Pastoral Letter for December 14, 2014

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During this past week, we celebrated the Immaculate Conception.  Mary, as a model of faith, helps us to look at how we are called to live our “yes” to God.  When the angel first approaches her, she has some fear and reluctance about being the mother of God.  If we are afraid or hesitant, we are less likely to say “yes.”  The miracle of Mary is that while she is afraid and hesitant, she knows that her call is to live the ways of God.  She makes her “fiat” or “yes” to God.  She trusts that she will receive the grace necessary to do what God asks.

At our Baptism, God poured forth His grace upon us.  The readings on this third weekend of Advent give good advice how to live this grace that has been poured forth upon us.  “He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives

and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD.”  Do I have the grace to tend to those who fit this description?  How have I responded to the opportunity to be generous to those in need as I prepare for Christmas?  Might I respond to the Advent Memory and Music opportunity?  To live our Baptism is to say “yes” to the needs of the poor, brokenhearted and bring freedom to those oppressed.

The second reading gives further suggestions.  “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.  Test everything; retain what is good.  Refrain from every kind of evil.”  Have we received the grace of discernment?  What are the things that are our blessings?  As we approach Christmas, how has God blessed us?  How do we recognize that God is visiting us and salvation is coming to our home?  Have we been reconciled?  Do we understand what is good and turn away from what is evil?  If we are to know joy, then we must live the will of God.  Have we learned the will of God in this time of Advent?

We again return to Mary.  She was a model of discipleship.  She chose to become the mother of Jesus because she was willing to do it according to God’s word.  We have received good advice on how to live the salvation brought by Jesus.  Are we saying “yes” to the grace that guides us to live God’s will like Mary?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Consider a Christmas gift to help us reach our Appeal target.  We have $28,461 in cash, pledges of $43,938.  To reach our target, we need still need over $55,000.  Are you willing to help us accomplish this goal?

Advent Communal Reconciliation Service:  Saturday, December 13, 10:00 a.m.

Reminder – Christmas Schedule:  On December 24, 4:00 p.m. – Children’s Mass in Main Church (No Mass in McKillip Hall), 6:30 p.m. – Main Church, 10:00 p.m. – Main church with carols before Mass starting at 9:30 p.m.  On December 25, 9:30 a.m. – Main Church, 11:30 a.m. – Main Church, Hmong Mass.

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for December 14, 2014

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Pastoral Letter for December 7, 2014

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If we have received sufficient information to consider saying “yes,” what’s the next step?  Information about the possibility activates a thought process:  What goals might I have for this project?  To whom might I need to talk in order to have help or assistance?  Is there any need for adjustment in the process so that things might work more smoothly?

Baptism is the first moment that we say “yes” in faith.  The goal is simple – become a part of God’s family so that we might have the opportunity to enter into heaven.  Once completed we might think that the goal is reached and we are finished.  Is this true?  Might the goal need some additional thought?

The second reading indicates that if we are to be ready when Jesus comes, we need to be “conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,”  Have we said “yes” to our Baptism today?  When we consider how we are behaving, is it in holiness?  Are we standing apart from the world and living in the commandments of God or are we compromising our faith by attaching ourselves to secular, earthly ways?  And what about devotion?  Have we developed a daily connection with God?  Do we have multiple forms of prayer?  Would we spend time in quiet, perhaps before the presence of the Lord in Eucharist?  Devotion connotes marital love – the willingness to be there no matter what.  Does God have our attention in the midst of whatever is happening in our lives?

If we are to accomplish these goals, then we must plan every day to do what is necessary to wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God.  If we are to say “yes,” then we have to have a plan in place to assist our ability to say “yes.”  Without a plan, we can easily disconnect with the life of faith.  One day without prayer can lead to a life without prayer; one missed Mass can lead to missing regularly.  Reconnecting with the goals and working to say “yes” keeps the plan alive.  How is Advent renewing our plan to live a life of holiness and devotion?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Mark your calendars to join in an evening of HOPE on December 17 at 6:00 p.m.  All ages are invited to come to St. Anne Parish to enjoy Inspirational Speaker Greg Wasinski and Musician Michael James Mette.  Don’t miss this opportunity – a great way to enter into the spirit and energy of Advent!

Building maintenance projects are underway.  The women’s bathroom in South Gathering Space should now be completed; material orders caused some delays.  Thank you to all who worked to make a successful St. Anne Fest; monies from the Fest are helping to complete this project!

Additionally work has been completed at the rectory.  Insulation has been added in the attic to reduce the ice dams on the roof; last year water began to back up into the house due to dams.  The dryer vent has been redirected; after the work was completed, we were advised that we were lucky to have not burnt down the house since the old piping was plugged from the halfway point to the exterior vent.  Both projects should provide energy savings for the parish!

Advent Communal Reconciliation Service:  Saturday, December 13, 10:00 a.m.

Reminder – Christmas Schedule:  On December 24, 4:00 p.m. – Children’s Mass in Main Church (No Mass in McKillip Hall), 6:30 p.m. – Main Church, 10:00 p.m. – Main church with carols before Mass starting at 9:30 p.m.  On December 25, 9:30 a.m. – Main Church, 11:30 a.m. – Main Church, Hmong Mass.

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for December 7, 2014

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Pastoral Letter for November 30, 2014

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What does it take to say “yes”?  If we think about moments when we are invited to consider doing something, do we simply immediately say “yes”?  I suspect for most people, the first instinct is to try and understand what is being asked.  This probably prompts some questions.

What’s involved?  The first question is probably seeking to understand the commitment being asked.  How many hours?  How many days?  Is it short-term or long-term?  Will I need to supply anything or need any training prior to starting this?  Depending on the answers, we might begin to feel more comfortable or we would have more questions.  Until we arrive at a moment of comfort, we are more likely to answer “no.”

Additionally we probably want to think about the option for a bit before we answer.  Having received information, we may want time to consider how it relates to the rest of our lives.  If we answer too quickly, we might not realize that we are creating conflicts or impacting time for other events.  Once we have mulled the idea, we feel more confident to answer that we have not created a more difficult schedule for ourselves than we can handle.

Faith invites us to consider a similar process.  Jesus has promised to come again.  What is involved?  During this Advent time, how do we set aside time and energy to consider the invitation of God to be ready when he comes?  Are we able to fit God into the schedule of our lives?  Perhaps his coming will be a long-term event; what if it is short-term?  Would we do anything different?  Would we make different choices?  Our readings say – Be Watchful, Be ready!  Are we set to say “yes” to God’s promise to come again?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Mark your calendars to join in an evening of HOPE on December 17 at 6:00 p.m.  All ages are invited to come to St. Anne Parish to enjoy Inspirational Speaker Greg Wasinski and Musician Michael James Mette.  Don’t miss this opportunity – a great way to enter into the spirit and energy of Advent!

Building maintenance projects are underway.  Please be patient as we seek to update space.  Hopefully this week the women’s bathroom in South Gathering Space is being completed.  Thank you to all who worked to make a successful St. Anne Fest; monies from the Fest are helping to complete this project!

Thank you to all who attended our Thanksgiving services – a celebration of blessing!

Advent Communal Reconciliation Service:  Saturday, December 14, 10:00 a.m.

Reminder – Christmas Schedule:  On December 24, 4:00 p.m. – Children’s Mass in Main Church (No Mass in McKillip Hall), 6:30 p.m. – Main Church, 10:00 p.m. – Main church with carols before Mass starting at 9:30 p.m.  On December 25, 9:30 a.m. – Main Church, 11:30 a.m. – Main Church, Hmong Mass.

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for November 30, 2014

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Pastoral Letter for November 23, 2014

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Christ the King marks the end of our Liturgical Year.  In Baptism, we are called to “put on Christ.”  We wear a garment of faith.  Our faith is that Jesus has shown us how to live; we are called to live the example as he has given.  From that standpoint, Jesus is King because he rules our lives.  He is showing us the face of God and instructing us to follow the example that he has shown us.  We put on Christ in order to live that we might be part of God’s Kingdom.

This feast was entrusted to the faithful in recent years. Pope Pius XI introduced the feast in 1925 in the midst of concerns about nationalism and secularism.  The teaching was meant to help the faithful place Jesus Christ at the center of their lives.  Initially this feast was celebrated the last Sunday of October.  As the understanding of this feast evolved, the date was changed to the last Sunday before the start of Advent in 1969 and the title given, “Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe.”

Starting next week, we begin our journey of Advent.  Our parish will focus on the concept of “I Say Yes.”  As Christ rules our lives, we are learning to say yes to the call of Christ and await with anticipation the coming of our God.  To help us put our hope in the promise of Jesus to come again, we remember Jesus’ Incarnation; we believe that he will come again because he has already come.  This season of Advent asks us to instill the joy of our faith and await with anticipation the coming of our God.  Join in this journey and don’t be afraid to invite a friend or neighbor to come with you!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Mark your calendars to join in an evening of HOPE on December 17 at 6:00 p.m.  All ages are invited to come to St. Anne Parish to enjoy Inspirational Speaker Greg Wasinski and Musician Michael James Mette.  Don’t miss this opportunity – a great way to enter into the spirit and energy of Advent!

Building maintenance projects are underway.  Please be patient as we seek to update space.  Hopefully this week the women’s bathroom in South Gathering Space is being completed.  Thank you to all who worked to make a successful St. Anne Fest; monies from the Fest are helping to complete this project!

The Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service is scheduled for November 26, 7:00 p.m. at St. Anne Parish.  Come and join in prayer with our neighbors at First English Church!  We are celebrating the 30th year of shared service and giving thanks!

A Thanksgiving Mass is scheduled for November 27, 9:00 a.m.  Mark your calendars and plan to attend!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for November 23, 2014

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Pastoral Letter for November 16, 2014

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“Receive with gratitude, Give with Joy!”  This slogan has been our parish theme for several years.  Through bulletin articles and ongoing use of this slogan, the Stewardship Committee hopes that everyone has gained insight into what it means to be a good steward.  Our gospel today invites all of us to further grow in our understanding.  A few questions might help us to consider stewardship.

Are we a gifted people?  While the story has a variance on how many gifts each person received, is it noteworthy that the story does not include a person with “zero”?  While every person may not possess a multitude of gifts, every person has something to offer.  Even if it is only one gift, the Gospel invites us to use that gift often and well.  Connecting us to the story of creation, God looks upon each of us and sees that we are very good.  He smiles upon his creation and invites us to acknowledge and use our gifts.  Whatever the gift, it is meant to be used for our family, church, community and world.  Every gift has the ability to multiply its effects.  Hiding the gift is the only way in which it will cease to have any impact.  Today we are reminded that we are a gifted people – how are we using the gift that we have received?

As each person who has realized results with their gift comes to the master, do we recognize how much joy is present?  They are excited and ready to share how the gift has made a difference.  It has multiplied by its use.  Is not joy the result of doing good things?  In our church, do we find joy in recognizing the gifts received?  Think about the number of volunteers that are present in order for us to have liturgy, faith formation, committees, ministries for internal needs and communal needs, etc.  Are we awed that we have so many wonderful people willing to give of their time and talent so that we might have all these things?  Sometimes it is too easy to complain about what is happening; how can we be more mindful of the gift?

Take a moment today to give thanks (offer gratitude) for the talents that were entrusted to the members of this parish.  Take a moment to acknowledge with joy all that is being accomplished.  Today remember our theme – “Receive with gratitude, Give with Joy!”

Sharing news about the parish . . .

The Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service is scheduled for November 26, 7:00 p.m. at St. Anne Parish.  Come and join in prayer with our neighbors at First English Church!  We are celebrating the 30th year of shared service and giving thanks!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – our goal is $99,193.  Progress is $25,467 cash received.  Contributions have slowed.  We have much work to do to meet our total.  If we can meet our goal by April 1, our rebate will be increased; these monies help us to do extra maintenance projects within the parish.  Thank you in advance for your willingness to support this important work!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, St. Anne Parish!  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!  Thanks for joining in our celebration to commemorate 65 years as a Catholic parish!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for November 16, 2014

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