Pastoral Letter for May 24, 2015

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Pentecost – the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.  With this gift, the mission of the Church moved out into the world.  The apostles spoke in many languages.  Fear was no longer restraining them from preaching the word.  They embarked upon living the Risen Lord.

What does the Holy Spirit mean to us today?  The symbol of the Spirit is often wind.  Wind suggests a force or movement.  How does the Spirit of God move the Church?  How does it move its members?  Are we part of that movement, or has the wind quieted down?  Sometimes a period of quiet is good; everyone needs to recharge.  Yet the absence of movement can bring boredom.  What is true of the Church today?

Another symbol of the Spirit is fire.  Fire brings the idea of consumption – fire rages; perhaps we see in this symbol the characteristic of passion.  What is our passion for Jesus?  What is our passion for his Church?  Are we on fire?  Is it a bonfire?  Is it a small flickering flame?  On the day of Pentecost the disciples were on fire.  Have we felt such passion?

Pope Francis recently gave a homily in which he stated the Holy Spirit opens our hearts to the Lord.  He invited Christians to do a daily examination of conscience.  This process opens our hearts to the presence of the Lord.  He also invited that Christians need the Holy Spirit as disciples.  A Christian life without the Spirit would be living the compassion of Jesus without the vitality of Jesus.  The Spirit bears witness to Jesus so that we can give it to others.   Pope Francis “asked that people be granted the grace to become accustomed to the presence of the Holy Spirit, this witness of Jesus who tells us where Jesus is, how to find Jesus, what Jesus tells us.”

Celebrate this Spirit!  Live this Spirit!  Bring vitality to our Church!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

St. Anne Parish, for a number of years, has supported an AA group meeting.  A group is available in Fireside Room on Saturdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.  Please be aware of this since people seeking the meeting may ask for directions if this is their first visit to St. Anne Parish.

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of Debra Heiting.  Her funeral was on Friday, May 15.  May our prayers help to comfort those who mourn.  May she rest in peace!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $81,160 in cash, pledges of $84,093.  To reach our target, we still need over $15,000.  Please consider helping us to reach our target; we have less than one month to raise the remaining dollars!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for May 24, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for May 17, 2015

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If we are to look in our own time, what convinces us that the word of God is at work among us?  In the gospel Jesus says, “The Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”  Prior the signs are listed as “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages.  They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.  They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  Are any of these visible in our world today?

The ability to drive out demons – is there a confrontation of evil happening in our world?  Certainly there are still those who speak for the needs of justice and peace within our world.  People are still willing to hear the cry of the poor and try to make life better for those less fortunate.  Demons are being confronted; in some cases, progress to a better world is unfolding.  Do we see this as a sign of God’s word being confirmed?

The ability to speak new languages – is it happening today?  Perhaps we might for a moment consider the issue of immigration.  Who are those who learn to speak the language that helps new immigrants to be welcomed and helped to adjust to a new way of life?  Does the Spirit of God help those who might learn new languages to assist those in need?  While this might seem a “normal” occurrence, does it still suggest the word of God at work among us?

Consider the other signs.  What might you suggest are the ways that God’s word is at work among us?  Within the gospel, believing is about our willingness to see that the word of God is being fulfilled in our midst.  Listening again to the words of Jesus, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  How is our faith saving us?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Congratulations to all those who are Confirmed this weekend!  May the gifts of the Spirit spark an involvement in your faith and this community!

Thank you to all the volunteers who assisted Faith Formation this year!  Your faith is being handed on to all who have been part of this process.  Thank you for assisting us!

A plea for volunteers was offered last weekend.  Your assistance determines the possibilities and success of this event.  Please consider joining in the fun!  Sign up for an area of the Fest – your contribution will help us succeed!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $80,737 in cash, pledges of $83,870.  To reach our target, we still need over $15,000.  Please consider helping us to reach our target; we have about one month to raise the remaining dollars!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for May 17, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for May 10, 2015

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In the gospel, Jesus says, “You are my friends.”  What does friendship with Jesus involve?  How does it compare to other friendships in our life?  What are the characteristics of friendship with Jesus?

Looking at our relationships, we might say that one characteristic is spending time together.  If we are friends with someone, we take time to be with one another.  We share what is going on in our lives and we invite our friends to be present at special events.  Time with Jesus might be understood in our time of prayer.  How do we share what is happening in our lives with Jesus?  Do we just talk to Him like anyone else?  Do we need some kind of formalized prayer to find the words to say?  How much time do we need to keep Him up to date on what is happening?  Daily would seem the best since so much is always happening in our lives.  Weekly would keep the connection rather tight and strong.  Monthly could be enough, but could we share everything in a short time?  Each of us will determine what works – if important, the very least is to want more time, not less.

A second way that we might spend time with a friend is to enjoy dinner together.  We set aside an evening to gather and hopefully plan nothing else to interrupt that time.  Jesus invites us to dinner weekly as well as daily.  We gather at the table of the Lord to have a conversation.  He shares His Word with us and invites us to eat His Body and drink His Blood.  Time with a good friend over dinner leaves us feeling good; we look forward to that time to spend again.  How do we celebrate that friendship with Jesus enjoyed at Eucharist?

Jesus also says that there is no greater friend than one who is willing to lay down His life for His friends.  A good friends is willing to make sacrifices.  Life is seldom smooth and unexpected realities can arise.  A good friend is one who will set aside other things and be present when the unexpected happens.  What sacrifices are necessary in order that we have a relationship with God?  Are we willing to make those sacrifices?

Jesus invites us to be friends.  How do these characteristics help us consider the depth of friendship that we share with Jesus?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Taking a moment to recognize the number of funerals in the last six weeks, please remember in your prayers:  Marcella Drayna, Walter Hornik, Joseph Figlmiller, Marilyn Spletter, Mary Ann Lewandowski, Salli Howe and Myron Michlig.  May our prayers help to comfort those who mourn.  May they rest in peace!

St. Anne Fest is approaching.  The success of this event lies within the volunteers from the parish who will assist in carrying out the many tasks involved with this event.  Please consider joining in the fun!  Sign up for an area of the Fest – your contribution will help us succeed!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $75,377 in cash, pledges of $81,820.  To reach our target, we still need over $17,000.  Please consider helping us to reach our target; we have about two months to raise the remaining dollars!

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for May 10, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for Sunday, May 3, 2015

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Two images are offered by our readings this weekend – heart and vine.  While two, they are one image.  Scripture invites us to consider if our heart and vine in connected to Christ.  What does it mean to have this connection?

Today’s world speaks about merit pay.  Salaries sometimes are determined by whether or not you are showing your value by the manner in which you carry out your duties.  If you are producing good work then you should receive merit pay.  One can almost hear a similar thought in the gospel.  We are the branches and Jesus is the vine.  However if our branches are not connected, we might wither and die; we should expect no merit pay.  In the words of Jesus, if we become lifeless, we ought to be pruned and burnt.  The reward of being with God is how we live with God here on earth.  Are we connected in a manner that we are deserving of merit pay?

The second reading speaks of having the heart of Jesus.  The ability to determine what is right is how we recognize what is written on our hearts.  We understand the commandments of God and seek to live them.  Our heart is vibrant and filled with life when we are able to know God; however if we are not connected to God, our hearts condemn us.  They feel wearied and burdened.  Life is painful rather than filled with joy.  The letter of John reminds us that our hearts are to be filled with love – love in the manner that Jesus has loved us.  Are we connected to the heart of Jesus?  How does our heart beat with the joy of serving in the same manner as Christ?

Easter brings forth hearts that are alive in Christ.  Renewed in faith, we are able to proclaim our connection with Christ.  Whether vine or heart, do we understand and celebrate that our lives are only full if we know and love Christ?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Pray for our young people preparing for Confirmation.  They will receive the Sacrament on May 16th!

May is the month of Mary – an appropriate time to meditate upon the mysteries of the rosary.  Join with those who pray the rosary following morning Mass; all are welcome to participate.

May is also a time to remember our Mothers.  Take some time to share a special moment with your mother, especially as we celebrate mothers next weekend!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $75,377 in cash, pledges of $81,820.  To reach our target, we still need over $17,000.  Please consider helping us to reach our target; we have about two months to raise the remaining dollars!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for May 3, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for April 26, 2015

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The image of the Good Shepherd is shared with us this weekend.  What might we consider as we contemplate this image?

In the first reading, we hear that a good deed is performed.  The situation has been questioned because of what occurred.  The answer offered by Peter is that “what” is less important than by whom.  This deed was done in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene.  The Good Shepherd is thus the leader – we are the sheep that follow the word, instruction, and example of Jesus Christ.  From this perspective, we are invited to remember that Jesus does not say you can do whatever you want.  We are to do what the Shepherd wants.  In the midst of what we hope, in the midst of what we pray, do we do it in the name of Jesus the Nazarene?  Are we allowing Jesus to be the one who decides how things unfold?  Peter allows the Shepherd to be present in the midst of the healing of the cripple.  For such opportunities today, we need to allow Jesus to be our Shepherd.

In the gospel, we are invited to remember the sacrifices made by the Good Shepherd.  Much like a good parent, the Shepherd is concerned for our safety and our every need.  The Shepherd will know when we are making good decisions and when we are in the near clutches of a wolf.  If sheep do not pay attention to where the shepherd is, they can go astray.  They will get lost by the distractions around them.  Temptation and sin are the distractions that we face in our everyday lives.  We can lose sight of the Shepherd.  To be part of the flock, we must seek to be near the Shepherd.

Easter reminds us of the importance of the Sacraments of Initiation.  We are a baptized people; we have accepted Jesus as our Shepherd.  We are a Eucharistic people; we are fed by the Shepherd so that through Word and Sacrament, we might receive the grace necessary to overcome the distractions of our time.  We might be able to listen to the Shepherd.  We are a people confirmed in the Holy Spirit.  We are given the grace through the gifts of the Holy Spirit to have courage and strength in the midst of temptation.  We are close to the Shepherd by all these Sacraments; they continue to lead us – the Shepherd guiding His sheep.

We rejoice in our Good Shepherd – Alleluia!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Pray for our young people preparing for Confirmation.  They will receive the Sacrament on May 16th!

Pray for those who are entering into the Sacrament of Marriage.  Starting this month through October, couples will come to St. Anne Parish and pledge their love to each other.  We pray God will bless their union and seal them in love for one another.

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $74,003 in cash, pledges of $80,601.  To reach our target, we still need over $18,000.  Please consider helping us to reach our target; we have about two months to raise the remaining dollars.

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for April 26, 2015

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