Bulletin Article for the Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 13, 2019)

Hello, hello.

Not much different this week. However, I just want to take some time to thank Betsy and especially the CCW women of St. Joseph and St. Matthew. The religious education free-will dinners on Wednesday at 5:15 are going great. The CCW women figured they served over 100 people last Wednesday (October 9). This does not include the teenagers (and others) who came up for seconds. For those of you who aren’t aware, we are busing the younger kids straight from school to the church in Mapleton. So the parents don’t have to pick them up and drop them off at the church. This is done for them. Then the kids get entertained from whenever they arrive until class starts at 4:15. At. 5:15 is the free-will dinner. Then after dinner the older kids have class from 6 to 7:30. It is a lot of work for Betsy and her crew, but it seems to be working really well. So thank you for all who are making this possible, but especially the parents. 

This week we have the curing of the ten lepers. Ten lepers approach Jesus and ask Him to cure them. Jesus tells them to show themselves to the priests. This was the standard thing to do in those days. Due to the law God gave Moses, the priests acted as kind of the doctors. Not necessarily with the curing part, but more with the diagnosing part. They all began their trip to meet the priest. Now St. Luke records that they were cured as they were going. So they were not cured until after they started the trip to see the priests. So it took faith to begin the trip to see the priest. What if they got to the priests and they weren’t cured? They would look pretty foolish. So it took faith just to begin the trip to go see the priest. We need to have that same faith. If God asks us to do something, we need to trust that He will provide what we need to do the task.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel 

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Bulletin Article for the Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 6, 2019)

Hello All,

I was talking to Betsy this morning. I just want to say thank you to everyone that has made the start of the faith formation year a success. We are trying a lot of new things at once, so thank you, especially you parents, for making everything so smooth. I must say the food has been excellent. Selfishly, it is nice to know I’ll get a good home cooked meal every Wednesday evening. I love seeing the community come together during these meals. It makes my heart happy.

The Gospel today is a little odd, especially for our modern ears. Jesus is usually, especially in the Gospel of Luke, about raising up the underdog. However, in the parable for today, Jesus has the servant do his usual duties and then eat and drink after the master is done. There is nothing revolutionary about this story, about this idea. And that is Jesus’ point. Serving others should be no big deal as a Christian. I think it is great when we hear stories of people, especially athletes or other famous people, going out of their way to help others. However, in some ways I wish it was not such a big deal. I don’t want to diminish what they did, but one of the reasons it is such a big deal is because this means it does not happen very often. As Christians, going the extra mile for someone, serving someone else, should be so common that it is not a big deal. In some ways it should just be expected of us, as it was expected of the servant to serve his master and only eat after the master was done. On the flip side, though, it is still good to thank those who do help us. But, we need to pray, ask, and discern how we can more readily serve those around us, to be servants to one another.

God bless,

Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 29, 2019)

Hello, hello,

God is good. We had a great start to the religious education year. Thanks to Betsy and her team for making it all work. Thank you to the CCW for the walking tacos dinner. And thank you to you parents.

This weekend (Sunday, September 29) we welcome Vincent James Landsteiner, son of Ted and Sam to the family of God. So keep Vincent and his parents in your prayers. What a great gift.

In this weekend’s Gospel we have Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man just sees Lazarus as a means to an end, if that. When Lazarus was alive, the rich man ignores him. Then when the rich man dies and finds out how terrible hell is, he wants Lazarus to go warn his brothers. The rich man does not recognize the personhood and the dignity of Lazarus. And yet in this parable, the rich man is nameless and the poor man Lazarus is given the dignity of having a name. How can we do a better job of recognizing those around us? It is so easy to ignore those around us. Do we say hi to our cashier at the grocery store? The people we interact with should not simply be a means to an end. Every person deserves to be treated as a human person and not used.

May God bless and keep you,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 15, 2019)

Hello,

The days are getting shorter. Fall sports are in full swing. The temperature is a little cooler. I went to one of the girls’ tennis practices and lost to Vanessa Barkosky 6-3, 7-6. A little humility is good for the soul.

If you get this bulletin in time, remember to go to Good Thunder and join in the Festival in the Park with the St. Joseph community.

I will be gone this week Monday through Thursday for the annual Presbyteral Days in Okoboji. This year we have Father John Riccardo from the Diocese of Detroit. He was my spiritual director for one semester during my time in seminary. This means this year it will be a little different. It will be more retreat-like and less administrative stuff. So I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say and drawing closer to Christ. I’m also looking forward to some good fraternity with my brother priests. So please pray for us during this time together.

You might be aware that there is a Faith Formation kick-off Mass Wednesday evening 6 PM. I will come back for the Mass. I hope to see you there.

This week Jesus tells us more about the infinite mercy of God. First it is the story of the one lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the 99 to find the one. Then it is the lost coin and the great lengths the woman goes to find it. And finally Jesus tells maybe the greatest story ever told, the Prodigal Son. We see in all the parables, but especially in this one, what great lengths God will go to call us back to Himself, while never violating our free will. God is crazy in love with each one of us. He wants us to be in relationship with Him. There is nothing He won’t do except infringe on our free will.

Have an awesome and blessed week,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 8, 2019)

Hello,

First of all, congratulations to all the parents who got their kids off to school this week. Hopefully the transition from summer schedule to school schedule has been somewhat smooth. I remember my mom making us go to bed early the week before school started. She claimed it was to get us ready for the school year schedule, but I think she just wanted just a little extra peace and quiet.

Thank you to all of the parents who also made it to the Faith Formation information meeting. Again, I am so excited for the changes Betsy and the Faith Formation Committee have made. Hopefully this will make learning about and encountering Jesus more accessible for our kids. I’m sure some of us can tell some dreadful stories about how boring their religious education was. Betsy and her team are trying to change this. So if you have any comments or concerns about what they are doing this year, please let them or me know.

Is following Jesus suppose to be easy? Well, no. Yes, Jesus makes facing hardships easier, but Jesus doesn’t make the hardships go away. In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about counting the cost. Just as there is a cost to building a tower or a cost of going into battle, there is a cost in being a disciple of Jesus. Before we say yes to following Jesus, are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices to follow Jesus completely?

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 1, 2019)

Hello to the last vestiges of summer. I hope you had a great summer full of memories. I know I did. I got to travel quite a bit including a trip with our youth to New Orleans. What a great trip of helping others out. And then there was a (lot shorter) trip to Rochester for the Steubenville Youth Conference. Always a powerful experience of the Jesus Christ. Thank you to all who made these memories possible by chaperoning, supporting, praying, etc. Thank you.

This weekend is Labor Day. Have fun, but stay safe. Labor Day was signed into being by President Grover Cleveland in 1894. During the industrial revolution in the late 1800s, working conditions were dismal. People were having to work 12 hour days and sometimes children as young as 5 or 6 worked in these factories. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. It was often the Catholic Church with her social teachings of a just wage, of worker rights, and other things that helped shape and reform the labor laws in the United States.

Betsy is continuing to do awesome things. She wants to share all the new things she and the Faith Formation Committee has thought up. The Faith Formation 2019-2020 Informational Meeting will be this Wednesday from 6:30-8:00. Come and learn about the new times, curriculum, and other changes. I am super excited about the new things that are happening. I believe there is a huge potential for the community to get even more involved in learning more about Jesus and how much He loves us. So I hope to see you there.

This weekend the Gospel is about intentions and humility. Are we doing things just to look good or do we genuinely care for others? I suppose it is a start, but I kind of cringe when people say they helped out a food kitchen or somethings similar because it makes them feel good to help others. I guess this is not bad, but helping others should not first be about you. It should first be about others. This is not easy to do. Our tendency is to put ourselves first. Marriage and children help reverse the tendency to focus on ourselves. Spouses and children help teach us to put others first and ourselves second.

May God bless and keep you,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time (August 25, 2019)

Hello,

This past week we just had our student leadership retreat for the college students. It reminded me how important it is that we share the Gospel with those around us. As Christians we shouldn’t have a fake joy, but an infectious joy. Please pray for the campus ministry as we try to reach as many students as possible this weekend. These first days are crucial as it is when they will meet a lot of their college friends and decide where they are going to spend their extra time doing. We pray it is with Jesus.

Things here are a little different. We have another week of summer vacation. Although when we were growing up, my mother would already be telling us to go to bed early so that we could “get used to the school schedule.” I think my mother just wanted some peace and quiet in the evening.

This week Jesus continues to preach about the Kingdom of God. Jesus is asked if only a few will be saved. Jesus tells them to strive to enter through the narrow gate. It seems like at a majority of the funerals I attend the opposite is believed, that the gate to heaven is wide and the gate to hell is narrow. It is assumed that the deceased is already in heaven. The Bible tells us in Revelations 3:15-16 that God will spit out the lukewarm. Plus, only those who are perfect will enter heaven directly. That is why Purgatory is such a beautiful teaching. Those of us who are not perfect when we die, if we are in a state of grace without mortal sin on our souls, if we love Jesus and striving for holiness, however imperfectly, then we will be purified in Purgatory on our way to heaven. Christianity is not first about being registered at the local parish. It is first about loving Jesus, spending time with Him in prayer, and following His commandments for us. Belonging to the Jesus fan club will not get us into heaven. Jesus is a Person and wants to spend time with you, have a relationship with you, but we need to spend time in prayer and at Mass in order to let that happen. But then we have to let our relationship affect what we do and how we treat others. It would be ludicrous for a husband to say he loves his wife, but then never spend time with her or let the fact that he is married affect the other decisions he makes in life.

Have a blessed week,

Father Vogel