During Lent, JosaFAST will be featuring parishioners' thoughts on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  If you are interested in sharing your take, please send an email to office@stjosaphatparish.org. Thank you!

This week is the second in our Lenten series on the Works of Mercy. Archbishop Cupich and we at St. Josaphat urge all members of our parish community to look for ways to practice these Works of Mercy as they go about their daily lives during this Lenten season.

Corporal Work of Mercy : To Give Drink to the Thirsty

Water and Mouthwash

"Giving drink to the thirsty" has a very literal meaning in my life right now. Our family helps care for a small group of feral cats in our neighborhood, and our recent frigid temps mean multiple trips outside each day to refill their frozen water dish. Though I realize that cats are efficient users of water, I hate seeing them wander onto our deck looking for a drink and finding a solid block of ice-love it when the timing works out, and they get to lap away contentedly. They keep checking back; they are certainly smart creatures and don't take anything for granted when it comes to survival!

We humans, though (and assuming that the basics of survival are at hand) "thirst" for more-for acceptance, connection with each other. . .and for basic dignity. This last point was brought home to my daughter Hallie and me when we helped out with the St. Josaphat Homeless Outreach last summer. Our visitors were happy to receive sandwiches and pop, of course, but they were really excited when we had grooming products to share-especially toothbrush/toothpaste kits and mouthwash. Our little tubes of Crest and bottles of Scope went quickly, and a couple of the fellows said, "It's so great to feel clean." A bit of dignity goes a long way, apparently!

--Paul O'Connor

To Give Drink to the Thirsty
This week's Corporal Work of Mercy seems relatively simple, especially in a modern city bordered by a giant lake in a developed country. I'm sure many of us, myself included, are incredibly flippant about the ways in which we use water. This would not be a major issue if everyone in the world had the same access to water that we do here. But that is unfortunately not the case. It is estimated that over 800 million people in the world do not have clean water. It is clear that there is still a massive need for this Work of Mercy in countless countries throughout our modern world.

However, there is also a great need for this Work of Mercy closer to home. Our brothers and sisters in Flint, Michigan have found themselves with a dangerously contaminated water supply. While they work for systemic change that will allow them the basic right to a clean water supply, we can support them by donations through donations of bottled water. There are numerous drives going on throughout the city that we can all support to perform this Work of Mercy.

--Jonathon Marek

Spiritual Work of Mercy: To Instruct the Ignorant

Who Teaches Whom?

I am truly fortunate to have spent five years on the Religious Ed team at St. Josaphat-learned much more than I taught! My first graders came to class each Sunday with such enthusiasm and eager anticipation---"What will we learn about Jesus today?" They were like little sponges-absorbing our lessons about Jesus and His friends (and remembering every detail-don't every try to pull a fast one on a first-grader!)

From them I learned that acting as Jesus taught is really pretty simple----be kind to others, share your toys, tell the truth, and don't hit your sister (or at least apologize when you do). There weren't a lot of complex intellectual debates in our class, but do we really need those, anyway? At the end of the day, the lessons we learned in first grade are the ones to fall back on, and those energetic little people can be the finest teachers of all!

--Karin O'Connor

To Instruct the Ignorant
This Work of Mercy may at first seem immeasurably complex or largely unachievable. It is easy to find some spare change or somewhere to cut back to donate to a charity supporting clean water programs. It may seem much harder to instruct and educate a society to be intelligent, morally strong children of God.

Considering the directive "instruct the ignorant" in its most literal interpretation leads to formal education--to a system in which young people are brought up and taught both the fruits of human knowledge and the moral values and teachings of Jesus. And we as a society must support that, whether it be through private, public, or parochial schools or religious education and other youth programs.

But instructing the ignorant can take on other forms. We all can find someone who has lapsed from the Church or has never realized the healing power of Jesus and we can instruct them on the beauty of this power and grace. We can find someone who is living without hope and share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ. We can find someone who is living with anger and bitterness in their heart and instruct them in the power of love. This is the greatest form of instruction--a form that can change lives. Through loving, caring, empathetic instruction, we can make the world a better place--a more holy place--for all those in our community.

Through these Works of Mercy, we can grow closer to God over these coming Lenten weeks. And, if we find a project or a cause that strikes a chord in us, we can carry it on past Lent and into our daily routines.

--Jonathon Marek

Paul & Karin O'Connor
Parishioners since 1988-Liturgy of the Word, Religious Ed, Parents of a College-Bound St. Ignatius Senior, active in investment banking and technology investing

Jonathon Marek
Parishioner, Weekend Office Staff, Junior at Whitney Young H.S., speaks Chinese, member of the Math Team

Important Upcoming Dates!

Sunday, March 6, Parish Reconciliation Service,  3pm
Saturday, March 12, Volunteer at St. Agatha's
Sunday, March 13, Parish-wide Lenten Respite, 1:15 pm
Sunday, March 24, Palm Sunday

Please Pray for
2nd Graders tonight!
First Reconciliation
 Thursday, February 18, 7 pm
Women's Spirituality Retreat!
Connecting with the Divine
Sat. February 20
8 am - 12 pm
Red Door Meeting Room
All women are invited!!
Second Chance Auction!
Closes tonight!
10 pm Central!
Details and  Sign up here!
Almoners Needed!
Following each Mass during Lent
Details and  Sign up here!
Dine Around:
Da Nella!
Wednesday, Feb. 24
11 am - 10 pm
20% of all proceeds benefit St. Josaphat School!
VBS: Cave Quest
Monday - Friday
June 13 - 17 2016

Save the date and get ready for Vacation Bible School!