July 29th, 2018 – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live
in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility
and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace….”
(Ephesians, ch. 4)
This passage from our second reading this weekend fills me with two things—peace and challenge! Peace because I know with Christ I can live a centered life and do the right thing, and challenge because I actually have to believe and live that!
It goes without saying we live in scattered, loud, worrisome times, both personally and communally. But it also goes without saying that we have been given everything to deal with it! My problem is that I sometimes have “spiritual amnesia’” in which I easily forget that Christ is the center of my life. Too often, I become the center of my life or I turn power over to those who want to be the center of my life. Too often I let the passing events of life take an overwhelming amount of energy from my heart!
But when you think of it, all things pass except Christ’s overwhelming and unconditional and irreplaceable love. And I have to remember that whatever comes across the plate of my life.
So—live Christ this week! Whatever you are dealing with, wherever your heart is, in this crazy world—Christ knows what he is doing! He is here!
Sincerely, with love,
July 22nd, 2018 – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Come away […] and rest a while”. Perhaps what is most comforting about the image of Jesus Christ as the “Good Shepherd” is His promise to lead us to true rest, to true peace, something that Christians and non-believers alike are always seeking.
On the Friday of Bastille Days, over 1,600 people stopped in at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist to visit and light a candle for peace. On behalf of Fr. Tim, a big thank-you to the many volunteers who helped to make the OremusMKE event possible! So many of the visitors that evening commented on experiencing “peace” and were grateful for a moment of rest, amidst the festivities. Many of our visitors that evening were not Catholic and it was often their first visit to our Cathedral. It was beautiful to see how the Good Shepherd was at work that evening, giving all a taste of the true rest and true peace that only comes from the Lord.
This week, my prayer is that each of us will continue to open the doors of our hearts. In our own small way, we can allow the Good Shepherd to work through us, as He continues to seek out those searching for true rest and true peace.
July 15th, 2018 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Thank you all very much for the warm welcome these past few weeks! I have really enjoyed the chance to meet many of you at the weekend Masses, and I look forward to continuing to get to know the parishes, and all that goes on here.
In our Gospel this Sunday, we hear Mark’s Gospel account of Jesus summoning the Twelve Apostles and sending them out “two by two”, with “no food, no sack, no money in their belts”. Part of professing faith in our apostolic Church, is sharing – each in our own way – in this work of bringing the love of Jesus into our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces. In a sense, we are all called to be apostles.
A favorite spiritual author of mine, the Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, has some beautiful insights into what it means to be an apostle. She writes: “But I know well what this word apostle means and all the obligations it creates. First, the necessity of an interior life that becomes stronger all the time, of drawing more than ever charity and gentle serenity from the Eucharist and from prayer […] to cultivate my own mind systematically […] to bring to all conversation and discussion a tranquil spirit […] never to give in where principles are concerned, but to have extraordinary tolerance for people”.
Know of my prayers, and I hope you are able to enjoy these beautiful days of summer this week!
July 8th, 2018 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In 2011, when I first applied to be accepted as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, I was interviewed by both Fr. Tim Kitzke and Fr. Mike Michalski. So it’s a little funny how the Lord works, in that my first full-time parish assignment would be back here on the East Side. I would like to thank Fr. Tim, Fr. Mike, and all of the staff and parishioners who have been so kind and welcoming. It has meant more than you know! As well, I am really looking forward to working with Fr. Tim, and to learning from his example and years of experience in ministry.
A little bit about myself. I grew up here in the Milwaukee area, and attended Pius XI High School (08’). I was originally interested in pursuing a career in business, and so decided to attend the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, MN (B.S. Financial Management, 12’). During my time in college, as I continued to grow in my faith, I became aware that God was calling me to the priesthood. I was ordained to the priesthood in July of 2017, and just finished my first assignment, which was further studies in Dogmatic Theology (i.e. all that we profess in the Nicene Creed on Sundays) in Rome. During my free time, I especially enjoy running, most sports, reading, and spending time with my family, especially with my nieces and nephews.
Please know of my daily prayers for everyone here! It’s a privilege to work with the other staff members, and to be a small part of everything that goes on in the parishes. I am honored to be following Fr. Mike and continuing the work he has
done. I simply pray that I might be as faithful and generous in my priesthood as he has been for all these years.
Again, thank you all so much for the very kind welcome, and I look forward to these next few years here on the East Side of Milwaukee.
Welcome, Fr. John!
July 1st, 2018 – Celebrating the Feast of SS. Peter & Paul
WELCOME, FR. JOHN BAUMGARDNER,
AS THE NEW ASSOCIATE PASTOR OF OUR
FAMILY OF FOUR PARISHES!
Fr. John begins his priestly ministry this week, having successfully completed his degree in Sacred Theology in Rome. He was ordained last summer, and will introduce himself in next week’s bulletin as he assumes his place in the life of our parishes.
We assure him of our prayers and support and look forward to sharing the mission of Jesus as we all work together!
The author Lacordaire has a beautiful reflection on the priesthood, appropriate for this happy occasion:
“To live in the midst of the world without desiring its pleasures;
To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none.
To share all sufferings!
To penetrate all secrets; to heal all wounds;
to go from people to God and offer Him their prayers;
to return from God to people to bring pardon, peace, and hope;
To have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity;
To teach and to pardon, to console and to bless always.
My God, what a life!
And it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ!”
God bless you, Fr. John!