Category Archives: Parish Events

Fr. Chuck’s Article Fifth Sunday of Easter

Cimply Putting It…

Busy month ahead?  Try being amplius!  The story is told that one day Michelangelo, the great Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet, entered his studio that was full of prospective artists.  He examined the canvases of his pupils.  A few he complimented.  He advised some to keep their day jobs.  Finally he came to his star disciple.  The man was working on a small canvas.  Across the picture, he wrote the Latin word “amplius”.  It means “larger”.  The maestro felt his pupil was playing it safe.  He was not working up to his capacity.  He wanted him to start all over again. 

It’s a new month—and from what I hear from many of you, it is a busy month.  There are lots of things to go to and to get done—graduations, weddings, Mother’s Day, etc.  Many people have felt it:  felt the strain of life that is a whir of activity, the tension of countless jobs piled on one another, the exhaustion of going to bed without having had a real break during the day to allow oneself to relax and clear one’s mind of all the concerns, plans, worries, and things to be done. 

I don’t know why the pace of life seems to have accelerated beyond that which we normally experience when the snow finally melts and the grass begins to green.  Whatever the reason may be for all the hustle and bustle, it does seem to be a reality that we are pretty busy.

Sometimes this sort of feeling can enter into our spiritual and religious lives.  We can look at our worship and involvement in our Church as being simply another bunch of things that we have to get done.  It is not only young people that tell me that they are just too busy to even fit in going to Church, but folks of all ages sometimes express that concern to me. 

I know that sometimes coming to Church can give us the feeling that we even have more work to do.  I have to pray more, volunteer for this or that, or get involved in a Bible study. 

One time in a discussion about the pace of life, a retreat director told me the Chinese proverb that tells the story of a fox that was captured by a tiger.  The fox said, “You can’t eat me because the gods have made me the leader of all the animals.”  The tiger did not believe the fox, but the fox said, “Follow me and see if any animal challenges me.”  The tiger agreed to this and followed directly behind the fox as the fox begin his walk through the forest.  To the tiger’s amazement it turned out to be exactly as the fox had said.  Not a single animal they encountered challenged the fox.  Indeed every animal they met fled in sheer panic.  After several such encounters, the tiger finally agreed that the fox was the leader of all the animals and let him go.  The moral of the proverb is:  it is easy to remove obstacles that oppose us when we have a tiger behind us. 

Truly there are many obstacles and dangers in our lives, and there are many drains upon our energies.  We do have lots of things to get done.  Alone—we can be overwhelmed by them.  But the good news is that we are not alone.  God is with us on every step of our journey. 

Scientists tell us that we leave this world with large portions of our brains woefully undeveloped.  The same may be true of our spirits.  Spiritually we are capable of being more interesting Christians than we are.  Had we the chutzpa, we could become spiritual masterpieces.  Jesus is probably tempted to write the word “amplius” over our lives.  Our spiritual canvases are too small.  We are capable of much more in our spiritual lives. 

It is so easy for us to be too busy.  We get tired out and find ourselves hungering for peace.  But God, for some reason or another, has led you here today.  Here you will find again, food for your journey.  Here there is what your spirit needs—a time of rest, a time of strengthening in the presence of the Lord, and God’s people. 

Once there was a woman whose happiness was shattered by the loss of her brother.  Torn by anguish, she kept asking God, “Why?”  But hearing only silence, she set out in search of an answer.  She came upon an old man sitting on a bench.  He was crying.  He said, “I have suffered a great loss.  I am a painter and I have lost my eyesight.”  He too was seeking an answer to the question, Why?”  He took the woman by the arm and walked with her.  They found a young man walking aimlessly.  He had just lost his wife to another man.  He joined them in their search of an answer to the “Why?” question.  Shortly they came upon a young mother who lost her baby.  She joined them, but still no answer.  Suddenly they came upon Christ.  Each confronted Him with their question.   But Christ gave no answer.  Instead, Christ began to cry.  He said, “I am bearing the burden of a woman who lost a brother, a girl whose baby has died, a painter who has lost his eyesight, and a young man who has lost the love of his life.”  As Christ spoke, the four moved closer and embraced each other.  Christ spoke again saying, “I cannot prevent pain, I can only heal it.”  “How?” asked the woman.  “By sharing it,” Christ said. 

Yes it is a busy time of year, and much, if not all of what we are doing needs doing, but these busy times need not drain us. 

We thank you God, that when we wander, you seek us out; that when we stumble and fall, you lift us up; and when we feel lost you call us by name. 

Thank you God for writing “amplius” on our canvas when we think we are getting too busy.  It reminds us that you love us and want us to feel that love from you. 

Make it a great week.  clc

 

Fr. Chuck’s Easter Bulletin Article

Cimply Putting It…

From March Madness to April Gladness, and a resounding NO! to a moral victory…When Notre Dame lost to undefeated Kentucky in a close game last weekend, coach Mike Brey responded in the postgame press conference with a common coach cliché.  He stated that even though his team played their hearts out and left everything on the court, he wasn’t into moral victories.  I’m not either.  Once when I was visiting with a person who was struggling to believe if this whole Christian story of the death and resurrection of Christ was really true, she said toward to the end of our conversation, “well, even if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, he taught us many good things.”  Her statement sounded like a coach who likes a moral victory.  Again, that’s not for me.  I’m not into moral victories. 

Failure.  It’s that sinking emptiness in the pit of our stomach when we get an exam back and see that we flunked.  It’s the surgeon returning from the operating room and pulling off the surgical mask to reveal an ashen expression that speaks without uttering a word.  There’s no need to ask whether the operation was a success.  It’s packing up the belongings from your house because the relationship with your wife/husband is over, and wondering who should take the wedding album when neither person will look at them again because it’s just too painful. 

Failure.  Defeat.  The slide to the bottom.  What do we do with it?  One response is kind of cheap rationalization.  It was a moral victory.  I remember when I was doing some training for ministering to people in the hospital, a priest telling me the episode he had when he was newly ordained.  He had to go to  a house where a man had suddenly died, and the newly widowed woman met him at the front door and shouted, “Don’t you go give me any of that preacher crap about ‘he’s better off now’ or ‘he’s gone to a better place.  He’s gone and that’s it.”  The woman knew she wasn’t going to have it softened by any cheap talk.

But more likely in the face of failure, we find more skillful rationalizations.  There must be someone else to blame.  Maybe God?  Or it’s the governments fault.  Or it’s a communist plot.  Maybe my potty training was dysfunctional.  This has been going on since Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. 

So it’s Easter.  What are we doing here following this person named Jesus?  It doesn’t matter how you look at it, the stories are not success stories.  The angels might sing at Christmas of the King of Kings who brings the good news of salvation for all, but there’s precious little on the scorecard after that.  Before he’s old enough to talk, his mere presence has inspired the slaughter of all the baby boys in the whole town, and he only escaped by his parents fleeing the country like refugees.  When he starts preaching, his own home town writes him off as too big for his boots and when he won’t shut up they try to kill him and he has to flee the town. 

A lot of people liked to hang around and listen to his stories, but the only people he could get to follow him were people that no one else wanted anything to do with.  People who couldn’t get anyone else to be their friends.  Prostitutes.  Pawn brokers. People who smelled of old fish. 

Finally when he arrives in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and it’s really crunch time, what happens?  Within a week of arriving to the shouts of Hosanna, the people turn completely against him and yell “Crucify Him!” 

He was a good man, some would say, and he gave it his best shot.  He left everything on the hill of Calvary.  It was a good moral victory but he lost.  He failed.  Jesus hangs there as a symbol of the unavoidability of failure.  A symbol of all the brick walls and dead ends and unfulfilled hopes and unkept promises that humanity endures.  “Don’t come in here with any  preacher talk.”  He’s dead.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  Death is death.  Failure is failure.  I don’t want any moral victory.

It’s Easter.  “Now, after the Sabbath, toward dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb…”  Everything goes haywire.  He is risen!  Emotions are all over the place.  Even years later after plenty of time to get their stories together, the Gospel writers still can’t make enough sense of what happened to get a coherent account of it. Some say he appeared to Mary, some to Peter.  Some say he appeared in Jerusalem, some in Galilee.  Some have him coming through closed doors, others have him barbecuing fish on the beach.  Something happened and nothing will ever be the same again. 

On Good Friday, the curtain in the temple was torn in two, opening the way to the Holy of Holies.  You and I are here this Easter to discover more than a curtain that has been torn.  Today the whole impenetrable brick wall of inevitable failure has cracked open.  You and I, drained by the horror and failure of it all as we stood at the cross on Friday, suddenly find that the story is far from over.  It is just beginning for us.  This is no moral victory.  This was no good guy who gave it his all and then lost.  He rose from the dead.  If you and I follow Jesus through that wall and into the great unknown of the other side, the brick wall of failure need never to be impenetrable again. 

Dear Reader.  This is truly April Gladness.  The Resurrection was the decisive event in human history.  Once we recognize the power of this event, nothing is the same for us.  It is the ultimate victory from one who came among us and loved us so, he wanted to be with us forever.  We are in the winning bracket.  Alleluia!

Happy Easter!   clc

 

 

 

April 2015 Newsletter

Dear Parishioner:

Holy Week  – Time to recharge the Spirit.  In this age of handheld electronics, few tasks have become commonplace as recharging cell phones, tablets, and media players.  As owners of these devices we plan our recharging regimens in advance because without them we feel helplessly out of touch.  Many of us also purchase connectors for our vehicles so we can recharge on the go.  While recharging electronics has become a standard practice for most of us, the recharging of our personal batteries has remained strangely atypical.  Instead, the norm is for us to race through our 24/7 world with few breaks for restoring our bodies, minds, and spirits.   Moreover, it often feels like we are running on empty.  Faith demands time for the “re-creation” or recharging of our souls.  Unlike our machines, the spirit cannot be recharged “on the run.”  This is why we make retreats, rare opportunities to step back from the fray, surrender to the silence and allow the power of God’s Spirit to flow back into us.  The Liturgies of Holy Week can be for us a “mini-retreat” to recharge ourselves and truly prepare for the joy of Easter.

Fr. Kristopher Cowles was assigned by Bishop Swain to be the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.  His new assignment took effect on March 2nd.  Fr. Cowles will stay in residence at our rectory until this summer and will on occasion take a Mass at our parish.  Even though his time with us was short, we certainly have been touched by his insightful homilies and cheerful spirit.  This is his first time as a pastor and I believe we all know that he will do very well.  I am so thankful we have Fr. Nicholas among us and he will be assisting us on a more regular basis.

Have you returned your Catholic Family Sharing Appeal (CFSA) pledge card?  Thank you to those of you who have returned it.  I would really appreciate it if you have not done so, to do so by the end of this month.  You may recall that we need all the cards returned, even if you choose not to give a monetary gift.  It really does save our office staff a great deal of time if you return your card.

The new St. Michael Directory will be going to print soon.  Thank you to those who had their picture taken. At the back of the directory we include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all of our registered members.  If you do not wish to have your phone number and/or address included in the directory, please call the Parish office and let us know.

The new organ was installed last week.  It is a beautiful instrument and our musicians are excited to have it in our church.  Thankfully the company let us have it without the final payment.  We could use some assistance to pay it off.  If you would like to donate to the fund please let me know.

Here’s what Pope Francis recently wrote about Easter.  What does it mean that Jesus is risen?  It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself and that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom.  God’s love can do this!  Jesus did not return to his former earthly life, but entered into the glorious life of God with our humanity, opening us to a future of hope.  He no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected toward the future.  God’s newness appears to us as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human.  Let the risen Jesus enter your life.  Welcome Him as a friend, with trust:  He will receive you with open arms.  If you have been indifferent, take a risk.  You won’t be disappointed.  If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you.  He is with you and will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as He would have you do.

 Keep the Parish calendar handy for all the confession times and also our Holy Week schedule.  We attempt to make the Holy Week Liturgies powerful worship services.  The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday, the Liturgy of Good Friday, the Living Stations by our youth, and the Easter Vigil on Saturday include some of the most moving liturgies of the year.  Be ready to truly experience the joy of Easter.

God Bless all of you!

(Rev.) Charles L. Cimpl

 

EASTER VOLUNTEERS

Holy Week, with its wonderful, rich liturgies, will soon be upon us.  Many volunteers are needed for the Triduum and Easter Sunday!

Can you help?

(Sign up sheets are in the Commons)

Altar servers & book bearers, E.M.E.’s, sacristans, gift bearers, greeters, lectors, ushers, bus drivers, nursery workers and others (see below) please sign up or contact:

sylvia@stmichaelsfsd.org or 361-1600 x205

Special Notes

¨ Ushers Please plan ahead and sign up.  Your ministry is so important during these holy days when we have so many guests.

¨ Trained Altar Servers & Book/Cross Bearers of any age may serve on Easter Sunday.

¨ Easter Sunday Overflow Mass at 9:45 in the Multi-Purpose Room. All volunteers are invited to a special ministry of service to our many guests on Easter morning by helping out at this Mass.

¨ Nursery Workers for Holy Thursday & Good Friday Services We would be willing to pay for this service.

¨ Foot washing Anyone can be part of this beautiful rite at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, though we do ask that children younger than 12 be accompanied by an adult or teen who is also participating.  We will contact you with instructions!

Thank you for your willingness to serve

and God bless you!

 

LENTEN COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES

Sunday, March 29 

2:00pm   Christ the King

2:00pm   St. Mary

7:00pm   St. Lambert

7:00pm   St. Katharine Drexel

Monday, March 30

 7:00pm   St. Joseph Cathedral

7:00pm   Holy Spirit

Tuesday, March 31

 7:00pm   St. Michael

7:00pm   St. Therese

KC Fish Fry

Knights of Columbus will host Fish Fry’s

on Friday’s following the Stations of the Cross.

Baked or fried fish, mashed potatoes,

               mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches,

vegetable and ice cream.

Free will offering will be accepted

 ╬  Stations of the Cross during Lent-Friday’s @5:30pm