Category Archives: Fr. Terry’s Sharing

Fr. Terry January 2016 Newsletter

Welcome to the new year of 2016.  As we continue to celebrate the life we have been blessed with here on earth, we rejoice in God’s plan of salvation that will be brought to full fruit in the eternal kingdom of God that awaits us.  I am grateful to share in this journey of faith with you as the family of God here at St. Michael.

An important part of that journey together is being good stewards of what we have been blessed with.  Stewardship is more than the financial part of supporting the ministry of Christ here and now.  It is recognizing the fullness of what God has blessed us with to share with each other.  It is investing ourselves in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Stewardship cannot be passive or lukewarm as Jesus puts it in the scriptures, but needs to be active.  To better reflect this, I am asking for your help.  You will notice by the entrances to the church, a stand with some different colored cards.  Use of these cards hopefully will reflect the fullness of what we have and what we share in honor of God and with each other.  We want to keep track of this, not to blow our horn, but to show in a physical way our gratitude to and for God.

There will be a pink card that has the title “One Hour Of Prayer” on one side and the following written on the other side {To provide spiritual support for myself, my family and friends, and for the many ministries, programs, and activities of The Catholic Community of St. Michael this past week:  I spent one hour in prayer.}  For most of us, we most likely spend more than one hour of prayer.  The use of this card is a symbol of prayers offered.  If you have prayed at least one hour for someone or something, we ask you to take one card and throw it in the collection as an offering to God.

There will be a yellow card that has the title “One Hour of Time” on one side and the following written on the other side {Reaching out to the wider community this past week I have given one hour of time to civic activities and projects and sports programs.}  For most of us, we most likely gave more than one hour in time.  The use of this card is a symbol of time offered for others.  If you donated at least one hour of time, we ask you to take one card and throw it in the collection as an offering to God.

There will be a blue card that has the title “One Hour of Service” on one side and the following written on the other side {Committed to the use of my gifts of time and talent, this past week I have given one hour of service to the many ministries, programs and activities of the Catholic Community of St Michael}  For most of us, we most likely gave more than one hour in service.  The use of this card is a symbol of service offered to others. If you donated at least one hour of service, we ask you to take one card and throw it in the collection as an offering to God.

There will be a green card that has the title “Simplified Giving” on one side and the following written on the other side {In thanksgiving for God’s many blessings, I/We used “Simplified Giving” to make financial contributions in support of the many ministries, programs, and activities of the Catholic Community of St. Michael}  Many of you use the electronic form of giving, but we all know how important mentoring our children is.  For them to see us put something in the collection shows how important it is to financially support our parish.  This gives us a concrete way to express that.  The use of this card is a symbol of giving offered to our parish and to God’s Kingdom.

We will also have children’s envelopes by the entrances.  On one side is space for them to write in the contribution, name if they wish, and some good deed or service they provided during the week.  On the other side it is blank so they can use it to express their art work or anything else they wish.  We do this to start to teach good stewardship to them.  We will keep a separate total of the children’s contributions each week.  Quarterly we will ask some of them to help us decide how to share that.  1/3 will go to a local charity, 1/3 will go to a national charity, and 1/3 will go to parish needs.  I personally have been awed by how the children invest themselves in this.  Here is a sample I have shared with several others to show this: One child wrote on the blank side of the envelope – God, when I let my brother play on the computer when it was my turn, I was sad and mad at first.  But then I thought to myself, think of all the good things he did for me.  I also said, think of all the bad things he did to me.  And I said, just because he is mean to me sometimes, does not mean I need to be mean.  And if I am nice to him, maybe he will learn to be nice as well.  It was a tough decision but I said I will do it.  Children continue to amaze me.  We also plan on handing out to them a children’s bulletin to take with them.

All of us, no matter what our age, contribute in so many ways to make this a vibrant community of faith, a family of God.  We need to openly celebrate that God is alive and among us.

Fr. Terry

 

Dec. 20th Fr. Terry’s Sharing Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

What is under your tree?  What gifts bring you great joy?

How is Christmas the presence of Christ for you?

These are the gifts under my tree:

  • Fr. Nicholas with his contagious smile of real warmth.
  • Deacon John with his generosity and can do spirit.
  • Ann Gooley with her wonderful ability to adjust to different people’s needs.
  • Anne Burkard with her great wealth of experiences and caring heart.
  • Dianne Hohn for her gentle spirit, dedication and the person I would seek out if I needed a hug.
  • Dennis Ernster who loves it when things work the way they should and works hard to make it happen.
  • Jackie Conley who is so supportive to those who help her and who has an even brighter smile when around the children.
  • Julie Early who has the caring heart of a nurse and a desire to work for people to be whole and healthy.
  • Linda Hartmann whose best smile comes in her dedication to the elderly.
  • Mary Ellen Melanson who wants so much to please people in caring for their needs and making them feel welcomed.
  • Pat Berg who is a grandmother’s loving personality to so many, especially when going through some of the happiest and saddest moments of their lives.
  • Rhonda Kelsey who I admire greatly because we share such a love and hope for the youth and who is creative, a great planner, and always wanting to grow in knowledge about faith.
  • Susan Schaunaman who has great patience and, more than anyone else, takes the time to inform, instruct, encourage, and check in on me as I make the adjustments to a new parish.
  • Sylvia Wensing who is gentle, welcoming, puts her heart into even the parts of her job that are not her favorite, and asks “why” to keep me connected and on my toes.
  • Jordan Pannell loves to connect his life and faith together in service as a mentor to the youth.
  • Lisa Huemoeller who approaches the staff and students as family and wanting them all to grow with each other in the Kingdom of God.
  • The staff of our school who makes me proud by being the instruments of providing the environment and a place of security for our students to know they are loved, gifted, and appreciated.
  • Our wide-range of volunteers who make sure the ministries and needs of our parish family is attended to in forming this faith family of God.
  • And last, but not least, all of you who come to encounter Christ with each other.  Who participate in each others lives.  Who celebrate with each other God’s blessings.  Who mourn with each other in the hurts and struggles of living in an imperfect world.  Who commit to praying for each other as sisters and brothers in faith.  Who desire to support each other as we grow in faith.  Who come here to experience God and who hope that for each other.  Who love those within and outside our parish as the heart of God in action. You all are my gifts under the Christmas tree.  I could not be more richly blessed!  May God be the source of great blessings to you on this special day when Our Savior Jesus was born to us!

On behalf of our staff and school, I extend to you, our heartfelt thanks and joyous prayers for you!  

 

Nov. 29th Fr. Terry’s Sharing Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Advent Season has always been for me a time of reconnecting.  Reconnecting with God & His story of Redemption, reconnecting with friends, and reconnecting with my church family.  In the busyness of life, it is so easy to lose track of even God.  Maybe it is the commercialism of this time of the year.  Maybe it is that we focus so much on our own personal needs and wants.  Maybe it is because we get overwhelmed and just shut down.  Whatever happens, for me it is the relationships that keep me going.  I have to make that the priority during this time of the year in my life.  Hence the importance of reconnecting.

I also find it healing and life-giving.  I have to honestly say the part of priesthood that I dread is the continued uprooting to move to another parish.  Frankly, it is a hurtful process for me and I think for many priests.  You become family together.  You become a part of the most intimate moments and events in people’s lives.  You invest yourself in caring deeply about them.  You center your life around them.  You fall in love with them and hope it is mutual.  You need it to be mutual.  These are people who get to know you—strengths and weaknesses.  And for the most part return your love.  So reconnecting with them is something I look forward to, especially in this time of the year when Christ chose to become family with us. Hence my love in holding babies.  I am convinced God chose to send his Son into our lives, not as a fully grown man (God) but as He did.  An infant depended upon us.  No wonder He chose Mary and Joseph with such care.  When parents hold their child, they know they are holding close to their heart the most precious gift they will ever receive.  Thank you for letting me experience that during the time of Baptism.  Thank you for being my family.

Just in case you want to reconnect during this season of God’s Love, here are some addresses:

Msgr. James Michael Doyle

2913 S Ridgeview Way, Sioux Falls, SD 57105

Fr. Michael Wensing

1009 Skyline Dr., Watertown, SD  57201

Fr. Joseph Vogel

PO Box 188, Jefferson, SD   57038

Fr. Charles Cimpl

3601 E Dudley Lane, Sioux Falls, SD  57103

If it is some of the many associates you wish to reconnect with, you will find their addresses on the Sioux Falls Diocese Website or you could call the parish and we will be happy to find their address for you.

May your Advent be filled with the people you treasure the most.  In the midst of the busyness, may you keep sight of what is most important.  And may God always be at the center of your heart and mind.  God Bless!

 

FR. TERRY’S SHARING-NOV. 1ST

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Seeing with the eyes of love or otherwise—known as seeing with the eyes of Christ.

I have to admit, having spent two weeks with my classmates and brother priests, WOW, have they gotten old looking.  Alright, I know what you are thinking….Father have you looked into a mirror lately.  Yes I did and I look as old as they do.  One of my classmates had an accident and later a stroke.  One of his hands is deformed and you cannot help but notice how it affects his movements and ability to do some physical tasks.  As we celebrated Mass each day, we took turns doing different ministries within the Mass.  It was my classmate’s turn to distribute communion.  I watched him do something that was difficult, with a gentleness and graceful care.  I cannot describe it any other way then it was an act of love and beauty.  I saw with the eyes of Christ and it brought tears to my eyes and a deeper love for this brother priest.

I was telling the staff that recently, at the 6:00pm Sunday night Mass, I saw a wonderful sight.  Through the front doors there was an elderly woman coming for Mass.  The years had been heavy on her.  She walked with difficulty and her body bowed.  Even with the cane she used, every step was a labor.  Her cautious steps were slow.  As a pre-Mass song was played by our youthful music group, I watched her enter the church and walk down the aisle.  Then the music caught hold of her mind and body.  She straightened up and the cane was tapping to the beat of the song.  With a smile on her face, her hips started to sway and she began to dance.  This graceful moment lasted until she saw me watching her and just that quick she returned to her former posture.  The music had made her heart and body young again, even for that short time.  I saw her with the eyes of Christ and experienced in a profound way, God’s love alive within her.

It is harvest time, often I find myself looking at the farmer’s hands.  They have calluses upon calluses. Many times the scars are from the years of hard work, yet offered up to become the throne upon which the Body of Christ is held with faith and love.  I have seen their strength used to handle the animals they care for, but at a Baptism, the gentleness to hold their child with a love that flows through their whole being.  I had the privilege to see them with the eyes of Christ.

To return home after having endured a bottom punishing 13 hours on a plane, and to be welcomed back by the loving hugs of our St. Michael school children. To be overwhelmed with a peace and warmth of knowing this Parish, this faith family, is to me a daily experience of home where you know you are loved, appreciated, and seen by others with the eyes of Christ.

Who have you experienced with the eyes of love and seen with the eyes of Christ?

 

Fr. Terry’s Sharing-Oct. 11th

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

We welcome back Fr. Nicholas.  He will return this Tuesday, late evening.  We pray he will return to us rested, renewed, and happy from his time with his family.

I leave Tuesday morning for a trip to Turkey and Greece.  This is my second trip to these places, the first one was last October, 2014.  One trip focused upon the places visited by St. Paul.  The other trip will focus upon the places visited by St. John & Mary.  My ordination class from theology in St. Paul was 19 priests from South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  In honor of our 30th anniversary, 14 of us are taking this trip together.  I will return on October 26th.

Fr. Ed Pierce will help Fr. Nicholas the weekend of Oct. 17-18.  Msgr. Steve Barnett will help Fr. Nicholas the weekend of Oct. 24-25.  We are so blessed to have retired priests who live in Sioux Falls and are so generous with their time and help. Please make sure to thank them for being here.

Deacon John and myself have returned this week from Clergy Days.  The Bishop, priests, and deacons meet each year from Monday noon till Thursday noon in Chamberlain.  The Bishop gives us a State of the Diocese report and answers any questions we have about ministry within our diocese. We have one or two guests speakers who are experts in ministry and spirituality.  We have time to enjoy each other’s company.  For some clergy, this is our one opportunity to see each other during the year.  It is a great opportunity to update and share fellowship.

We are celebrating Volunteer Weekend here at St. Michael.  I found this Prayer of a Volunteer.  “I thank you, Lord as one who volunteers.  For the chance to serve and to give of myself in some small way, to those not blessed as I each day.  My thanks for health and mind and soul, to aid me ever toward my goal.  For eyes to see the good in all, a hand to extend before a fall.  For legs to go where the need is great, learning to love—forgetting to hate.  For ears to hear and heart to care, when someone’s cross is hard to bear.  A smile to show my affection true, with energy aplenty to respond to the task that needs to be done.  And all I ask, dear Lord, if I may, is to serve you and others better day by day.” 

This parish is only as great a family when everyone participates and contributes to the good of all.  Every single one of us has something to offer in honor of who God has created us to be.  Every single one of us has something to offer to strengthen each other.  Every single one of us can make a difference for another in dedication to God.  This is our Church!  This is our Faith Family!  No gift shared is too small.  Every gift shared is a blessing. There are so many ways to share.  Prayerfully consider and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in how and in what areas you can serve.  We all have been touched by the generosity of others.

 

October Newsletter

Fall Greetings and Blessings to all of you, 

While I admit to sometimes complaining about the weather, I have always loved living in a place where we have all four seasons.  I like new beginnings, new renewal opportunities, and a freshness to life.  I have always loved the concepts of family and of journey.  Our God is a relational God and we are called to be a people in relationship with each other,  a part of each other’s life.

I have never viewed Priesthood as one separate from the ones you serve.  Priesthood is not dictatorship, it is not from the top down, it is not a sense of ruling or a one-way relationship.  It is being among and a part of.  It is as our Pope Francis does so well, a dialogue seeking mutual growth through openness and actively listening. Priesthood is not my priesthood (as in that I control it), but a gift to the whole family of faith.

Therefore, after listening to others and observing myself, there will be items from time to time that I will ask all of us (myself included) to reflect on and to take it to prayer.  With that in mind, I share with you four items for your consideration, reflection and prayer.

 

  1. Someone reminded me that now having the tabernacle in the main church, we need to make sure we get into the practice of genuflecting as a gesture of honoring God’s presence. You may notice at Mass, I bow rather than genuflect.  This is because I have a knee that locks in unexpected times.  I then have to crack it after usually falling on my face. Therefore, I bow.  Maybe other people might find genuflecting hard, but we can always bow in those situations.
  2. Some of the Eucharistic Ministers have mentioned that several people take the host by using two pincer fingers. Remember, if we are receiving by the hand, to offer our hand open and palm up like an altar.  If we are receiving by the tongue, we need to extend our tongues out.  Some Eucharistic Ministers have mentioned it is like putting a coin in a slot if the tongue is not extended.
  3. We are the biggest Parish in our diocese (although Fr. Cimpl said he plans on Holy Spirit passing us) and therefore, in our state as well. It is easy to get lost in the numbers or feel alone in a crowd.  We all need to constantly commit ourselves to greeting one another, introducing ourselves to others, and extending smiles of welcome.  Christ never failed to recognize those around him. Remember, we are his arms and presence to each other.  With this in mind, I am home visiting every new registration in the Parish.
  4. Our meal family gatherings and our Mass celebration are built upon the same foundation and structure. 1) Greeting and welcoming.  2) Visiting and sharing the stories of our lives.  3) The gathering around the table to share a meal.  4) Thank you(s) and farewells/goodbyes.  I would never think of getting up right after the meal and walk out without saying thanks or goodbye.  Christ (if we really believe Him present) is there for the whole time.  Do we walk out on him?  Granted there are good reasons for leaving Mass right after communion:  elderly who are slower and do not want to be rushed, those with small children who are having a bad day, and those with an emergency.  What is our reason?  How would God feel?  It is your choice, I just ask you to think and pray about it.

Fr. Terry Weber

 

Fr. Terry’s Sharing Sept. 13th Bulletin

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

On September 12th, many years ago, I received a gift from Karen, who at one time I was engaged to.  It was one of those random gifts that instantly warms your heart.  It was a Book by the name of: “The Many Meanings Of Love.”  I have always kept it.  It was a unique gift because in every space and every margin, she filled up the space with her own thoughts of love for me, based upon the ideas written on each page.  On one page it had the 10th definition of love as a verb.  It read:  to experience a universal sympathy among human beings; to act out of a common respect for all persons.  There was a quote on that page as well by Desire Joseph Mercier:  “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.”

I am constantly being reminded that this is a big parish.  No matter what the size, the parish best reflects Christ when we make personal contacts.  We are one family of God!  I make a commitment to serve and minister to you, not as a number in a big crowd, but in as a personal manner as I can.  I invite every one of you to do the same.  My greatest sadness would be if someone came here and felt unwelcomed or not reached out to.  This will happen if only a few of us reach out.  This will not happen if all of us are family to each other, respect each other, and become the arms, heart, and voice of God to each other.  I am an extreme introvert, yet I will not let that hinder me from this important task.  I ask you not to let anything get in the way of this important responsibility.  Every one of us (and I mean every one of us) have this God-given responsibility.  Each one of us makes a difference.  And as family, that is what it should be.

Another quote on that page was by Sydney Smith.  “I could not live if I were alone upon the earth, and cut off from the love of my fellow creatures.”  And I would add—from God.  To see everyone with compassion and warmth is what made Jesus so compelling and approachable.  It is what our Pope Francis sets as his goal everyday.

We live in a society that uses and is self-centered.  A family could never exist in that kind of culture. We have evidence all around us.  It is our choice whether to live in an earthly kingdom or a heavenly one.

I was honored by the words Karen wrote in the margins.  “You are a person who loves me for who I am and who invites me to love back.  You see the completeness of who I am both good and bad, yet your love is unconditional.  You challenge me to become better each day by committing yourself to me fully.  I know love because you are love.”  This describes God and God’s family to me.

 

Fr. Terry’s Bulletin Articles 8/9/15

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

This past Monday I met with my Priest Support Group.  The group is made up of:  Msgr. Steve Barnett, retired in Sioux Falls; Fr. Mike Kelly from Groton; Fr. Ken Koster of Kranzburg; Fr. Bob Krantz of Montrose; Fr. David Krogman of Brandon; Fr. John Lantsberger of Dell Rapids; Fr. Bob Vinslauski of Clear Lake; Fr. Mike Wensing of Watertown; and myself.  They have been meeting as a group with little changes for over 37 years.  I have been with them for 31 years.  We take turns hosting the group once a month.  We meet to share our ministries, our personal journeys in faith, pray together, and share a meal together.  This group is caring, supportive, and life-giving to me in my priesthood and personally.  We truly are brothers to one another.

I also am enriched by a monthly meeting with Fr. Jim Bream and Fr. Al Krzyopolski where we pick a book of faith (we went through “The Joy of the Gospel” by Pope Francis last year) or articles about ministry.  Both of them have years of pastoral experiences that I learn from through our sharing with one another.

I also meet monthly with a spiritual director, a nun who balances my ongoing growth in a relationship with God.  Having a woman’s insight has been very enriching for me, both in my priesthood and in my personal life.

The last group who helps shape my life, is a group of close friends and my family.  The thing I like most about them is they know well my strengths and my weaknesses, and while they do not hesitate to get in my face and challenge me, they also give me a glimpse of God’s unconditional love.

Without these people I know that my life would be stagnant and un-fulfilled.  God certainly would not get the best I can offer to him in thanks and praise.  And without God, my life would lack a deep faith, a compassionate love, and no hope in despair.

Now comes my need from you.  I need a faith family that calls forth from me my best.   Who holds me up in my weaknesses and struggles. Who reaffirms my strengths and goodness.  Who will do whatever they can to help me reach for heaven.  Who show me faith, hope, and love.  I promise to lovingly offer the same things to you to the best of my ability.

Who are the supports in your life?  How do they support you?  What do you need to invite them to do better?  How are they in helping you towards heaven? How do they help you to a deeper relationship with God?  How are you a better child of God because of them?  Have you thanked them and let them know how important they are to you?  God is good and provides us with those we need.  Have we thanked God?

 

Bulletin Article July 19th

Family Sharing from Fr. Terry…

Passing On Our Gifts

I had a chance to spend six months in Rome on a Sabbatical.  I truly enjoyed that experience.  By far the best part of the experience was the art and my opportunity to meet several times with Pope John Paul II.  The art was used to teach about our faith and our relationship with God.  It truly fascinated me and I looked for every opportunity to visit the churches for that experience.

I had the chance to experience Pope John Paul II on four occasions.  The first was a general audience in a big hall set aside for this.  The second time was when he visited the North American College (seminary) I was living at.  He offered the Mass that day.  I realized that the seminarians were just like the Italian nuns.  Before you even realized it, you were maneuvered to the back of the church with them in front of you.  Luckily, after the Mass, we (the priests on Sabbatical) were escorted to a room to the side and the Pope went around and greeted each of us. The third time was when I con-celebrated at a Holy Week Mass and helped with communion.  I was told to only give the host on the tongue as people of many different faiths and tourists were present.  Many Oriental people were taking the host and putting it in a scrapbook as a souvenir.  With the large crowds you could not take the time to ask everyone whether they were Catholic or not.  The last one was the most powerful.  I ran across a seminarian who was suppose to be an altar server for one of the Pope’s private Masses with small groups.  He was not feeling well and was looking for someone to take his place.  I immediately jumped at the chance and said I would cover for him and what details did I need to know.  I had picked out a chalice to take home with me.  I left early so I could pick it up on the way to St. Peter’s Church.  I arrived to the sacristy early and to my surprise, the Pope walked in early as well.  I had a most enjoyable one on one conversation with him, not believing my good fortune, or should I say blessing.  As part of the conversation, the Pope asked what was in my bag.  I told him about the chalice and he offered to bless it right then.  Then he made it an even more special experience by asking if he could use it during the Mass.  Now with his sainthood, it is a relic.

I am sure you remember Deacon Barry Reuwsaat from last summer.  He was with me at Risen Savior the summer before that.  As I have two other chalices, one from my parents at ordination and one in honor of my sister Sue, who died of cancer and who you will hear more about from time to time.  I wanted to pass it on to someone who would use it more frequently.  So it became an ordination gift to Deacon Barry for when he becomes a priest.

Our gifts become treasures when the stories of our lives are given along with our possessions that are passed on.  The chalice is earthly but the touching of lives is eternal.