This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - March 9, 2018

ThisWeekStonePastor.png

Dear All: 

 

Christ’s Peace!

 

Just a few more hours to the P.J. Anderson Concert! As Providence would have it, P.J. will be one of the music makers at the 4:45 Mass on Saturday. (That Mass also marks the conclusion of the day-long retreat for this year’s 75 confirmandi.) The Youth Group will be selling hot dogs and pizza in the parish hall between the end of the 4:45 Mass and when the doors open for the concert at 7:00 p.m. The prayerful nature of P.J.s music will surely help all present to be even more glad they are Christians. It is music for people of every age. Your free will offering will support the youth group’s summer work trip. For a small taste of what to expect from PJ, head to YouTube for a listen.

 

THIS WEEK IN PRAYER

  • Imaginative Prayer – Those who have made the Spiritual Exercises, like those who are Meeting Christ in Prayer, know the power of imaginative prayer. When we deliberately imagine the scripture scene’s physical details, the Holy Spirit has a way of leading us further into God’s truth and peace. Both the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross are custom-made for imaginative prayer. The Rosary group prays every morning before the 8:35 Mass and the Stations are prayed every Friday in Lent at 9:00 am and 7:30 pm. The morning stations are prayed in the Memorial Hallway. 

  • Our Little Black Books — What was your favorite part this week? Tuesday did it for me. The bit about Georgia O’Keeffe made me chuckle, but I can only explain why in person, not on the internet. (Hint, she grew up Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where I lived during my Madison years). That day’s portrait of Jesus was also powerful. Notice his response to people who misrepresented his words. What a role model.

  • Lenten change of habit? How goes it? Whether you are picking up an inspired habit or putting down an uninspired one, are you noticing God’s desire for you to succeed? Best blessings with your adjustments.

  • Meeting Christ in Prayer — Too bad the snow bumped our Wednesday evening groups. Pray on! Everyone in the program has to put up with a bit of spiritual whiplash this week as we contemplate the resurrection before Easter. Remember to keep your imaginations in high gear.

  • Confessions – No time like Lent to make an extra trip to confession, even if you don’t need a haircut! Come to the Reconciliation Room on Saturdays between 4:00 and 4:25 OR make an appointment to see me OR come to the Parish Reconciliation Service on Tuesday March 20.

  • Great blessings for our Confirmation Candidates who will be making their confirmation retreat on Saturday. 

  • Sunday’s Homily – “JCBFF Part Three: He champions our freedom.”

    • To listen to Sunday’s homily, click here

    • To read a summary of it, go to the bottom of this page.

 

THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY:

  • Our perennially popular Fish Fry is Friday March 23. And yes, the Irish Step Dancers will return! Mark your calendars. 

  • We have had to re-schedule our Spring Cleaning to Saturday, April 28. The snow mountains around the property, and the threat of more to come, make March 24 look a little sketchy for outdoor work. The list of jobs to be done will be posted in the Gathering Space the week after Easter. Signups will be the weekends of April 15 and 22. Thanks for your flexibility and for saving the morning of April 28.

  • Thanks to the nearly 200 parishioners who made Saturday’s Morning of Recollection for Parish Ministers such a great experience. The overall vibe was first-rate and the conversations were evidently terrific. Sometime this spring, you will be hearing more from Suzanne Kral and me to follow up on your thoughts about the current states and the immediate futures of your ministries. Extra blessings for all.

  • Because of the snow, the First Wednesdaycelebration for March has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, March 14. The gathering begins right after the 8:35 Mass. All are encouraged to come.

  • Rectory basement – after years of blessed accumulation, the rectory basement is scheduled for a major clean out as part of the April 28 Spring cleaning.  Have you stored something over there that you want saved?  Has your ministry done that?  If so, contact Suzanne Kral to let her know what you want to be saved.

THIS WEEK IN SERVICE:

  • Our parish is hosting the Interfaith Hospitality Network the week of May 6. The ministry has recently made great strides in automating the signup sheets for the dozens of people required to make the week work. Just a gentle reminder – if you haven’t already signed up, please do so soon. It makes the planning that much easier for the planners.

  • Members of our Youth Group will be making their 30-Hour Famine in late April. Stay tuned for invitations about how you can support this very impressive effort.

  • We are off to a terrific start in our effort to support the Feeding Hands Food Pantryproject. The bins for collecting household products and healthcare products have been filling up nicely. The big push will occur at the Fish Fry on March 23. Your generosity is, once again, impressive.

  • Operation Rice Bowl is also in full swing. The Rice Bowl project offers a fine option for families with young children to become more aware of those who go without – and to come to their aid.

  • Check out the Moses Table this weekend for more information about our revitalized Guatemala Ministry. The ministry leaders are as dedicated as ever and eager to receive your help.

With special blessings for all who are amping up their prayer, service, and community-building this Lent. May God reward your extra efforts in prayer and in good habits with great consolations.

 

Fr Hank 

 

Summary of this Week’s Homily:

 

“JCBFF Part Three: He champions our freedom”

 

The Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1: 67-79) stands out as one of the New Testament’s most inspiring passages. Zechariah’s song of praise includes three phrases that are both beautiful and consequential: “(The Lord) has visited his people and set us free . . . free from the hands of our enemies . . . free to worship him without fear.” The concepts of “free from” and “free to” give us a way to grasp the biblical notions of freedom, especially the freedoms Jesus encourages us to claim.

 

Sunday’s first reading lays out the Ten Commandments. Each commandment tells us to avoid a choice that ensnares us. Worshipping false gods, making false testimony, committing adultery, mistreating your parents – and all the other misdeeds, ensnare us in worry, conflict, and degradation. By obeying the commandments, we stay free from all the traps that violation of the commandments entails. And as Mark Twain told us and we all know, it is much easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble! Wise use of our freedom keeps us free.

 

Sunday’s gospel, John’s version of Jesus cleansing the temple, gives us an example of Jesus being free to do the right thing, even though others will misunderstand. If he were worried about his reputation or being liked, he never would have upset things as He did. But He was free to do it.

 

What about you? Imagine meeting Jesus on the trail. He asks you to get free from one habit that ensnares you and deprives you of peace. What does He want you to get free from? And then He asks you about one inspired habit you are free to embrace but have not embraced. What is it? What does He have in mind when He says, “You are free do to the right thing here.” And “I understand you.”