Bulletin Article for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (January 24, 2016)

I’m writing out of DC. Thank you for all of your prayers. So far the trip has gone well. At the time I’m writing this the March has not happened yet. We are tying to get out of town before the storm hits.

Again, we are faced with Jesus’ divinity. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reads from Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” The people are staring at Him. Then he drops the hammer. “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” The long awaited Messiah was here. Again, remember the Israelites had waited for the Messiah for over 500 years or more. Today, in their lifetime, the Messiah had finally arrived. It was almost too good to be true. In fact, many thought it was. They did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

Not much is going on this week. Next week (starting with January 31st) is Catholic Schools week. So prepare for lots of fun and excitement. What a great gift it is to our communities and to our clusters to have a Catholic School right in our backyard.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel

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March for Life 2016: Post 4 – the Epilogue

The bus pulled into Winona very early Saturday morning. Around 9:00 AM, we pulled up to St. Peter’s and Paul’s in Mankato. Since I already had someone filling in for me, I took the chance to go visit my parents. I was quite tired having spent two of the last three nights on a bus, but my parents (Democrats) who like to be involved in the political process, decided it would be fun to go hear Marco Rubio (Republican) speak at Iowa State Alumni Hall. My body and mind ached for some sleep and relaxation, but trying to follow the Fourth Commandment, after spending another two and half hours in a vehicle, I met my parents at Alumni Hall. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a presidential candidate’s “town” meeting before. My first experience was interesting. First of all, the music that was playing while we waited for Marco to arrive was pretty sweet: Greater by MercyMe and other such great Christian music.

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The following is not meant to be an endorsement against or for Marco Rubio. The following are just my observations as a Catholic trying to be true to our Catholic faith. He said a lot of things I agree with: small government, protection of life in the womb, etc. I guess I remember more the things I disagreed with. He gave the example talking about security and immigration that it would be not be worth letting in 10,000 into the country if just one of them was a terrorist. To me there is something not quite right about this statement. Do we hold other (interior to our country) groups to the same standard? What about the gangs in Chicago and New York? Are we going to start deport gang members? I understand the sentiment, but is it realistic and reasonable to have such a zero tolerance policy? Of course, he talked about building a huge wall between us and Mexico and increasing boarder patrols. Israel has done the same thing, largely with American money. It may make it harder for terrorists to get across the boarder, but it also increases the number of terrorists, people who are angry with you. Why don’t we use that money to help build up the infrastructures of business and education in Mexico so that the people has less need and desire to seek out the help of the drug lords and coyotes? Marco also said that illegal immigration has taken into account family situations. He specifically said that this needs to stop. That illegal immigration and deportation cannot take into consideration the family, but needs to rather focus on the illegal action of the illegal immigrant themselves. Vatican II stated that the fundamental cell of society is the family. If we want a healthy society, we need to do everything we can to support families. It is detrimental to our society as a whole if a young child, an American citizen, can go to school, and then in the afternoon, come home to an empty house because both of his illegal immigrant parents have been arrested and deported. Maybe we need to stop granting citizenship to everyone that is born here. I know I’m contradicting myself, but that is because there are no easy answers here. What I do know is, if we are truly pro-life, if we are truly pro-family, if we are truly Catholic, then something needs to change.

I never, ever do those Facebook surveys, but I came across one that determined who you should support and vote for. My survey said I had 85% (of what, I don’t know) for both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Interesting.

Yes, we need to vote for an anti-abortion president because murder of an innocent person is the worst crime there is, especially those who are defenseless and vulnerable in the womb of their mothers. A nation that kills 58 million of its own people in four decades cannot be healthy and cannot heal until it stops killing its own. However, we also need to be pro-life and help the mothers. We need to be pro-life towards the fathers and hold them responsible for supporting human life from the moment of conception. We also need to be pro-life towards the poor and homeless, towards all those who do not make a livable wage. We need to be pro-life towards the sick and the dying. We need them to understand the gift, dignity, and sacredness of human life at all of its stages. We need to be pro-life and teach them that suffering is redemptive and valuable when tied to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross. We need to be pro-life and visit them in the hospitals and nursing homes and let them know how much they are loved and appreciated.

The health of our society and nation are greatly influenced by the president. However, the health of our society and nation begins and ends with you and me. I believe that true Democracy only works if people are virtuous and moral. We need to support all human life. We need to support and help families be families. We need to take responsibility for our own actions. We need to help others and stop waiting for the government to do it for us. The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. We need to quit relying on the government to redistribute wealth. We need to start being generous each and everyone of us.

Okay. I think that’s enough ranting for now. God bless.

March for Life 2016: Post 3

True to me being me, I just followed the schedule. So Friday morning, the day of the March, I was up and in the hotel lobby by 5:45…only to find out we didn’t need to be there until 7. So I just got some paperwork done. Once the day got started, we went to the Verizon Center in D.C. for the Rally and Mass for Life. Steve Angrisano MC’ed the event. He was great as he always is. Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. was on hand to celebrate Mass. We also got to hear the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, read a letter from Pope Francis. What an uplifting experience to know that our Holy Father stands with us in this fight for the life of the unborn.

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After Mass, Father Will Thompson and I joined back up with our group and we headed outside. There was a great energy in the air. Despite the pending storm, there were plenty of people streaming out of the Verizon Center. We stood around awhile and waited for the police escort to get ready to take us down south from the Verizon Center to the Mall.

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The police then started to escort us to the Mall.

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We walked along 7th Street NW until we got to Constitution Ave NW. Then our wise and fearless leader, Ben Frost, had us turn left in what would be a fateful decision. So instead of meeting the hundreds of thousands down on the Mass, we turned left and headed east along Constitution Ave. Eventually we marched northwest along Louisiana Ave NW towards Union Station.

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Once we arrived at Union Station, we hailed our bus. We found out the hard way we can’t board the bus out front so we had to meet them around back in the ramp.

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So we were on the bus and leaving Washington, D.C. a little twelve noon. We ran into a little snow in Pennsylvania. It was good, but it wasn’t horrible.

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We left just in time. The group from the Archdiocese of St. Paul, MN along with hundreds of thousands of others, stayed for the whole march. Unfortunately they and many others got caught in one of the biggest snow falls that have ever hit the D.C. area. Somewhere in Pennsylvania, there were some accidents that caused traffic on the interstate to come to a standstill. They were there for over 36 hours. The National Guard had to come and bring them food and water. In the midst of this, the Snow Mass happened. In just a few short days, it has already reached legendary status. Since they weren’t going anywhere, some young holy priests decided to hold Mass. They made an altar out of snow. Their dedication to our Lord in the Eucharist drew over 400 pilgrims out of their bus, into the cold to celebrate Mass. Here are some pictures from a friend of a friend.

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As my mom said, this is a Mass these pilgrims will never forget. God is good ALL the time.

March for Life 2016: Post 2

We arrived in D.C. Thursday afternoon a little behind schedule. The traffic and the weather were just fine. This is contrast to the first time (2012) we went as a diocese when the trip out to D.C. took 26 hours because we followed a snow storm the whole way out. There were cars and semis in the ditch almost the whole way there. So praise God for good weather.

After checking into the hotel and resting for a bit, we went out to Old Country Buffet. I’ve been to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and I wasn’t specifically, but I don’t recall ever seeing a buffet restaurant in any of those places. I think the idea of paying one amount and being able to stuff yourself as much as you see fit is very much an American idea. Go big or go home. Sometimes as Americans we put quantity ahead of quality. There is something not quite right about this. (Maybe because gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Just maybe.) But I’m just as guilty. There is a Chinese buffet place in Mankato that I have gone back to several times since moving to Wells, 40 minutes south of Mankato. I just know eating is fun.

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After that we headed out to Arlington, Virginia for the Life is Very Good Rally. I Am They graced us with their music. Mark Hart was suppose to speak, but he couldn’t come so Jackie Francois not only sang, but she took over the speaker role. She spoke about knowing who we are and what we are made for. Simply put, we are made for God. She said the Cross shows us how much He loved us 2000 years ago when He died on the Cross for our sins and for our eternal salvation. The Eucharist shows us how much He loves us now. God created us out of love and for love. He loves us and only desires that we love Him back. We show God we love Him by being obedient. He wants us to be obedient not for His glory, but for our glory and happiness. We are our best when we do what He asks. We are most joyful when we do as He asks. In the Eucharist we touch, body to body, our Creator, our Lover, our Bridegroom, our greatest Cheerleader, our Support, our Rock.

So of course we also had Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a breathtaking site to see so many young people absolutely silent worshiping Jesus. What a beautiful site! Also the Sisters for Life out of New York City were there. What beautiful awesome young women they are. They are one of many religious orders that are young, thriving, and growing. (Some of the others I know and love are the Dominican Sisters of Nashville; Mary Mother of the Eucharist out of Ann Arbor, MI; and Martyrs of Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, IL.)

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March for Life 2016: Post 1

So far so good. I got on the bus in Mankato this afternoon. The bus had previously picked up people from the western part of the diocese. After Mankato, the bus stopped in Owatonna, Rochester, and finally ended up in Winona.image

We had a beautiful Mass with Bishop Quinn. Typical of our diocese, the Mass started late. The seminarians served the Mass in cossack and surplus. The seminarians were there as were some lay people. A lot of them are going to go to the March for Life at the capital in St. Paul, MN. We had incense and Bishop Quinn used Eucharistic Prayer I. Awesome. In his homily, Bishop Quinn mentioned how the pro-choice people are worried because the young people are pro-life. I truly believe this generation is going to overturn Roe versus Wade.

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After Mass we jumped on the bus and headed off. Our bus is absolutely full. I’m typing this post with Father Will Thompson sleeping next to me. In this first leg, we prayed a Rosary; the Joyful Mysteries. Then I gave a shot talk on words and speech. Several years ago, right after the March, some web reporter person interviewed some of our youth. I noticed all of them began their statements with, “I believe…” When I reflected on the incident later, I realized that this is the language of the enemy. This is the language of Relativism. If I believe the abortion is wrong that means that it is okay for you believe that abortion is not murder. However, we know that objectively morally wrong. It doesn’t matter what I believe or you believe. It is objectively wrong. End of story. Fact is fact. Thus when we speak we need to speak this way. We should say, “Abortion is wrong because…” We should not say, “I believe abortion is wrong because….” Do you see the difference? I find myself doing this all the time. I catch myself speaking the language of relativism instead of the language of facts, of objective truth. So I had the kids tell the person next to them why they went on this trip trying to use objective language.

Some of us did not have a chance to eat before Mass so we stopped in Mausten, WI for some gourmet food, otherwise known as McDonalds. They were not quite ready for a bus to stopped at their lowly establishment. It took awhile, but we got food into all of those who needed it.
Back on the road, we watched the movie “October Baby.” This movie moves me each time. Part of the reason is because I myself was found on the door step of the police station in South Korea. I too have had to struggle with feelings of abandonment. However, my birth mother chose life. My parents choose to love three adopted children unconditionally. They chose to support life in a super abundent way…in ways they didn’t have to do. Human life is ALWAYS a miracle. We are all deprived when someone leaves this earth before they should have.

I think that’s all I have for now.

Bulletin Article for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (January 17, 2016)

Hey, how’s it going? How are the New Year’s resolutions coming? I just want to take some time to thank all of the people in our three parishes that make our parishes great communities of faith…many of them do all of their work as volunteers. So thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.

This week marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe versus Wade, the Supreme Court decision to legalize the killing of the most innocent and helpless among us. This week I’ll be heading to Washington, D.C. with other people from our diocese. It is about a 20 hour bus ride. On Friday, the anniversary, we will march with 600,000 other people standing up for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. The 600,000 are not old like me, but a majority of them are young people. Two of my favorite colleges, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio and Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, each bring about 7 or 8 buses to the March.

Did you that Norma L. McCorvey, whose attorneys used the alias Jane Roe for her when trying her case, is now pro-life? She was baptized a Christian in 1994 and voiced her remorse for her part in the Roe versus Wade decision. In 1998, she was received into the Catholic Church and now fights vehemently for pro-life causes. In her second book, Won by Love, published in 1998, she wrote:

“I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!”

“I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”

So pray for me, pray for all of the marchers, pray for not just an end to legalization of abortions, but for a change of heart for the people in this great nation of ours. Pray that we become truly pro-life, supporting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Pray also for those in the abortion business. Pray that they see the truth of what they are doing. Pray that they see that they are actually harming women.

Okay, this article is way too long already. Father Pick will have the Masses next weekend. I leave Wednesday afternoon and I’ll be back late on Sunday.

Take care and God bless,

Father Vogel