Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 29 2019

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Families,

This week, September 30-October 3rd (Monday-Thursday) Fr. Tomy and I will be gone for the annual priest convocation.  We will not have daily Masses those days.  Please pray for us this week!

A question we all have is how to build our relationship with Jesus.  When that phrase comes up- “personal relationship with Jesus” does that describe my own relationship with Him?  This is after all the basis of what it means to be Christian.  Before anything else we are called to be with Him and then from that relationship we go out and serve. Periodically then we need to participate in encounter opportunities- events where we can go and encounter Jesus and His love in a personal, life changing way.  I want to strongly encourage two opportunities coming up in October.

First is the women’s conference- https://www.lansingdiocesecwc.org/.  This will take place on Saturday, October 12th at the Lansing Center in Lansing Michigan. Here is a brief testimony shared by Becky after attending a previous women’s conference:

“Becky had anticipated a quiet day of speakers and reflection. Instead, the day’s events thrust her into a very emotional and unexpected awakening. Until the conference, she hadn’t realized what a box she had built around her heart due to all the stress she was experiencing. “During the conference, it was like the protective shell I erected was cracked. Prior to this day, I thought I had to be in control and do it alone. I suddenly realized I have this partner – God – to help me get through everything.”

The theme, God’s Desire, was palpable throughout the day and wedged into her heart. “My life had been so focused on everything going on around me that I hadn’t thought about myself or spent a lot of time with God. I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t a good enough mother, wife or daughter. I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough focus for each aspect of my life.” Becky became unshackled from her negative self-talk. She came to understand God’s loving desire was to have an active relationship with her. “Since the women’s conference, I have conversations with God every day. I listen and reflect. Now when I wake up, before I even get out of bed, I pray for God’s guidance to get me through my day.”” https://faithmag.com/how-womens-conference-changed-beckys-life-good

The second opportunity is Holy Fire great Lakes which in Bowling Green Ohio on Sunday, October 13th. https://nfcym.org/holyfiregreatlakes.

Holy Fire is a national Catholic one-day faith experience for middle school youth, developed in collaboration with a host diocese and nearby regions. Its mission is to ignite the hearts of young people with the love of Christ and to inspire them to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world.

I encourage you to send your 6-8th grader to this one-day experience of dynamic speakers, music, and the sacrament of the Eucharist like they have never before experienced. At Holy Fire, young people will be invited and challenged to embrace their baptismal call and embrace the relevant and powerful gospel of Jesus.

These opportunities are transformative.  Whenever we intentionally set aside time for the Lord, He will respond by giving us grace and strength in ways we cannot imagine.  (FYI- the Men’s conference is in February)

 

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, September 29 2019

Sacred Heart School would like to thank Bill Mullaly for his generous donation of three very nice projectors and 4 document readers for the classrooms.

Our Technology Council listened to the needs of the teachers and the students and researched products that will enhance classroom learning. They concluded that with better visual aids, teachers can easily project books, computer images, or videos for everyone to see. The council put together a list of technology for our wish list and we were able to get them ordered and in the classrooms this week.

We are so blessed by our parents and church community who work to make Sacred Heart a wonderful school for all students.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Deacon Corner, September 29 2019

Over the past month:  Summer came to an end, school went back in session, college football kicked off (no pun intended), and Fall officially started.  Amid all of this busyness, our volunteer catechists at both parishes prepared for another year of teaching our parish children their Catholic faith.

This year we expect almost 100 students attending religious education/faith formation classes each Sunday between our two parishes.  Give or take for holidays and spring break, there are about 25 Sundays available for classes.   That’s about 30 total hours of instruction over the year for our children to learn their faith, assuming no classes are missed and everyone shows up on time.   Essentially, we have a lot of students with precious little class time to teach them what they need to know.

It takes more than classroom time to form our children’s faith.  It takes family time during the week, and that’s not easy with everything going on around us.  I remember those years when Kimberly and I struggled to balance work, school, sports, scouts, visiting grandparents, and having fun as a family.  Getting our children off to CCD classes each Sunday between their early morning paper route and 11 am Mass was always a challenge.  Sometimes we grumbled about it, and sometimes we failed.  Although I’m glad we don’t have to go through that phase of parenting anymore, I often wish we would have tried harder to make more time at home to teach our children their faith.

Our Catechism says parents have the first responsibility to educate their children.  That includes more than just dropping them off for class on Sunday morning.  It means teaching the faith at home, too.  It means praying together as a family – before and after meals, at night, the Act of Contrition, the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, the rosary, to heal those hurting, and bless those who need it to name a few.  Prayer and faith must openly be part of the family’s daily routine and decision making.

For our parish religious education/faith formation parish programs to work, our children must experience all of us – parents, relatives, friends, and parishioners alike – engaged in our faith by outwardly living a life devoted to Christ through our words and examples.  They must see us as truly faithful to the virtues of patience, temperance, charity, humility, diligence, kindness, and chastity.  Not in a showy way, but in a way they can relate to.

As classes begin next Sunday, may we always be mindful of our responsibility to teach the children of our parishes about God and our great Catholic faith.   As parents, that means taking time at home to learn our faith together.  For the rest of us, it means doing whatever we can to support our parents and volunteer catechists.  For they have a daunting task, and neither of them can do it alone.

Deacon John

 

Afternoon of Adoration

Starting the habit of weekly prayer time has many rewards. It will change you in meaningful ways, and you will soon wonder how you ever lived without it.

Please join us for an Afternoon of Adoration on Wednesday, October 2 from 1:00 ~ 6:00pm.  Solemn Benediction will begin at 5:45pm.

 Please consider signing up for at least one 30-minute time slot to ensure that Blessed Lord is accompanied during the entire afternoon.  There will be a sign up sheet in the main entrance to the church.

St. Mary on the Lake will offer Adoration Thursday, October 3 from 10:00am ~ Noon.

Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 22 2019

Our readings this weekend are challenging.  They point out that one day we will be called to present to God an accounting of our stewardship, the ways in which we used our time, talent, and treasure for His Kingdom.

 

This weekend is a good reminder of our call to arms in both the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.  Part of our stewardship of the life God gives us is by how we give it away to those who need it the most.

 

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  • To instruct the ignorant. This work of mercy means all of us are called to share and teach the faith passed on to us.
  • To counsel the doubtful
  • To admonish the sinner
  • To bear wrongs patiently
  • To forgive offenses willingly
  • To comfort the afflicted
  • To pray for the living and the dead

The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead

 

We have many opportunities for both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in our own parish and communities. We have the Hudson Ministerial Association and Food Pantry, and the Food Pantry at St. Mary on the Lake. We have parishioners who visit and bring Communion to the homebound.  On a regional level, we have Catholic Charities and all of their good work.

 

The Diocese of Lansing is hosting a “Welcome the Stranger Among Us” Conference – Pastoral Care of Immigrants on Friday, October 11th from 8:30-3:30.  For more information or to purchase a ticket, please go to this website: https://www.eventbee.com/v/welcomethestranger#/tickets

 

I know it can seem daunting when we see a list like this.  Don’t be discouraged!  See if the Holy Spirit is nudging you on one or more of them and then say yes.  Such is to be a good steward of this life Jesus gives us.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, September 22 2019

Diversity

This week in morning prayer, we have been talking about diversity. What makes us each so perfectly special is how different we are. I asked the students each a question about themselves. “What is your favorite color? What is your favorite thing to do before bed? What is your favorite food? Where would you like to visit?“ The answers were so genuine and so unique that we were all laughing at some of the responses. It was a great time to point out that we are all going to answer these questions differently. Why? Because we are all perfectly different. Never before in the history of the world has someone like you lived and never again will you. We are so very special and that makes us amazing. It was fun to just stop for a minute a look at every beautiful face at prayer and think how privileged we are to know these perfect children. Pointing out how special they are leads to the topic of the week. Diversity. It is our differences that make us perfect. These differences should make us appreciate each other; not pull us apart. We are diverse and we are meant to love through the differences.

Our Catholic faith is a faith that knows no boundaries. We see Jesus in everyone we meet and we are meant to meet a lot of people. When we meet people with hearts that are open, and our minds are interested in the whole person, it is amazing how much we learn from each other. The Holy Spirit generates diversity; as children grow they are developing new and wonderful traits that are unique to them. They are becoming individualized and by growing this way, they are becoming closer to God.

But what if I thought that my special gifts and my unique personality made me better than you? What if I thought that I was better than you because I could run faster? Or I lived in a bigger house? Or I was taller than you? What if I judged you? We decided that would be evil. And yet, it happens. We judge, we compare, we can even hurt others. What should we do? We thought of two things: pray the Guardian angel prayer and ask our guardian angel to rule and guide our thoughts. Secondly, to work on the virtue of hospitality. To open up to being gracious and kind instead of hostile to differences.

Diversity. Celebrating the differences that unite us.

 

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Deacon’s Corner, September 22 2019

Last Sunday, Kimberly and I went to Mass at St. Columbkille in Omaha while visiting to celebrate our youngest grandson’s birthday.  We could have easily decided not to go to Mass.  It was hot and humid. We were tired, had another big day planned with the family, and most of them didn’t want to go.  But, we did.

Just walking into the church brought a sense of calm and peace.  Our Catholic brothers and sisters were welcoming.  The liturgy was empowering, the music was uplifting, the priest was heartwarming, and the deacon preached a great message about not judging and inviting people to experience Jesus.  (By the way, he is one of fifteen deacons at St. Columbkille.  That’s a lot of deacons!) We left the church after Mass feeling spiritually fed and part of a universal faith family.  Everyone there had the common bond of giving thanks to God and sharing His presence through the Eucharist.

So, why do we go to Mass, anyway?  We go for our spiritual benefit and worship together as a faith community.  We go to Mass to stand together and share in our mission as witnesses for Christ in the world while openly professing and celebrating our Catholic faith. We go to Mass to share in the wonder of God’s love and be transformed by the Spirit of holiness.  When that happens, we go forth to spread the Good News that there is something greater in l the life to come.  But we cannot experience this feeling if we only go to Mass simply because we always have, because it is our Sunday “obligation,” or someone told us we had to, or we feel guilty if we don’t.

In his book, Rediscovering Catholicism, Matthew Kelly writes that we have lost our sense of wonder about the Mass.  He says we are “so unaware of the mystery and the privilege [of the Mass] that we can hardly wait to get out of church.”   Kelly tells us that if we truly believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, then the power unleashed within us through receiving the Eucharist is “unfathomable.”   He says the only way to undergo this spiritual transformation at Mass is to rediscover the wonder of the Mass – the same wonder those First Christians discovered celebrating Jesus’ presence among them when He said, ‘Do this in memory of me.’

Our Catechism reminds us that God’s overall plan is to draw us closer to Him so we can share in His life.  God calls us to seek Him, to know and love Him, and to be in unity with His family.  That is why we go to Mass – not because we have to, but so we can join together and be one with God.

Deacon John

 

Prayer at the Flagpole, September 11, 2019

WE WILL NEVER FORGET
Mary most blessed,
with a mother’s heart
you love and care for all children of Earth
as your own.

On this day of remembrance,
give peace of heart to those who carry the memories
of the sights and sounds of September 11, 2001.

Comfort those who continue to grieve the losses
of family members, coworkers, rescue workers,
and daily life as they knew it then.

In this time of unrest in the world,
gather your children in a mother’s embrace,
and protect us from all that would do us harm.

May your Son, the Prince of Peace,
guide all world leaders to make decisions
that will ensure the safety and good
of the people they serve
and the world community.

May He continue to guide our minds,
our hearts, and our feet
that our decisions, our actions, and our words
give witness to his holy peace.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Comfort of those who mourn, pray for us.
Dearest of mothers, pray for us.
Queen of peace, pray for us.
Amen.