Robert Barron serving as a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Then in 2015 he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles.  In 2022 he became the Bishop of Winona-Rochester in Minnesota.  He continues to be a prolific writer and engaging speaker. Bishop Barron’s Easter words inspire and encourage:
            “In the midst of extraordinary suffering in the world around us, we celebrate the feast, par excellence, of life, of hope, of resurrection. Wouldn’t it be better to postpone until our situation looks a tad brighter?
            “No — because it is precisely now when the meaning of Easter shines forth most clearly. At the very heart of Christian faith is the conviction that the Father sent the Son into our human condition — which means into matter, finitude, brokenness and fear. The downward journey of the Son of God, even to the very limits of godforsakenness, is the richest possible expression of God’s solidarity with every one of us who suffers. Into all the dark corners of our human experience, God’s mercy has come.
            “But the work of God did not end with the cross. Christ’s resurrection three days later proves that God’s love is more powerful than anything that is in the world. This is why Christians have, from the beginning, held up the cross — the most terrifying symbol in antiquity — as a kind of taunt. ‘You think that scares us? God’s grace is more powerful!’
            “And so today, we may ask: What can I do, right here and right now, to embody the divine love and provide hope? We can imitate Christ by going precisely to the darkest places — all the way down to the lonely, the abandoned, the fearful, the sick, to those who feel most alienated from God. To all of these people, we declare the victory of Jesus’ resurrection.
            “Therefore, look around! Today, there seems to be darkness and suffering everywhere. That just means plenty of opportunities to love.”
Deepening Faith
            Our St. John’s Faith Enrichment Group regularly meets on the first Sunday of the month, in the church hall, following the 10:00 o’clock Mass.  The group that gathers reflects the diversity of our members
            The video series Catholicism by Bishop Robert Barron is the springboard for conversation on faith matters. Sessions so far have sparked engaging reflections by participants.  The next Faith Enrichment Group meeting is Sunday, April 7th following the 10:00 Mass.  The conversation usually lasts about one hour.  Light refreshments are served.  All are welcome
“You did it for me”
            Each year the Archdiocesan Annual Catholic Appeal funds people programs that serve over one half million children, women and men in our metropolitan community.  People of all faiths, and of no faith, benefit.  The homeless are provided shelter.  The hungry receive nutritious meals.  Women and children at-risk are afforded safe-haven and necessary care.  Senior citizens receive a continuum of needed services.  Disadvantaged children and teens are educated.  Those are only a few of the people programs made possible by the Appeal.
            In coming days, you will receive a letter from Archbishop Rozanski, along with a pledge card, asking your generous support for the 2024 Annual Catholic Appeal.  You will receive a letter from me, too, with specific participation details for our Pro-Cathedral family.
            There are two goals set for us and for all by the Archdiocesan Appeal leadership.  One is calculated according to a standard formula. Our formula goal is $6,933.  The other goal is a challenge to meet the total of our gifts to the 2023 Annual Catholic Appeal last year.  Our challenge goal is $26,625.  In my almost twenty-two years among you, we have never not reached goal!
            Please return your pledge card, with your gift, in the envelope that was enclosed with the Archbishop’s mailing.  If you prefer, you are welcome to return it to the Pro-Cathedral with your Sunday Offering, or by mail to the Pro-Cathedral office.  The time for making your gift spans the dates of Saturday, April 20, 2024 till Sunday, May 5, 2024. The last date for gifts is Friday, August 16, 2024.  If you misplace the pledge card from Archbishop Rozanski, please contact the rectory.  We will be happy to provide a replacement card with a postage paid return envelope to you.  As the Appeal nears its conclusion, we will send a follow-up reminder to those who might have forgotten, or not yet had chance to respond with a gift to the Appeal.
            For the Annual Catholic Appeal each year I ask that you be as generous to God, and the works of God, as God has been generous to you.  Your gift, then, will be the right one.  I am grateful.  Archbishop Rozanski is grateful.  All those who benefit from your generosity are most grateful.
            So great is the meaning of the mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that one day celebrating it is not enough. Not even a week is sufficient.  For fifty days, then, until Pentecost Sunday, May 19th, the Church celebrates Eastertide.
            Let me express my gratitude to all who contributed to make our Easter Celebration prayerful and uplifting. Each, in your own way, and all together, you enrich our prayer and enlarge our hearts to assimilate the transforming power of Easter’s grace.
            My thanks and appreciation goes to those of you who served as ministers of the Masses, sacristans, decorators, vocalists and musicians.  A particular word of thanks goes to Don Massey, our Director of Sacred Music.  I include, too, our parish staff in the offices and on the grounds, and the volunteers who contribute time and talent maintaining the parish campus.
            And I am grateful to all of the members of this Pro-Cathedral family for your extraordinary generosity and faithful support of our mission and ministry, and that of the Church of St. Louis.
            God reward you all as only He can!
In Brief
We welcome the newest members of our Pro-Cathedral Family, John Morris, and Will O’Shea and Eva Schuller.  And we look forward to June 15th when Will and Eva will celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage in the Pro-Cathedral.
We keep in prayer Joyce Sullivan and Margaret Czapla and all who are ill, together with their loved ones and care-givers.  God give them strength and grace and peace.
We pray too for Ginny Grace, a former member, who passed away on February 23rd.  May she now see God face to face.

Monsignor Delaney