March 2020 Weekly Bulletin Messages

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March 22nd, 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

Peace of Christ. Your pastors and parish staff always have your physical and spiritual well-being as our highest priority. Out of a sincere charity, we are responding to the spread of COVID-19 with the utmost of caution. Thus, we want to communicate the following decisions which were made in consultation with our pastoral staff.

Suspension of All Daily/Sunday Masses until April 3rd. Today, Archbishop Listecki suspended the celebration of all weekday and Sunday Masses throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. You may read his letter here. Hence, the celebration of Daily Mass/Confession at all locations will be suspended until further notice, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
· On Sundays, Fr. Tim and Fr. John will celebrate Mass privately at each of our four parishes to fulfill the obligatory Mass intention for all living and deceased members of our parishes.

Confession & Other Sacramental Needs. All normally scheduled celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation have been suspended until further notice. Please contact Fr. Tim (Cell: 414-762-7986) or Fr. John (Cell: 414-305-3824) regarding sacramental needs (especially Anointing of the Sick/Last Rites) or if you need assistance in any way.
· Funerals – please work with the funeral home and contact Fr. Tim/Fr. John on an individual basis.
· Weddings – please contact Fr. Tim/Fr. John with questions. All previously scheduled weddings may continue, but guests would be significantly limited per the CDC’s most recent directive.

Parish Offices Closed Indefinitely. As of 12 PM on Monday, March 16, 2020, parish offices will be closed until further notice. · You are still most welcome to call the parish offices and leave messages, and our staff will reply as soon as possible. Please see the parish websites for contact information for all of our staff members.
· Mail can still be dropped off and we will process all correspondence as quickly as possible.

Parish Programming and Events. All parish programming and events have been suspended until further notice.
· Please check the parish website as the most up-to-date place of current information.

Assistance to the vulnerable and those most in need. In times of crisis, we are committed more than ever to live out the Church’s preferential option for the poor. The social and economic ramifications will significantly affect our elderly, homebound, and so many others. Our pastoral staff have begun discussions as to how to address these needs and we will need your help! Please see the ‘Coronavirus: Care within the Crisis’ section of the homepage of our website.

As your Pastors, please know that we are here for anything you might need! Be assured of our daily prayers and our commitment to still providing the best pastoral care possible.

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. Tim Kitzke and Fr. John Baumgardner

March 15th, 2020 – Third Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

Peace of Christ, and I hope you are well in this holy season of Lent. I know that we are well aware of those in the United States and abroad affected by the spread of the coronavirus. Please know that this is in the thoughts and prayers of your pastors and parish staff! A few thoughts on our liturgical practices, as we know that this may be on your mind.

First, we have already reminded Eucharistic Ministers to use hand sanitizer before and after distributing Holy Communion, as has been our practice for some time.

Second, please know that you have a freedom (always!) to refrain from physical contact at the Sign of Peace and to not receive the Precious Blood from the chalice. Know that refraining from physical contact during the Sign of Peace should not be construed as sign of rudeness. Also, the Church has always taught that the fullness of the Eucharist (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ) is present, whole, and entire in either of the Eucharistic specifies (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1377). If you choose to refrain from receiving the Precious Blood, please know that it in no ways diminishes your reception of Holy Communion.

The parish staff and I will continue to monitor the situation closely, and we will adjust accordingly as we know more.

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John

March 8th, 2020 – Second Sunday of Lent

I vividly remember the first time I was introduced to the wisdom of Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. Laura Hancock

It was spring of 2015 and I was driving to Louisville, Kentucky to attend a conference. I was listening to my favorite podcast, On Being, with Krista Tippett. In this short conversation Fr. Greg Boyle used the word kinship no less than nine times. At one point, he stated, “And suddenly, kinship, so quickly. You’re not this delivery system. Maybe I return him to himself. But there is no doubt that he’s returned me to myself.” My soul was so taken by his words and his stories that as soon as the podcast was over I played it again! Fr. Greg, although undoubtedly human and flawed, has had a tremendous impact on the way I engage in ministry, seeking to draw near to others in kinship.

This Lent our parish community has the opportunity to draw near to our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is a true kinship, one of shared heritage. We share in the lineage of Father Abraham, as alluded to in today’s first reading. We share in a beloved awe of the prophets from the Hebrew scriptures, Moses and Elijah, as referenced in today’s Gospel. We truly are kin to one another. As the Beloved of God, we are soul kin.

In Luke 24:15 it says that, “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them.” Let us, then, this Lent, draw near and walk with our Jewish brothers and sisters. We have received many generous and hospitable invitations to be guests in the Jewish community this Lent and there’s still time to get involved! Perhaps you will choose to serve side-by-side at the Jewish Community Food Pantry or the Riverwest Food Pantry because you care about our common commitment to food justice. Similarly, please consider sharing your Lenten Almsgiving to support the good work of Tikkun Ha-Ir, a Jewish social justice organization that actively engages many communities. Or maybe your family would like to attend a service at a local synagogue or to attend a Passover Seder in someone’s home. Whatever type of encounter you choose, let us take this opportunity to build relationships with our kin, to stand in solidarity with them during a time of societal vulnerability, and most importantly, to love one another. In this way, as Fr. Greg teaches, the mutuality of our relationship will return us to ourselves. May your Lent be blessed!

~ Laura Hancock
Director of Social Justice & Outreach,
4 Parish Team

March 1st, 2020 – First Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

Peace of Christ, and I hope you are well as we begin another holy season of Lent.

Our readings this weekend remind us that we live in a good, but fallen world that is constantly in need of the renewal that comes by God’s grace alone. In our second reading, Saint Paul tells us that “sin entered the world” which is recounted in our first reading from the book of Genesis. Lent is an annual opportunity to go to the desert with Jesus and to grow in holiness through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I hope you will find our Lenten program this year, “A Journey to the Holy Land with our Jewish Brothers and Sisters”, a unique and timely opportunity. Thanks especially to staff members Chad Griesel and Laura Hancock for their many hours of hard work in making this possible!

These past few years, we have been blessed by the presence and ministry of Deacon Steve Przedpelski in our parish. Deacon Steve is the executive director of Franciscan Peacemakers here in Milwaukee, which “serves to address the needs and issues of women […] who are seeking a way out of prostitution due to trauma, human sex trafficking, or drug addiction”. The team at Franciscan Peacemakers have a gift for bringing Christ’s presence into some really terrible and evil situations.

After prayer and discernment, Deacon Steve recently notified Fr. Tim and I of his decision to step back from formal ministry at our parish as the demands of his work continue to increase. Please join me in assuring him of our prayers and support always! As a thank you to Deacon Steve for his generosity over the years, we have made a donation to Franciscan Peacemakers.

Blessings on your week, and made it be a grace-filled season of Lent!

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John