April 22, 2018 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
“These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one
flock, one shepherd.” (Jn 10:16)
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and the 55th World Day of Vocations. You can read Pope Francis’ message on the Vatican website. He boils down our vocation as Christians and followers of Jesus to three aspects: listening, discerning and living. We take our lead from the Lord who spent time in silent prayer and the reading of the word in the synagogue to hear the voice of the Father. After his baptism and temptations in the desert, the Lord Jesus was anointed by the Spirit and proclaimed the “good news” of the Reign of God. Jesus, the Good Shepherd healed the sick and cast out demons. As today’s gospel tells us, he laid down his life for us in order “to take it up again.”
As we look at our parishes, there is an amazing growth seen in those who seek to become intentional disciples, whether that be through the Beacon Moms group, Scripture study, RCIA and Eat, Drink and Be Catholic. A vocation is not a call to a career but to encountering the mysterious presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. We need to turn off the noise in our culture as seen in social media and quietly listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for all vocations which include priesthood, permanent diaconate, consecrated life, marriage and lay ministry in its many forms. Please pray for the five new transitional deacons who were ordained on April 21st. Pray also for those young men to be ordained to priesthood on May 19th, including our own Deacon Andrew Infanger.
Today we also begin Safe Environment Week from April 22-28. The theme for 2018 is HAVE COURAGE, GO FORTH. We have a responsibility to care for our children and create a safe environment where the dignity of all is respected. Please be assured that our parish team (staff) and all volunteers who work in our parishes with children and youth must complete training in safe environment, have a state and national background check every 5 years and must read and sign the Code of Ethical Standards for Church Leaders and read a copy of their Mandatory Reporting Responsibilities. One of our parish staff has the responsibility of record keeping for all four parishes. Catholic East Elementary, Old St. Mary Faith Formation and ESCYM keep track of their own records and reporting.
Finally, today, April 22nd is Earth Day. Please respect our environment and care for all of God’s children and animals.
Fr. Mike Michalski
April 15, 2018 – Third Sunday of Easter
“We would rather be ruined than change. We would rather die in our dread, than to mount the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.” (W.H. Auden)
As we celebrate the great season of Easter, it is important to remember that the Resurrection needs to be affirmed in our lives often. Like those first disciples, we find it incomprehensible that God loves us so much and is so powerful that He can forgive and transform whatever sins, misgivings, doubts or illusions we might have!
The Gospel of Luke this Sunday asks us “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” I probably need to answer that every 15 minutes, and I think it probably has to do with control. Trusting that the Resurrection is real and has power means that I have to let go of my desire to have to work everything out and that it is all about me! Sometimes we need to surrender to the Resurrection just as Christ had to surrender to the Cross.
So this next week—let’s all work hard at letting the illusion go that we are ultimately in control. God knows what He is doing. Let’s enjoy the ride a bit more!
Sincerely, with love,
April 8, 2018 – Sunday of Divine Mercy
“Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”
(John 20: 19)
Following the Ignatian method of trying to put yourself into today’s Gospel from John, imagine yourself in a locked room with the disciples and Mother Mary. You are fearful because of the events of the past week and you cannot even begin to process all that happened. There is fear, shame and embarrassment at abandoning Jesus and wondering if you would be the next one to die. Someone mysteriously stands before you and says: “Peace be with you.” The sight of Jesus who shows you his wounds reminds you of the awful experience on Good Friday: the Master was betrayed, denied and crucified between two thieves. You want someone to protect you and tell you what to do next, making the last few days go away. And Jesus simply says: “Shalom.”
Today’s liturgy is the octave celebration of Easter which continues until Pentecost Sunday on May 20. It was traditionally called in Latin Dominica in albis when the newly initiated put aside their white robes which they received at the Easter Vigil in celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The entire 50 days of Easter is a celebration of the presence of the Risen Lord. In today’s Scriptures we meet Jesus in the community of believers, in the preaching of the disciples, in the forgiveness of sins and in the manifestation of the wounds of Jesus. Since 2000, this Sunday has been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday when we commemorate the apparition of the Lord Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska.
We felt the presence of the Risen Lord in our family of four parishes during the Triduum, especially in the initiation rites for our elect and candidates. On behalf of Fr. Tim and I, thanks to all those involved in the planning and celebration of the Triduum. Thanks to our pastoral staff, RCIA team under Chad Griesel and all those who led us in song and prayer. Thanks for your generous support of CRS through the Rice Bowl program and for participating in the various Lenten events held in our parishes.
The Risen Lord is the one who accompanies us in the midst of the many changes of life. This Sunday April 8th Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will join us at noon at the old St. Rita Church for a De-Consecration ceremony. Please come and join us as we await the consecration of a new St. Rita in a couple of years.
Wishing you Easter blessings and the peace of this holy season.
~ Fr. Mike Michalski
April 1, 2018 – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
A Blessed Easter!
“What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself and that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom. God’s love can do this!” (Pope Francis)
To you, our beloved parishioners and all those seeking a home in the Church; to friends and strangers alike; to the lost and forgotten, the poor and the hungry; to those who are hurting or live in regret, fear or disappointment; to those whose lives are going pretty well and to those who feel a bit lost, lonely or confused; to the unborn and the very old and everyone in between; to the healthy and the sick; to the happy or depressed; to the grieving; to those dearest to our hearts and to those deemed less worthy of love or inclusion; to those who have many advantages and to those deprived; to our parish staff and trustees and Councils and Committees and ministries and societies; in a word,
May Christ rise in your hearts
and bring new life and hope and joy!
Sincerely, with love,
Fr. Mike and Fr. Tim
All of this Lent we have been Sharing the Journey with our brothers and sisters through our participation in the CRS Rice Bowl. Thanks so much for your generous response by sharing your financial resources and Lenten almsgiving with our friends throughout the world. The Lord Jesus also thanks you.
~ Fr. Mike and Fr. Tim