Pastoral Letter for January 25, 2015

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“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.”  To listen to these words, two words come to mind – Death Sentence.  The words carry an ominous feel.  Life might be shattered if we thought this would be our fate.  Yet the story is more about the mercy of God.  When hearing the sentence, the people of Nineveh rise up and turn to God to ask His mercy.  They hoped that God would relent and save them.

The opportunity of Lent is not simply about sin and death.  We are invited to prepare for God’s mercy.  The ability to pray, give to charity, fast and be reconciled from our sin is to seek God’s mercy.  If we trust in His love, then the things that startle or bring out our fears should be the very things which we carry to our God.  Thus the Lenten journey begins by looking at our lives and asking – what would be our “death sentence”?  What in our lives is not what we want it to be?  How can we seek the mercy and love of God to help us look at it, determine how to change it and allow God’s grace and mercy to strengthen us?  In this way we might know life, not death.  We remember that the Gospel can transform us.  The Gospel can be light in the midst of our darkness.

In the words of Ash Wednesday, “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”  Do we believe that God saves?  Do we believe that the cross has a message for our lives?  How will Lent lead us to see that we have been released from our death sentence – God’s mercy is greater and we are made joyful by His mercy!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Ash Wednesday, February 18, is the start of Lent.  Begin to think about your Lenten plans.  How will you use this special spiritual time?

The Stations of the Cross have been installed in the church.  Special lighting is being installed.  Watch for opportunities to pray the Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Lenten Fish Fry plans are unfolding.  Many hands are needed to make this happen as well as patrons to enjoy the menu offerings!  Plan to be involved – every week during Lent would be awesome!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – We are inching our way to meet our Appeal target.  We have $42,537 in cash, pledges of $57,463.  To reach our target, we still need over $42,000.  April 1 is coming quickly and we need many more families who are willing to donate.  Who is willing to respond to our need?

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for January 25, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for January 18, 2015

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As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the story of Jesus begins with the calling of the disciples.  I would like to take a moment to play with the word “call.”

If we think about a “call” today, we are most likely to think about communication based on a cell phone.  Some of the reasons for cell phone might include:  ease of use (one can carry it with you and use when needed), ease of location (one doesn’t have to be in the room where a cord connects the line and limits where you can be), ease of access (whether home or away, one can choose to answer and be connected with whomever is calling, and ease of information availability (one can access internet or people/numbers in the palm of one’s hand).  Communication takes on a new understanding based on this technology.

So if we apply these principles to our faith, how is God in the palm of our hand?  What do we consider ease of access?  In the gospel, Jesus was walking by.  He was right there for the disciples to have conversation.  Is God someone with whom we have that ease of communication?  Is he walking by when we are in need of him?  Ease of use – do we turn to God at any moment?  Our cell phone is in our pocket; would we carry God in our pocket?  How would we know he is accessible to us?  What reminds us of that presence?  Ease of information availability – does God have knowledge for us when we are uncertain, or afraid, or uncomfortable or challenged, etc.?  The Word of God spans thousands of years and still seems to speak to our everyday lives.  Does that Word enter into our daily living?  How does that happen?  Do we connect easily with the Word?  Ease of location – where do we most find the presence of God?  Is one of those options the Eucharist?  Mass is available most days.  Do we think about attending Mass more frequently so that God is in our pocket?

Discipleship does mean that we carry God, much like a cell phone.  Our mindset or attitude should develop a similar need and relationship.  God is calling us to be His people.  Are we available and ready to answer as he walks by us today?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Congratulations to our young people who received their First Reconciliation on Saturday.  God’s mercy and forgiveness are awesome!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – We are inching our way to meet our Appeal target.  We have $41,827 in cash, pledges of $57,193.  To reach our target, we still need over $41,000.  Are you willing to help us accomplish this goal?

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for January 18, 2015

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Sunday Bulletin for January 11, 2015

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Sunday Bulletin for January 4, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for December 28, 2014

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This weekend celebrates the Holy Family.  In this past year, the Synod of Bishops met to reflect and discuss the important issues that are facing our families within the church.  Out of this synod, a year of consultation will occur leading to another synod in October 2015 to clarify how the church might respond to the unique issues facing our families today.  In September Pope Francis wrote the following prayer for the Synod.  As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, use this prayer to invite the guidance of the Spirit as the Church seeks to respond to the needs of families.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendour of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may the work of the Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.  Amen.

Sharing news about the parish . . .

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of Ruth Stencil.  Her funeral was celebrated on Thursday, December 18.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May she rest in peace!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Consider a Christmas gift to help us reach our Appeal target.  We have $36,987 in cash, pledges of $51,433.  To reach our target, we need still need over $48,000.  Are you willing to help us accomplish this goal?

For anyone desiring to make a contribution to the Diocesan Appeal and have it apply as a tax deduction for this current year, the money needs to be sent to Milwaukee and arrive to be posted prior to December 31, 2014.  Contributions dropped off at the parish office on December 31 will be applied to 2015; we are unable to have them in Milwaukee to meet the December 31 deadline.  Please make sure that you are planning accordingly in order to accomplish your intention.

Reminder – Mary, Mother of God – Holy Day of Obligation:  On December 31, 5:30 p.m.  On January 1, 9:00 a.m.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for December 28, 2014

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Pastoral Letter for December 21, 2014

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“I am the handmaid of the Lord.”  Mary responds to the angel with these words.  Reflecting upon them, the idea of handmaid is servant.  She did not view herself as equal to God nor the one who determined what was to be done.  She understood her role as hearing God’s word, coming to understand that word, saying “yes” and then serving the needs of that word.  She concludes with similar words, “May it be done to me according to your word.”  This event is going to happen to her by her choice to say “yes.”

Do we see ourselves as servants of the God?  If servant, what are we anticipating is the work that we are to do?  How has that word permeated our heart, mind and soul?  What does that word indicate is our role within family, church and world?  Are we ready and willing to say “yes” to being that servant?

In an ongoing way, we celebrate Mary as the model servant.  We are invited to imitate her lifestyle.  As she said “yes” to the directive of God, we are invited to know the word of God and say “yes” to its invitation to be the directive for our lives.  Mary came to know joy in the service that she gave to her God; how might we know the joy of Christmas in having said “yes” to our invitation and desire to give service to the Lord?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the families and friends of Eugene Steckbauer, David Marzynski, Eugene Kumbera, Angeline Kumbera, Brian Prinz, Anastasia Brennan and Elizabeth Frodl.  These funerals occurred during the past three weeks at St. Anne Parish.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May they rest in peace!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Consider a Christmas gift to help us reach our Appeal target.  We have $34,603 in cash, pledges of $49,013.  To reach our target, we need still need over $50,000.  Are you willing to help us accomplish this goal?

For anyone desiring to make a contribution to the Diocesan Appeal and have it apply as a tax deduction for this current year, the money needs to be sent to Milwaukee and arrive to be posted prior to December 31, 2014.  Contributions dropped off at the parish office on December 31 will be applied to 2015; we are unable to have them in Milwaukee to meet the December 31 deadline.  Please make sure that you are planning accordingly in order to accomplish your intention.

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 21, 2014

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