Last Sunday, I talked about discernment. This is the process we should take in making decisions, at least life-changing ones that can be personal conversions to Christ. A life-changing one you could make is to volunteer to serve in our parishes. Obviously, my years of volunteering in my parishes, turned out to lead to a life-change vocation to the priesthood! That was in part due to my volunteer experiences forming my heart to be a heart of service unto the Lord! It is part of our missionary purpose to provide these opportunities.

Every one of us needs to be giving of our time and talent in service to our Lord and His Church parish to the extent possible. I know of people who retired from secular jobs and then volunteered full time for the Church mission in Sioux Falls! Anyone called by God to volunteer are welcome to give it a try. Since it is volunteer, you can quit at any time.

In Sacred Heart Parish we have many opportunities as in any parish. Specifically, we need people with IT, minor maintenance, and project skills. We could use help periodically with cleaning assistance and Youth Faith Formation in various ways. We need sacristan help which is typically provided in parishes. It’s most needed when we have a substitute priest. We could use more volunteers at Christmas time and Holy Week too. In St. Pius X Parish, we have many opportunities. We have many more now, because Lisa Guthmiller resigned her job position and ended her decorating contract as of August 31, 2022. The easy way out which is not the Lord’s way would be to rehire her position as is. All of her duties are being done by volunteers in other parishes to some extent or all. It can be done! See the modified job description on the church gathering space bulletin board (parish office secretary/receptionist; maintain and provide records by files, books, and computer; parish accounting with and without a computer, bookkeeping, posting to the parish website, scheduling, prepare and distribute liturgical volunteer lists, make available appropriate materials in the church gathering space, and do mandated reporting) We can be creative and flexible to help accommodate people. These can be family activities that help form our young disciples into servants of the Lord, a parish activity after Mass, or based on a rotating volunteer list or groups of volunteers. No one person has to commit to any volunteer duties. Pray about it, over it, and through it. Is God calling you to serve him in his parishes?

Update on my Sister Lynette Singleton: Lynette had been running a low grade fever since she threw up and aspirated Wednesday night. Her condition was ominous so I gave her Last Rites including the Apostolic Pardon removing all punishment due to sin. This morning she ate all of her breakfast. Thank you for your prayers and concern!

September 4, 2022

“Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom (9:13-18b) helps us realize how difficult it is to know God’s will in our lives. After my personal conversion to Christ, I began to seriously try to figure out how to come to know God’s will for me in my life. I asked a priest about this. He said that it has to be discerned and that it is unique to each individual. As far as I could remember, this is the first time I had even heard of the word “discernment,” even though I was about twenty-three years old at the time. It took me about four years to learn about discernment, how it works, and how to apply it in my life.

My first year in the seminary, I had a fundamental moral theology class. To my surprise, our professor required all of us to write a paper on discernment. Apparently, he considered this to be a very important topic. If it is so important, then why did I not hear of it until I was twenty three years old? I received a good grade on my paper, so I decided to provide you with a copy of it as an insert to this week’s bulletin. It is an important enough topic for every Christian to learn about it and to implement it in their lives since discernment is essentially Christian decision making. Every Christian should learn about it starting at the age of reason. This is when are given the aptitude to know God’s counsel or to conceive what the Lord intends.

The process of discernment includes doing the prerequisites (the person to have the desire, ability, and determination to do only God’s will), knowing clearly what you want to decide, gather information, obtain counsel, reflect on the pros and cons of each possible alternative, bring thisto prayer which includesimagining yourself taking that action or in that position to see if it seems to fit you, make a decision, live with the decision as you seek confirmation, act on the decision if you receive the confirmation or at least not the objection of legitimate authority and see if God blesses it. Yes, this is a human process but it is the way in which God communicates to the individual.

As our first reading concluded, “Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus, were the paths of those on earth made straight.”

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day

This past week I attended our diocese June Priest Retreat at Abbey of the Hills. It was a joy to have Fr. Marty Schaefer from the Diocese of Winona directing the retreat. He is the Vice Rector and Dean of Formation at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, MN. (Our diocese sends some college seminarians there.) He was in my priest support group about fifteen years ago.

I give thanks to God the Father that he spent one day focused on the spiritual fatherhood of priests, at times analogous to biological fatherhood. The timing of this was wonderful too since this Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day. I was expecting to have difficulty in my homily this weekend to relate Father’s Day to also celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). It turns out to be quite straight forward. It was surprising to me to find out that in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition Jesus was not only seen as the Son of the Father, but also, being the new Adam who gives new life to the humanity He redeems by giving us His Body & Blood, means He secondarily is “Father Christ” as prayed to in the Eastern Churches. (This, of course, reaffirms that we can and should call Roman Catholic priests “father.”)

We have to be careful as to how we understand Jesus and priests as fathers. Jesus warned in the Gospel of Matthew 23:9 (RSV): “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Obviously, this is not to be taken literally, as if no one on earth can be called “father.” Only in as much as we priests are extensions of “Father Christ” and God the Father, can we be called “father.” This same point applies to biological fathers this Father’s Day who are also called to be spiritual fathers. We celebrate their fatherhood, to the extent that they are extensions of God the Father in giving life, protecting life, and providing for their children’s natural and supernatural lives as God the Father provides for His children through them. On Father’s Day we celebrate our father’s helping their children through example, affirmation and affection realize their true identity, human and religious rights, and right to life; ability to receive unconditional love, and the goal of heaven by fostering their supernatural lives. Happy Father’s Day!

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Published on  July 6th, 2022

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