Bulletin Article for the Solemnity of Christ the Lord, King of the Universe (November 22, 2020)

Hello,

I hate to keep harping on this, but how is everyone doing? Please, let’s make an extra effort to reach out to those around us. Thanks to technology (I’m including phone calls, even from landlines in this), we can reach out to each other safely. As our state shuts down for another four weeks, it is imperative that we don’t leave people alone and isolated. And if you are the one feeling alone and isolated, please call anyone, someone, including me. I don’t care how much of an introvert you are, we are social beings. We are made in the image and likeness of God, who is a community of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, we too are created for community. We are not meant to travel this journey of life alone.

This weekend we celebrate the last Sunday in Ordinary Time. That means that Advent is just around the corner. Speaking of Advent, we will not have a communal Reconciliation service. Instead, I will schedule additional times for Confessions. This last Sunday in Ordinary Time is called the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Jesus is King of the universe. He is King of all of His creation. However, we human beings are different than the rest of the created universe. We have free will. God isn’t automatically King of lives. He is our Creator, but we must choose, we must allow, Jesus to be King of our lives. What is the number one influence, the number one driving force in your life? Is it Jesus Christ?

Have a blessed week,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 15, 2020)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I know I touched on it last week, but I just felt impelled to remind us that God is in control. We are first Christians and then Americans. We have been baptized into the family of God. Thus we are called to be saints, to be holy and to encourage others to believe in Jesus Christ and to be holy. This mission is the same no matter who is in power. Let’s become saints together.

What are we doing with our gifts, especially our gift of time? With our world being what it is, it is easy to get swallowed up in work and in scrolling through social media…at least it is for me. We need to make sure we invest time into eternal relationships. Clicking “Like” on a Facebook post does not count. Call a family member. Sit down with your son or daughter and just talk face to face. Spend time in prayer, conversing with our Creator, the Eternal One. Today, we read in the Gospel about the three servants. Two invest their talents wisely and one squanders it. We need to be wise with our time and resources…but time especially. May we use our time to build up others and the Kingdom of God. I know this is hard and getting harder with the lockdowns. But this just means we need to double our efforts. We can still make phone calls. We can still Zoom. It is so easy to isolate, to become depressed. We must ask for the grace to have the strength to reach out. Others are hurting too. So when we reach out, we are healing to souls. Let us love more boldly, more ardently, more passionately.

May God bless and keep you during these unprecedented times,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Thirty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 8, 2020)

Hello,

What a week!! And yet our lives go on. God still loves us. God is still in control. We are still called to be saints. 

You probably weren’t wondering, but just in case you were, I did get out to play golf this past week. We had some beautiful days out. Praise the Lord!

Pray for our 11th graders who this morning (Sunday, November 8) were Confirmed. I think I’ve said this before, but I tell the students that Baptism is for them. At their baptism, an indelible mark is made on their soul that can never be removed. Even if later in life, they reject the faith, that mark is still there. They will never need to be “re-baptized.” This indelible mark marks them as a child, as daughter or son, of God. In Baptism we are given the grace to remove our original sin, in some sense, our inherited rebellion against God. This removal of original sin begins our salvation, our life of being in saving grace. (When we commit a mortal sin, we remove ourselves from God’s stream of saving grace. To get ourselves back into the stream of God’s saving grace after committing a mortal sin, we have to go to Confession.) However, I tell the students, Confirmation is for everyone else. What I mean by this is now you are given the grace to be a bolder witness to the love of God in the world. Baptism welcomes us into the life of saving grace. Confirmation gives us the grace to invite others into a life of saving grace. So pray for our Confirmation students that they may be bold witness in the world. This seems to be harder and harder to do with each passing day.

Today in the Gospel reading we hear about Jesus telling the parable of the 10 virgins. Five of them are prepared for the groom to be late. (Imagine that; a man being late. Just kidding.) The other five virgins are not prepared for the groom to be late. Because the five virgins are not ready for the groom to be late, they are eventually not allowed into the wedding feast. As long as we are alive on this earth we can change. We can choose Christ if we haven’t in the past. We can be ready. But once we die (It is not Church doctrine, but I believe we get one last chance at the moment right after death.), there are no more chances to choose Christ. None of us knows the hour, the minute, of our death. Are we ready for our death? Are we prepared? Have we chosen Christ? If not, do whatever you need to get ready. Don’t wait. Do it now!

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for All Saints Day (November 1, 2020)

Hello,

This last week was a good reminder that we live in Minnesota. However, it sounds like we are going to get the Indian summer back. People had insisted that we were going to have more warm weather. I had given up. I had put my golf clubs in the closet for the winter. However, if it wants to be in the 50’s and 60’s, I won’t argue. Also, hopefully you got an extra hour of sleep this morning.

I want to invite all junior high, senior high, and their family members to our Youth Holy Hours happening after 5 PM Masses on Saturday evenings. We do a Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration for an hour. There is live praise and worship music. During this time, you can also read the Bible, read a spiritual book, pray, journal, talk with Jesus (this is actually what prayer is), or anything else the Holy Spirit leads you to do during Eucharistic Adoration. Afterwards we have snacks and a fun activity. The next one will be at St. Joseph’s at 6 PM (on November 7). The following Saturday we are bringing it to St. Teresa’s. Since I have to drive back, we will start at 6:30 (on November 14). It would be great to see several families there. Merissa Roth (the faith formation director) is pretty creative, but if you have any suggestions for the fun activity following the Adoration, please send them her way.

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. All saints are all the souls in heaven. If you have ever been to daily Mass, hopefully you are aware that we celebrate the lives of specific saints throughout the year. For example, the feast day for our parishes are: St. Matthew, the Apostle – September 21, St. Teresa of Avila – October 15, and St. Joseph, Husband of Mary – March 19. 

The Gospel reading for this morning remind us how to become saints. St. Matthew reminds us that we are blessed. We are blessed when we are poor in spirit, when we mourn, when we are meek, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, when we are merciful, when we are clean of heart, when we are peacemakers. However, we are especially blessed when we are persecuted, persecuted for righteousness or for being a follower of Christ. Remember, the goal in life is not to be liked by the most amount of people, but to become saints, like so many souls before us.

I pray and hope you have a blessed week,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 25, 2020)

Dear People of God,

This past week has been hard in that we have lost two beloved souls from our communities. Karl Reuter passed away last Friday (October 16) and Mary Graf passed away Tuesday (October 20). Please pray for the repose of their souls. “Eternal rest grant to them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.” Pray also for their families as they go through the grieving process.

Our national elections are coming up. Our country seems more divided than ever. I’m reminded of the Gospel from last Thursday. Jesus says, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided…” We must be willing to love people those who have a differing opinion. We sometimes say, “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” We need to love those who disagree with the Truth of Jesus Christ, but still not water down the Truth. Peace, as nice as it is, is not a good goal unto itself. Catholic moral teaching says that we have a duty to follow our conscience, but we have a prior duty to correctly form our conscience. If we disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, we are to spend time to investigate why the Church teaches what she teaches. The Catholic Church has been studying the human condition for 2000 years. We are created in the image and likeness of God. That means that some things are good for us and some things are not good for us. This includes things that society tells us are good and pleasurable. Human beings are such beings that deserve to treated with love and never treated as a means to an end. Pleasure is not a good in and of itself. And if we do not have the virtue of temperance, we will wind up addicted to pleasure and we will not be able to be the best version of ourselves. Trying to legalize vices and sin, does not make it any less sinful or harmful to our dignity and well-being.

Human life is precious from conception to natural death. Thus we must fight against not just abortion, but starvation and euthanasia. I would argue that neither the Democratic or Republican party is the Catholic party. However, the killing of innocent babies in the womb is barbaric and horrific. It must end! It would be safer for the mother to kill the child outside of the womb. But so far, most people recognize this as repugnant and evil. Killing innocent babies in the womb should be just as repugnant to us. Yes, we need to elect people who will fight for the good of all human life from conception (not birth) to natural death, but we must especially fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, the human persons among us still in the womb of their mothers. There are many issues facing our country. However, having those issues is predicated on being alive. Millions of people are being denied the right to live. I truly believe and pray that we will one day look back on abortion as we now look back on slavery.

May God bless you and keep you during these crazy times,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-nineth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 18, 2020)

Dear Parishioners,

I hope things are going well. Nothing too exciting is happening. I throughly enjoyed hitting with the girls’ tennis team on Tuesday. What a great turn out! I hear football and volleyball have started up. We continue to pray for the health of everyone. We pray that the Lord continues to bless our attempts at providing some normalcy to ourselves and those loved ones around us. I know I keep talking about this, but I just hear more and more reports about isolation and depression. We need to make sure we continue to reach out to those who may be feeling alone.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees try to trap Jesus and get Him in trouble. They ask if it is lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar. If they say yes, then Jesus is siding with the enemies, the foreigners, the Romans. Thus the Jewish people will dislike Jesus and quit following Him. If Jesus says no, it is not lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar, they can report Jesus to the Roman authorities and have Him arrested. Jesus manages to make it through this verbal minefield by turning around asking the Pharisees a question. He takes the Roman coin and asks, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They reply, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus says, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” So the question for us is, “Do we give to the world what belongs to the world and to God what belongs to God?” What belongs to God for us? Jesus died on the Cross for our sins. He gave us His very life. So yes, we need to eat, work, and make money to feed our families, but do we give God what is justly His? Do we spend time in prayer each day? Do we get to Mass each Sunday? Do we tithe to help build up the Kingdom of God? Do we volunteer at Church or even a food kitchen to help the poor?

These are not light questions? The speak to what is really our priorities in our lives. Do we really put God first in our life? We all struggle to do so. We must not give up.

May God bless and keep you,
Father Vogel