All Saints Day

All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation. Mass times will be at 7 am in Gettyburg and at 5:45pm in Onida.


Fr. Simon Sez

In today’s gospel (Luke 19:1-10) the people grumble against Jesus receiving Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, and staying at his house. Zacchaeus said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” Sometimes, people are quick to judge and to grumble about others without giving them the benefit of the doubt and finding out the facts first. I asked an Australian seminarian staying with me why people in small towns are well known for gossip. He said they are bored. I suspect he is right. When somebody asked St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) what she thought about St. Pope John Paul II not allowing women priests, she said, "I am too busy helping the poor to think about those things." Perhaps, we need to be busier being about the Lord’s work rather than worrying about others, gossiping, and hurting others’ reputations, whether or not the information we have about them is true. As St. Paul to the Thessaloniansin today’ssecond reading (2 Thes 1:11-2:2), I pray for you always “that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.”


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.”

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Published on  August 29th, 2023

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