Let me begin with a short walk down memory lane. Growing up Catholic in Stevens Point, I was well acclimated to the diocesan tradition of an annual mission appeal. Among my early memories of going to weekend Mass was being part of the congregation when foreigners came to make appeal for their mission. Foreigners needs to be explained here just a little more. As a child, any priest who was not my Pastor was a foreigner to me.READ MORE
These days of August inspires some of us to think about preparing for school and others to recall memories of school days gone by. One of the phrases we tossed around was also used by students whom I taught at McDonell Central Catholic High School. Often the phrase was used in reference to some sort of contest, competition or other challenging situations. Perhaps the phrase is familiar to you: Its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog! At the risk of stating the obvious, the phrase really helps us be mindful of will-power, determination and all-around internal strength.READ MORE
Recent scuttlebutt in the media has provided coverage about exotic animals being killed and some efforts to prevent those actions. We have also heard, of more important value, about the unfortunate choices of Planned Parenthood, which did some rather nasty things with aborted babies all under the cover of improving human health. I hope you, like many other people of good will, found the paradox in these stories and have made choices to defend life; especially human life. As Catholics we have consistently taken the approach that all human life has value in all of its stages. Our phrase is: from conception through natural death. So, of course, the protection of innocent life, particularly the unborn, is of utmost concern. There is, however, a lot more lives to consider when thinking about the disabled, the handicapped, the elderly, the homebound, the hospitalized and the dying, just to categorize a few.READ MORE
Devotion to the Blessed Mother will help understand the fourth Glorious mystery: the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. This mystery allows us to ponder the magnitude of spiritual favors our Lady received through the very end of her life. We profess, of course, that when her earthly life was finished, she was assumed body and soul into heaven. That explains why there is no tomb of Saint Mary to be venerated. That also explains the hope we all have to be united with her son forever in eternity.READ MORE
Bulletin articles around the nation continue to be published about current topics like religious liberty, Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to our nation, youth summer activities, same-sex marriage and the like.
Here, however, I’m taking a very different approach and writing about money. The national and world economy (Greece) have little to do with my inspiration, I’m just thinking I’d consider inviting you to have a conversation with some of the elder Catholics among us and having a conversation with yourself regarding your charitable support. Its worth mentioning that there was an envelope in your packet inviting support for The Catholic Times, we added envelopes for Energy Assistance for our facilities, we are in the midst of a matching grant program for Tuition Assistance for our Catholic School, the Diocesan Annual Appeal is coming soon, and each of our parishes now has major fundraisers in the annual calendar. And, unfortunately, money does influence our future.READ MORE
We are living in very interesting times. The pendulum of culture is once again swinging away from Christian principles, and that means we no longer have the luxury of being the prevailing or dominant voice. We can no longer boast about being Christian, we have to prove it. This Supreme Court decision is a wakeup call to the reality of the world around us that has been brewing for quite some time. It is also a remarkable opportunity unlike any we've seen in a long time. People with same-sex attraction have full legal rights to marry each other, and with growing public acceptance of this, they have won this round. They have gotten what they wanted. Their worldview is no longer the "persecuted minority" view, so they can't really play that card anymore. We as Christians though, as we become more and more marginalized, return to being like the original Church, scorned and feared and misunderstood... just as Christ Himself was. What a remarkable time to live in.READ MORE
We, as Catholics in southern Buffalo County, this weekend welcome back Fr. John Abts, O.F.M. to celebrate his 25th Anniversary to the Priesthood. Some of you may have noticed the article about him and this event published in the Cochrane-Fountain City Recorder some weeks ago. Certainly any time we can celebrate milestones in life, we take advantage of them. Certainly, as Catholics, when we have opportunities to celebrate the priesthood, we take even special advantage of them. After all, we’ve heard it said, “without the priesthood there is no Eucharist; without the Eucharist there is no Church.”READ MORE
There continues to be observations and comments from concerned people in our parishes about many things Catholic. Among some of the main concerns are attendance decline, diminishing number of families with children at weekend Mass, and disillusionment about what it means to be Catholic in the modern age when some say morality is eroding quickly. Of course there could be countless reasons to explain any of these matters. However, its important to know that the main concerns identified here are not limited to our cluster. Priests around the region, MN included, speak of similar matters.READ MORE
I continue to go back to one of my Polish brothers, and a brother to us all. We affectionately call him St. Maximilian Kolbe. He was born in Poland, becoming a Franciscan priest, founder of the Militia of Mary Immaculate and martyr for the faith. Perhaps we know his death more than we know anything. He was a prisoner at Auschwitz during WWII; dying there in 1941. In fact, he died on August 14, the day before the annual celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. The Nazis were about to separate a father from a son in that death camp. Kolbe courageously stepped forward and suggested they’d find more satisfaction killing a priest rather than the boy’s father. For reasons unknown, the Nazis let father and son remain united and killed Kolbe instead.READ MORE
There are some Catholics around who remember the days when the Church obligated the faithful to fast from food and beverages from midnight on Sundays and Holy Days until after attending Mass. During those days some Masses were offered quite early in the morning through the lunch hour to accommodate the faithful. During the same time period, Vigil Masses, or Masses of anticipation, or Masses on Saturday evenings or the evenings before Holy Days were only permitted for serious pastoral advantage. These Vigil Masses were rare. During those days, many businesses were closed on Sundays, too.READ MORE
Some of us were put a little off-balance as we observed Memorial Day nearly as early as it can be in the calendar. The observance of Memorial Day seemed to make May a short month, and then, yet, we get to have another Sunday in May this weekend. I'm hoping that each of us have taken some moments on Memorial Day to truly consider what we are memorializing. Now, more than ever, we need to be mindful of the principles of our country and continue to be aware and faithful to the Constitution of these United States of America. In turn, we are also aware of the sacrifices of many to defend these liberties; whether their sacrifice to serve our nation was voluntary or otherwise. In any case, many young men and women were exposed to violence to human life which we could never be prepared for. The reminder of Memorial Day observances causes us to intensify our prayers for peace and justice for all people.READ MORE
Pentecost, a Time to Say Yes to the Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives.
Scholars tell us that the first Pentecost took place during the Jewish Feast of Weeks. This was a festival at which the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God in thanksgiving. But on this particular day, instead of giving our first fruits to God, he gave his first fruit—the Holy Spirit—to us.
And what an amazing gift the Spirit has been! It is his power that has kept the church on track, despite human sinfulness, for two millennia. It is his grace that has strengthened us, revealed Jesus to us, moved us to serve, and convinced us that Jesus will indeed come back to bring heaven down to earth. To put it quite simply, Pentecost is all about the fact that Almighty God has come to live in human hearts, making ordinary people into extraordinary saints.READ MORE
Many of you considered, and maybe even contributed, to the recent United States Postal Service Food Drive. You will be interested to know that our parish cluster benefits most directly from local generosity. The donations given through the Fountain City Post Office are given directly to the Food Pantry located in the Parish Life Center at the Church of the Immaculate Conception. A reminder that the Immaculate Conception Food Pantry is open weekly on Thursdays from 4 until 5 in the afternoon. Typically 2-6 different households visit each week to benefit from the Food Pantry. The Immaculate Conception Food Pantry is supported solely by local donations and food drives. And, a quick distinction, our parish cluster also hosts a monthly Mobile Food Pantry on the first Tuesday of each month. The 45-65 households who benefit from the Mobile Food Pantry receive food from Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire. Now, back to the USPS Food Drive: a quick estimate of the weight of the food donated to our local food pantry is right around 1,900 pounds of food. All of that food was donated to our local Food Pantry. Thanks to the residents in the Fountain City for their generosity to help end hunger.READ MORE
Each and every one of us has been in a position where we have known something sensitive about another or we were quizzed on sensitive information about ourselves. Take income for example, when we discover how much money someone makes, we are really tempted to and often disclose that information to other people; we typically feel like our knowledge is power. On the other hand, when someone inquires with us about our income, we do a really good job deflecting the question and have a sense that our income is none of their business. As sensitive as monetary income may be, we quickly realize that each one of us is guilty of speaking about other people’s sensitive information which transcends far beyond money.READ MORE