Pastoral Letter for March 22, 2015

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Time of Commitment . . .  We have been on vacation with Jesus contemplating how we might look to create something new for our lives.  If the contemplation is fruitful, we should have an idea that we can be transformed.  Are we ready to commit?  Are we ready to start living what we have come to understand through our contemplation?

In the gospel, Jesus is sharing the type of commitment necessary for fruit to be realized.  Unless we are willing to die to an old thought, pattern, or sin – we are not able to have new life.  Death is the moment of letting go of what we have known so that we might know something new.  Lent is the opportunity to contemplate a new way of being, but we will need a commitment to the new.  If we are too easily swayed, we will fall back quickly into old patterns.  Strength and courage are necessary in order to live in a new way.

Thus Jesus makes a commitment to the cross.  The road is going to be brutal.  Much about that journey is not going to be fun.  While he understands this, he remains firm in His commitment to take up the cross.  He will not abandon the cross; rather He will allow the new life which God plans to be born as His death leads to resurrection.  Without the resolution to endure all that will come with the cross, the resurrection would be out of reach.

Jesus understands His purpose.  He invites God to bring glory to the cross.  Do we understand now our purpose?  Are we committed to it?  Are we able to carry the hardship of transformation?  Will we allow new life to emerge through the commitment born out of our contemplation?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

Thank you to the many volunteers and helpers during this time of Lenten Fish Fries!  Thank you to the many who shared a meal!  While repairs delayed our start, we give thanks to God for the publicity and response which made our Fish Fry time a success!  Two more weeks remain – join in the fun!

Stations of the Cross are concluded for this season of Lent.  Thank you to all who participated!  The numbers were positive and gave us time to pray and appreciate the re-installation of the Stations within our worship space!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $54,914 in cash, pledges of $63,964.  To reach our target, we still need over $35,000.  April 1 is coming quickly and we need many more families who are willing to donate.  Who is willing to respond to our need?  We have made it 2/3 of the way – help us raise the final 1/3!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for March 22, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for March 15, 2015

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Time of Trust . . . In the gospel, Nicodemus is invited by Jesus to believe.  A belief is not a proven fact; it is something that we trust is true even though we cannot prove it.  In order for Nicodemus to have new life, he must trust that Jesus is the Son of God.  Nicodemus must accept that Jesus died for his sins and thus mercy might be bestowed on him.  In the instruction that Jesus gives, Nicodemus is being asked to consider – What has he pondered?  Does the words of Jesus fit with what he has been pondering?  How is it new insight?  Does he accept this truth?

Each of us is Nicodemus as we plod the Stations of life.  In the midst of our review, we chose something in our lives to ponder.  As we have contemplated, we have been led to consider new insight.  If we are beginning to accept this insight, the words of Jesus are bringing a transformation.  We are willing to detach ourselves from thoughts and actions that keep us from seeing the truth.  If we are able to detach ourselves, then perhaps we can trust in a new truth.  As Nicodemus is asked to have light to dispel the darkness, we are invited to have a new truth by which we will live.

With Lent moving closer to Easter, has the light started to shine for us?  Has the pondering brought a new truth to our lives?  Are we experiencing salvation?  In the words of Paul, this is the grace that is being poured forth on us.  Grace leads us to salvation.  Mercy is poured forth on us so that we might have salvation as won for us by Jesus.  How is grace at work?  Trust in where God is leading each of us this Lent!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

One more opportunity remains to pray the Stations of the Cross.  Enjoy a fish fry and plan to join the praying of the Stations of the Cross on March 20 at 6:15 p.m.!

Since the re-installation of the Stations of the Cross, did anyone take time to look at the symbolism?  Each station seeks to depict a moment in the Journey from the Garden of Gethsemane until the Resurrection of Jesus.  What are the symbols present?  Are the symbols understood?  Let me know if any need clarification!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $53,910 in cash, pledges of $63,080.  To reach our target, we still need over $36,000.  April 1 is coming quickly and we need many more families who are willing to donate.  Who is willing to respond to our need?  We have made it 2/3 of the way – help us raise the final 1/3!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for March 15, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for March 8, 2015

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A time of detachment . . . As we continue our journey through the stations of life, we are asked to consider the demands of change.  If we are going to do something new, is there something already in our lives that needs to be sacrificed?  What might be our attachment that is keeping us from being able to realize the grace of God?

In the gospel story, we might be uncomfortable with the Jesus who is angry.  For some, this makes him too human; how can God be angry?  Anger is often considered a negative emotion.  So what is Jesus trying to do?  He seems to be asking the moneychangers to look at their motivation.  While they are selling things for the temple, are they really doing it for the honor of God . . . or is their motivation to make lots of money?  If they are attached to money, they may have lost sight of God.   The goals of life have changed and God has become less important.  Jesus is trying to chase away their sin and invite them to return back to God.

In the midst of review…contemplation…and transformation…what needs to be let go in our lives?  The goal of Lent is to strengthen our attachment to God.  What detachment needs to happen in order for this goal to be achieved?  Is it materialism?  Activities?  Selfishness?  Doubt?  Fears?  Many things could be in this list.  If we are to grow closer to God, a detachment is necessary.  Take a moment this week to consider … if Jesus came into the temple of your life, what would he turn over and suggest needs less of you so that God might have more of you?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

As a parish, we pray for those who have died.  A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of Leon Thomas.  We celebrate his entrance into eternal life.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May he rest in peace!

One more opportunity remains to pray the Stations of the Cross.  Enjoy a fish fry and plan to join the praying of the Stations of the Cross on March 20 at 6:15 p.m.!

The drain in the kitchen has been fixed.  Some may be wondering the cost.  I do not yet have all the figures.  Given this fix was absolutely necessary, the costs will be clarified based on the work that is completed.  The good news is that the drain is working and we have celebrated the opportunity of Fish Fry!  I am confident that God will assist with the ability to pay for the repairs.

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $53,310 in cash, pledges of $63,030.  To reach our target, we still need over $36,000.  April 1 is coming quickly and we need many more families who are willing to donate.  Who is willing to respond to our need?  We have made it 2/3 of the way – help us raise the final 1/3!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for March 8, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for March 1, 2015

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A time of Transformation … Lent invites a review with contemplation that leads to a moment – I am beginning to understand in a new way.  Review and contemplation stir the questions – What do I see now?  Do I like what I see?  If it needs to be different, how might it be different?  As I stir the questions, I might begin to see a new aspect that I didn’t notice before.  With time I might identify what that new aspect can do for me.

Looking at the disciples, they see this incredible vision with Jesus.  They certainly have a sense that this must mean something – but what?  Jesus tries to help them understand by instructing them that this vision cannot be shared until He rises from the dead.  As they are coming down the mountain, they begin to stir the question – “What does it mean to ‘rise from the dead’?”  While they had witnessed glory, without the resurrection, they did not understand what they had seen.

Lent is a time to stop and notice the experiences going on in our lives.  If they are happening for a reason, what is it trying to teach us?  What are we supposed to understand because of this experience?  As the disciples didn’t understand resurrection, do we understand death?  Do we know what resurrection is?  Do we believe in it?  In another way, the disciples witnessed the healings of Jesus.  How did that happen?  Who is He that this can occur?  For us, do we believe it still happens today?  When someone experiences a return to health, is God a part of that?  Who is this Jesus and why can these things be done?

The transformation is to understand the presence of God.  How is God acting in our lives?  How do we know His presence?  What are we discussing with ourselves or others as we descend the mountain today?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

As a parish, we pray for those who have died.  A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of Mary Ann Krueger and Frank Oliva.  We celebrate their entrance into eternal life.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May they rest in peace!

The Stations of the Cross are scheduled for Lent.  Enjoy a fish fry and plan to join the praying of the Stations of the Cross on March 6 and March 20 at 6:15 p.m.!

Speaking of Stations, some people have asked why 16?  The first station, not often included in booklets for the Stations of the Cross, is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; if included, it might be an Opening Prayer.  Typical to Stations of the Cross is 14 stations; the next fourteen stations follow most booklets.  The sixteenth station is the resurrection.  Booklets will include The Resurrection of Jesus and call it a closing prayer.  Thanks for asking about the unique set owned by St. Anne Parish!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $50,036 in cash, pledges of $61,591.  To reach our target, we still need over $37,000.  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 March 1, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for February 22, 2015

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Jesus went off to the desert for 40 days.  With no cell phone, computer, tablet, friends, what did he do with all that time?  With no distractions, Jesus had time to give thoughtful observation to his life and its direction.  Once he had spent time in contemplation, he began his ministry of preaching – “The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe in the gospel.”

The choice of 40 days for Lent is deliberate.  The Church provides us with this time of contemplation.  Having taken a moment at Ash Wednesday to review our lives, we hopefully have discovered an aspect of our lives that needs our thoughtful observation.  What do we like?  What do we not like?  What direction are we going?  Is it a good direction?  Does it need some revision?  Would a whole overhaul be needed?

The purpose of 40 days is to avoid any hasty conclusions.  With contemplation, we might be able to determine what we believe is truth versus simply our perception of what is happening.  When Jesus left the desert, he wasn’t unclear about the direction or message.  He spoke it boldly and without apology.  Lent should lead us to the clarity by which we can begin to live the message that is revealed through our contemplation.

So are we ready for this time of Lent?  Has the contemplation begun?  Much should spin and revolve in our mind as we stir the waters of our lives!  What will this time reveal?  Will we have the clarity from which to move forward?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

As a parish, we pray for those who have died.  A wish of God’s peace is extended to the family and friends of George Hrdina.  We celebrate his entrance into eternal life.  May our prayers support and encourage those who mourn.  May he rest in peace!

How are you celebrating the journey for Lent?  Hope you are involved in our “Living the Eucharist” program!

The Stations of the Cross are scheduled for Lent.  Enjoy a fish fry and plan to join the praying of the Stations of the Cross on February 20, March 6 and March 20 at 6:15 p.m.!

Speaking of Stations, some people have asked why 16?  The first station, not often included in booklets for the Stations of the Cross, is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane; if included, it might be an Opening Prayer.  Typical to Stations of the Cross is 14 stations; the next fourteen stations follow most booklets.  The sixteenth station is the resurrection.  Booklets will include The Resurrection of Jesus and call it a closing prayer.  Thanks for asking about the unique set owned by St. Anne Parish!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – Steady progress is inching our way to our Appeal target.  We have $49,866 in cash, pledges of $61,591.  To reach our target, we still need over $37,000.  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!

Sunday Bulletin for February 22, 2015

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