I am just overwhelmed at the generosity of this parish in many ways. When there is an expressed need, you folks step up. I was reminded of this recently when one of our parishioners suffered a house fire that destroyed pretty much everything. This family had experienced another tragic event a few years ago when they lost their home to a flood. When our staff learned about the house fire, it was decided to put it out on CarePortal. This is a website that sends a mass email out asking for help. Many other churches in our community use this resource as a way to connect the wonderful resources of a variety of people. Within hours, I was taking calls and emails saying people would help in many ways. Because of this massive outpouring of true generosity, this family has a place to live and are beginning to put their lives back together. Now that is a picture of what church is all about!
One of my other privileged duties is to sign letters for families that give certain amounts to the parish. I try to make it a habit to pray for each family as I sign the letters. Sometimes I am overcome with a sense of humility at what people discern to give. I am not saying this is the only way to give and I know there are so many that give of time and talent as well. I just want you to know that our church family is very special in many ways!
One final thought…This next week is Catholic Schools’ Week. Kathryn and I feel blessed to have sent both our kids to MCS. It is a wonderful school with so many opportunities to get involved and be a part of the education and spiritual formation of our children. I have always been impressed with the dedication and commitment of the teachers and administration to the overall formation of the children. They truly are interested in preparing our kids for the future and helping them learn some valuable life lessons. I don’t detect an atmosphere of superiority, which I appreciate very much. I believe Roman and Sarah have been given the foundation they needed to start their life journey in a positive and fruitful manner. I pray that our community continues to support MCS and what it offers to our parish communities.
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot
On February 24, participants will explore the spiritual and eternal reality behind “I Do.” Beautifully filmed and featuring acclaimed marriage experts, Beloved: Mystery & Meaning of Marriage speaks to the very heart of every husband and wife, bringing sacramental truth and God-infused love into the everyday challenges of married life. Understanding the true meaning of marriage is one thing, living it out is another.
On March 10, participants will examine the day-to-day challenges of being united as husband and wife while maintaining individuality. Beloved: Living Marriage shows how to put faith at the center of your marriage. Learning to effectively communicate, turn conflict into understanding, avoid the pitfalls that wreck relationships, and understand sex in the context of authentic love are among the topics presented for helping relationships to thrive.
Two Marriage Enrichment Days--Though each day will cover different material, both sessions will utilize the Beloved series on Formed. More than a union based on romantic love or mutual fulfillment, marriage goes back to the very essence of what it is to be human and reflects a design placed in our hearts by God himself. These sessions are a great way for couples to enrich their relationship and dive deeper into the understanding of marriage. It is also a good resource for couples preparing for marriage.
In the first reading today, God asks Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh. The city of Nineveh was in Assyria and the Assyrians were vicious enemies of the Israelites. Jonah resisted. Why would God ask him to save THEM? They are the bad guys after all. Jonah’s response to God was to flee on a boat going the opposite direction where he soon had an encounter with a whale. When he at last reached Nineveh and preached the word of God, the entire city repented. This made Jonah even angrier. He was so angry he asked the Lord to let him die.
While traveling during the holidays, I listened to a podcast about a middle-aged female steelworker named Shannon Mulcahy. She worked at Rexnord Manufacturing in Indianapolis. She was going to lose her good paying job because Rexnord had built a plant in Mexico and was closing the plant in Indianapolis. Needless to say, this was devastating to Shannon, her fellow employees, and their families. Shannon was the only wage-earner in her four-person family. In addition, if losing her job wasn’t bad enough, the owners of the plant were transferring in the Mexican workers to be trained by the people they were replacing. Some of the employees refused, giving up severance checks. Shannon decided she needed the severance check and began training the young man who would soon have her job. Much to her surprise, and his I imagine, they bonded. Shannon said the young man reminded her of herself when she first started working. She was impressed with his good humor and willingness to learn. She did her best to teach him not only the basics, but all the quirks of the machine that she ran. Although Shannon is now unemployed and the young man is working at the plant in Mexico, they remain friends and remain in contact with one another. She says she is proud of the decision she made.
I share this story with you because it contrasts so with Jonah’s decision. Shannon didn’t see the young man as “other,” didn’t see him as the bad guy. She did not let her resentment get in the way of seeing him as a fellow human being trying to do his best. Shannon is my role model for 2018. She exemplifies God’s commandment to “love our enemies” and Fr. Richard Rohr’s amazing statement that “when we can see the image of God where we don’t want to see the image of God, then we see with eyes not our own.” What a challenge for the New Year!
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Religious Education Coordinator
Our sophomore Confirmandi are invited to write a letter to our Bishop (in this case, Fr. Coady!) requesting to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. I would like to share one of the letters that a young adult just composed.
Dear Bishop…Throughout the past two years of going to youth group and Confirmation class and the past 10 of religious education, I expected some sort of Epiphany that would come to me, and I would understand everything; there would be no blindness in my faith. And for a long time, that’s what I thought Mr. Rick and Mr. Bill (Kennedy) and all the adults were pushing us towards, were helping us to find, our Epiphany. But I’ve come to realize that faith isn’t looking for, or waiting for, an Epiphany. I think faith is more about believing in the unbelievable. Which is why I am no longer looking for answers, because if you know everything then there’s nothing unbelievable about it. I think there’s a difference between believing in something you can see and understand and having faith in something unseen and not understood. If you have all the answers, there’s nothing left to have faith in; you simply understand. My teachers always tell us that if we really understand things, we should ask questions to delve deeper. And that’s what I want to do, but with an end goal of faith instead of understanding. So, in my Confirmation, I don’t want answers; I want to experience the unbelievable as an adult member of the Church.
John 20:29…Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
While Fr. Frank is serving as Diocesan Administrator in lieu of a bishop, there will be no daily Mass on Wednesdays as he needs to be in Salina. Communion Services, led by our deacons, will be held instead. Thank you for your patience during this time of transition. Daily Masses on Wednesdays will resume once a new bishop has been installed.
As Catholics, we are still joyfully celebrating Christmas. “The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (*which is celebrated on Monday, January 8, this year).
Twelve days after Christmas, we celebrate Epiphany, which would be January 6, but moves to this Sunday, January 7. Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord God to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem, he is revealed to the Magi (Gentiles) who have come from the East to adore him. And he is also revealed to us! He is our light in the darkness!
On Monday, the Christmas season is brought to an end with the Baptism of the Lord, a manifestation of the divine Sonship of Jesus by his anointing and appointment to his messianic office. Jesus plunges into the Jordan and, as he arises from the waters, the heavens open and the Spirit descends upon him. The voice of the Father speaks words of affirmation that will sustain Jesus through his public ministry.
Each of us, in our own way, are called to participate in Jesus’ ministry. We greatly appreciate the many people who served in their liturgical ministries during the Christmas liturgies. MANY THANKS to the Art & Environment Committee, Liturgical Coordinators, Ushers, Lectors, Servers, Extraordinary Ministers, Deacons, Fr. Coady, Fr. Don, and Fr. Werth. We are grateful for your time and service to our parish. A special thank you to the office staff for the many things they did to prepare us and to the Music Ministers who spent many hours preparing the music for our liturgies. Thank you all so much.
May the light of Christ continue to shine in all our lives throughout this new year! Peace and blessings to all in 2018!
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist