2490 N Cramer Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211

December 2019 Weekly Bulletin Messages

Advent Wreath

December 29th, 2019 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Dear Friends,

Happy Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! I pray that these days of Christmas and the New Year have been a blessed time for you and your family.

Speaking of families, one member of our parish family will be away from us on sabbatical for three months and we will miss him dearly! Father Tim, as you prepare to leave on January 1st, please know of the prayers, love, and support of all of us in your parish family. The Lord has given you a unique ability to so powerfully spread his joy, love, and hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ! Everything is always better when you are around, and so we will miss you a lot during your time away. We hope that this is a time to just simply rest, pray, and to be with the Lord. Your sabbatical is much deserved and we already look forward to your return, hopefully rested and renewed!

I would like to share a few details that will help ensure everything runs smoothly in Fr. Tim’s absence:

· Thanks to our wonderful help-out priests, for their time in covering the various weekend and weekday Masses! Special thanks to Fr. John Burns who will be helping us on a few weekends and to Fr. Tom DeVries who has agreed to be available for other sacramental work during these next few months.

· I will be present on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at the Three Holy Women Parish office (instead of at SSPP), to remain in constant contact with our business administrators whose office are there. Thanks to secretary Lee Ann Blackmer for helping me out with calendaring and other duties to make me more available!

· Our various Directors of ministries will be assisting me with the weekly bulletin article. This will be of help to me and a way for each to spotlight their various ministries. A few of my other regular duties during this time has been delegated to our staff, to help ensure my availability for any needs.

I’m so grateful for our wonderful parish family, and especially to Fr. Tim. Godspeed, safe travels, and every good blessing on your sabbatical!

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John

December 25th, 2019 – Christmas

“For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5)

Dear Friends,

On behalf of Father Tim Kitzke and the entire staff of our Four Parish Family, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! I hope these days are filled with an abundance of joy as we celebrate the gift of the Christ-child. Safe travels to all those who are visiting family and friends out of town.

I would give almost anything to have been there that first Christmas night – to be a shepherd, one of the Magi, or even one of the workers who brought hay for the manger! How amazing it would have been to look upon our God who became man and lay as a little infant. That small little baby changed everyone who was there and changed the entire course of salvation history.

This Christmas, I pray that the gift of the Christ-child may…
… bring light into our hearts, especially if they have grown weary in this last year from work or health struggles.
… bring comfort into our homes, especially if we have lost a family member or loved one in this last year.
… bring peace into our world, especially in the areas torn apart by prejudice, war, violence, or division of any kind.
… bring always the knowledge that we are deeply, infinitely loved, that no matter anything we have ever done, our loving God will always be with us every step of the way!

Please know of our prayers and thanks for all that you do! May you be deeply blessed in these days of Christmas.

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John

December 22nd, 2019 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

“For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5)

Dear Friends,

On behalf of Father Tim Kitzke and the entire staff of our Four Parish Family, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! I hope these days are filled with an abundance of joy as we celebrate the gift of the Christ-child. Safe travels to all those who are visiting family and friends out of town.

I would give almost anything to have been there that first Christmas night – to be a shepherd, one of the Magi, or even one of the workers who brought hay for the manger! How amazing it would have been to look upon our God who became man and lay as a little infant. That small little baby changed everyone who was there and changed the entire course of salvation history. This Christmas, I pray that the gift of the Christ-child may…

… bring light into our hearts, especially if they have grown weary in this last year from work or health struggles.
… bring comfort into our homes, especially if we have lost a family member or loved one in this last year.
… bring peace into our world, especially in the areas torn apart by prejudice, war, violence, or division of any kind.
… bring always the knowledge that we are deeply, infinitely loved, that no matter anything we have ever done, our loving God will always be with us every step of the way!

Please know of our prayers and thanks for all that you do! May you be deeply blessed in these days of Christmas.

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John

December 15, 2019 – Third Sunday of Advent

“To be is to do….” (Plato)

“To do is to be….” (Aristotle)

“Do Be Do Be Do….. (Sinatra)
(from a chalkboard in a philosophy classroom, circa 1981)

Dear Friends,

This is the last pastor’s letter I will write before I leave on sabbatical January 1. It is with full confidence, and not a little gratitude, that I turn things over to Fr. John for three months. Take care of him. He is one of the best priests I know and his leadership can be trusted like the Good Shepherd. Trust our beloved lay staff—they are first-rate! Take care of them.

People are asking me if I am ready for sabbatical, and I have to say I don’t know. I have been treating this time away as an opportunity to help me do something to help me be a better priest in the next stage of my priestly life. But I have been approaching it more from “doing” and less from “being.” I try to give Christ time every day in my ordinary schedule to nurture the great love I have for Him. But with the pressing demands that have occupied me for some 30 years, I guess I am just looking forward to spending some time with Jesus. I love Him so!

So maybe I will go to a class, maybe I’ll go to a beach. Maybe I will read a book, maybe I will watch a movie. Maybe I will travel. Maybe (probably) I will sleep. Maybe (probably) I will spend time with friends. Maybe (probably) I will pray. But whatever I do I promise you all will be with me, and we together will welcome Christ into all our journeys. For like Christ, I love you, my dear sisters and brothers!

For isn’t that what Advent and Christmas is all about—welcoming Jesus into our hearts in a new way!

Know of my prayers and love. See you in April! (More peaceful, and maybe a little thinner— probably not!)

Love you all.
Fr. Tim, Your Pastor

December 8, 2019 – Second Sunday of Advent

Dear Friends,

Happy Second Sunday of Advent! I hope you are well in these days of preparation leading up to the celebration of Christmas. Our first reading today from the prophet Isaiah gives us the beautiful promise of the Messiah to come: “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom”. It reminded me of the Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree, which is a way of preparing for Christmas by placing on a tree one ornament for each day of Advent. Each ornament corresponds to a story from the Old Testament – such as Adam and Eve, Noah, etc – and traces the history of salvation leading up to the birth of Christ.

What I love most about the Jesse Tree is that is a messy, complicated story of human history and of Israel often straying from the ways of God. So many of the people and stories that make up the ornaments of the Jesse Tree include mistakes, words people later regretted, and lack of faith. Yet in the midst of all of this, a “shoot sprouted”, a “bud blossomed”, a child was born, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. What an amazing gift! Even today, in the midst of our own complicated society which is the human family, God is always here, at work trying to save us.

I am grateful for the many efforts of our priests and staff to help prepare our hearts for Christmas this Advent season! Likely many of us find ourselves busier and perhaps a little stressed. In the next few weeks, perhaps we find ourselves with an overwhelming “to-do list”, with parties to attend and gifts to prepare. My invitation for all of us in this next week would be to, in the midst of the busyness, not lose sight of the amazing mystery of the Jesse Tree which we are celebrating.

Blessings to you and know of my prayers!

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John

December 1, 2019 – First Sunday of Advent

“Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light…”
(St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, ch. 13)

Friends,

Advent! As the daylight grows shorter and the nights longer, we are challenged by this season to bring light where there is darkness! For not only in nature, but in the workings of a world “in sin and error pining”, we are reminded it is up to us the spread the light.

It starts with ourselves. Maybe we need to ask what in my life is dark right now? What prevents me from living a free, joyful life open to the possibilities of life rather than its limitations?

It continues with our attitude about others. Where do I let darkness creep into my relationships? Where do I let my preoccupations block a life, free and open to the possibilities of others and the chance to live in peace?

Advent gives us the chance to ask these questions, but like John the Baptist pointing to the Savior, find their answers in Jesus Christ. Letting Christ into our hearts in a new way this season dispels the darkness and doubt we all face about ourselves. Letting Christ into our hearts in a new way this season dispels preoccupations which prevent us from truly loving and serving others.

And that will really be a Happy Advent!

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. Tim, your pastor.

A sincere congratulations and many blessings for Samantha Vosters, a parishioner at Our Lady of Divine Providence and staff member of Riverwest Food Pantry, who professed perpetual vows of a consecrated life this past Sunday! We are honored to have her Christ-like light shine so brightly among us!