Pastoral Letter for August 16, 2015

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“Advance in the ways of understanding.”  The Book of Proverbs places an invitation to put aside foolishness and seek understanding.  The letter of Paul seems to give us insight into what is intended.

Paul instructs to watch carefully how you live.  Evil is present in the world.  Pay attention that you are seeking to live in the spirit of God.  As we continue to hear the Eucharistic theology of John, we might reflect on how the celebration of Eucharist involves two aspects of wisdom.  The Word of God instructs us on the way of God.  We are learning to know the commandments and the invitation to love one another as God loves us.  This is wisdom – so Paul reminds us to not ignore what we are hearing.  If we are understanding this word, we will sing songs and psalms to God.  Our hearts, filled with rejoicing, cause us to give thanks to God.

In the gospel, we hear the second part of liturgy – Eucharist.  The path to know life is in Jesus.  We are called to eat His body and drink His blood.  This will help us to seek eternal life.  The Eucharist is meant to see the presence of God and yearn to be united with Him.  The meaning and purpose of life are revealed through this sacrifice.  Without this meal, we have no life in us.  As we celebrate Eucharist this day, how have we advanced in our understanding?  How is this Eucharist leading us to yearn for heaven?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

 

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the families and friends of Leon Moczarny.  His funeral occurred Wednesday, August 12.  May our prayers help to comfort those who mourn.  May he rest in peace!

 

In several weeks, we welcome the students of St. Anne School.  As they begin a new school year, we will celebrate Mass with them.  St. Anne Parish will supply the priest for these first three liturgies.  Please take note that NO SERVICE will be scheduled at 7:00 a.m.  Please consider joining the school liturgy at 8:15 a.m.

 

Part of marriage preparation at St. Anne Parish involves married couples who become mentors to couples by involvement in the program FOCCUS.  Presently St. Anne Parish could use several more couples to be mentors so that we might be able to schedule a review with those who are planning to be married this year.  Please consider responding to this plea; couples are delayed in completing their preparation because we have so few to assist them.  Hope to hear from you soon!

 

Diocesan Annual Appeal – A new target is established for this coming year 2015-2016.  St. Anne Parish will work to meet $107,042.  Between now and the time of receiving your invitation to pledge for this year, please begin to consider what contribution is possible.  Thank you in advance for a willingness to support this good cause!

 

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for August 16, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for August 9, 2015

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Quoting the prophets, Jesus brings to the forefront that “They shall all be taught by God.”  What does this mean?  Do we have any lessons that we need to learn?  How does Eucharist help us?

Looking at the second reading, we might reflect upon the things that Paul indicates need to be removed from us: All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, reviling, and all malice.  In its place, we are asked to “be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.”  Taking a first step to being taught by God, how do these readings invite us to relook at our week with a new awareness of moments wherein our response falls under the category of something to be removed?  Could kindness have been used instead?  Could forgiveness have been an option?  Where do we need to learn how to respond in a manner in which we are imitators of God?

Eucharist is the moment wherein God might cause us to rethink the activity of our week.  We hear a word in which we realize that our efforts are not always holy and good.  The Body and Blood of Christ are the elements by which we are strengthened.  Jesus is the bread come down from heaven that we might experience the presence of God.  This belief leads us closer to God our Father.  In this manner, we are taught so that we might enter eternal life.  May our learning be rich!

Sharing news about the parish . . .

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the families and friends of Edward Burish and Joseph Nowak.  The funerals for these members occurred during the week of July 27.  May our prayers help to comfort those who mourn.  May they rest in peace!

In several weeks, we welcome the students of St. Anne School.  As they begin a new school year, we will celebrate Mass with them.  St. Anne Parish will supply the priest for these first three liturgies.  Please take note that NO SERVICE will be scheduled at 7:00 a.m.  Please consider joining the school liturgy at 8:15 a.m.

Part of marriage preparation at St. Anne Parish involves married couples who become mentors to couples by involvement in the program FOCCUS.  Presently St. Anne Parish could use several more couples to be mentors so that we might be able to schedule a review with those who are planning to be married this year.  If you might be interested in this program, please contact Fr. Al and leave a voice message for him.  Details such as training can be determined based on the interest shown in becoming a mentor couple.  Hope to hear from you soon!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – A new target is established for this coming year 2015-2016.  St. Anne Parish will work to meet $107,042.  Between now and the time of receiving your invitation to pledge for this year, please begin to consider what contribution is possible.  Thank you in advance for a willingness to support this good cause!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for August 9, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for August 2, 2015

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Leftovers again?! In households where food may be reheated and served more than once, the reaction can be disappointment that it is not new and exciting.  Somehow having the same thing for more than one meal is not as appealing.

Is this our experience of Eucharist?  We come every week and see elements that are simple bread – water/flour – and simple drink – 100% grape wine.  Do we reflect upon the reality of what we are seeing?

In the readings, the people of Israel are complaining to Moses that they have been left in the desert to endure famine.  Yet God promises to send them food to sustain them.  In the gospel, the people are looking for a sign.  Jesus indicates the sign is in the person who has given them the bread.

Eucharist is about the presence of Jesus in our midst.  While simple bread and wine, as the Eucharistic prayer says, “Make holy, therefore, these gifts by sending your Spirit upon them … that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  God makes Himself present in our midst.  Does that amaze us?  Does that sustain us?  As the gospel tells us, “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Eucharist is the bread of life.  “Whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”  How does Eucharist feel like “fine dining”?  We are given a fabulous meal – are we realizing its significance?

Sharing news about the parish . . .

A wish of God’s peace is extended to the families and friends of James Tomczik, Cora Gianoli, Patricia Eckhardt, Yer Lee, Rosemary Pomasl and Zoua Vang.  The funerals for these members occurred in the past two months.  May our prayers help to comfort those who mourn.  May they rest in peace!

Part of marriage preparation at St. Anne Parish involves married couples who become mentors to couples by involvement in the program FOCCUS.  Presently St. Anne Parish could use several more couples to be mentors so that we might be able to schedule a review with those who are planning to be married this year.  If you might be interested in this program, please contact Fr. Al and leave a voice message for him.  Details such as training can be determined based on the interest shown in becoming a mentor couple.  Hope to hear from you soon!

Diocesan Annual Appeal – A new target is established for this coming year 2015-2016.  St. Anne Parish will work to meet $107,042.  Between now and the time of receiving your invitation to pledge for this year, please begin to consider what contribution is possible.  Thank you in advance for a willingness to support this good cause!

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

-Fr. Al

Sunday Bulletin for August 2, 2015

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Sunday Bulletin for July 26, 2015

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Pastoral Letter for July 26, 2015

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Built of Living Stones

…like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pt 2:5).  On our patronal feast day and the anniversary of the dedication of our parish church we give thanks to God for the all the blessings He has shared with us.  There is always great rejoicing for the Church when this anniversary comes around each year.  It is a time to remember that by God’s grace our community has the freedom to meet together praising God and encouraging each other’s faith.  Remember that being able to establish a church is truly a gift.  At various times in history our faith has not enjoyed such freedom and, while never snuffing out the Church, it has certainly limited our ability to share the Gospel as easily.  It was, in fact, only three centuries after Christ that Christians were allowed to publicly practice their faith and found churches in the public eye.  Prior to that, the Sacraments were only offered sporadically at “house churches”.  In many places today that is still the reality.  What a different time we live in here in Wausau.  Every week we have the joy of gathering for Eucharist (i.e. “thanksgiving”) in a place that, while in this passing world, we may call home.

Our parish really is built of living stones.  In a time still remembered by our elder brothers and sisters this parish was literally constructed on the offerings of God’s People.  This flowed from an awareness of all that God has accomplished, and out of a desire to give the faith deeper foundations in our city.  This place was built on faith.  It is renewed for each generation in that exact same way!  Just as any home needs constant touch-ups (new paint, cleaning, pipework, etc.) so too a church needs, besides those things, touch-ups from faith.  Our parish was first built because of the trust and love some people had in God.  It needs the same from us now!

Our Gospel this Sunday is a great example of how this works.  Jesus saw the great need of the people gathered around him, both His disciples and all those seeking the truth.  Showing us how faith works He asked what the disciples had to offer, and blessing it (i.e. offering it to the Father), a little became more than enough for the crowd.  Here in our home, in our parish, Jesus still desires to set a banquet before us and our whole Wausau community.  What do we have to offer?  Remember, the Church is built of living stones.  That’s you and me!  We have to offer ourselves : our time, our talent, energies, monies, hands, words, and prayers.  A community stays strong not by accident, but like love it is a decision.  I’m only a priest for a little over a year, but it has become a sorrowful refrain for me to hear people from around our Diocese say: “Our church just isn’t as active as it used to be”, or “Young people just aren’t involved enough.”  There can be no finger-pointing in the Church.  YOU are what builds a parish, and JESUS is the unshakeable foundation of our whole Church’s life.  Let’s follow His lead, offering ourselves to the Father as a sacrifice for the renewal of the whole world.  Happy Birthday, St. Anne’s.  Don’t ever be discouraged.  God is faithful.  Jesus beckons us, “The world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go! (Jn 14:31)”

Pastoral Letter for July 19, 2015

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One Flock, One Shepherd

Our readings this Sunday focus on the image of “shepherd”.  It is a central image of the Scriptures and our Tradition.  Has it become trite for us?  Has it been sanitized?  In reality, shepherding is a messy and difficult business.  That fact became much clearer to me as I worked for two summers in college as a shearer, and as I watched shepherds at their work in Israel during a semester of theology.  God’s great work in the world is to care for the people He has made.  He wants us to find rest, be fed and healthy, and love one another.  This is what can often slip between the cracks when we think about the Good Shepherd: GOD LOVES OTHER PEOPLE TOO.  To think about God caring for oneself – shepherding just me – is easier to think about (on the surface).  But to remember that God cares for all and calls all, this can chafe our spirit.  What if we don’t like him?  What if her ideas are terrible?  What about the harm he’s caused?!?  This Sunday and always we celebrate that, thanks be to God, all are called into Christ’s fold.  We’re lucky really because that ‘all’ includes ‘me’.The readings this Sunday challenge us to remember again that God’s love is personal and universal.  Jeremiah reminds us that God takes care of His People and their bad shepherds; Jesus shows us His concern for His disciples and even those who don’t believe in Him; Paul reminds his Jewish audience that the Kingdom is big enough for Gentiles as well.  Who in our estimation should be excluded from the fold?  In every time and place this is a real challenge in the Church and world.

 

Pope Francis beautifully spoke to this struggle to really speak to one another in love during this Easter season:

Obedience often brings us along a path that is not the one I think should be, but along another path.  To obey is to have the courage to change paths when the Lord asks this of us.  “The one who obeys has life eternal,” while for “the one who does not obey, the wrath of God remains upon him (Jn 3:36).”…the sign that reveals that a person does not know to dialogue, is not open to the voice of the Lord, to the signs that the Lord does among the people, is the fury and the desire to silence all those who preach in this case the newness of God, that is that Jesus is Risen…These are the same people that paid the guards at the sepulchre to say that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus. They did everything they could to not open themselves to the voice of God.  May the Lord Jesus shepherd us into this way of Gospel life, the way of reconciling love.  We may not always agree with each other, but God help us to love another as He commands.

Sunday Bulletin for July 19, 2015

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