Hellen Keller who had deafness and blindness, writes, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.” Most of us have very good eyesight. Some of us may use glasses, but still we have pretty good sight. But do we see everything? How many times have we forgotten to recognize the goodness of our Lord? In the first reading from the book of prophet Jeremiah, God is a liberator and healer. In the second reading from the book of Hebrews, Jesus is the true sacrifice for our sins and High priest of the New Testament. In the Gospel, Bartimaeus receives sight. Everyone around him could see, but they couldn’t see that Jesus could heal him. When everyone tried to silence him, Bartimaeus cried out all the more.
For the last weekend of Respect Life month, we pray for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. We are invited to love one another and be eyes for those who have no sight. Violence against another person is a failure to treat that person as someone worthy of love. In violence within the sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, "How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?" The person being assaulted needs to know that acting to end the abuse does not violate the marriage promises. An article from the United State Conferences of Catholic Bishops says, “We focus here on violence against women, since 85 percent of the victims of reported cases of non-lethal domestic violence are women. Women's greatest risk of violence comes from intimate partners—a current or former husband or boyfriend.”
Today human trafficking is a new form of slavery. United States Bishop’s Conference says, “Human trafficking violates the sanctity, dignity, and fundamental rights of the human person.” They state that every nation is affected by this disease—the United States is no exception. We all are called to love God and love one another. It is the essence of our discipleship. During the month of October, we were reflecting and praying, especially through the devotion to the Rosary, on the dignity of the human life.
All Saints Day and All Souls Day: In the month of November, the Church invites us to pray for our loved ones. We celebrate November 1st as All Saints Day and November 2nd as All Souls’ Day. Sometimes we think that the church means we who are on earth, but the Church has three realms. The church on earth is called the militant church because we are in a battle between good and evil; the souls in purgatory are called the suffering church because they are in a purifying state to fully experience God’s glory; and the saints, who have already entered into heavenly glory, are the victorious or triumphant church.
All Saints Day is a feast honoring all Christian saints – known and unknown. On All Souls Day we remember all those who have gone before us. The souls in purgatory need our prayers to help their purification to attain heavenly glory. On November 2nd we will celebrate a special Mass St. Cecilia Cemetery at 11:00 am for All Souls. We will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance on November 13 at 6pm.
We ask saints to intercede for us. We pray for our loved ones and those who have gone before us. In every Mass there is time when we pray for our loved ones. Please remember our loved ones during every Mass. The Church also invites us to offer Masses in the names of our loved ones. It costs only $ 10.00, but it take conscious thought and action to do it. Please join us for the All Saints Day and All Souls Day celebration.
St. Therese of Lisieux, also called St. Teresa of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower, is the patron saint of missionaries. She was a spiritual master of the contemplative life, and she considered her call and the call of her fellow sisters to be the spiritual mother of the missions and missionaries. St. Therese didn’t go out to mission journey, but in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, she reflects on the new freedom of a new joy she will enjoy in heaven. She writes, “There will be no longer any cloister and grilles and my soul will be able to fly with you into distant lands.”
Some give to the missions by going. Some go by giving. Mission Sunday is the day to reach out beyond the needs of the local Parish and diocese to assist missionaries as they ‘go and tell’ in the young churches. The Church is a missionary church, and at baptism, each one of us becomes a missionary of the Church. Missionary work is a different aspect and level in our life, like our family, parish, in our community and around the world. Pope Francis in his World Mission Sunday Message writes, “The Church, by proclaiming what she freely received (cf. Mt 10:8; Acts 3:6), can share with you young people the way and truth which gives meaning to our life on this earth. Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us, appeals to our freedom and challenges us to seek, discover, and proclaim this message of truth and fulfilment.”
The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is "missionary" in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God's love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Bishop James Powers invites us to celebrate Mission Sunday “as special moment to live out the mission we share as God’s children, the mission to bring the Gospel to the whole world.” He continues, “I encourage you to be a “voice for mission” through your prayers and through the help that you are able to give…”
This weekend’s Gospel, James and John, came to Jesus. What did they ask? They asked, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." What was their real desire, they want intimacy with Christ. The first reading from book of Isaiah about the “Suffering Servant” connect with gospel teaching on humility. Jesus is going to accomplish his mission by suffering, dying, and rising. The concluding words of Jesus in today’s gospel define his mission, “Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Let us make visible Jesus Christ in and through our own daily life and support missionaries around the World.
October: Month of Rosary and Respect Life!
St. Francis of Assisi is celebrating their patron Saint Francis’s feast day. He had a great love God’s creatures. I love taking the pictures, especially in fall. I call it “paintings from God.” Look at God’s creation, it is wonderful.
The month of October is Respect Life month. The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on the first Sunday in October. This year the theme is “Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent.” Respect the dignity of life without any discrimination: ability or disAbility; strength or weakness. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Chairman of Pro-Life Activities, in his words, “We are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.”
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five- and six-year olds. After explaining the commandment "Honor thy father and thy mother," she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill." This is the main message for “Respect for Life Sunday.” Be a voice for voiceless. We are masterpiece of God’s creation. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb is precious because it carries an immortal soul. The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God and hence we have to respect it from womb to tomb.
A couple of years ago, I read Pope Francis’ message, and he conveyed that “even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”
The month of October is the month of the Rosary. The rosary is a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the rosary we walk through the life of Jesus. On October 7, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the month of October to the Holy Rosary. We use Rosary beads to pray, and other religions also use beads to pray. There is a scientific reason for using beads: sometimes we will say I don’t have to use Rosary beads to pray Rosary, it is old fashioned. When we use Rosary beads to pray the Rosary, it stimulates the nerves of our fingers and helps us concentrate. In the month of October we will be reciting the Rosary before the weekend Masses. Please come early and join for Rosary every weekend during October and at Immaculate Conception on Saturday, October 13 at noon for a Rosary rally.
This year, our cluster will be praying for and bringing the message of respect life in a couple of dimensions. On the first weekend, we pray for unborn life: aborted babies, babies lost through miscarriage, and so on. The second weekend, we celebrate Inclusion Awareness Sunday: pray about our own abilities and disabilities. At the same time, it is an opportunity to invite people with disabilities to actively participate in our parish community. On October 19, at 10:00am at St. Anthony’s we celebrate a Healing Mass, joining with elderly and sick to receive Sacrament of Anointing. During the third week, we celebrate Mission Sunday: praying for missionaries. On the fourth Sunday we will be praying for people affected by domestic violence and human trafficking.
Respect Life month invites us to reflect on the dignity of life and evaluate how we respect one another’s lives. Let us make a promise to pray Rosary this month and pray for peace, human life, and family.
There is a story in Acts of the Apostles chapter 19. St. Paul had been in Ephesus for two years, preaching and healing in the name of Jesus Christ. Then itinerant exorcists came into the city. They were like the traveling medicine men of the Old West, selling snake oil that healed everyone’s woes........for a price. When they learned how the popular Paul had become, they saw a chance to make a profit using his name and Jesus’ name. It would be relatively simple since they knew that many people would be healed by the power of suggestion. The trouble is that they came upon the real thing, a man who was really suffering from demonic possession. These charlatans, the seven sons of Sceva, proclaimed over the man, “I adjure by the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches to come out of this man.” Well, the devil answered back from the man, “Jesus I know. Paul I know. But who are you?” The Jews fled for their lives.
This weekend's first reading and Gospel tell totally different stories. We see in the first reading Eldad and Medad weren’t at the gathering, but they still received the Spirit and began to prophesize. Moses's assistant and successor, Joshua, could not tolerate the two men who started prophesying without attending the appointed place at the appointed time, but Moses had the wisdom to know that God gives the spirit to whomever God wishes. Moses was about extending boundaries.
The first reading provides biblical background for the Gospel with Jesus's response to the same kind of jealousy. The apostle, John, noticed a man casting out demons in Jesus name. He said, “We tried to prevent him.” Jesus gives a warning to his disciples for their jealousy and suspicion. Jesus told them, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Jesus was about extending boundaries.
Are we not like the disciples when we get upset at the good others do because of jealousy or fear? Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa put it, "We are to watch with joy, not with jealousy, the many who prophesy and cast out demons, thus contributing to authentic human development." So stretch out our hands in generosity. The only restriction concerns whatever causes you to sin and lose the kingdom. Otherwise, expect God to work in unexpected places, in unexpected people, in unexpected ways.
A couple of years ago when I did the homily on this passage, someone asked me after the Mass, “Father, how do we recognize the working of God’s spirit in our world?” The first story I explained from Acts, tells us to be prudent. This weekend’s reading tells us that we need to recognize the goodness around us and lead others to goodness, joy, love, and holiness. I think we need to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask help, so we can see his presence and spirit in action around us.
Please use FORMED, a great resource to grow in our faith:
Our parish access Code: GB88ZX
I write this message from Heartwood, Trego, WI. I am with other priests from our Diocese for our annual retreat. Our retreat master Fr. Paul Lickteig SJ is our retreat master who talks about Ignatian Spirituality. He asked us to meditate on three questions. They are: 1. What have I done for Christ? 2. What am I doing for Christ? 3. What ought I to do for Christ?
The first Sunday of September, Immaculate Conception celebrated Catechetical Sunday and this weekend St. Anthony and St. Francis are celebrating. This year the theme for Catechetical Sunday is "Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ." I thought those three questions can be asked in the context of Catechetical Sunday too. As a priest, deacon, CRE, catechist, parent, grandparent, whatever our role, the above questions are relevant. I think we can add one more question: how do we share our faith with our young people?
I would like to borrow a thought from Fr. Bloom. He writes, many years ago, in England, three men were pouring into a trough a mixture of water, sand, lime and other ingredients. A passer-by asked them what they were doing. The first said, "I am making mortar." The second: "I am laying bricks." But the third said, "I am building a cathedral." They were doing the same thing, but each looked at it differently. And what a difference that made! We can see something similar in the way people relate to their parish, why they give. One person says, "Oh! All they do down there is ask for money." The second person replies, "Well, you have to pay the bills." But the third person says, "I am building the Body of Christ."
We are entrusted with Good News to spread in the world. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to this mission as a community of faith.
I encourage everyone to find time for Mass every weekend and encourage our young people to come with you. Second, try to attend more than weekend Mass, if you can make it to a weekday Mass. On September 19, we have a Blue Mass to honor all current and retired law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and First Responders in the area.
The weekend of September 22 and 23rd we have dynamic speaker Dr. Mario Joseph. He will be speaking during Mass and there will be an hour session after the 9:30 Mass on 23rd. He was a Muslim priest and converted to Catholicism. It is an amazing story.
On September 26 at 6:30pm we have a one man performance of the Sermon on the Mount performed by Frank Runyeon
This is another opportunity to grow in faith: just sign in on your computer or cell phone for FORMED.ORG . Click on access code and enter the code for our parish GB88X. Through the generosity of our people and parish participation, we have purchased this website for a year. Please make use of it as there are tons of faith resources. You can watch a movie or documentary, reflect on weekend readings, and so on. Let us make use of this opportunity to grow in our faith. Let this Catechetical Sunday bring new beginnings in our faith community and let us thank each other, pray for each other, and support each other in our faith journey.
Have you ever imagined how you would feel if you could not hear or talk? Take a minute to use your imagination and experience that situation. We see in the Gospel that people brought to Jesus a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. A group of people interceded to Jesus for the healing of this man. Jesus took him away from the crowd. He touched his ears and his mouth and said, "Be open". And the man left singing the praises of God to the world.
The first reading from the Book of Isaiah reminds us that God's eyes are constantly focused on the helpless. God tells the frightened, “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you.” Isaiah’s prophesy is fulfilled in Jesus’s healing of a man who was deaf and mute. And it even continues in our time, through the Sacraments and acts of charity. This is the second Sunday we hear from St. James in the second reading. The apostle gives some basic and challenging principles of life. It is a warning against our temptation to discriminate against people in our day to day life. If we want to be away from these temptations, we need to listen to Jesus, “Be open,” open our hearts and minds for others.
All of us have the ability to hear and talk, and this weekend’s readings invite us to open our ears to hear the word of God and loosen our tongues to share the good news of God’s love and salvation to others. It is also inviting us to be humble instruments of healing in the hands of God.
You might have noticed during a baptism that the priest or deacon touches the baby’s ears and mouth and says be open. This Gospel story is a story about our lives with the Lord. This Gospel story is also a good example of the intercessory prayer. There is a great need for praying for healing and the needs of others, even people those who are struggling to pray.
The Ephphatha, or opening to Christ at baptism is just the first of many openings to Christ all during our lives. At that first opening, it was Christ who opened our ears and mouths. Since then it is up to us to open up to Christ. How many times does Christ stands before us in various ways; we have to decide to open up to Christ.
Today, are we open to receiving healing and to be an instrument of healing? We need to receive God’s love, forgiveness, and healing in a personal way and in a communitarian way. At the same, the reading reminds that we need to intercede for others for their healing. At the Eucharist, the true healer, Jesus shares with us his very life in the Body and Blood. Let us open our minds and hearts to receive his healing touch, and hear his word, “Be opened.”
Priest's Retreat: This week, Monday through Thursday, the priests of the Superior Diocese will be gathering for a retreat. Please pray for everyone. We will have on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in place of the usual Mass. Thank you.
Every human being likes to be respected, not for any title or accomplishment, but because we are created in the image and likeness of God. Labor Day is the day we can be proud of what we do, and respect others for their great service. Pope Francis pointed out, "Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. . . . It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one's family, to contribute to the growth of one's own nation."
After Labor Day, schools are open; it seems like we are more active, and society is more engaged and busy. It is an opportunity for us to pray for each one of us, our labor, whatever we do. It is also a special moment to pray for our children and youth, those who are going back to school. That’s their labor: to study well. Let us pray for them, their families, and their teachers.
We are back from summer, a relaxed time, to the active and vibrant beginning. It is the time to start something new. I read in an article about William Glasser who developed a method of “reality therapy” which focuses on changing our behavior patterns. He calls it “positive addiction,” and gave the examples of jogging and meditation. Beginning either of these or any new discipline is difficult. As we continue jogging or meditating, it becomes easier. If we stick with it, it becomes a healthy addiction that we simply cannot seem to do without.
It is true with our spirituality as well. For example, going to Mass, or saying a daily prayer and so on. An ancient, nameless, wise person said: “The act is the parent of the habit; the habit is the parent of the virtue.” Perseverance is key. Persevere through the hard/severe stuff to habitually praying, doing good, and attending mass.
We are back to the Gospel of Mark from John. We see in the reading, the Pharisees are scandalized that Christ’s disciples “took food with unclean hands" (Mk 7.2). The first thing to note is that Jesus does not teach at all to disobey the law. He teaches to give more importance to the dispositions of the heart rather than to the superficial gestures and rites. On one hand, Jesus invites us to follow the Commandments and on the other hand, He shows that "purity" is not a matter of washed hands or lips purified by rituals, but is a matter of the heart.
Jesus emphasizes that unclean or impure are not external things, but the bad actions and intentions that came from a heart bad and away from God. God does not exist where there is no heart because it is distracted or closed in fear. How to return the heart to God? How to approach him?
We approach God "with the frequent purification of alms, tears and the other fruits of justice that make the heart and the body pure in order to participate in the mysteries of heaven." (St Bede the Venerable). Jesus came to tell us that no law, big or small, has meaning if it is not accompanied by love and if it is not consumed in love. Every time we gather for the Eucharist, we encounter Jesus who offered himself for us and won eternal life for us. From every Mass we send out to follow in his footsteps, to live the broken and shared love. It is not easy, but let us persevere and get into a healthy addiction.
Malcolm Muggeridge accompanied a film crew to India in order to narrate a documentary on Mother Teresa. He already knew she was a good woman or he wouldn't have bothered going. When he met her, he found a good woman who was also so very compelling that he titled his documentary, Something Beautiful for God. When he asked Mother Teresa why she went to Adoration and Mass every day early in the morning she replied, "If I didn't meet my Master every day, I'd be doing no more than social work." (Victor Shepherd, December 2001.)
Every Mass, we gather to meet Christ. We are here to listen for Christ's word for our life. We are here to say, like Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
In the first reading Joshua challenged the Israelites to decide whom they would serve, the God of their fathers, or the gods of the Amorites in whose country they were then dwelling. The Israelites recall that it was the Lord, our God, who brought their fathers out of slavery, and they responded to his challenge and renewed their relationship with God of Israel. The renewal of the covenant ceremony in Joshua 24 reminds us that the Eucharist is a covenant meal that calls for a decision of faith.
Concluding the long bread of life discourse in today’s gospel, Jesus challenges His audience to make their choice of accepting the new covenant. The disciples respond to Jesus’s challenge in two ways. One group finds Jesus’s words too hard to take. They left Jesus and embraced their former ways. The second group faced the challenges and remained with Jesus.
Today’s passage describes the various reactions of the people to Jesus’s claims. As Joshua spoke to his followers, Jesus speaks to the twelve apostles and gives them the option of leaving Him or staying with Him. Jesus said to his twelve disciples, “Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The disciples couldn’t reject Jesus after all that He had done for them. The apostles exercised their freedom of choice by choosing to stay with Jesus.
In the Eucharistic celebration, we, like Peter, are called to make a decision, profess our faith in God’s Son, and renew the covenant ratified in His life, death, and resurrection. We have Mass every day of the week. We have the opportunity to spend time in adoration every first Friday of the month. On first Friday we can come any time of the day if you cannot come for particular hour of the day. Let us meet him personally in Eucharist celebration.
Ask a teenage boy and girl, who are in deep love, how often do they talk to each other? Ask them how much she/he want to give the other? He/she may say, they want to give all of themselves. They may say gosh we don’t know how much we talk a day. They may say how they like to stay close always. They are in deep love; they want to give each other their heart.
This week we continue our reflection on the “bread of Life” discourse. We need the tangible. We need someone to hold us, protect us, and give us courage. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became one of us, but that wasn’t enough. He gave us His Flesh and Blood. He comes into us, and we come into Him. He holds us, protects us, and gives us courage.
In today’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs, wisdom represents God, who offers wisdom and understanding in the form of a rich banquet. We read in the proverb “to the one who lacks understanding, she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” The early Christians often identified Jesus as the Wisdom of God. They regarded the Eucharist as Wisdom’s banquet, where they shared in the Divine Wisdom now present in Jesus.
There is a wonderful resource to learn more about the Eucharist. Follow the instruction below:
Name of the video: Presence.
Catholic Services Appeal 2018-19
First of all let me express my gratitude to all of you for your support of Catholic Services Appeal. Year after year some of you generously support towards our parish Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) goal. Your generosity makes a difference. This week is the KICK-OFF of our annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) for 2018-19. The theme for this year's appeal is “Called to be Saints.” “You are the visible face of the invisible Father...let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.” - Pope Francis.
Sometimes we ask why we need to give our money to diocese when it can be used by the local church. It is a valuable thought. The reality is that we are part of the universal church. We benefit from the diocese so many different ways. You should have received the Bishop James Power’s letter, which will give you an idea of how your money is used and how many lives you touched.
It can’t just be some of us; if all of us participate we can reach the goal. Please participate to reach the goal of each of our parishes. For a successful year, we need to do three things: pray for CSA first; second, make sure we each participate; and third, encourage others to participate. Even non-parishioners will participate for the right cause. Let us respond to Bishop James Power’s invitation and make it a successful year.
The 2018-19 year goal for each parish is as follows:
St. Anthony’s: $24,529
Immaculate Conception: $10,486
St. Francis: $ 5,402
Let us pray together, let us contribute towards it, then we can reach the goal.
Have you ever had a meal with someone you loved, someone who really care for you? When you leave that place, do feel loved, cared for, supported, and even strengthened? The readings for this weekend tell us that God has special love for his people.
In the first reading we see Elijah’s discouragement and frustration as he fled for his life. King Ahab of Israel married a pagan queen, Jezebel, and erected an altar to Ball. The prophet Elijah challenged 450 of the pagan god Baal’s prophets and defeated them. Queen Jezebel found out what Elijah did to Baal’s prophets and was angry, sending soldiers to kill the prophet. Elijah fled for his life. He was walking through the desert, became exhausted, and fell into a sleep under a broom tree while he was asking for a speedy death. God’s love for Elijah provided for him. God sent an angel who woke him up and said, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" God’s gift of food provided nourishment and strengthened him so he could continue on his journey to Horeb where Elijah would be commissioned again as God’s prophet to carry on the struggle and anoint his successor.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. Jesus offers the very life of God himself - life which sustains us, not only now in this age, but also in the age to come. He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience.
We saw in the Gospel that the Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." To accept the gift of the Bread of Life, they had to first accept that Jesus was more than human. He was Divine. To understand the miracle and mystery of communion, our starting point must be that Jesus is Divine, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He gives us who He is: Eternal Life. When we receive the Eucharist, we are united to Him, to each other, and to the whole Body of Christ.
The people had a hard time accepting Jesus, the bread of life. They murmured. Are there still people who murmur about the Eucharist? There are people who don’t know the true meaning of the Eucharist. Every Sunday, and for some of us, every day, we enter into the Mystery of the Eucharist. We receive the One who is the Bread of Life. Do we murmur?
What do I have to offer at the Eucharist? We have to think about what we want to offer every time we come for the Eucharist. It may be for someone in our family who is sick, or our own disappointments and struggles. It may be a victory or joy in our life.
Today, what are the expenses of my offering? It may be how I prepare myself for the Eucharist. I may have to get up early and take time to get ready. I had to give up some other activities or fun to get here to be in the Lord’s presence to celebrate Eucharist. There is an expense.
The Eucharistic celebration should not be a casual get together; it is a grand celebration. It should not be time to murmur, it is a great meal, sacrifice, and thanksgiving. We may be tempted to murmur. Let us stop and think, “What I am missing?” God says, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!"