Pastoral Letter for September 7, 2014

pastoral-0907

How important do we think is the need for joining as a community to pray?  This weekend Jesus suggests to us that “if two of you on earth agree about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted them by my heavenly Father.”  It would seem that while individual prayer is important, the need for communal prayer is held in a higher esteem.  What might we contemplate in this light?

Jesus suggests the need for agreement.  In different words, we might say a “shared vision.”  If two or more people are not in agreement, accomplishments are not readily achieved.  Consider for a moment any issue within our present world.  Does anyone agree on what the solution is?  With differing ideas, does anyone have the motivation to work at making something happen?  How many issues remain in limbo because no one is willing to agree on one plan?  Jesus is inviting prayer as the means to find that shared vision.  God grants us the wisdom to see more clearly what is needed.  From our prayer, we can be motivated into action.  We come to hear the Word of God so that we might be sent to put into action what we have come to believe.  If prayer is the means to the shared vision, then the need to gather as a community is essential, not optional.

In this light, we might question how important is it to attend church on weekends?  How important is it to attend daily Mass?  Should we have times to gather and pray apart from Mass?  Should we have multiple ways that we as a church gather to pray?  Are the world’s problems solved because we gather in prayer?  Or is this a wishful, silly notion?  Would we say that the problems of the world are growing in proportion to the decrease in numbers of people attending church?  Jesus promises that our heavenly Father will grant whatever we ask when we are in agreement.  Faith is the invitation to say that we gather to grow in agreement so that we might receive the grace offered by God due to our prayer.  Will we take Jesus’ words seriously and what might happen if we do?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

On behalf of Fr. Matt and myself, I want to thank all the servers and their families for the help provided this summer.  We appreciate the sacrifice and willingness to be present at the early daily Mass – THANK YOU!

Volunteers are vital to programs of education.  Faith Formation and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults need active, excited St. Anne’s members who are willing to share the faith with those who come to learn about our Catholic tradition.  St. Anne Parish is awaiting volunteers to help us this year meet the needs of our children and adults who want to learn the faith.  Are you willing to offer your insight?  Please contact John Schmitt for Faith Formation or Deacon Erv Burkhardt for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.  We continue to have need and response is weak – isn’t someone willing to step forward and help?

Diocesan Annual Appeal – our goal is $99,193.  In September, the DVD will be shared which explains the many good works accomplished by this Appeal.  Following this weekend, the request for donations to help with this Appeal happens.  Please prayerfully consider what you are willing to support – your help will be much appreciated.

Hope the start of the school year is going well for all!  May the blessings of God be showered upon you this week!

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for September 7, 2014

bulletin-0907Click image to download PDF.

Pastoral Letter for August 31, 2014

pastoral-0831

Fire in our Bones!

As chaplain at Newman Catholic Middle School and High School I am very excited to see to see the new school year drawing nigh.  Excited, nervous, I feel like I do when I play tennis, on the balls of my feet ready to move.  I think that not just for students or teachers (or for this chaplain) every new school year brings a lot of energy and excitement.  We are filled with expectation, joy, and powerful memories as we watch the young people from our lives march off to school, their hearts full of questions and hope.  Yes sir, the start of a school year is a marvelous thing to see, indeed.  I think its right we should feel this way too.  We have a deep yearning for our children to find real meaning and joy in their life, “to find their way”.  We know how pivotal are these first years of our lives.  The Church shares that same hope for young people.  Whether they are in a parish Faith Formation program or at a Catholic school the Church hopes that children truly meet the God revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Church has found true happiness and wants to share it.  In the Lord Jesus we have found something worth more than the whole world (Mt 16).  God shares our hopes.  He has put that “fire in our bones” which Jeremiah prophesied about this weekend.  He has put an unquenchable thirst in our spirits for Himself.  And in the Lord Jesus we see that God thirsts for us to.  On the Cross Jesus said: “I thirst.”  The Savior wanted more than a glass of water!  He wants to “transform us by the renewal of our minds” (Rom 12) and lead us to eternal life.  As this new school year begins may we all invite the Lord to renew us, teach us.  And may we help lead our children to the God who loved them before the world was made (Eph 1, Jn 17, 1 Pt 1).  This is the mission we have as Church.  “Go therefore, and make disciples of all peoples!” (Mt 28).  At home or at work, in Faith Formation or in a Catholic school, please God make us your disciples.  Help us to lead all peoples to you.

Fr. Matt

Sunday Bulletin for August 31, 2014

bulletin-0831Click image to download PDF.

Pastoral Letter for August 24, 2014

pastoral-0824

Key – a word that holds several meanings.  A key is known as an instrument to unlock; we have keys to our homes, cars, lock boxes, and a variety of other possibilities.  Without the key, we cannot unlock and enjoy whatever is kept inside.  A key can also be an adjective to denote the importance or pivotal nature of something.  Reflecting on this understanding of key, how might we use this to relook at the first reading and gospel of this weekend?

The first reading indicates that the key of the House of David will be placed on Eliakim’s shoulder.  Jesus says to Peter that he will give him the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.  The key in both cases comes from God.  Faith is a gift from God.  If we are to unlock the mysteries of life, then we must use the key (revelation) given to us by God.  This key is important and pivotal for without this key, we cannot understand the mysteries of life.  The key is able to help us unlock; yet if we choose to not use it well, we will keep things locked.  Salvation is from God and to open the door to salvation, we need to use the keys entrusted to us by God.  In both readings, Eliakim and Peter are being asked to share the keys – “the faith” – so that the gift of faith is unlocked.  Discipleship is receiving the keys of faith, using them to understand God’s presence in our lives, and allowing the message of faith to be shared so that the keys are passed on to other people in need.

As people called to be disciples, are we aware of the keys that we possess?  What are the gifts of faith that we have received from God?  Are we using them to open our hearts and minds to the wisdom of God?  Are we using these keys to help others to recognize faith?  Like the keys to our homes, cars, and other items, we want to keep the keys of our faith in our pockets.  We want to know where they are and be ready to use them at any moment.  If we lose them, we might panic or be frantic as to how we will accomplish our tasks of the day.  God calls us to use the keys of our faith so that we might know peace.  If we are Peter today, Jesus entrusts us with the keys of the kingdom of heaven; what will happen because we have the keys?  How well are we using the keys entrusted to us?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of Deserae Faith Landowski.  Her funeral was on Thursday, August 14.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May she rest in peace!

We remember in prayer all those involved in a serious car accident and their families during this month of August.  We join together as a community to ask God to help us share the keys of hope, healing and resurrection to new life.

Volunteers are vital to programs of education.  Faith Formation and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults need active, excited St. Anne’s members who are willing to share the faith with those who come to learn about our Catholic tradition.  St. Anne Parish is awaiting volunteers to help us this year meet the needs of our children and adults who want to learn the faith.  Are you willing to offer your insight?  Please contact John Schmitt for Faith Formation or Deacon Erv Burkhardt for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.  These programs start in September and your response determines our ability to offer quality programs.  Don’t delay – call now!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – our goal is $99,193.  Begin to think about how you can help St. Anne Parish reach this goal.

May the blessings of God be showered upon you this week!

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for August 24, 2014

bulletin-0824Click image to download PDF.

Pastoral Letter for August 17, 2014

pastoral-0817

Confidence in God – What is our level of faith?  The Canaanite woman comes to Jesus to ask healing for her daughter.  Initially Jesus says “no” – he has come only for the lost children of Israel.  The Canaanite woman does not accept that answer.  Confident in Jesus’ ability, she suggests that if Jesus tosses just a morsel her way, it would be enough!  She is confident in what Jesus can do for her.

Do we have the faith of the Canaanite woman or are we a doubting Thomas?  The Canaanite woman believes Jesus can cure her daughter.  What do we think Jesus can do for us?  If we look back upon our week or look forward, what is it that might seemingly be impossible?  Do we have confidence that Jesus can provide what we need to accomplish the impossible?  Despair might be understood as a lack of confidence that Jesus would readily do for us.  Frustration that prayers are not answered can be a sign of a lack of confidence.  Are we willing to pray believing that Jesus can provide what is needed?

Jesus is amazed that the woman persists.  He recognizes her faith.  Her faith leads to the healing of her daughter.  How might our confidence bring a similar opportunity?  What might be answered for us if we place our confidence in Jesus?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Have you called John Schmitt yet?  Faith Formation needs your help; the need for catechists and aides is clear.  If we are to have sufficient staff, please consider if you are willing to teach.  Please think about others you would recommend if you are unable to teach.  Our children need your help!

In addition to our children, we also need people to assist with adults interested in becoming Catholic or Catholics seeking to complete their Sacraments of Initiation.  The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) needs interested persons who are willing to help with organizational tasks like Hospitality, refreshments, and faith support.  Our present team is rebuilding and needs people willing to learn and assist with this important ministry.  Deacon Erv and Fr. Matt are waiting for your call.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – our goal is $99,193.  Begin to think about how you can help St. Anne Parish reach this goal.

May the blessings of God be showered upon you this week!

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for August 17, 2014

bulletin-0817Click image to download PDF.

Pastoral Letter for August 10, 2014

pastoral-0810

Two questions might arise from our readings this week.  Where do we go to find God?  How is God made present to us?

Based on our readings, finding God is about paying attention.  Elijah is actively looking for God.  He is asked to pay attention because God is planning to show up.  Peter is asked to stay focused on Jesus, but in fear, begins to not pay attention to the Lord; rather he is paying attention to fear and the storm around him.  If we are planning to find God, we need to pay attention.  God will be found where we are.  God will be found when we take time to focus on his presence.  If we pay attention, we will find God in the mystery of our everyday life; we also find God when we take time to pray or to be in church.  If we focus on God, we will know his presence.  We cannot let fear, storm or tragedy distract us.  If we pay attention, God will be there.

God is made present to us in both the small and large ways.  Elijah hears the presence of God in a small whispering sound.  Peter knows the presence of God in a major storm.  If we pay attention, God does not have to be performing miracles.  God is in the everyday realities.  God is not found just in the joyful moments of life; God is present in the midst of our storms.  If we pay attention, we will note that God is present and appreciate how God is revealed to us.

During this coming week, pay attention!  Look for God – and be ready to share how you found God in the midst of your week!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of Richard Kubisiak.  Dick’s funeral was on Thursday, July 31.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May he rest in peace!

As planning continues for the next year of Faith Formation, the need for catechists and aides is clear.  If we are to have sufficient staff, please consider if you are willing to teach.  Please think about others you would recommend if you are unable to teach.  Our children need your help!  Please contact John Schmitt to talk about or offer names for catechists.

In addition to our children, we also need people to assist with adults interested in becoming Catholic or Catholics seeking to complete their Sacraments of Initiation.  The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) needs interested persons who are willing to help with organizational tasks like Hospitality, refreshments, and faith support.  Our present team is rebuilding and needs people willing to learn and assist with this important ministry.  If interested, please leave a message in the parish office for Deacon Erv or Fr. Matt.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – our goal is $99,193.  Begin to think about how you can help St. Anne Parish reach this goal.

May the blessings of God be showered upon you this week!

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for August 10, 2014

bulletin-0810Click image to download PDF.