Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is hard to believe that in a few short weeks I will have been assigned as your
pastor for one year! It has been a great year, a fast year, and an adventurous year
to say the least! It is a blessing to be part of this great parish family.
It was sad news a number of weeks back when Fr. Jim announced to all of us that he
was going to Rome. It is definitely a loss for us, but will be a tremendous gain for
our diocese. It was also sad when the following week it was announced Deacon
Dave will be retiring. And even more sad news, please Lord no more, is that there is
no parochial vicar from the diocese being assigned here. The reality at the diocese
is they don’t have an additional priest to send. God willing we will get someone in
the future, but at the moment, I will be the only priest assigned here.
Now some happy news! As you all know, Deacon Brian was ordained recently and
will serve at St. John’s full time during the summer and a number of weekends
during the school year. It will be a blessing to have Deacon Brian serve our
community. He is a very talented man and is eager to gain lots of parish
experience. We also have 4 seminarians from the diocese living with us while they
do their Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) unit at CDH Hospital. It will be a blessing
to have these 5 men on campus with us for the summer and I encourage you to get
to know them!
Recently, due to some of the above changes I mentioned, some additional changes
at our parish have had to be made, and I will now take a little time to explain those.
Unfortunately we have to discontinue Hispanic Ministry at St. John the Baptist. The
last Spanish Mass will be June 20th at 1:30pm. This wasn’t an easy decision by any
means, but one that had to be made since I’m the only priest who will be here at St.
John’s and I don’t have the language gifts to fulfill this ministry. Thanks be to God
we are collaborating with St. Mary’s in West Chicago. Fr. David has started an
outdoor Spanish Mass to get larger congregations due to COVID limits, and I’m
personally willing and trying to support him any way I can.
Another change that will be happening effective July 5th will be the Mass schedule
at St. John’s. Due to being by myself, there are some changes that need to take
place. These will be our Mass changes: During the week Mass will be at 7am
Monday - Thursday. Friday, daily Mass, however, will be celebrated at 12pm. The
reason for a noon Friday Mass instead of all 7am Monday - Friday is so I can still
have a full 24 hours o< from after Mass on Thursday until Friday noon, and at the
same time allow Mass to be celebrated each week day at the parish. Another Mass
change is after July 5th, the 8:30am Saturday morning daily Mass will not continue.
The reason for this change is due to funerals, baptisms, weddings, confessions, and
the 5pm Vigil Mass on Saturday. Having the 8:30am Mass on Saturday morning will
not be doable for a one priest parish going forward due to all the other weekend
Sacramental celebrations. When the school year resumes, we may need to
reevaluate daily Mass times.
I know no one likes change, but this is the current reality we face here at St. John’s
being a one priest parish. As other things need to be changed and tweaked, I will
communicate those to you. I ask for your prayers in this time of transition, and
please know of my prayers for you. May God bless you all, and together may we
lead souls to Heaven!
Fr. Chris Lankford