Bulletin Article for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 6, 2016)

Fall. Fall back. Spring. Spring ahead. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead next Sunday (March 13th). Also, next weekend is an informational weekend at the seminary in Winona. I don’t believe we have anyone going, but please pray for vocations, that some our sons will hear the call of God to serve His people in the vocation of priesthood.

Yes, we are still having the Apologetics class on Sunday evenings at 7:45 PM. We are down to the last two topics in the book. This Sunday (March 6) the topic is Purgatory. Come and learn about not just what we believe as Catholics, but why. Come find out why Purgatory is one of the most comforting teachings of the Catholic Church.

This Sunday we have one of the greatest stories ever told for our Gospel reading: The Prodigal Son. There are so many layers to this parable. All of us have been all three characters at some point in our lives. We have been the younger son who has it rock bottom, come to his senses, has a conversion, and needs forgiveness. We have all been the father who doesn’t condone the actions of another, but still forgives and loves someone despite their mistakes. We have all been the selfish older brother who has demanded justice instead of mercy for someone else.

God is the loving Father. No matter what we do, God is ready to forgive us. There is nothing that we can do that pushes us beyond God’s love and mercy. God is not going to force us to come back to Him, but He will do everything He can without breaching our free will. God purses and runs after us, so much so that He died pursing us. Have you, especially you women, have you ever desired to have someone pursue you, fight for your heart, be willing to sacrifice everything in order to win your heart? This is what Christ did for us on the Cross. During this Lent, we take some time to reflect on how we have not responded or betrayed God’s radical love for us.

Have a blessed week of Lent,
Father Vogel

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Bulletin Article for the Third Sunday of Lent (February 28, 2016)

Hello, hello. I had a blessed retreat. Thank you for your prayers. It really was amazing. Our God is so good. So again, my retreat was from Monday, February 15 to Monday, February 22. Father Beerman and I have been spending the last couple of days staying with Bishop Bernard Harrington near Orlando, FL getting in a little vacation and golf in.

Hopefully the missionary priest went well. I just want to thank you for being such good people of God. I am very blessed to have been assigned to you. The school is a blast. I like to go rile up the kids and then give them back to their teachers. When my parents moved me in back in July, they remarked how good the welcoming committee was. And it hasn’t stopped. So thank you.

This Sunday we hear about the connection of bad things and sin, or rather the lack there of. Some people just assume since bad things are happening to them, they are being punished for something. Sometimes God works this way, but only to get our attention so that we turn back to Him. Usually though, God’s designs are not always readily understandable. When bad things happen to us, we need to pray that it goes away if it is God’s will, but even more so, to give us the grace and strength to make it though. It is almost impossible to grow in holiness without suffering. What do those stupid tee-shirts say? “Pain is temporary. Victory is forever.” Or something like that. Suffering is temporary. But the holiness gives us eternal life with God in heaven. We shouldn’t be masochists and seek out suffering, but we should not begrudge suffering. We can use it to grow in holiness and we can offer up our suffering without complaining for the good of others.

As we get into the heart of Lent, don’t give up on your penance. If you have fallen in what you gave up or are trying to do more of, start up again. Don’t give up. Persevere.

May God bless and keep you,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the First Sunday of Lent (February 14, 2016)

Welcome to Lent!!! What a great time to remember that we are sinners. Not so that we and/or Satan can beat us down, but so that we can acknowledge the ways we need to Jesus to lift us up. Lent should be a time of change and conversion. Years ago, when I was probably in middle school, one winter I changed how I shot the basketball. I was shooting more from the stomach area instead of from the forehead. At first it did not go well. However, I knew that I need to change how I shot so I would not get blocked as often. I missed a lot of shots. Shooting from the forehead required a lot more arm strength. However, after about a month, my shooting percentage started going up again. By the end of the winter, I was shooting as well as I had before. But now it was harder to block my shot. This is a lot like what Lent is suppose to be like. Sometimes we need to get a little worse to get better. Change is not easy. Focusing on our bad habits or failures is not a fun thing to do. And it is not healthy to focus on them all the time. But rather than focusing on strengthening our strengths, Lent is a time to focus on our weaknesses. Again, this is not so that we and/or Satan can beat up down, but so that we can open up to God’s grace in those areas of our souls so that He can heal them and change us from the inside.

Please pray for Ardella Dinneen who passed away Saturday, February 6. She was 101 years old. Please pray for the repose of her soul and the comforting of her family.

Please pray for me too. I will be starting an eight day silent retreat on Monday, February 15. Please pray that it is a time of renewal and spiritual growth and healing. I need your prayers more than you realize. I will be back on Friday, February 26 after a few days vacation after the retreat.

Let us pray for one another during this special penitential season of Lent,
Father Vogel