By Diane Perry
The foundation of happiness is to believe and trust in the Lord. It all sounds so simple, we know this, for this is what we are supposed to do, but sometimes we fall off track from what we need to do by just being a human being. Here are some words of encouragement.
John Rex, a parishioner at St. Mary Church in Mokena as well as deacon in the parish since 2018 was given his title sixteen years ago when he was ordained by Cardinal Francis George in 2005 for the Archdiocese of Chicago at Holy Name Cathedral. He started as a Deacon at his previous parish of St. Damian Church in Oak Forest in 2005.
John says he starts his daily routine every morning at 3:45 a.m. when he rises for the day. He said, “Along with getting the dogs out and making the coffee, I reserve one hour of prayer before I start my day.”
In addition to family and his work being self-employed at his printing and packaging company, he is also busy as a deacon. The role of a Deacon has many responsibilities including assisting at Masses, helping out with baptisms, weddings, funerals and wakes, and the needed visits to hospitals, nursing homes and even jails. The only two things a deacon cannot do is consecrate the bread and wine for Holy Communion and hear confessions. Only a priest can do these duties.
As Deacon John humbly said, “The image of a priest is Christ the High Priest, and the deacon is Christ the Servant.” He adds that his duties bring him a lot of happiness since he is helping people grow in the Catholic faith.
When asked how he keeps the faith during the hard times of the pandemic, he answered that he never really had a problem. During his sixteen years as a deacon, the only hard time he can recall was when the church closed due to the pandemic. Although Masses were livestreamed, the church itself was completely empty of parishioners for the Easter blessing.
He said, “Don’t live in fear. If you can make a change, do it. If you can’t make a change, then the rest is up to God. Just put your faith in Him, leave it to Him. Have a trust in God’s providence.”
He said that when people are unsettled in spirit, they can show anger or unhappiness. Jesus is here to spread the word, to build his house with a firm foundation. It is a calm, peaceful feeling when God is in your heart. There will be winds, there will be floods, but with trust in Christ, we have a true foundation. People who believe in Christ display a calmness.
Deacon John said, “Just give it to the Lord.” People can’t deal with the hard times, that is why we cannot live without Christ. From this foundation we grow in faith and trust with happiness and inner peace.
When an individual has lost faith, they are lost sheep that need Jesus in their life to pray and to find the way of happiness and peacefulness that everyone strives for in their lives. Weekend Mass is offered at St. Mary Church at many different times for convenience. There is a Mass scheduled daily during the week as well. Before the daily weekday Mass, a Rosary is recited in the church by the people attending.
Now, during the Christmas Season, we see all the beautiful lights, but after all the Christmas lights come down, there is still a special light in the church. Along with the birth of our Savior, there are so many enlightening programs that an individual can participate in coming back to the Catholic faith. You can view the many ministries St. Mary has to offer here.
Deacon John said, “Since the church re-opened after the Pandemic, there are twenty to twenty-five new parishioners joining every month. St. Mary is a very traditional and welcoming parish.”
With the hard times of the Pandemic, many people need prayer in their lives to inspire hope and keep the faith that the pandemic will come to an end. Trusting in the Lord and praying to Him is all we can do. Leave it to Him. On the human side, we can get vaccinated and wear a mask, but the rest is up to God. With God, life is more meaningful, and His works grow with us every day.
After speaking with Deacon John, I received a peaceful feeling from him. Just talking about Christ and feeling the Love from Christ made me feel better.