Fr. Britto's Blog

Redemptive Work

How wonderful it is that the weather is getting better even though the last weekend was made for ducks! Flowers are beginning to bloom and the trees are sprouting leaves out of their bare branches. There is a spring in our steps and freshness in the air. People are smiling more. Children are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their summer vacation. I love this time of the year also because of our First Holy Communions. Over these two weekends almost 250 second-graders will be approaching the Eucharistic Table for the first time. They will take another step in their initiation and will be fed the solid food of the Body and Blood of the Lord. This is an occasion for rejoicing for the entire parish. I want to assure our children that we are accompanying them with our prayers and supporting them with our love.

On this occasion, it is always my sweet privilege to thank many, many individuals. First of all, I want to thank our DRE, Ms Anna Mae Parkhill, who directs one of the largest and one of the best religious education programs in the archdiocese. Our children are well prepared to receive Jesus and I know that she and her many collaborators put in endless hours to prepare our children. Next, our thanks go to our principal, Mrs Nell Agnew, and her teachers who pass on the faith to our Catholic school students. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our volunteer catechists and our school teachers who dedicate themselves to this delicate ministry.

My thanks go in a special way to our parents who are the first teachers of the faith to their children. I would like to remind the parents to continue bringing their children to Sunday Mass now that they have completed another step in their Christian initiation. Finally, I want to thank our dear children who have taken this big step in their faith life. I want to say to our First Holy Communicants: “Dear children, please remember that Jesus Who has come into your hearts wants to be your best friend. Keep Him close to you always!”

Also this week we celebrated the feast of St Joseph, the worker. If you have listened to my preaching over the last seven years, you would have noticed that I have a special affection for this forgotten saint. From the time I was in elementary school run by Servite nuns I developed a deep devotion to him and over the years have consistently prayed to him. St Joseph has so much to teach us and yet no one really pays much attention to him.

St Joseph was a simple man, a man who worked with his hands. From tradition we know that he was a carpenter. Probably he was not dirt poor because carpentry is a much-valued skill and people would have paid decent wages for his work. It is not so much what he did for a living that makes the difference. It is his attitude and sense of mission that we must seek to emulate. He knew that his work helped support his family. He was aware that he was taking care of the Savior of the world and His mother. He was ready to sacrifice himself because his sacrifice was impacting the salvation of the world.

All of us are called to work. Hopefully our work will impact the world and make a difference. God put Adam and Eve in the garden to till it and to keep it. The call to work therefore is not a burden or a punishment. It is a privilege to collaborate with the Creator in His creative work. Work gives us a sense of dignity and worth. We all feel the need to make a difference. Besides, the possibility of work provides us with the resources necessary to lead our lives with self-respect. If we can find work that we feel really passionate about, then we are even more blessed.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has significant words on the theme of work:

Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. Hence work is a duty: “If anyone will not work, let him not eat.” Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. (#2427)

As Europe and the rest of the world celebrate May Day, let us prayerfully reflect on the status of workers everywhere. As disciples heeding Jesus’ call, we must work towards justice for all, especially for those who are weak and vulnerable. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we are nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lord Who earned His keep by the work of His hands. In a special way let us pray for those who have lost their jobs and are looking for meaningful employment. Let us pray for those who are retired and feel ignored by our society that places a premium on productivity and efficiency. Let us pray and struggle for the right of everyone to work with their hands and minds, and build something beautiful for God.

May the Lord bless the work of our hands! St Joseph, the worker, pray for us!

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel