Pastoral Letter for June 28, 2015

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Thank you for St. Anne’s Fest!

“Falling at the feet of Jesus” . . . have we learned to put our suffering in the hands of Jesus?  How does suffering move us closer to Jesus?  What might we need to learn through our suffering?  In reading the gospel, both individuals who come to Jesus fall down before him.

The daughter of Jairus is sick; the gospel does not tell us its length of time.  Jairus has come to see Jesus – we do not know whether this was easy or a long journey.  The suffering of his daughter has brought him to Jesus.  Perhaps he has consulted with every other known opportunity.  When he falls at the feet of Jesus, he is coming with hope that this person finally can help him.  He is putting his whole being in the power of Jesus.  His suffering, so great, is leading him to trust in the power and presence of God.  He is learning to have faith in God.

The woman who has hemorrhages has been sick for twelve years.  No one else has been able to help her.  She has been suffering.  She too comes to Jesus with the hope that this person has a power unlike any other person to heal her.  Her faith is so strong that she doesn’t need any miraculous encounter with Jesus – she just needs to touch his cloak.  Realizing that she may have overstepped, she comes and falls down at the feet of Jesus.  She needs faith that he will not remove her healing, but understand her great need.  Her suffering has taught her great humility.

Suffering has the power to transform us.   God has not promised a time limit on suffering.   In the midst of suffering, we can consider how God is the best resource in our lives by which we can receive what we need.  Because of our suffering, we are willing to fall at the feet of Jesus and wait for God’s grace to provide for us.  Would we do so without suffering?  There are many ways to find God; how might suffering be one way which leads us to God?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Thank you to all who are present to help, to participate, to enjoy the Fest!  We are grateful for the fellowship, fun and a bit of fundraising unfolding – Thanks for helping this event to be a success!

As a transition occurs and we begin a new fiscal year, plans are underway as to how scheduling needs to happen.  In this coming year, the school Mass on Wednesdays will be the only liturgy offered when St. Anne Parish is assigned.  A Communion Service at 7:00 a.m. is not possible due to the lack of availability of Leaders of Prayer.  Thank you in advance for understanding the need for this change.

Diocesan Annual Appeal – The check for our Diocesan Appeal is being processed.  We have met the target with the use of Stewardship Funds.  Thank you to all who gave generously!  A new year begins shortly – please be ready to offer assistance as we receive a new target!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for June 28, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for June 21, 2015

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Welcome to St. Anne’s Fest!

Be still!  Be quiet! – Jesus speaks these words to the waves and they are calmed.  The disciples in the boat are questioned as to their faith.  Consider the opportunity to reflect on two things.

What are the waves in which we might feel that we are perishing?  As we listen to the news, read the paper or simply have an awareness on what is happening in our community or neighborhood, what are the concerns which we might carry?  Using the image of the boat, we are sailing on a journey of life.  What makes that journey easier?  What might capsize the boat?  Are we bringing these concerns to Jesus?  Our faith invites that we understand happenings in our world might need the power of God.  Trust is necessary to believe that the waves will not capsize the boat; rather God is working to bring calm to our fears.  Prayer is the willingness to entrust our concerns to God.

Have we the faith?  Do we believe that Jesus can simply say – “Be still!  Be quiet!”?  Is the power of God so great that we can sail our boat and not worry that waves are tossing us about?  Our gospel suggests that we are to have such faith.  As long as Jesus is in our boat, we can rest easy that all things are conquered by God.  In our humanness, we can too readily question the power of God.  We can have doubt about the safety of our boat.  Our attendance at church is the opportunity to be reassured of God’s power, strengthened by the food that nourishes our faith and confidence that Jesus is steering our boat well.  Have we such faith?  Be still!  Be quiet!  How will this be true for us?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Thank you to all our volunteer gardeners!  The grounds are looking great!  Your hard work is much appreciated and adds beauty to our church!

A new custodian has been hired – Dean Brzezinski.  He is part-time to assist with the cleaning needs of the lunch room and school.  We are grateful to have him join our staff.  If you happen to see him, please welcome him and introduce yourself.  Welcome Dean!

A search has begun to replace our weekend custodian.  Please pray for a good candidate to emerge who might be able to help us with our many custodial needs.  Thanks!

Thank you to all who are present to help, to participate, to enjoy the Fest!  We are grateful for the fellowship, fun and a bit of fundraising unfolding – Thanks for helping this event to be a success!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – To meet the deadline for accomplishing the Appeal target and not incur debt, the remaining amount will need to be paid from General Operations of the Parish.  In the event that you are completing your pledge or may still offer a gift to our appeal, the monies will be used for the good of the parish.  Thank you to all who gave generously!  A new year begins shortly – please be ready to offer assistance as we receive a new target!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for June 21, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for June 14, 2015

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We Know Not How

For all the marvelous learning of the sciences in the last one hundred years there are still so many more questions than answers in our world.  The uncomfortable realm of question is really the everyday space of ours lives, but this is in no way a bad thing.  I like to think of these unknowns of life as evidence that we are built for faith.  Or put another way, built for relationship.  Every relationship we have in our life forces us to rely on something other than our own knowledge or strength.  Relationships are all about giving to and receiving from another, not from oneself.  Our Gospel this Sunday speaks of this reality.  Jesus tells us of a farmer who watches the seeds he scattered sprout and grow “he knows not how.”  I don’t think this farmer was any duller than you or me.  His living in the past doesn’t mean that he didn’t understand how the world worked, while we do.  No, I argue that a seed’s coming to fruit is still and always will be chock full of mystery.  We only understand a part of its living and dying, and its passing on of life.  The farmer must rely on a wisdom beyond his own, and in the delicate dance of his skill with faith he watches in wonder as seeds come to bloom.  So too in our life.  This parable prompts a question, “What is slowly growing now for us?”  There is a great deal that we won’t understand day to day, millions of moments that are beyond our power to understand or control.  But faith in God gives us hope.  His love has sustained every moment of life in this world till now, and Jesus invites us to trust in this hidden wisdom and power of God.  This faith isn’t ill-founded or foolish.  It is grounded in the most stable and lasting power of all.  This isn’t foolish.  Would we say that our other relationships are?  No, having faith in God is actually a skill we have to use all the time in life anyhow.  The great difference between the questions of faith and the other questions of daily life is this though: God is always faithful.

God Bless You, Fr. Matt

Sunday Bulletin for June 14, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for June 7, 2015

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – an opportunity to highlight a Eucharistic miracle which has been document in Buenos Aires during the time that Pope Francis was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  Science gives us reason to consider the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

On August 18, 1996 Fr. Alejandro Pezet was informed of a discarded host which was left on a candleholder in church.  Unable to consume it, he placed it in water within the tabernacle so that it might dissolve.  When checking the tabernacle on August 26, he discovered that the host had changed into a bloody substance.  With consultation from Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis), Fr. Pezet had the bloody substance photographed on September 6.  These pictures show that the bloody substance had grown in size.  This host remained in the tabernacle for several years.  With no visible signs of decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.

On October 5, 1999, a sample of the bloody fragment was sent to New York to be analyzed by a team of scientists.  They were not informed of its origins, but only asked to share their results of this bloody substance.  Dr. Frederic ‘Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”’  When questioned on the ability of this sample to exist apart from a live heart, the answer was given that it would only remain alive for a matter of minutes if kept in water.

The mystery of this host invites a willingness to believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Journalists have authored a book “Reason to Believe” which documents Eucharistic miracles and the sign given to believe that Jesus abides in a real way through Eucharist.  As we celebrate this Feast, each of us should consider our belief in real presence.  How do we encounter the heart of Jesus when we receive?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Thank you to the Adminstrators, Teachers, Staff, Students and Parents for another successful school year!  Congratulations to our Newman Catholic School System and the Public/Private Schools of our area!  Have a great summer!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Gifts have slowed such that plans are underway to determine how much of the budget needs to be used to meet our Appeal target.  We have $82,899 in cash, pledges of $84,597.  To reach our target, we still need over $14,000.  Please consider helping us to reach our target; we have a few weeks to raise the remaining dollars!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for June 7, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for May 31, 2015

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – we celebrate this feast on this weekend!  As we enter our Church, we might bless ourselves with holy water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  We use these same words as we begin the prayers of our Mass.  We also conclude with a blessing of these words as we conclude Mass.  Do we stop to think about this sign?

As a Church, we profess to believe in a Trinity – one God, three persons.  This image of community is the standard for how we are to become.  We are baptized into this God.  We are on the journey of life with this God.  We seek to be united with this God in the eternity which God prepares for us.  We might draw some ideas from this God by which we are called to live our faith.

In the first reading, Moses talks about the voice of God.  Have we heard that voice?  What is the vision of this God?  If we have heard it, how do we live it?  The vision of God is shared in Scripture, the Ten Commandments, the life of Jesus and the experience of the early Church.  We use this Word in order to hear the vision.  In what manner do we have this experience of the awesome God?

The second reading shares the gift of the Holy Spirit.  By grace, we are led by the Spirit who gives us courage in the midst of fear.  The Spirit provides us with the ability to be witnesses to the vision that we have received from God.  The power of God is at work in us when we rely on that Spirit to help us move forward as disciples of Jesus.

The gospel speaks of Baptism.  We are immersed in the presence of the Trinity.  We become connected as children of God.  We are able to receive the vision of God through the Word of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are renewed each time that we sign ourselves in the Trinity.  Stop to reflect on the understanding of God which we celebrate today – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!

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 families and friends of Grayson Harris and Barbara Goetz.  The funeral for Grayson was on Saturday, May 23; the funeral for Barbara Goetz was on Tuesday, May 26.  May our prayers help to comfort those who mourn.  May they rest in peace!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $81,439 in cash, pledges of $84,142.  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 31, 2015

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