27 February 2022

This Sunday is Catholic Family Sharing Appeal 2022 Commitment Sunday. It can be difficult for us to make commitments and even more difficult to keep them. Due to the difficulty in keeping commitments, it makes us very careful in making them, or at least, it should.

Why do we need commitments? It would be worth every individual reflecting on this question and on how to be careful in making the right commitments!

Life is tough and full of suffering. Jesus Christ makes it possible for we Christians to get through life, not give up, and be the victors. Jesus leads the victory over sin and death, by going through it with us, being triumphant by the power of the Resurrection, and being the Way, Truth, & Life for us to share in His Victory! (Prayerfully, read the Book of Revelation. Don’t let the imagery and difficulty in understanding prevent you from learning and being convinced we share in the Victory of Christ if we remain faithful to Him through suffering and death into Eternal Life!)

Jesus Christ taught us that we must take up our cross and follow Him. By the Mercy and Grace of God, commitment to Him, His Church, our parishes, our loved ones and other commitments is what it takes to do this!

To make the right commitments takes making faithful, Christian decisions. This, at a minimum, requires knowing ourselves and other people, discernment, and other factors. The Sunday readings for this Sunday teach us a very important way for getting to know what is in our hearts and the hearts of others. The words from our mouths can reveal what is in our hearts, for better or for worse. We can help others realize this about themselves by charitably reflecting back to them what they have said. We must be very careful to try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and keep our possible interpretations positive for ourselves and for others.

As far as discernment, this takes great skill, practice, and spiritual direction from others. I gave a talk to Sacred Heart Parish evening youth disciples at YFF last Wednesday. My presentation was recorded using Livestream. It is available through the Sacred Heart Parish website by clicking on livestreamed Masses. I will have handouts available in our church entrances. After Lent, I will have the opportunity to give a presentation to St. Pius X Parish YFF disciples in middle and high school.

LENT REGULATIONS FOR CATHOLICS

All Fridays throughout the year, especially during Lent, are penitential days. Abstinence: All who have reached their 14th birthday are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of Lent. Fasting: All those who are 18 or older, until their 59th birthday, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is one full meal and two lesser meals without eating between meals.

ANNUAL MASS ATTENDANCE SURVEY

Mass attendance counts will be taken at all Sunday Masses (including Saturday vigils) during upcoming weekends March 12-13, 19-20, & 26-27, 2022. The data collected in this annual survey has been shown on many occasions to be helpful in explaining decisions or lending essential context to decisions that are made both at the parish and diocesan levels

Catholic Family Sharing Appeal

 Catholic Family Sharing Appeal

This week we begin Catholic Family Sharing Appeal 2022. Your gift to Catholic Family Sharing Appeal (CFSA) helps provide the necessary funding for many of the ministries within our Diocese such as training our future priests, giving a voice to the unborn through the Respect Life programs, faith formation for youth and adults, support of Newman Ministries on university campuses and telehealth counseling using home computers on a sliding scale fee structure. Most of these have or will, directly or indirectly, touch the lives of everyone in our parish. These are ongoing ministries and Bishop DeGrood needs our help to serve the many needs of our brothers and sisters in East River South Dakota. CFSA funds the “corporate offices” types of services to our parish offices. They include training and support for administrative services, financial accounting, human resources, Informatin Technology (IT) (computer hardware and software technical support) which includes making available good, used computers, copiers, and printersfor free or at cost of upgrades. Our parishes are benefiting greatly by utilizing the Discipleship & Evangelization office. We are receiving Youth Faith Formation parish mission supportsuch as the Wednesday evening retreats for YFF disciples and parents we will be offering this Lent. This week you will receive a letter from Bishop DeGrood asking for your support to this year’s Catholic Family Sharing Appeal. Please prayerfully consider a gift to this year’s appeal, fill out your pledge card and bring it to church next weekend. If you do not receive a letter, let the parish office know.

Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men

This Sunday’s passage in the Gospel of Luke (Lk 5:1-11) appears to tell a fishing story but actually tells a fishing story within a fishing story. St. Luke tells us about two different men who are fishing, Simon Peter and Jesus. They are fishing for two different reasons.

Simon Peter was out fishing all night but could not catch any fish. Jesus came on the scene preaching to the crowds. He was out fishing for disciples. He continued His task by telling Simon Peter, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon Peter hesitated but did it anyway. They caught a great number of fish, but when Simon Peter saw this miraculous number of fish, he fell to his knees. Simon Peter told Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Simon Peter, James, and John left everything and followed Jesus. Jesus caught His disciples by revealing the power of God through Himself. Their response was unworthiness. Jesus assured them that they did not need to be afraid. He forgave them of their sinfulness and commissioned them to “catch men.” They responded generously by leaving everything and following Him.

Jesus is fishing for us. He has been revealing Himself to us through His Holy Word; through His sacred actions, the Sacraments; and through His apostles, their successors, and the faithful people, the Church. Once we realize Jesus’ power working in our lives, we are humbled. Even though we are unworthy to be in His Presence, Jesus assures us that He makes us worthy by His forgiveness in the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance. He also commissions us in the Sacrament of Confirmation to be His witnesses in order to catch people for Him. We can only do this if we are first “caught” by Jesus, and we follow His directions on how to fish for people.

The question for us would be this: Are we willing to be “caught” by Jesus? Are we ready to leave everything behind to follow Him? If so, then we should take the bait, Eternal Life, which He gives of Himself in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We will take the bait “hook, line, and sinker” if we realize His power in our lives, recognize our unworthiness before the Lord, and receive His forgiveness and healing. Once we are “caught” by the Lord, we can witness to others His saving power in our lives. So, do not be afraid -- go fish

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Published on  May 9th, 2022

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