This Week in Prayer, Service & Community

Dear All:

Christ's Peace.

This week in prayer: 

  • Sunday’s gospel described Jesus in the wilderness, tempted by the devil to live lavishly, to live famously and to live dangerously. Those temptations, which necessarily include tormenting interior deliberations, occurred immediately after Jesus’ peak experience of being baptized in the Jordan and hearing the Father say “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Our spiritual masters tell us that this is to be expected – the dark side loves to assail us immediately after a peak experience. When has that been your story? When have you (a) made a choice that glorified God and lead you and others to peace and then (b) soon thereafter found yourself flailing about in doubt and temptation? Do you know someone who has just taken that timeless tumble from consolation to desolation and needs some support in their wilderness?
  • Thanks to the 102 people who participated in Saturday’s morning of recollection for liturgical ministers. As Bill Gibson put it so well, “the faith was electric”– because of the participants.
  • Several parishioners have reported making a great effort to listen prayerfully to their GoBibles for Lent – and getting bogged down in the books of Leviticus and Numbers. Skip them! Go to the juicy stories of great faith. Right after Deuteronomy comes Joshua, Judges and Ruth. Then comes the high excitement of Samuel and Kings. Persevere!

This week in service:

  • Get this . . . The Blue Storm effort to gather plastic bags has produced a collection of 22,030 bags. That’s right – TWENTY TWO THOUSAND. Go Blue Storm! Hats off to you and the project organizers and managers.
  • The response to the “Point-of-Light” walls has been superb. 97 new projects are in the works. That’s in addition to the 40+ that are already on the way. You are remarkable. And if you haven’t already, take a star!
  • Three cheers/blessings for the 25 St. Joe’s folk who are working with IHN and our brethren at the Dutch Reformed Church to provide housing, food, homework help, toddler play, warm beds and friendship this week for 3 area homeless families with 6 children.
  • Remember to pick up a Catholic Relief Services “Rice Bowl” in the gathering space. Your help makes a big difference to the world’s neediest.

This week in community:

  • Nearly twenty people posted for Financial Peace University. May God poor out extra special blessings on Rich Realbuto and everyone in the program as they do the noble work of answering God’s call to greater peace.
  • The calendar of Spring Fellowship is now posted in the gathering space - mark your calendars early.
  • Be good to yourself if your Sesqui score isn’t quite where you want it…yet. We have five more weeks to up our averages and then another forty days until Pentecost. Chin up as you double down on your efforts to Pray, Read, Shine, Join, Labor and Yak

All best blessings.

Fr. Hank SJ

This Week in Prayer, Service & Community (Jan 13, 2016)

Dear All -

Christ's Peace to you this week. Today's note is a bit longer than usual - a testament to all the wonderful things going on in our parish community. 

This week in prayer:

  • From this Sunday’s readings for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Isaiah 42, Titus and Luke) -- The call to be merciful is easily misconstrued as a call to be a wimp who blesses wrongs. Not true. As Christians, we are always called to pursue “the victory of justice.” A just situation is one that aligns with God’s hopes. Hence, we try to make our worlds the way God wants them to be. In pursuing justice, we practice mercy (kindness to the troubled and to the trouble makers). In what circumstance do you need to recall that is exactly what you are doing, even though you might be exasperated? In what circumstance are you trying to right a wrong and be kind in the process?
  • Once again, what relationships or circumstances most incline you to pray our parish prayer for help to be merciful.
God, help me to bless the troublemakers, the pains in the neck and the real heartbreakers. And help me to help the truly troubled, that their woes may be halved though mine might be doubled.
— Mercy Prayer, St. Joseph Parish Community


  • Thanks to Bob Vornlocker for organizing the distribution of the 200 “GoBibles.” May we use them well to expand our exposure to God’s Word.
  • Prayer Camp will take place on Monday evenings in Lent. Looks like it will be Mass at 7pm followed by an hour of input about prayer – others and yours. Details to follow.

This week in service:

  • The countdown is on for our Souper Bowl Food Drive. Details to follow but the process is simple – bring canned foods to church on Super Bowl Sunday…and wear your favorite team’s colors (as long as they are green and gold).** 
  • Giant “Help Wanted” ads for Liturgical Ministers will make their debut this week in the gathering space. Every Mass needs additional liturgical ministers. No experience necessary. Notice the needs. Make up your mind. Fill in the form. Put it in the box. Complete the training. Serve your community. Be happy. Glorify God.
  • Are financial worries keeping you or people in your life from experiencing God’s peace in a more profound way? If financial pressures are distressing you or someone in your life, consider Financial Peace University (FPU). We are greatly blessed to have Rich Realbuto offer the tried-and-true FPU for his “Point-of-Light” service project. Stay tuned for details.
  • Lent starts four weeks from today. (True.) Pretty much every person in church wants to have her or his Point-of-Light project on her or his drawing board by Ash Wednesday.

This week in community 

  • Thanks to members of the Lazarus ministry. They worked extra overtime throughout December, and always with amazing grace. This is their first week off in ages.
  • The list of fellowship events is almost ready to post. Keep an eye out for it in the gathering space. Mark your calendars for Comedy Night on April 15.  Pay the IRS then laugh.
  • Mark your calendar for the Knights of Columbus pasta night on January 29 – the first pasta cooked on their magnificent new kitchen equipment. Go Knights. And what’s this we hear about a high-stakes “Heads Up” competition? Eaters and players of all ages strongly encouraged to smell the toast and taste the meatballs.
  • Dance Dance Dance! If you like to dance or want to learn REAL dancing, fill out the form in the gathering space.

Hoping that this week’s dose of winter feels ok to you.

All best blessings.

Fr. Hank SJ

**Editor's note: Feel free to wear YOUR favorite team's colors, especially if you like the winning colors blue and red.