Bulletin Article for the Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 19, 2014)

St. Gabriel’s is starting to look like a church again. The pews are in and screwed to the floor. They look absolutely amazing. The carpet going up the stairs is in. Next week the high altar and the side altars will be installed. On the outside, they found lots of holes in the mortar around the chimney. So hopefully, the leak in that area has been fixed. They have also fixed the tuck pointing in both of the bell towers. They will go around the lower part of the building next.

This week we find out that Jesus is not an anarchist. Kidding aside, what do we owe the different aspects of our lives? Yes, we owe the government some of our money. If we have a job, we need to spend time working or if we are in school, we need to spend time attending class and studying. We need to spend money on food, heat, up-keep of our homes, and up-keep of our jobs. However, do we leave any time and treasure for God? That was part of Jesus’ point. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and no more. Give God the rest. Maybe God is calling us to re-evaluate how we spend our time and treasure, especially our time. It is often the little things. Do we pray before we eat, even at the workplace or at school? Do we pray at the beginning of the day? Do we pray at the end of the day? Do we spend time volunteering or helping others who are less fortunate than we are? Christ died on the Cross to save us from our sins. He has washed us in the cleansing waters of Baptism and washed clean again with the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Have we given Him the time He deserves considering how much He has done for us? God loves us. Have we taken the time to love Him back?

Peace of Christ,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 12, 2014)

We continue to pray for the farmers. We pray for a bountiful harvests, good weather, and safety. Thank you farmers for your service to humanity. Through your work you feed and provide for human beings all over the globe. What good and holy work you are doing. Thank you and may God’s blessings be upon you.

St. Gabriel’s continues to come together. Most of the Stations of the Cross have been rehung. On the outside and not part of the fire restoration, we are having the tuck pointing patched up in places that need it. That’s what that blue crane thing is. It’s why you sometimes can’t go straight through on Lake Avenue. Remember to check out the progress on Facebook. (St. Gabriel Fire)

Salvation, eternal life, grace, is undeserved, unmerited. It completely God’s infinite mercy that He gives us an invitation to eternal life. Grace is free, but not free. Grace is free, but it comes with a awesome responsibility. The man was not one of the original guests to the wedding party, but he ended up there. But once there, he disobeyed the king by not wearing the wedding garment that was freely available to him. God’s saving grace costed Jesus His life. It will costs us to follow Jesus Christ. So are we willing to pay the price to follow Him?

Peace,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 5, 2014)

It is definitely fall. We had a beautiful weekend, but the weather has definitely taken a turn to the fall. We continue to pray for an abundant harvest and for the safety of our farmers. Maybe someday someone will give me a ride in a tractor.

This past Monday, Jason Evert was in Heron Lake. What a blessed time. Jason gave a great talk to about 400 youth of our area on solid reasons to save themselves for marriage. What a beautiful message about how true love waits. We had eight or so from our cluster go. I wish it had been more, but there are a lot of conflicts this time of year. All I can say is sometimes we have to make tough choices. Choices between things that will last the rest of high school or things that will last for an eternity.

Things are moving along at St. Gabriel. The hardwood is in the sanctuary. The carpet was laid this past week. After that, the pews come back, the high altar and the side altars are put back in, and the organ comes back. We are still looking at late October. There was some hope that it could be done by mid October, but at this point, that is completely unrealistic.

It has been fun in Westbrook. Last weekend (September 28), we baptized Lukas Swenson. This weekend (October 5), we baptized Keegan Jenniges and Brayden Clausen. So pray for them and their parents and families.

This Sunday, we again hear Jesus address the chief priests and the elders. He tells them a parable of the landowner and the tenants. The tenants kill the servants and eventually the landowner’s son. How have we killed the messengers of God in our lives? God gave us a conscience. It is suppose to help us figure out right from wrong. We have a duty to follow our conscience. However, we have a prior duty to form our conscience. This means that we should study the teachings of the Catholic Church so we know not just the morality that she teaches (for teaches with the authority of Jesus), but also why. So I encourage you to study the Bible, to study the teachings of the Church and to follow your conscience.

May you have a blessed week.

Pax,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Exaltation of the Holy Cross) (September 14, 2014)

Sorry, this is a little out of order, but here is my bulletin article from September 14

 

It is a busy time of year. (When is it not?) A time of new beginnings. The church is coming along now. If you haven’t, check out some of the photos on Facebook. If you don’t have Facebook, talk to a friend, child, grandchild, etc. that does.

We are planning on having a celebration on December 14th. We hope to be back in the church (St. Gabriel) before then, but on Sunday, December 14th, Bishop Quinn is going to come out and celebrate Mass with us at 10:30 AM. I met with the Pastoral Council early last week (September 9th) and we decided to try and have a dinner after Mass along with an auction. Please invite your friends, enemies, whoever, Catholic or non-Catholic to come. I would think people from the Fulda community would be especially interested to see the inside of the church. It won’t be quite a Fall Festival, but hopefully it will be a time of thanksgiving and celebration.

I will be gone this week. I will be participating in a golf fundraiser for Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, MI where I spent four of my six years of seminary formation. I will also be connecting with the seminarians from our diocese that are there. During the week, I’ll be visiting classmates and stopping to see my brother in Chicago on the way home. It should be a great time. Maybe not very relaxing, but a good time. So there will be no daily Mass this week. I will be back late Friday or Saturday, in time for the weekend Masses.

As you may have heard, Father Seitz will be moving October 1st to Jackson. Father Anthony Pick will take over the weekend Masses. During this change they will go from a four Mass schedule to a three Mass weekend schedule. So starting October 4 and 5th, the Mass schedule for the Slayton cluster will be 5 PM on Saturday at St. Mary’s in Lake Wilson and then on Sunday, Masses will be 8 AM at St. Columba in Iona and 10 AM at St. Ann in Slayton. As I understand it, there won’t be any daily Mass in the Slayton cluster. Pray for the Slayton cluster. Pray that they get their own pastor sooner rather than later. I will be responsible for any funerals that come up in the Slayton cluster.

This also means we will have to change our schedule again. Starting the weekend of October 4th and 5th, on Saturday, we will have Confessions at 4:30 St. Columba in Iona and then Mass at 5 PM (for the St. Gabriel community). On Sunday, at 8:00 AM we will have Confessions at IHM and then Mass at 8:30. St. Anthony will have the usual Mass time of 10:30. I’m sorry about all of this constant changing, but the end is in sight.

This weekend we celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross. The True Cross (The Cross Jesus was crucified on) was discover in AD 326 by Saint Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built on the site where the Cross was found. A portion of the Cross was placed inside. The church was dedicated on September 13, 335. The Cross was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and the faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it. So that’s why we celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Peace and love of Christ,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 28, 2014)

Do you remember who I am? I feel a little out of sorts. I’m not used to being gone so much. Again, I want to confirm what the Mass schedule will be for the next year. The confusing came in because we thought we had to switch St. Gabriel and IHM because of Iona starting October 1st, but it turns out the information was incorrect. So IHM will remain on Saturday evening and St. Gabriel will remain on Sunday morning. However, some pastoral council members of all three parishes and I decided to move the Saturday Mass from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM starting next weekend, October 4th. Thus the schedule changes for the next year will be:

October 4-5, 2014
IHM – 5:30 PM
StG – 8:30 AM
StA – 10:30 AM

January 17-18, 2015
StG – 5:30 PM
IHM – 8:30 AM
StA – 10:30 AM

July 18-19, 2015
IHM – 5:30 PM
StG – 8:30 AM
StA – 10:30 AM

The Church in St. Gabriel’s in coming along. No firm date for opening yet. The Bishop is still planning to come out and celebrate with us in December. Don’t worry though. We will start celebrating Mass there in as soon as it is done. When the bishop comes though, we will have an open house for the community, an auction, and some food.

In today’s Gospel we hear about the two sons. One who said no, but then did what his father asked. The other said yes, but did not do what his father asked. Words are powerful. Words can lift people up or tear them down. But even more powerful than our words are our actions. Husbands, maybe it is time to buy some flowers. (I know. They are expensive.) Kids, maybe it is time to clean your room without asking. Maybe it is time to do something special for your best friend, or even better, for the person who doesn’t seem to have anyone to talk to. God the Father loves us. His love for us should propel us to action. Actions of faith and love of God and our neighbor. May that be true of us.

Pax, Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 7, 2014)

St. Gabriel fans. The church is moving along now. The basement is painted. The stairs to the sanctuary has been changed (it is now straight across) and shortened so there will be more room between the sanctuary stairs and the first pews.The cabinets are in in the kitchen downstairs. We have been given a possible finish date of mid October to late October. So say some prayers that the process keeps moving.

This weekend is a day of celebration. This weekend our juniors are being Confirmed. This does not mean they graduate from learning more about their faith. Instead it means they now have the fullness of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them. They are now fully initiated members of the Catholic Church. This means they are called, sent out into the world to witness for Christ. As you well now, this is not easy. And I’m sure it is ten times harder in high school. So keep them in your prayers as they celebrate this momentous occasion.

Fall school events are starting. I throughly enjoy going to our youths’ events. So please keep me informed of what is going on. If I can’t come the first couple of times you ask, keep inviting me. I know there are school event calendars, but I’m always partial to a personal invite, especially from our youth themselves. Also, I hear the Fulda community is putting on another play. I used to do a little drama in high school myself so I’m looking forward to that. Also band and choir concerts would be great. Last year I stopped by St. Mary’s school in Tracy several times for lunch. I had a blast. So that’s another option as well. You young people are not the future of the Church; you are the vitality of Church today. “Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

Pray for our farmers. Pray for an abundance and pray for their safety.

Take care and God bless,
Father Vogel