Sunday, June 29, 2008

Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

This Sunday, our Church celebrates the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. Two of the most famous apostles, St. Peter followed Christ before the Resurrection, St. Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascus. Both Peter and Paul ended their lives and proclamation in Rome. Both gave their lives for their witness to Jesus Christ. Peter was crucified, Paul was beheaded.

As we celebrate their lives and deaths, may we recall that the Church is nourished by the blood of the martyrs, and that the Church is founded on the proclamation of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fear not... It is one of the most repeated commands. Fear is a natural feeling for humans - it helps us to be aware of dangerous situations, and prepares us for a response (flight or fight). While in the presence of God is a dangerous situation, we have nothing to fear - God loves us and in His providence provides for us.

Jesus asks us to transform that natural fear for this life and instead fear the condemnation of God. God loves us, and we ought to freely love Him. May we know this love and providence...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Beg the Harvest Master to send laborers. The harvest is abundant, but if it is not gathered soon, it will be lost. Laborers are needed and are few, and time is of the utmost importance. Jesus calls the Twelve to begin laboring.

The harvest remains abundant, and souls will be lost if there is not someone sent to tell them the Good News of Jesus Christ. We need to be laborers in the God's field, and like good farmers, we know that there are different duties for all of us. May we be good laborers!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Priest's Anniversary

This weekend, a Fr. Leonard Jenniges, a priest from Wanda, Minnesota, is celebrating his 60th anniversary of ordination. Ordained almost 10 years before the formation of the Diocese of New Ulm, he was ordained and remained a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul Minneapolis where he was a teacher at Nazareth Hall (the local High School and college seminary) and then a pastor. He retired a number of years ago and returned to his home town.

Some time ago, not only because I was assigned the pastor of his home town, but also because I am the Director of Vocations and we are still without a Bishop, he asked if I would preach his anniversary Mass. As I prepare, I cannot help but think of all that he has done these 60 years.

These are the hands that 60 years ago where placed into the hands of the archbishop, and therefore into the hands of the Church, as an act of obedience and submission. These are the hands that were anointed with Sacred Chrism. These are the hands that were given the chalice and paten, the offerings of the Church, to be offered to God. These are the hands that held those offerings, and received back the very Body and Blood of our Savior. These are the hands that took that Sacred Gift and gave it back to the People of God.

These are the hands that poured the water, making clean the body and soul of those washed in the sacred bath of Baptism. These are the hands that assisted at countless confirmations, seeing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out into the hearts of the faithful. These are the hands that were raised in absolution, restoring the penitent to God and the to the community. These are the hands that brought the consoling oil of Sick to those suffering from affliction and preparing for surgery. These are the hands raised in blessing, sealing the bond of husband and wife. These are the hands that were imposed in prayer and extended in peace to the newly ordained brothers in the priesthood.

These are the hands that held those who were grieving the loss of a loved one, taken in tragedy or sickness, young or old. These are the hands that comforted those weary from the battles of life, finding the strength to continue on. These are the hands that rejoiced with those receiving the gift of a child, a success, a deeper awareness of God's grace. These are the hands that modeled the need for peace and forgiveness. These are the hands that gave freely to those in need. These are the hands that loved all.

These are the hands that years have served the Church. These are the hands that have ministered to all in need without counting the cost. These are the hands of a priest. May these hands not grow weak under the burden of years, gnarled by the crippling affect of disease, and silenced by the attempts of the evil one. May the bearer of these hands be honored for his 60 years of priesthood.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer 2008 Assignments

We are pleased to announce the assignments of our Seminarians. Matt Wiering will be returning Stateside from the North American College for some family time and for 6 weeks of parish assignment in the Wabasso/Wanda/Seaforth/Lucan Area Faith community of the Light of the World (where I am pastor). Aaron Johanneck will be staying in Europe to help with a pilgrimade and for language studies. Both Matt and Aaron wiill be returning to North American College in Rome for Theo. III and Theo. II, respectively. Zach Peterson: He is in a Clinical Pastoral Experience (CPE) at St. Mary's Hosptial in Duluth. Jacob Niemand is in a parish assignment in the Divine Mercy Area Faith Community in Sleepy Eye/Leavenworth/Comfrey. Both will be returning to St. Meinrad's, Zach in Theo. III and Jacob in Theo. II. Anthony Mielke: He is living in the Cities and working at St. Paul Seminary. He will return to the University of St. Thomas and St. John Vianney College Seminary for his Junior year. Paul Blaschko is working at the 10-week Summer Program offered through the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha NE. Butch Hendrickson is at home working in his carpentry shop.
Please keep them in prayers.

More Seminarians

We are pleased to publicly announce that we have accepted two more fine young men as candidates for the seminary, both for St. John Vianney Seminary on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. Garrett Ahlers is from Marshall, MN. Andrew Illikman is from New Ulm, MN. Both will be freshmen.

We are also in process with another applicant for another program.

Please keep these men in your prayers.

Those that are counting will realize that pending the acceptance of this third candidate, we will have ten in formation, with five starting with us since July last year. Yes, that means that we will double our numbers... now only if you can get 10 candidates next year...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Reflection on the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Come, follow Me. The invitation is so simple, uncomplicated. Jesus calls to Matthew, the tax collector. He takes Matthew where he is at (literally at his tax post), and invites him. Jesus does not condemn for the past sins that Matthew must have committed. But Jesus does not say where it will end, either. He does not provide a road map, but simply an offer to let Him be the guide. Nothing in the past or the present ultimate matters, just the present. It is a moment of eternal consequence - to walk from the known, with the Savior into the unknown.

In following Him, we find happiness that lasts. May we hear this voice, and follow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reflection on Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

As so often the case, we are good at hearing, but not so good at listening. Like children, we often balk at doing what is asked (for a multitude of reasons). However, we need to listen to God. After all, He is willing to save us, and has done all that is necessary. But it needs to applied to us. Yes, salvation is ours in Christ alone. But is not enough to simply say that Jesus is Lord and believe in the Resurrection - no, we need to respond to the will of God. We need to allow our faith to be translated into action. Not all, Jesus tells us, who call out 'Lord, Lord...' will be saved, but only the one who does the will of God the Father.