Bulletin Article for the Solemnity of Easter (March 27, 2016)

Jesus has risen!!! Jesus has defeated death! He has given us new life! Jesus became human so that we can become divine. Easter is the celebration of new beginnings. It is easy for forget how crazy that first Easter morning was. Jesus’ disciples were sad, confused, and scared. The man they had put not just their faith in, but lived their whole lives for had been declared a criminal, killed, and buried. If they didn’t watch themselves, maybe they would be next. Now, on the third day, some women claimed that the stone was moved and the body gone. This is even more confusing and worrying. Now what? And then they meet Jesus. Sadness instantaneously moves to disbelief. This is where Doubting Thomas is. Finally, disbelief gives way to jubilation. Their buddy, their great friend, Love Himself is alive. What could be greater?

Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, God Himself has entered history, His-story. History is the history of God saving us. Jesus is the center of human history. Human history, the history of the universe does not make sense except with Jesus. Is Jesus the center of your history, of your life?

As with Christmas, and in some ways, even more so, the Church celebrates Easter not just for one day. We have the Octave of Easter. This means that for eight days, the Church celebrates Easter. For eight days straight we celebrate, we rejoice, we party. Then there is the fact that the Easter season lasts 50 days, even longer than Lent. Catholics are not a doom and gloom people. The Church us wants us to rejoice in our salvation, our resurrection, new life. So you have my permission to eat steak eight days in a row. Or do whatever you need to do to celebrate the eight consecutive days of the Octave of Easter.

I wish you a happy and blessed Octave of Easter,
Father Vogel

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Bulletin Article for Palm Sunday (March 20, 2016)

Happy Palm Sunday. The end is almost here. The end of Lent that is. When I was young, I was in cross country. Our coach would get quite upset if we got passed in the last tenth of mile, the chute. He wanted us to kick it in. We obviously could pass others, but we were not to be passed, not so close to the finish line. We are in the chute of Lent. Kick it in. Even if you have fallen multiple times in your Lenten fasts, finish strong.

Palm Sunday is in some ways a weird celebration. We celebrate Jesus as our king since he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey with people spreading palm branches in His path to show respect. Then just days later, we remember how our sins crucified Jesus, still our King. What a strange week. But it is the most Holy Week, the greatest week of the year. I know we all live busy, busy lives, but take some time this week. Take some time, especially with older children, and reflect on what exactly Jesus did for us. And then take some time for silent prayer.

Let’s finish strong in humbling our sinful selves before Jesus’ Cross. For next weekend we celebrate the gift of new life, eternal life we have in the Resurrection of Jesus!

May you have a blessed Holy Week,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 13, 2016)

What great weather we are having. It feels like spring. And spring doesn’t officially start until March 21st. Again, I want to thank the kids and their teachers (and parents) for great Masses last weekend. What a joy it was to see the young people lead us in prayer and worship.

This coming Wednesday, March 16, is our Communal Reconciliation service. It will be at 6:30 PM at St. Casimir’s. I cannot encourage you enough to go. Even if you don’t have any mortal sin, it is good to go. Not only does the sacrament forgive our sins and gives us God’s mercy, but it also gives us the grace and strength to do better in the future. The evening actually starts at 5 PM with a supper. Then at 6:00, we will do the Stations of the Cross. I am looking forward to seeing you there. As Catholics it is great to meet around food and Jesus.

Friday, March 18th, the school is sponsoring a Fish and Bingo night. I encourage you to go and support the school. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. I have a prior commitment. Besides, I wouldn’t want to win too much seeing as I already won Bingo in MN Lake.

I have not mentioned it much, but the Diocese of Winona is having it’s first annual Men’s Conference. It will begin at 9:00 AM on Saturday, April 2. The Conference will be at Lourdes High School in Rochester, MN. It will finish with a 4 PM Mass. You can find more information at dowmen.org. There are some great speakers. One of them is Curtis Martin, who is the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), one of the greatest evangelization organizations on universities all over our nation. FOCUS is one of my favorite and most amazing organizations that I know of.

Theresa Gracyalny passed away last week. Please pray for the repose of her soul and pray for her family during this time of sorrow.

Next Sunday is already Palm Sunday. Please look at the bulletin for the times of all of the services.

Take care and have a great week,
Father Vogel