Bulletin Article for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 22, 2018)

Hello,

Hopefully we have left the April winter weather behind. We continue to pray especially for the farmers. We pray that they can get their crops in soon and have a successful growing season. I know the weather has also been a hinderance to school spring sports. 

We continue to celebrate Easter. This is the start of the fourth week of Easter. We continue to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Again, Jesus died to forgive our sins and rose to give us eternal life if we choose to follow Him. In the Gospel we hear Jesus call Himself the Good Shepherd. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is willing to sacrifice His sheep to the point of death to protect us, the sheep. Jesus is willing to die on the Cross to protect us and free us from sin. But if we are to disciples of Jesus, we need to follow His example. How do we sacrifice for the good of others? Parents of newborns do this all the time. They get up at all hours of the day to feed their baby. They come to work with rings under their eyes from lack of sleep. At this point in their lives, the baby can’t give much back. There are times in our lives when we are called to serve those who can’t give much back. But serving and sacrificing for others isn’t about what do I get back. It is about how do I share Jesus’ love with those around me. In the economy of love, it is never about what is fair, but rather, how can I not share with others what has first been shared with me. If you yourself are feeling unloved, then you need to spend time in prayer. It is in the silence that we most meet Christ. Prayer doesn’t have to happen in a chapel. It can happen on the back porch looking at the sunset. But we need to set time aside each day to fall in love with Jesus all over again.

Have a blessed week,

Father Vogel 

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Bulletin Article for the Third Sunday of Easter (April 15, 2018)

Hey,

Exciting news! I got a new belt. Okay. I guess that’s not exciting news. What is exciting news is we have hired Marcie Anderson as the Tri-parish Administrator. Marcie will be starting part-time as she has responsibilities at the school until mid-June. Carol will do some of the office work from afar until that time. Again, we thank Carol for amazing service to us during these past years. After mid-June, Marcie will be working 32 hours a week, Monday through Thursday. So be extra patient during this time of transition. We will obviously try our best to make sure things don’t get missed, but please try and be a little extra understanding during this time. I and the parishes’ leadership are in the process of reimagining the faith formation position. We hope to have some news on that front by the end of the month.

This Sunday, April 15, is First Communion at St. Teresa’s. Next weekend, next Saturday, April 21, is First Communion at St. Joseph’s. Please pray for our young people as they receive the infinite gift of Jesus Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. What a great treasure the Eucharist is. I think sometimes we receive the Eucharist too often. Only because it sometimes becomes too familiar, too regular. We forget the great miracle the Eucharist is. The most famous of the Eucharistic miracles is the one from Lanciano, Italy. In the 700’s a priest was celebrating Mass doubting the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. During the elevation, the host changed into human flesh and the wine changed into human blood, even coagulating. To this day you can go the church and see this consecrated host and consecrated wine. In 1971, Odoardo Linoli, a professor of anatomy and pathology, did some studies on the consecrated host and wine. He found that the consecrated host contained human heart tissue. The blood type was AB and of Middle Eastern descent. (Just as a side note, the Shroud of Turin also has been tested to contain blood of type AB.) It might be fun as a family to do a Google search on Eucharistic miracles. 

We also need to say some extra prayers for our farmers. I know they are antsy to get into the fields. 

May God bless and keep you as we continue to celebrate during this Easter season,

Father Vogel 

Lord, Make Me Pure But Not Yet

“Lord, make me pure, but not yet.” This is a famous line from St. Augustine’s Confessions. In today’s Gospel we see Jesus walk on water out to the Apostles stuck in a boat being tossed about by a strong wind, by a storm. As Jesus came near the boat, the focus of their fear shifted from the storm to Jesus walking on the water. Sometimes we fear the solution, Jesus, even more than the storms and problems in our lives. St. Augustine said the famous line to God, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet” when he was in the throws of sexual sin. He knew what the right things was and he desired to do it, but not enough to change his ways. He desired holiness, but not enough to turn away from his sins.

I think sometimes we too become afraid when Jesus gets too close. We are scared He is going to ask us to give up things that we are attached to, good or bad. Jesus comes to us in the middle of the storms in our lives and offers to calm the storm, but we are afraid and refuse His help. The storms in our lives are comfortable and familiar, often too much so. We know there is a better way, but we are afraid of what the change may entail. Again, Jesus says, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” We need to trust that what God wants for us, holiness, will make us even more happy than what we want for ourselves. So trust in God and do not be afraid to let Him come close and calm the storms in your life.

Quit Making Excuses

In today’s Gospel, Jesus feeds the 5000 with just five barley loaves and two fish…plus there are 12 baskets of food left over. This meager start, the five barley loaves and two fish come from a boy. After Andrew tells Jesus about the loaves and fish, he comments, “…but what good are these for so many?” I think we make this excuse to God way too often. Lord, I would, but I’m not good enough. I’m not talented enough. I’m not holy enough. God doesn’t care. All He asks is for what we can give. Some days we can give Him a grocery store. Other days, we can just give Him a banana. What we can give Him, that’s what He wants. If you only have one minute to pray out of the whole day because the baby is fussy and won’t sleep, give Him that one minute. He will multiply it. It is not our place to ask how, but to say yes. Mary, didn’t know exactly how she was going to be the Mother of God or how a sword would pierce her heart, but she said yes to God’s crazy plan anyways because she trusted God completely.

We often say in priestly formation that God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the call. Is any guy holy enough to be a priest? Is every guy caring enough to be a priest? Does every priest have natural leadership skills? The answer to these and a hundred other questions is, “No!” However, fallen men have been serving God’s people as priests for two thousand years.

Moses made excuses. Moses told God he wasn’t a good enough public speaker to lead God’s people. Jeremiah made excuses as to why he couldn’t be God’s prophet. But they ended up being great, not because they had it together, but because they dared to say yes to God.

Is God calling you to something that is beyond your talents and skill set? In the words of Jesus and Saint Pope John Paul II, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus can and will do amazing things if you just give Him your measly (metaphorical) five loaves and two fish. Trust God. He loves you and wants what is best for you. He wants you to be joyful even more than you want to be joyful. Where He is leading is where your greatest joy will come from. Trust God and remember, God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the call.

Bulletin Article for Divine Mercy Sunday (April 8, 2018)

Hello. Happy Easter!

We will be in the Easter season until Sunday, May 20, Pentecost Sunday. So continue to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the gift of eternal life to us. 

This weekend we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday or the Feast of Divine Mercy. St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, was a polish nun who heard Jesus tells her to call people to a renewed devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus. Pope John Paul II, in 2000, canonized St. Faustina and declared the Sunday after Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday. Divine Mercy Sunday is important today, maybe even more so than in the past. I know a lot of people just assume everyone, or almost everyone, goes to heaven. We have to remember that Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Balance that with St. Faustina saying over and over again how desperately Jesus desires to save souls. So we can’t be lazy in our relationship with Jesus. We need to work in availing ourselves to Jesus’ saving grace and be transformed. We must not assume our salvation. However, nor should we be discouraged (that only a “few” find the narrow road that leads to life). What we do need to do is ask and pray to receive Jesus’ Divine Mercy. 

According to the weather forecast, we are suppose to come out of our deep winter a little this week. I believe some snow is still forecasted, but that by the end of the week we might even get around 50. So we’ll see. I’m sure the farmers are itching to get into the fields. I’ll say some extra prayers.

Thank you for all who worked so hard to make our Holy Week services so beautiful. Thank you.

Have a blessed week,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for Easter Sunday (April 1, 2018)

Jesus has risen!!!…even if nothing else has. I feel like I’m in Narnia’s perpetual winter. Jesus Christ has died for our sins and risen to give us new life, eternal life in heaven. Again, we cannot know the great gift of Easter Sunday if we don’t first realize what a great gift Good Friday is. Without Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins, there is no hope for us. Without Jesus dying on the Cross and making possible saving grace, we are stuck with out sins. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Without Jesus, we are stuck with our sins and thus with eternal spiritual death to our souls. We are stuck with Hell. Our eternal futures were looking pretty bleak. I pray that we all, just once, get a small hint of the weight and gravity of our sins. Sin is so ugly. But Jesus loves us too much to leave us there. The rest of Romans 6:23 says, “…but the gift of God is eternal salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus has not only died for our sins, but He has risen to give us eternal life, eternal life in heaven. This is not a thing to be taken lightly. This is everything. This is eternity. This is love. This is about having every desire of our hearts completely and eternally fulfilled. 

Can you imagine? The person you thought was going to change the world just up and died…got killed. The person you thought had so much potential, who had so much to give to the world…died. How devastating that would be. And then to have hints that maybe he was not dead. What a cruel and mean joke. Who would even dare to play with your heart that way? But it is not a joke. It is not a playing with our hearts. It is fact. Jesus has died and risen. He has given us the supernatural grace to do the same. We too, through His grace, not on our own, can conquer sin and live for Christ. We too can accept eternal life.

I pray you have a blessed time celebrating our gift of eternal life. I pray that you are with family and friends. Also, remember that we remember Lent for 40 days, but we celebrate Easter for 50 days. The first 8 days are called the Octive of Easter. From this Sunday to next Sunday, every day is like Easter Day. So go. You have my permission. Celebrate every day this week. Eat a little extra ice cream each day this week. 

I pray you have an amazing and profound Easter.

God bless,

Father Vogel