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Enriching Minds, Enhancing Faith
1920 Barberry Drive, Springfield, IL 62704 | (217) 546-2159

Fr. Joe's Bulletin

 

The Pastor's Pen

July 2, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

Last Saturday’s farewell dinner and party for Fr. Fred was a good time for all.  Thanks to the Altar and Rosary Society for their hard work to coordinate it all.  So much good food and dancing made it special.  The Nichols baptism by immersion during 10:30 Mass last Sunday was precious.  Baby Lainey was perfect!  I am so pleased that by using our cameras we can project it for all to see.  The vision we had for the renovation of the church is bearing fruit with full participation in Mass.  A week ago was the Altar Server & Youth Choir Appreciation Day at Knights Action Park.  It was a hot and beautiful day; I enjoyed spending time with the kids.  Thanks to Mike Rogers for organizing this, and Ann Forrler for her assistance.  Mike is the trainer for the servers throughout the year, and Ann coordinates the schedule.  What generous stewards!  And thanks to all the parents of the students who see to it that the boys and girls get to their appointed Mass and choir rehearsals.  The sacrifice and stewardship of these families is an inspiration to all.

  This week is First Friday, and there will be Eucharistic Adoration in the Sacred Heart Room.  The more intimate space is conducive to quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  It begins after Mass, and we will pray Morning Prayer together.  Find a few minutes to stop by to pray in silence before the Lord.  Give him your burdens and cares and praise.  I invite you to pray for our Diocesan Synod, and our country and state in these challenging times.  We conclude with Benediction at 5, which will take about 10 minutes.  This liturgy, drawing us into the mystery of Christ present to us in the Eucharist, is a unique grace and blessing, that then leads us back to the celebration of the Mass.

We are in need of more ushers at the weekend Masses.  Men and women, husbands and wives, youth and young adults, can all serve together.  Ideally 6 would be at each Mass.  We also need more volunteers at the A/V desk for weekend Masses, 2 at each Mass.  Among those currently serving is a husband and wife team, and a father & daughter team.  Training will be provided.  Sign up at the table in the vestibule, or call or email the office.

Pledges continue to be paid for our Legacy of Faith, Vision for the Future capital campaign.  If you have not made a pledge or contribution, if you are new to the parish, please make your contribution using the campaign envelope in your monthly packet of envelopes.  Or you may go to our website and contribute electronically.    Timely pledge payments and contributions will allow me to pay back the renovation loan.  Hopefully this will be completed by the end of 2017.  Thanks to all who are pledging/contributing. 

Next weekend is our annual Missionary Appeal.  Please welcome Fr. Johndamaseni Zilimu from the Diocese of Kayanga, Tanzania.  See more information below.  While we cannot go to the missions, we become partners in spreading the gospel by our financial support.  Please be generous.  Note the weekday Mass schedule this week.  With Fr. Fred moving on, it is difficult to find a priest to take weekday Masses when I am away.  Fr. Chiola is my best help.  Your understanding is appreciated.  In these summer weeks, if you are away over the weekend, be sure to keep up with parish news and events by going to our dynamic website, www.ctkparish.com.  Click on the bulletin tab to stay in the know.   

Have a firecracker of a week.

Fr. Joe

 

June 25, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

This week I have a meeting with the Pastoral Council to learn from our rep to the Diocesan Synod what the initial discussions were and how it may impact CTK.  And we will review our parish goals to see where we stand.  Some reading I did over vacation spoke about parishes having an entrepreneurial spirit.  I agree, and it is in our values, to be innovative to address our needs.  Alpha earlier this year was a new initiative (innovative) to enrich and reignite faith.  Accountability was another piece the author mentioned, and I hold that with the staff and councils.  The school board and I recently completed the annual evaluation of Mrs. Fahey. 

At the last Finance Council meeting we worked on the new budget which starts July 1.  We will likely close out this fiscal year, June 30 at a deficit.  Note in the stewardship box that we are $120,000 behind in our budgeted collections as of the end of May.  This makes it challenging to continue our operations and ministries.  I am pondering with the councils what must be done to increase the stewardship of treasure across our parish.  See and pray over the quote above the stewardship box in every bulletin.  I pray more parishioners embrace this way of life.

We are in need of more ushers at the weekend Masses.  Men and women, husbands and wives, youth and young adults, can all serve together.  Ideally 6 would be at each Mass.  We also need more volunteers at the A/V desk for weekend Masses, 2 at each Mass.  Among those currently serving is a husband and wife team, and a father & daughter team.  Training will be provided.  Sign up at the table in the vestibule, or call or email the office.

This is Father Fredrick’s last weekend and week with us.  He arrived in February 2016 to be in residence here, and has endeared himself to you when filling in for me.  We wish him many blessings as he continues as chaplain at St. John’s Hospital, and as the new parish administrator at Resurrection Parish in Illiopolis. 

In these summer weeks, if you are away over the weekend, be sure to keep up with parish news and events by going to our dynamic website, www.ctkparish.com.  Click on the bulletin tab to stay in the know.   

In Christ’s peace, 

Fr. Joe

 

June 18, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

Today as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we are grateful for this precious sacrament.  The central action of our Eucharist involves the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  It’s hard to wrap our minds around this mystery.  Yet we believe it to be true, taking it on faith.  While this is an unparalleled spiritual gift, it’s also what our human bodies do every day, transforming ordinary food into bone, muscle and tissue.  In these transformations, our daily lives lead us to eternal life through the body and blood of the one who shared our human existence.  Let us not be casual about Sunday Mass attendance, attire, and etiquette.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in the parish.  May God bless you abundantly for the love and sharing of your lives that you give to your families.  As I reflect upon the gift of faith given to me by God, I know that it was nurtured and strengthened by the love of my dad.  Whether they are still with us, or with the Lord in heaven, let us be sure to stop and offer our praise and love to them.  Check out www.FATHERSFORGOOD.ORG, an initiative for men by the Knights of Columbus.  There you will find numerous good articles and videos. 

I am working with the Finance Council as we close out this fiscal year June 30 and set a new budget beginning July 1.  Note in the stewardship box that we are $120,000 behind in our budgeted collections.  This makes it challenging to continue our operations and ministries.  I have been signing teachers’ contracts for next year, with the assistance of Mrs. Fahey.  Last month I convened a committee to assist me in reviewing the 25 applicants for tuition assistance.  The income from our farm is our primary source of money for this.  At this point, nearly $10,000 in assistance is going out to families.

I am so pleased that our high school students have become lectors and Eucharistic Ministers, and others continue to be altar servers.  We are in need of more ushers at the weekend Masses.  Men and women, husbands and wives, youth and young adults, can all serve together.  Ideally 6 would be at each Mass.  We also need more volunteers at the A/V desk for weekend Masses, 2 at each Mass.  Among those currently serving is a husband and wife team, and a father & daughter team.  Training will be provided.  Sign up at the table in the vestibule, or call or email the office.

I am away most of this week on vacation.  Back on Friday for the Altar Servers and Youth Choir Appreciation Outing at Knights Action Park.  Next weekend is Father Fredrick’s last weekend at CTK.  See you at his farewell Saturday night in the Parish Center.  In these summer weeks, if you are away over the weekend, be sure to keep up with parish news and events by going to our dynamic website, www.ctkparish.com.  Click on the bulletin tab to stay in the know.    Have a good week!

Fr. Joe

 

June 11, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

Today we celebrate the great mystery of our Christian faith, the Holy Trinity.  We profess our faith in God who is one in three Persons.  The Catechism, #253, teaches us that the divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God, whole and entire.  The Father is that which the Son is, the Son is that which the Father is and the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.  The prayers of today’s Mass, particularly the preface, help us articulate this mystery: in the confessing of the true and eternal Godhead, you might be adored in what is proper to each Person, their unity in substance, and their equality in majesty.  Pay attention when you say (pray) the Creed, which defines what and in whom we believe.

Last weekend I so enjoyed our celebration of Pentecost.  What a spirit-filled liturgy to conclude our Easter season!  The music was uplifting, the environment was extraordinary, the first reading in Spanish, French, and Igbo, Tagalog, and Malayalam, depending on what Mass you attended, and seeing many of you wearing red, all made it special.  Planning for all this began weeks ago, and a special thanks to our foreign language lectors. 

We are in need of more ushers at the weekend Masses.  Men and women, husbands and wives, youth and young adults, can all serve together.  Ideally 6 would be at each Mass.  We also need more volunteers at the A/V desk for weekend Masses, 2 at each Mass.  Among those currently serving is a husband and wife team, and a father & daughter team.  Training will be provided.  Sign up at the table in the vestibule, or call or email the office.

Next Saturday the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women will host the “Our Lady of Good Counsel Award: Women of Distinction” event, with Mass at the Cathedral with Bishop Paprocki, followed by the recognition luncheon.  Our parishioner, Claudia Connelly, is our Woman of Distinction.  She leads our Respect Life efforts, which includes taking students and chaperones to the March for Life every January in Washington, D.C., praying in front of Planned Parenthood, and coordinating the respect life signature ad campaign every January.  Claudia also coordinates the First Friday Eucharistic Adoration pray-ers.  She leads a bible study group, is a Eucharistic Minister, has hosted an exchange student in her home, and I often see her at daily Mass.  She is a spirit-filled disciple!  I am sure her husband Mike and her children could speak about Claudia being a woman of distinction in their eyes.  Join me in congratulating her!

I am again forming the CTK Bicycle Team, training for the Capital City Century on Sunday September 10.  Go to www.spfldcycling.org.  You can ride shorter distances than the 100 miles that day.  There are no try-outs for the team, no time trials.  We’re pretty relaxed.  All ages are welcome.  Send your info to me, ring@ctkparish.com, and I’ll create a team list to let you know about group rides.  I usually ride on Saturday mornings on the trail to Chatham and back. I enjoy the camaraderie with parishioners on our bike rides.  This week I leave on vacation, starting Tuesday afternoon.  Father Fred will be covering, other than Wednesday Mass, when he is not available.  I am heading to Summit County, CO with my bike.  I am sure to be breathless!

Have a good week!

Fr. Joe

 

June 4, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

Today we celebrate the holy day of Pentecost.  The promise of Jesus is fulfilled in the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This 50 day Eastertime, this great season of feasting and celebrating now comes to a close.  What a treat to hear the first reading at Mass today in different languages, a reminder that we are part of the Church that speaks many languages to God’s people.  May the wind and flame of God’s Holy Spirit fill the Church that we may be courageous witnesses to the Gospel, like the disciples. 

We return on Monday to the long stretch of Ordinary Time in the Church’s calendar.  Though the next 2 Sundays are not ordinary, but rather solemnities, being Holy Trinity Sunday, and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  I do not have another Little Book to give you, sorry.  I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the books over the past several months since Advent, enriching your prayer.  A parishioner told me she receives daily email prayers, that she wants to share with me and others.  Check out catholiccompany.com/morning-offering, wordonfire.org, and godvine.com/devotionals/encouragement.  I hope your prayer has grown richer these last 90 days.  Know that every Sunday bulletin lists the scriptures readings for Mass each day in the coming week.  Continue your discipline of daily prayer by reading and praying over the daily scriptures.  Reading and praying over the Sunday readings is particularly helpful in preparing for Sunday Mass.  It will enrich your experience of the Liturgy of the Word.  I hope your pattern and rhythm of prayer can continue through the summer.

As I write this, our school’s first Summer Camp is about to launch.  Under the leadership of our Principal, Pam Fahey, it will run through June and July.  It will include fun academics, sports, some outings, all in response to the needs of our families.  And there is Vacation Bible School in addition to this. We have much to be proud of in our school.  In these summer weeks, if you are away over the weekend, be sure to keep up with parish news and events by going to our dynamic website, www.ctkparish.com.  Click on the bulletin tab to stay in the know.   

This week, Fr. Fred and I are away on retreat.  Note there is no Mass on Monday and Friday.  Fr. Chiola will have the morning Masses on Tuesday – Thursday.  Please pray for us to be spiritually renewed as priestly servants.  Have a good week!

 Fr. Joe

May 28, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

              Today we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord into heaven.  The angels sang his praises, as we praise him too.  And now, who is to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus?  It is each one of us, and all of us collectively, the Church.  We are the evangelists, proclaiming the good news of Christ in our own time, just as the disciples were in the 1st century.  This is God’s vision for each of us, and His Holy Spirit enlivens us to be courageous witnesses.

              Can you tell, I so enjoyed the baptisms last weekend during Mass?  It was wonderful, to look into those babies’ eyes.  And it was good at the 5 pm Mass to recognize our student athletes and those in the Programming Club, Robotics/Lego League, and Scholastic Bowl.  One of the reasons I want this at Mass is because part of our Vision Statement is to unite our parish across the campus. 

Pentecost is next weekend!  The liturgical color is red.  Be sure to wear something red, yellow or orange – appropriate for church.  Just as the Holy Spirit filled the upper room with flames of fire, let our clothing give a visual witness to the flame of faith that burns in each of us.  And this week be sure to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit over our parish, that we may know and do the will of God.  This is the last week to use your Little White Book for your daily prayer.  The reflection for this Wednesday is very good.  Check it out.

Recently we received a bequest from the estate of Ruth Feldhake, who died in 2015.  She left us 5% of her estate. This is a wonderful sign of her faith, and love for Christ the King Parish.  May she know God’s eternal blessing.  I hope others are inspired to be generous stewards to CTK in their estate planning.  The CTK Legacy Society is a wonderful vehicle to do this.  Her gift will go toward paying the balance due this month on the Annual Catholic Services Appeal and the Catholic Times.

A first at the school is that we are holding a Summer Camp, starting this Tuesday.  Under the leadership of our Principal, Pam Fahey, it will run through June and July.  It will include fun academics, sports, some outings, all in response to the needs of our families.  And there is Vacation Bible School in addition to this. We have much to be proud of in our school.  See more info on page 5.

With 8th grade graduation behind us, and school and PSR have dismissed for the year, parish life now takes on a decidedly different feel.  What I anticipate but do not look forward to is the summer decline in Sunday Mass attendance.  Too often our children are noticeably absent from Mass.  The best predictor of adult faith practice is Mass attendance in childhood and teen years.  This goes hand in hand with consistent faith formation both in the home and through religious education.  Mediocrity in living the faith today breeds mediocrity tomorrow.  Our generous, joyful youth, well formed in the faith today will be the outstanding fathers, mothers, singles, priests, and religious of tomorrow.  The Church challenges us to continue to imitate the generous response of Mary to God’s invitation to a vocation of life and love in service to her Son.  That is why we honor her in this month of May, and ask her prayers.

In the peace of the risen and ascended Christ,

Fr. Joe

 

May 21, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

              Happy sixth Sunday of Easter!  I hope you continue to use your Little White Book for your daily prayer these Easter weeks.  The scripture reflection for Wednesday this week is good, then read about Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si.”  I am pleased that some new parents are choosing to have baptisms during Mass.  We celebrate as “choose life” Catholics these newborns in these families, and in our church family.  I am glad the cameras can project the baptism for all to easily see.

There is a need for more lectors, especially at Sunday evening Mass, and more ushers at all Masses.  Some ushers have retired leaving our ranks thin.  With inadequate ushers it is noticeable that the collection is not as well orchestrated.  On more than one weekend, I have been scrambling before Sunday evening Mass to find lectors and ushers.  Please call or email the office, or sign the form on the vestibule table.  Training will be provided.  Please prayerfully consider sharing your talent for the good of our liturgy.

You see that we have old school cafeteria tables and chairs to give away and sell.  The new cafeteria tables and benches are great: durable, attractive, and easy to move.  The staff and students love them.  This was our fund-a-project at the auction, which was a great success.  All has been paid for!  Thanks to all donors!  That being said, our overall fundraising for the school is down.  100 fewer tickets were purchased for the Mardi Gras Auction in February.  The Bonus Raffle ticket sales were fewer than last year.  The fundraising subcommittee of the school board presented this report with full details.  We are trying to understand the drop off, and will survey our school families to get their input.  We have some work to do.  And it would help us all to know the future of the State of Illinois finances, since I know many of you have jobs with the state, or state supported agencies.  Even the medical community is suffering due to lack of reimbursements.  Please pray with me these next 10 days that our lawmakers will craft a fair and just state budget.

Easter Peace,  

Fr. Joe

 

May 13, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

Happy fifth Sunday of Easter, and happy Mother’s Day!  What a treasure we have in our mother who has given us life and nurtured us with love.  Today we show our gratitude with a token of our love.  May Mary, our heavenly mother, inspire and intercede for all moms!

              I hope you continue to use your Little White Book for your daily prayer these Easter weeks.  Today read about Mother’s Day for peace.  In the past several bulletins I have included a piece on prayer from a book I am reading, Thirsting for Prayer.  While I have cited the book and author, I failed to indicate the permission to reprint from Scepter Publishers.  Please go to www.scepterpublishing.org to find more books by Father Jacques Philippe.  I am pleased that some new parents are choosing to have baptisms during Mass.  We celebrate as “choose life” Catholics these newborns in these families, and in our church family.  I am glad the cameras can project the baptism for all to easily see.

If you were not able to attend last weekend our school’s musical, Honk! Jr., you missed a delightful show.  We have some budding thespians!  I know how you parents feel, a proud Father of my kids! A tip of the hat to all, young and young at heart, who worked so hard and gave so much, which turned into magic under the lights.  We have much to be proud of in our school.

Friday this week is 8th Grade graduation with Mass at 5:30 p.m.    It has been good to be with them in their classrooms a few times over the year, and to prepare them for Confirmation last semester.  They were in fourth grade when I first came here.  Their future looks bright!  Graduation is more than a school event.  This is an important day in the life of our parish because of our collective commitment to education, but even more so to evangelize our children, to hand on the faith to them.  Many of these students have been in the cocoon of our school for 9 years.  They have been nurtured and formed by of our love and hard work.  This class is unique, in that half of them have become Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion since their Confirmation.  You have seen them serving at school and weekend liturgies.  As they go forth to the next chapter of the education, we give thanks, and pray God’s finest blessings upon them.  There is no 6:30 a.m.Mass on Friday.  The final all-school Mass is May 25.

Easter Peace,     

Fr. Joe

 

May 7, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

The liturgy with First Communion last Sunday was such a joy.  We are pleased to welcome to the Lord’s table 43 of our second graders.  They looked so holy, and were reverent.  A gracious thanks to our second grade teachers, Maggie Hazelrigg, Kate Large, and Shannon Swaney with PSR.  They coordinated the 1st Communion Retreat with our principal, Pam Fahey.  The Junior Crusaders and Cherubs were in good voice, under the direction of Elizabeth Donathan, with Bernie Killian on the piano and organ.  The new A/V was operated by Madonna Jones.  Projecting the music and Creed was helpful for the participation of all.  And the camera shots so all could see the communicants with their parents was good.  It was a First Communion like none other at Christ the King.  Thanks to all for making it a prayerful liturgy.  Thanks to all the parents for your key role in preparing your children.  You are the first and primary teachers of your children in the faith.  What happens in our school and PSR can only build on what happens at home.  Our children have taken another step in their initiation into the Church.  In a few years they will complete their initiation in the Sacrament of Confirmation.  May our entire parish model a vibrant faith as we pass it on to the next generation.

Projecting the music is so helpful to good participation.  No longer do we have to print music cards to slide into the hymnals.  I see people looking up, and singing more.  It was noticeably so Easter morning at 8 a.m. Mass, and a number of people have asked about having it every Sunday at 8.  I want to do that, but can only do so when we have coverage at the A/V desk.  So some weeks you will see it, and others you will not.

I hope you continue your daily prayer these Easter days, using your Little White Book.  Check out Wednesday this week (the halfway point of the 50-day Easter season) to learn about St. Paul and the Gospels.

In the peace of the risen Christ,

  Fr. Joe

 

April 30, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

4-30-17 3rd Sunday of Easter

THE PASTOR’S PEN

What a happy day and blessed day for our parish as we celebrate First Communion at Sunday afternoon Mass.  Congratulations and blessings to our 45 second graders, as they take another step on their initiation into the Church.  May they always approach the Eucharist with the same fervor they have today.  And may each of us be inspired by their example to always hunger for the Bread of Life, and the Cup of Salvation.

We continue to rejoice in this Easter Season.  I hope you are using your Little White Book for your daily prayer.  I find the reflections on St. Mark’s Resurrection narrative to be good.  On Tuesday this week, you can also read about the Angelus during the Easter season. 

I hope you are able to participate in the May Crowning with our children this Wednesday afternoon in church at 1:45. May is our traditional month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As the Catechism of the Church reminds us: “The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church in the order of grace, because she gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, the Head of the Body which is the Church.  The faithful see in Mary an image and an anticipation of the resurrection that awaits them and they invoke her as advocate, helper, and benefactress.  The special veneration directed to Mary finds particular expression in the liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and in Marian prayers such as the Holy Rosary which is a compendium of the whole Gospel.”(#196-198) Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church.  

            This week is First Friday, and there will be Eucharistic Adoration in the Sacred Heart Room all day.  Having used it a few times before, it provides a more intimate and quiet space before the Blessed Sacrament.  It begins after Mass, and we will pray Morning Prayer together before the exposed Blessed Sacrament.  Find a few minutes in your day to stop by the church and go to the Sacred Heart Room to pray in silence before the Lord.  Parishioners have told me of the grace and peace and insight received from their prayer before the Eucharist.  I ask that you pray for healing for all the brokenness in our world, and in our individual lives.  We conclude with Benediction at 5, which will take about 15 minutes.  For those coming to the Over 50 Club Potluck that evening, come early to the church for Benediction.  This liturgy, drawing us into the mystery of Christ present to us in the Eucharist, is a unique grace and blessing, that then leads us back to the celebration of the Mass. 

I announced recently at Mass that Fr. Fred is being transferred to Resurrection Parish, Illiopolis on July 1.  Plans are
starting to come together for his farewell on June 24.  He will not be replaced here at CTK.  Next weekend our school students are presenting the musical “Honk! Jr.”  See you there to enjoy our talented students. 

In the peace of the Risen Lord,

            Fr. Joe

The Pastor’s Pen

            This week we closed another fiscal year, and while the final numbers are not tabulated, we are falling short on the income side.  Our operating expenses remain the same through the summer as we make monthly payroll and benefits and utilities.  I appreciate your stewardship of treasure to both our capital campaign, and the Sunday collection to meet operational needs.  We each have many blessings, and we need to be generous stewards toward CTK.  The new budget, which began July1 is not in stone yet; the finance council has been assisting me and Bridgette Kathleen Shea, our Business Manager.  Our expenses will increase, if for no other reason than the increase in salaries and benefits.  As I make another payment on my capital campaign pledge, it is in addition to my regular support of the parish.  I need all parishioners to be good stewards in this way, making their campaign pledge in addition to their regular parish support.  Christ the King has a bright future when we live as faithful, generous disciples.

I am hoping to see some garden produce after Masses at our Mini-Farmers Market.  See the table in the gym lobby.  If you have excess produce, please bring it in, or you may make a donation for the produce you take home. Monies go to the Holy Family Food Pantry.  Our St. Vincent DePaul Society is coordinating this.  Vacation Bible School starts in 2 weeks, and I expect it to be at capacity again this year.  We haven’t yet reached our fund-raising goal so all our children can attend free of charge.  See the totals in the Stewardship Box on the previous page.  Your donation can push us to the goal.  Thanks! 

I am away this week on my annual retreat, going to St. Meinrad Benedictine Monastery in southern Indiana.  Please keep me in your prayers.  Then next weekend I will be home for my mom’s family reunion.  I will have Mass for them at my mom’s farm, which has been in our family now 152 years.  My mom Evelyn is the matriarch of the Stolz family; four generations will be there.  Blessings abound!  Father Fred will be saying Masses here through the weekend.

Begin your Independence Day (Monday) with 6:30 Mass.  We have much to be grateful for, and let us pray for our country and state.  Have a firecracker-of-a-week!

 

In the peace of Christ the King,  Fr. Joe

April 23, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

 

4-23-17  2nd Sunday of Easter

THE PASTOR’S PEN

This Second Sunday of Easter, also called Divine Mercy Sunday because of the gospel reading, assures us of God’s mercy through the Resurrection, for Jesus has conquered sin and death.  He offers us the Father’s healing forgiveness, just he offered peace to the disciples that Easter night.  The Cathedral is holding Divine Mercy devotions, with several priests to hear confessions, today (Sunday) beginning at 2 p.m.  Please join me there.  Reflecting back on the Easter Triduum, I want to acknowledge and thank the boy scouts and their dads for the wonderful fire we had just outside the front doors of the church to begin the Easter Vigil.  The Lord blessed us with a beautiful nightfall.  Our renovated church and vestibule and restrooms are serving us well.  The projection of music and texts and the Creed enhances our liturgies.  Special thanks to my staff and Deacon Al who helped me with so many details.  It was wonderful to pray with a full church at each of the morning Masses, a sight I would like to see every weekend.  Through the Paschal Mystery we have died with Christ, and are raised up with him in new life.  Now these 50 days of Easter we continue to rejoice in God’s saving love.  I hope at home you are using your Little White Book for six minutes of your prayer each day.  It covers the weekday resurrection narrative of St. Mark.  This practice of reading the scriptures and reflecting on them, called Lectio Divina (divine reading), is a wonderful means to a deeper spirituality.

            The church will be even busier this coming weekend with a wedding, then First Communion is next Sunday, April 30, with a special 1 p.m. Mass.  Please keep our second graders in prayer, and if you spiritually adopted a student, send them a note through the school.  They will have their retreat April 28.  

In the peace of the risen Christ,

Fr. Joe

April 16, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

 

4-16-17  Easter

THE PASTOR’S PEN

What a glorious day!  This is the new day the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice and be glad in it! The Paschal Mystery, the death and resurrection of Jesus, is manifested in our very midst.  We renewed our baptism promises today, and the creed was part of the question and response.  Then the newly blest Easter holy water was sprinkled over all.  We are refreshed and renewed in these words and rituals.  We have made our journey through Lent, dying with Jesus through our sacrificial fasting, intense prayer, and generous almsgiving.  Now let the feasting begin!  Let the Alleluias ring out!  My prayer for you is to have a blessed Easter!  The church looks, smells and sounds amazing!  Thanks to the crew who wondrously transformed our church environment, inside and out, each day of the Triduum; thanks to our dedicated music ministers through our special liturgies these high holy days; thanks to our many liturgical ministers who serve us so well; and thanks to all of you who come to pray and be transformed during the Triduum and beyond.  CTK is a wonderful parish! Ours is a graced life as the beloved of God.   

            Lent was particularly meaningful to me this year in that I sang with our choir the Mozart Requiem.  It was a sacrifice of time and energy, and I wanted to quit.  But then it came together is a glorious way.  I told Linda Younkin before the concert that indeed we can sing it well, we were well rehearsed; now it is time to pray it well.  Which we did.  How touching and moving for me, thinking of my deceased father and other loved ones who have died.  It was a graced moment.  And so many told me after the concert how they were touched, some to the point of tears.  Our church has never heard such glorious music.  See our Facebook page for pictures.

            I trust your Lent was meaningful, especially to have a more robust prayer life as I encouraged you in my preaching.  Keep up your Mass Journal to capture a “take away” each weekend to savor during the week.  Don’t let up on the prayers just because Lent is over.  To build on the grace of Lent and to keep holy this Easter season, please use your Little White Book for your daily prayer and reflection on the Resurrection narrative of Mark. 

To fully celebrate the Easter Season it takes fifty days, or a Pentecost, the Greek word for fifty.  And each one of these fifty days, in fact, is Easter.  That is why the Church speaks of the Sundays of Easter, rather than the Sundays after Easter.  Throughout these fifty days we celebrate the core of our faith, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, his eternal victory over sin and death, and the gift of salvation poured out upon the world.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#638) reminds us, “The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith.”  The heart of our very identity as Christians is this belief that God has radically changed the universe by the birth, life, Passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

Something a little different at Mass is that we will be saying the Apostle’s Creed instead of the Nicene Creed.  Easter season, given its baptismal character, is an optimal time to use the Apostle’s Creed.  The revised Missal allows it to be used beyond Masses with children.  Remember to bow while proclaiming the Incarnation: “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.”

Keep praying for our second graders.  First Communion is two weeks away. 

In the peace of the risen Christ,

Fr. Joe

April 9, 2017: The Pastor's Pen

 

4-09-17

THE PASTOR’S PEN

As you carry your blest palm branches home today, place them near your cross or scriptures.  Prayerfully enter into Holy Week, these last days of Lent.  Be sure to bring your Mass journal to church to note a thought or phrase in these coming days.  The prayer and liturgy of the Church this week is like none other.  This is the last week for the Little Black Book.  I hope it has enriched your Lenten journey.  Be sure to read the pages for Tuesday this week, and learn about the cause of Jesus’ death.  Today as you leave Mass the Little White Book is being distributed to all.  It covers the entire Easter Season, going till June 4, for your prayer and reflection.  It begins Easter Monday.  If you missed getting one today, they should be available after Mass Easter weekend.

            Have you noticed more of the youth and young adults in liturgical ministries?  I am so very pleased that this next generation is stepping up as active disciples of the Lord.  In recent weeks new altar servers from the school and PSR have started.  Eighth graders and high school students are new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  Some high schoolers are still altar servers.  PSR & CTK students, and high schoolers compose our youth choir, and the Sunday night Mass music ministry is composed of young adults (Millennials Choir).  The Holy Spirit here is practically palpable.  Take a moment after Mass to affirm their service.  And there is room for more youth and young adults to serve.  As the diocese moves in the direction of stewardship and discipleship as a way of life, CTK is proudly on the way. 

            On the evening of Holy Thursday, Lent comes to an end, and we enter into the “Three days” that are the center of our year: The Easter Triduum.  On these three days, the Church is at its best.  In song, scripture, and ritual we proclaim the heart of what we believe and celebrate throughout the year.  We gather often—at home, at church – during the Triduum to reflect on the central reality of our faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Plan to make these days different from all other days of the year.  Plan ahead so that the entire time from Holy Thursday evening until the Easter Vigil is free of social engagements, free even of work if possible, free of entertainment, free of meals except for the simplest nourishment.

Because of the importance of these days, we are not merely invited; we are all needed to be present for the liturgies and prayers in the church.  All of us need the whole community together, for these are the “high holy days” of Christianity.  I especially encourage your celebration of the Easter Vigil.  While we must start in the dark, (8:00 p.m.) the liturgy of light, word, water, renewal of baptism promises, and Eucharist, should last about 2 hours.  We have no one being baptized.  Avoid the Easter morning crowds and come to the vigil.  Note there is no 5 p.m. Mass Easter Sunday.  Through the Easter sacraments, we are plunged into the paschal mystery of new life out of death, love that conquers sin, our being recreated as children of God!

Some things to note.  I will be available for confessions on Tuesday from noon till 1.  Wednesday night at 6:30 is the student led Living Stations of the Cross, and I will be available for confessions from 7:15 – 8:30 p.m.  The church will be open throughout the day on Good Friday for your private prayer and quiet meditation.  There will be Morning Prayer on Friday and Saturday, from 8:30 till 8:45.  There are no confessions and no 4:30 p.m. Mass on Holy Saturday.

See you in church.   

Father Joe

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