May 21, 2017

I. Confirmation Formation: Bishop William Medley will confirm 23 teenagers on Pentecost Sunday, June 4th, at the 11:00 a.m. Mass. A special thanks to the confirmation team–Katelyn West, Sister Jeannette Fennenwald, Fr. Jamie Dennis, and Corey Bruns–for your leadership. The preparation has included nine sessions (approximately one per month), as well as three retreats–the day with Bishop William Medley, Youth 2000, and the recent Clark Lake Retreat–plus various service projects. Their final session will be this Wednesday at 6:00pm in our Youth House. A special word of admiration to parents for your support as facilitators, chaperones, snack providers, etc.  Parents are the first educators of their children in the faith; never underestimate the power and influence you have on your child’s faith development. Thanks to all!

II.Summertime Family Time!  Summer can be a time of bonding with family and friends. Is it possible to streamline our summer schedules to include more fun and family time? Do you have regular family meals together? Is there a regularly scheduled time for family prayer?  Even on the way home from an event in the family vehicle might be a good time for praying together! It will never happen without our being intentional about it. If you are on vacation, find a Catholic Church near your vacation sight and join that faith community in worship! Remember to visit

III. Safe Environment: is important and mandated by the Diocese for the safety of our children and vulnerable adults. Thanks to Carrie Wieder who has facilitated this important process for almost four years and has done a fabulous job! I welcome Janice Greene who has graciously accepted this new challenge. Thank you for your cooperation with her in continuing this vital program. I am responsible for giving an accountability report to Bishop Medley at the end of each fiscal year.

IV. Pope Francis and Fatima: as you know, tens of thousands of pilgrims greeted Pope Francis as he arrived in Portugal to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Marian apparitions to the three children, Jacinta, Francesco, and Lucia. After seeing Mary on May 13, 1917, these three youth gave themselves over to communicating Mary’s call for peace in the midst of World War I.  Pope Francis spoke of a culture of encounter over a culture of conflict, and challenged human beings around the world to “tear down all walls.” Our Holy Father canonized Jacinta and Francesco, both of whom died just a few years after the apparitions. Sister Lucia died in 2005.

Since Mary, he challenged, was the first to follow Jesus on the “narrow way” of the cross by giving us an example, do we consider Mary “a teacher of the spiritual life, ” or a Lady “unapproachable and impossible to imitate?” To us, is Mary a “woman blessed” because she believed always and everywhere in God’s words (Luke 1:42-45), or is she merely a “plaster statue” from whom we beg favors at little cost?

Is she the “Virgin Mother of the Gospel, generated by the church at prayer,” or “a Mary of our own making?”