Category Archives: Fr. Terry’s Sharing

Fr. Terry’s July 21/28 Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…A Hodge Potage of Sharings! 

First up, the Children’s sharing in the giving envelopes of Stewardship:

¨ I helped with Vacation Bible School.

¨ I picked up candy and cracker wrappers in the pews.

¨ I picked up the dog’s toys and boy is he messy.

¨ I vacuumed.

¨ I watched my little sister.

¨ I cleaned up after my brother, why does there have to be more food on the floor than his plate?

¨ I saw a homeless person and said a prayer for him.

¨ I told Fr. Tom he was the greatest.

¨ I loaded the dishwasher, but could not unload it because they all go higher than I can reach.

¨ I saw a woman in the Chapel praying and I said a prayer for her.

¨ I helped put the puzzle away.

¨ My Dad was sad and I made him smile.

¨ I cleaned my room for the third time today.

¨ I helped other kids with their projects.

¨ I drew a picture for Fr. Tom to put on his fridge so he would not forget us.

¨ I loved and forgave my brother even though he did not deserve it.

¨ I helped Grandma get up when she fell and put a bandaid on her cut.

¨ I put dresses on my dolls so they would not be cold.

¨ I helped my babysitter cook supper.

¨ I shared my books with a little girl that had none.

¨ I gave smiling hugs as I cleaned.

¨ I helped by making Mom and Dad’s coffee.

¨ I helped my Dad even though he said he did not need help, but I told him everyone needs some help.

¨ I made a homemade birthday card for Grandma.

¨ I watched my sister while Mom went to the grocery store.

¨ I played trucks with my little brother even though it was boring.

¨ I found a quarter and am giving it to the church.

¨ I shared my candy bar even though my sister did not share hers with me.

¨ I helped feed my cousin’s cats and chickens but not the chickens to the cats.

¨ I helped my Mom make sandwiches for Dad working outside and then I sat with him so he would not have to eat alone.

¨ I helped my cousin.

¨ I helped take out the garbage.

¨ I did not yell today.

¨ I drew a picture of Mom as a queen because she is special.

¨ I went to a baptism and helped hold things for Father.

¨ I held my sister’s hand as she crosses the street.

¨ I helped set the table.

¨ I colored pictures to set the meals on.

Things they said they were praying for:  my family, the poor, Mom, the sick, my sister’s First Communion, the church, peace, Dad, for better behavior, for my neighbors, my grandma, for my swim teacher, the homeless, our country, the veterans, my daycare, my sister who has cancer, my friends from school that I miss, I prayed for those suffering from the floods, for the farmers, for Jesus who helped me, for those in nursing homes, for my sister’s wedding, for those who are sad.  Out of all these, by far, the most said that they were praying for the poor.  Thanks to parents for raising compassionate children.

When driving on trips, my Mom used to put all sorts of things in a big bag.  We would take turns picking something out and then we had to make a prayer about it.  Some of the ones I remember:  A map and praying that we would not get lost and see new things.  A bell…that we would not miss anything important and listen to the songbirds along the way.  A ball…that we would play nicely together and laugh a lot.  A vase…so we would not stop to “smell the roses” and enjoy nature’s beauty.  It taught us to be creative, to pray in a fun way, and to enjoy each other.  What things would you put in a bag to travel with?

 

Fr. Terry’s June 16th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Believe it or not (but really do believe it) the end of June is the end of our administration year in the parish.  We will start a new year beginning in July.  (July 1st used to be a date when all the priests who were moving went on the road, so people were asked to be extra careful out there, now it is July 10th.  lol!)  So this is a good time to give you an idea of what has been happening in our parish.  You will notice that our parish is alive and well.  Over the last year, we have had 111 Baptisms.  We had 56 First Communions.  This, in a few years will go up as all those babies grow.  We had 113 Confirmations.  We had 24 weddings.  Sacramentally we had many Confessions and many Anointings here at the parish and in the hospital.  During this time, we have celebrated the lives of 28 parishioners as they were called from death to new life.

Of course, this only represents the life of the parish sacramentally, but the life and heart of this parish is also beyond the sacraments.  We have supported numerous ministries on the Diocesan level.  We have been good stewards of the parish grounds and buildings.  We have supported many charities, especially those who function locally.  We have supported missions beyond our parish boundaries.  We have provided for the education of our youth from early on, including through our Catholic schools.  We have visited the prisons, the hospitals, the homebound, the elderly, and those grieving.  We have had multiple adult education opportunities.  We have been blessed with musical talent and have offered some concerts.  There have been many local organizations that need volunteers to do their ministries and St. Michael parishioners have been very generous with their time and talent.  Our parish could not survive without all the volunteers for our liturgies, for teaching and faith sharing, for meals during funerals, and many more needs.  Forgive me, these are all off the top of my head (and remember what is on the top of my head is getting thinner everyday).  I have no doubt I have failed to mention everything, but with pride, I acknowledge that whatever the need, the parishioners of St. Michael have responded.  I as a pastor am very proud to be a member of this parish and one among you.  Thank you for the life and responsibility of being God’s family and representatives to the world.

What the Diocese uses to define Active Parishes:

Key Characteristics of Vibrant Catholic People and Parishes

╬ Minister to all parish members through service and stewardship

╬ Provide parish family-building through activities that include all ages, vocations, and nationalities

╬ Welcoming

╬ Strong spiritual atmosphere

╬ Participation of parishioners in liturgies and parish affairs

╬ Engaging education in the faith for all ages

╬ Community-minded presence

╬ Active youth groups

╬ Stable financial support for the parish

╬ Parishioners take responsibility and pride in the parish

 

Fr Terry’s May 26th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

No doubt you could not help but see the changed look of our Parish campus.  The loss of the trees is truly a sad situation and one we wish we could have avoided.  Like the present situation of the farmers with all the water in their fields, this was one not of our choosing, but one where the choice was made for us.  At the combined budget meeting of our Finance and Parish councils, we talked about how unexpected expenses like this really put a strain on our efforts to have a balanced operating budget.  It seems like at least once a year something comes up.  Therefore, the decision was made to once a year take up a second collection to try to cover these unexpected expenses.  All those on the committees really do put forth a great effort to be good stewards of our gifts.  Our normal envelope income is geared to our regular expenses.  That is why we do not want to use that income to cover the unexpected expenses.  Please see article below for more information from our Deacon John who headed up our response as a parish.

We will be taking up a second collection over these two weekends:  June 8/9 and June 15/16.  Our budget year expires on June 30th and our expenses will come during this budget year.  We are collecting on two weekends because with school ending, more parishioners are traveling and this will give them a chance to participate.  If you are going to be gone both weekends, you could send something by mail or drop an envelope off at the office.  The committees also discussed creating a memorial fund for tree replacement.  Details have yet to be worked out.  This is our parish and we are responsible to share in its upkeep just as we care for our own personal responsibilities.  Thank you for your understanding and your dedication to the needs of the parish.  May God bless you and your participation in caring for His Church.

What Happened to our Trees??

Because of the Emerald Ash Borer invasion in Sioux Falls, we needed to address our ash trees on the St. Michael property.

We have been in consultation with arborists from Minneapolis & Sioux Falls and with our own Building and Grounds committee.

We have taken their recommendations to remove most of the ash trees (33 of the 39) and will then treat the remaining six trees.

Good News is – we will be replanting trees this summer with a variety of trees – Locust, Maple, and Elm.

 

Fr. Terry’s May 5th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Easter is so powerful and impactful in our lives and our salvation.  No wonder Easter Season lasts for 50 days.  Ten days longer than the Lenten Season that gets us ready for it.  We will continue to do the things in our liturgies that reflect this.  Take the time to plan things in your homes to do likewise.

Last weekend we had our First Communion Celebrations.  How fun to see the excitement in their eyes, in their dress, and in their active participation.  And I am not just talking about Fr. Tom here.  Parents, I want to thank you for wanting the best for your children.  You want their bodies and souls to be nourished by our Lord in a very direct and meaningful way that day and in the rest of their lives.  It was easy to see how happy and proud you were.  Keep up the good work of being their first and most important teachers in the ways of faith.

This weekend, Daniel Williams, a seminarian from the Diocese of La Crosse, WI and with us here at St. Michael last summer, will be ordained Deacon for his final year of preparation for Priesthood.  Their Bishop was so pleased with our Parish and how we supported him that they are sending another seminarian, Steven Waller, to be with us this summer.  He will arrive in the parish on May 26th.  Two summers ago, we had Anthony Klein, a seminarian from our Diocese with us.  He will be ordained Deacon as he enters into his last year of preparation for Priesthood.  Three summers ago, Timothy Cone was with us.  He will be ordained to the Priesthood for our Diocese at the end of May.  Thank you for your care, support, and especially your prayers as you participate in forming them to be priest servants for our church.  It is by no mistake that you are a parish that Bishops send their candidates for the priesthood to. Your helping in their formation is a privilege, an honor, and a trusted responsibility.

God Bless you all!   

 

Fr. Terry’s April 7th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

In the Gospel we hear the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.  I have always found a great sense of hope and a strong challenge in that reading.  There have been a few times in my life when I thought something I did was unforgiveable.  During those times, I found myself doing two things:  pulling away from others because I felt embarrassed and unworthy of their love and friendship and being haunted by what I did to the point of punishing myself beyond what others would want me to do.  Frankly, sometimes they were more forgiving than I was to myself.  If I am honest with myself, I still carry the burden of that sin, even though it had been forgiven by others and God a long time ago.  As my spiritual director, God bless her, points out to me from time to time:  God has forgiven you, others have forgiven you, why will you not forgive yourself?  Sometimes it boils down to fact that I cannot believe I am capable of being that stupid.  Sometimes it is because I cannot get over the anger I feel at myself.  God is so compassionate, that his forgiveness is never held over us.  When He forgives, it no longer exists.  Family, friends, and even people I don’t like still offer me forgiveness because they know I can be better than that.  I still remember a time in 5th grade when a classmate I was always in competition with or could argue/fight with at the drop of a hat, walked up to me on the playground while I was crying my eyes out, put his arm around me and just sat with me.  Finally, when I could stop crying, he told me it will get better.  Forgiving myself and letting go, is what I have to work the hardest at.

The other thing that always comes to mind for me when I hear this reading is that there are many more stones we can toss that have nothing to do with rocks.  Our gestures, our attitude, our actions and words to others can and often do more damage than a rock would.  Do we harm others spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually as well as physically?  What would Jesus say to us, if he watched the way we are with others?

 

Fr. Terry’s March 17th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

I remember visiting a student of mine who lived in Florida while I was there to visit a priest from our Diocese who had moved there.  I was just looking to visit, but this student wanted to do something special for me.  He had arranged a fishing trip in the ocean.  Not being very experienced himself, he had hired a guide.  The guide was exceptional and kind.  He knew where to go for the good fishing.  He knew what equipment to use and prepared us on what to do when a fish grabbed our line.  He would make suggestions along the way and not once did he call us dumb.  Like I say, he was a kind man who wanted us to have the best experience possible.  It was hard work, but a very fun day.  It was productive because we had a wonderful time visiting to catch up on each other’s lives.  It was productive because we accomplished catching some fish that we enjoyed in a meal together that evening.  Those were the things that made the trip memorable.

We are headed into the days of uncharted waters called Lent.  It is a Journey worth taking.  It has a way for us to follow.  It has a guide who wants us to have the best experience possible (God).  It has companions to journey with us in caring and support.  It has a goal/destination.  We learn along the way.  We are given chances to learn and to be forgiven for mistakes.  With each experience along the way we grow, individually and together.  Our weaknesses are turned into strengths.  We are blessed with the things that are most important to us.  We are fed with nourishment, bodily and spiritually.  Everything becomes right in our lives and the world around us.  We become grateful.  And everything is how it should be.  It leads us to a time of celebration in the midst of that gratitude.  And we develop a memory to last a lifetime and beyond.  I invite you to a marriage, yes a marriage!  In prayer and reflection, take my experience and connect it to the journey of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.  That is what we should be about:  connecting our experiences of life to the God who gave us that life.

May your prayer and reflection be fruitful to your life and journey of faith. 

 

Fr. Terry’s February 17th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

 We just celebrated Valentine’s Day.  “Love is a short word but it contains everything” is a quote by Guy De Maupassant.  I have often thought that if God were to give that quote, he would add these three words at the end – for an eternity.  In other words, God would tell us that love is meant to never have an end.

 God is love; and he that dwells in love, dwells in God. (1 John 4:16)

 An early Christian Mystic offered this:  God is the presence, warm, all-enfolding, touching the drab world into brilliance, lifting the sad heart into song, indescribable, beyond understanding, yet by a bird’s note, a chord of music, a light at sunset, a sudden movement of rapt insight, a touch of love, making the whole universe a safe home for the soul.

St. Augustine wrote:  He loves each of us, as if there were only one of us.

 Desire Joseph Mercier once reflected about our relationship with God and each other in this way:  “To unite we must love one another; to love one another we must know one another; to know one another we must meet one another.”

Greater love has no one than this, that one lays down one’s life for a friend. (John 15:13)

I leave you two scripture passages…

Earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 12:31 to 13:8)

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you.  Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:3-9)

 

Fr. Terry’s February 3rd Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Memory – what a treasure God gave us.  In relationship to funerals, I have often reflected on how out of all of God’s creation, that is one complex gift God gave to human beings.  I am watching everyday right in front of my eyes, my Mom struggling and her frustration with remembering people, events, and things.  It is a little scary because as I age, I find myself having days or moments of memory loss.  I wonder if I could ask for early retirement (lol)?  And yet throughout my life to this point, I have always considered God’s gift of memory one of my greatest treasures.  It has enriched my priesthood and my life in powerful ways.

Memory can be broken down to many areas, one of which is communication.  Communication in a parish is necessary for so many reasons…especially in building us up as the Family of God, the Church.  It was recently shared with me that present day parishes are made up with five generations of people.  It is roughly:

  1. 9% the Greatest Generation
  2. 24% the Baby Boomers
  3. 20% Generation X
  4. 22% the Millenniums (Generation Y)
  5. 26% the I-Gens (Generation Z)

Because of all the technology, never has there been such a diversity of how we communicate.  As a parish, we need to learn and grow in how we communicate to meet everyone’s needs.  An example is our information screens before Mass to share what is going on in our parish.  Naturally there were a few people who questioned why, what to them was a distraction.  Yet I also had some parents tell me that their high schoolers mentioned something that was happening in the parish.  This surprised them and they asked their children where they got the information.  It was from the screens.  That is why to try to reach out to all five generations, we need to have several different ways to get information about the parish out.

With this in mind, I have set two goals for myself and the parish.  It will be the start of what I hope will be a growth in our parish in this area of communication.

The first one is our bulletin.  The most frequent feedback I receive is that it is too busy…too full of information overload.  Also, how often the same thing gets conveyed over several weeks.  It is my intention to reformat the bulletin in the weeks ahead.

The second one is our newsletter.  I really feel it should be devoted to telling the Good News of what is happening in our parish.

Please feel free to give feedback or tar and feather your pastor.  If you chose the latter, I will ask Fr. Tom to stand by to sacramentally forgive you in case I cannot talk (Ha).  While I might not be able to implement all your ideas and feedback, I do welcome it because St. Michael is our parish and all of us should be actively involved in forming who we are in service to God.

 

Fr. Terry’s January 6th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

One more week of the Christmas Season, which always ends with the Baptism of Jesus.  I am always appreciative of all the people of the parish who contribute to the beautiful liturgies of this season.  Always on the top of the list are our musicians, vocal and instrumental.  We all know how busy the time for Christmas is and then add in the times of practice.  They come early to sing songs to set the stage for our worship.  Because we all have family to celebrate with, our last few Masses are the least attended.  Yet we have some faithful people who provide the music even when the time is not convenient.  And yes, some of them even play for more than one Mass.  They really are our choirs of angels in more than one way.  I also am grateful to those who decorate, help out with all the liturgical ministries:  sacristans, greeters, ushers, lectors, eucharistic ministers, gift bearers, altar servers, book bearers, Fr. Albert, Fr. Luan, and Fr. Tom.  I would also like to thank our staff who help with so much of the background preparation.  Last, but not least, all of you who come to give God fitting honor & worship and who form a welcoming spirit to our many guests.

One often wonders what Joseph and Mary must have felt to be housed in a stable, to greet the baby Jesus in such a humble way.  You don’t hear about them griping, swearing (God forbid), embarrassed, or saying “why me”.  This weekend, we don’t hear in scriptures about the three Magi, Kings, Wise Men – ridiculing them, laughing at them, criticizing them as lousy parents, or turning them into authorities.  Everyone present, from parents to those who come see the baby Jesus, react as if it is the most beautiful thing they have ever seen in their lives.  In the busy lives we lead, let’s not forget to approach God’s gift of love with the same awe and wonder.  The Magi brought gifts, but they could never outdo the gift to us from God.  Jesus, the gift of love, compassion, forgiveness, and salvation is ours, now and forever.    Thank you all for being part of my Christmas and giving me a family (God’s family) to celebrate with and journey along side to God’s Kingdom of Heaven!   God Bless everyone!

 

Second Week of Advent

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Having had the blessing of coming from a rich, mixed faith background, I have always experienced Advent and Christmas as seasons that stress, celebrate, and honor that which unites.  I have studied extensively how music, words, and melody were used to help people learn about God.  This was especially important to those who were illiterate.  During the Advent Season, one of the most important hymns used in our worship is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.  This song was written by an Anglican Priest by the name of John Mason Neale.  Benedictine Monks brought the hymn to our Catholic Church and Worship.

Titles were very important because it describes who and what we long for that the world cannot give.  These are known as Messianic titles from Scriptures that prophesied and foreshadowed Jesus’ coming.  For the people of Jesus’ day, it was to foreshadow his coming into the world at what we know as Christmas.  However, for us today, it is to remind us of His second coming, which in our prayers and worship we express.  In these seven verses, we realize that through Jesus’ first coming, he was going to be the ransom paid to set Israel and the nations free.  So in a sense, each verse is helping us place our eyes on Jesus’ return by anticipating, yearning, hoping, and aching for His second coming.

Ephesians tells us that the Christian life oscillates between these two poles:  the overflowing joy of the “already” redeemed and the tearful yearning of the “not yet” redeemed.

Let’s use this Advent Season to celebrate the things that unify us in our Christian Faith.  Let this Advent Season be a celebration of our being Good Neighbors who support each other in charity, understanding, and a profound sense of peace.  Let us also, during this Advent Season, be examples of faith, hope, and love to those who have no faith or relationship with God.  May they see in our examples, the transforming power of love that Jesus mentored for us.  And in this Advent Season, may we remember in action and prayers those who are homeless, poor, and struggling.  Joseph (our patron saint of our Diocese) and Mary (our patron saint of our country) experienced those things when they fled to Egypt to save the life of the baby Jesus.  May our words and actions be reflective of their trust in the will of God and their living of God’s love.