The Latest Updates

March 30, 2020

For more news, articles, & resources
visit our parish Facebook pages:

○ St. Paul’s Parish       ○ St. John the Baptist Parish

Sacramental Confession

May 28, 2020

Friday, May 29th:

7:00 – 7:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

Saturday, May 30th:

3:00 – 3:30 PM @ St. John’s west-most parking lot
7:00 – 7:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

.


Fr. Feltes will be hearing Confessions from inside of his car with his window closed.

Car-to-Car (if you come alone):
Drive up alongside Father, roll down your window, and turn off your engine to confess.

Walk-up (if you come with others):
Park some distance away and take turns sitting in the chair beside Father’s window to confess.

Please share these Confession times with others.

My Ascension

May 23, 2020

Ascension of the Lord—Year A
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. We also need to celebrate the the fact that Jesus remains with us for all eternity individually for all to rejoice by and through the Sacraments gifted to us by Jesus and the vocation directed to all who have received the Sacrament of Baptism by being called to be the body, hands, mind, heart, and feet of Jesus here on Earth by and through his marriage with us as members of the Church of Christ. Wow, what a privilege, but what a responsibility.

Our readings tell us that we have been chosen to respond to the call to be the Body of Christ here on earth as we continue our journey, our “Ascension” to Jesus who resides with the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is through the Sacraments that we receive a helper to guide us on our mission. The Paraclete joins to our body and spirit whenever we celebrate the gift of Sacraments given us by Jesus when he walked in body here on earth. Through the gift of Sacrament we become one in Spirit with God who helps guide us on missions he has requested of us.

As told us in our second reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe…

How do we know that Jesus is still with us. Good question, but all we need to do is watch and listen for he will speak to us and help us discern the will and hopes he has for us. I will share with you a personal example of knowing God is still here with us. Everyone knows the struggle and fear that exists about re-opening with the virus still spreading. It has not been easy for your clergy to celebrate private Masses without you, the larger Body of Christ, being present. How do we as clergy know what to do or how to continue ministry during these trying times? The answer lies in prayer. Personal prayer to the one who promised to be with us always on our journey to the Father’s house. Prayer need not be formal or fancy for prayer is nothing more than talking with God about problems or challenges we are experiencing. It is through communication, it is through prayer, that relationships are formed.

Recently I have been asking God for direction on knowing what God would like me to do during these challenging times when we are asked to curb our direct contacts with others. I have also asked for some communication from Jesus as to my personal mission he desires me to embark upon. A couple of weeks ago just before celebrating Mass with Father Victor, he requested that I pick out a couple of names for our parish calendar raffle. I reached in, stirred the tickets, and grabbed two raffle tickets which were sitting next to each other. The first name I picked was Steve Turner. Steve was one of the people who joined St. Paul’s Catholic Church a year ago and had attended our Parish RCIA classes. I remarked to Father that Steve is one of those guys that has always been lucky; whether in love in finding his gifted spouse, or in fishing at the right spot. The second name I picked was, guess who? Deacon Dick. What a coincidence!

It was during the Mass that I realized the event that had just happened. I had received an answer to what God wished me to continue to do. He told me that I was important in helping others find their way to the Church of Christ and to the vocation of being the Body of Christ. And how has this affected Steve’s life? He is now an adult server in our parish and he and his wife help out with our RCIA program, with him heralding the fact that since his marriage to Elaine he has been in Church more than all of his previous years of his life. What a coincidence!

Guess what? Jesus is not up in the clouds, He is still with us through the Body of Christ and his Sacraments. Thank you Jesus for being our supernatural friend. Wishing to all of you as the Body of Christ, a blessed Ascension!

For Forgiveness

May 19, 2020

Friday, May 22nd:

6:30 – 7:00 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

Saturday, May 23rd:

Noon – 12:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot
6:30 – 7:00 PM @ St. John’s west-most parking lot

.


Fr. Feltes will be hearing Confessions from inside of his car with his window closed.

Car-to-Car (if you come alone):
Drive up alongside Father, roll down your window, and turn off your engine to confess.

Walk-up (if you come with others):
Park some distance away and take turns sitting in the chair beside Father’s window to confess.

Please share these Confession times with others.

Joyful Gifts — The Reception of Lane Severson into Full Communion

May 17, 2020

6th Sunday of Easter—Year A

Today we have special cause for joy. This Sunday, Lane Severson formally joins the Catholic Church and will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion. His story bears a likeness to today’s first reading from the Book of Acts, in which the people of Samaria heard the preaching of the Gospel:

“Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. … Once they began to believe Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized.”

Lane became a Christian thirteen years ago when, professing faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he was baptized in a Washington State pond. This was God’s greatest gift to him since the day of his birth. Today, he comes to Jesus Christ’s Church because, as it was for the people of Samaria, God has additional great gifts he delights to give him and calls him to receive.

“[W]hen the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Those Samaritans had each been baptized, but there was still more for them to receive, still more for each to experience. God does not merely seek to cleanse us of former sins and fill us with new grace — as wonderful as that is — the Most Holy Trinity desires personal and profound relationship with each of us, desires that we would become intimately united to each Divine Person. God calls us to be more deeply united to the Spirit through Confirmation, to be more deeply united to the Son through the Eucharist, and to be led to the Father and the eternal life of Heaven beginning in his Church here on earth.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. It increases the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit within us. It roots us more deeply as prayerful children of God, moving us to cry out, “Abba! Father!” And it provides the Spirit’s strength to spread and defend the faith by word and deed as true witnesses of Christ; to confess the name of Christ boldly, unashamed of the Cross; to “always be ready,” as St. Peter says in our second reading, “to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

The Holy Eucharist is also an incredible gift of God. This sacrament is a partaking in the same holy meal and offering Jesus gave his apostles at the Last Supper. It increases and deepens our union with Christ. As Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” The Holy Eucharist separates us from sin, wiping away venial sins when we receive the Lord worthily and strengthening us against future temptation. And it unites us as one with each other in the Mystical Body of Christ, his Church. As St. Paul writes, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

We are all excited for Lane joining the Catholic Church and receiving her great God-given gifts this day. And we Catholics who have already received these precious sacraments will profit to remember their powerful effects which, in the state of grace, endure within each of us. In Samaria, at the preaching of the Gospel and the mighty signs of God, “There was great joy in that city.” We, like they, have cause for joy today. So in the words of today’s psalm:

“Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, ‘How tremendous are your deeds!’”

 

New Catholic Lane Severson & Carol Kaszubowski, his Confirmation Sponsor, on May 17, 2020.

On Returning to Sunday Masses

May 14, 2020

On May 14th, following the repeal of Wisconsin’s statewide Safer at Home order, our Bishop William Callahan promulgated this letter and these guidelines on the possible resumption of public Sunday Masses in Diocese of La Crosse parishes as early as May 31st.

St. Paul’s and St. John the Baptist’s Churches will be actively pursing a safe return to weekly Sunday Masses. However, it appears likely that the issuing of new Wisconsin state and/or Chippewa County rules in the near future may restrict aspects of what our diocese seeks to allow. Stay tuned for updates in these weeks ahead.

Confessions this Weekend

May 11, 2020


Saturday, May 16th:

3:30 – 4:00 PM @ St. John’s west-most parking lot
6:30 – 7:00 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

Sunday, May 17th:

Noon – 12:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

.


Fr. Feltes will be hearing Confessions from inside of his car with his window closed.

Car-to-Car (if you come alone):
Drive up alongside Father, roll down your window, and turn off your engine to confess.

Walk-up (if you come with others):
Park some distance away and take turns sitting in the chair beside Father’s window to confess.

Please share these Confession times with others.

Our Favorite Psalms

May 10, 2020


Matthew Bowe – Psalm 8

My favorite psalm is Psalm 8 – “Yet you [man] have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor” (verse six). As a mathematics and physics education major in college, I had opportunities to enroll plenty of science courses, including two astronomy courses. I have a fascination with the heavenly bodies. Last year in March I went to Arizona on a science pilgrimage and visited Kitt Peak, which houses astronomical observatories. The universe is expansive and immense. Yet, God is bigger than that. He created the universe, and He is always in control. “O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! I will sing of your majesty above the heavens” (verse two). Although the universe massive, it is insignificant compared to God. However, God is Love, and He loves us. We have immense worth and dignity. He gave us “rule over the works of” His “hands” (verse 7a). God is significant for us, and we are significant to Him.


Isaac Pecha – Psalm 16

My favorite Psalm is number 16, principally on account of two lines. The first is “He has put into my heart a marvelous love, for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.” I love this visual of how God, who so loves his children, chooses to show some of his love for others through us. It reminds me of when my dad would invite me to help prepare a Mother’s Day gift for my mom with him — he could have done it just as well on his own, but because he loves both me and my mom, he chose to include me in his act of love for her. The second line is “It is you [God] yourself who are my prize; the lot marked out for me is my delight: welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!” As a convert to Catholicism, I love the idea of inheriting the Faith from those who went before us. In my hope to become a priest (God-willing), I dream of being involved in God’s acts of love for his children and of passing on this heritage of faith to others in the particular ways that a priest does.


Eric Mashak – Psalm 22

When I first read the passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark I was not sure what to think of verse 27:46. It is where, from the cross, Jesus says those famous words: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Had the Father really forsaken His Beloved Son? I asked a great assortment of similar questions! It wasn’t until a few years later that I found out that Jesus was actually quoting Psalm 22, which begins: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? …” As Jesus grew up praying the Psalms, he knew many of them by heart. They exemplify His relationship with the Father. Reading Psalm 22 in its entirety, I realized that it is actually a psalm of trust in the Father even in the midst of intense tribulation. Jesus was praying this psalm, in His knowledge and love of the Father, in His dying moments. It is beautiful to be brought into the relationship between the Father and the Son in praying this Psalm.


Fr. Victor Feltes – Psalm 63

Praying in bed at night or before the tabernacle in the sanctuary, I desired God since my youth. “O God, you are my God, for you I long.” I saw that without Him there is no lasting satisfaction. “So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.” I discerned that serving God would be the best use of my life. “So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy.” My desire for the priesthood was really something He placed in me and the Lord brought my vocation to fulfillment, “for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.” Jesus at the Father’s right hand and Mary at the right hand of Christ have been faithful in their love for me. “My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.” I have not memorized many scripture passages but I know the first twenty lines of the 63rd Psalm very well.

Jesus is Family — Mother’s Day Homily

May 9, 2020

5th Sunday of Easter—Year A
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Today we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter and a very special day for mothers. Our Gospel has Jesus telling his disciples that he will be leaving them to go to the Father’s House and that he will be preparing a place for them at his Father’s house. Thomas quizzes Jesus as to where exactly is the Father’s house. He wants Jesus to give him a map of where Jesus is going. He wants more information about the Father and where the Father resides. Jesus responds to their inquiry by telling them that He is “the way”, by telling them they can see the Father by and through him; by and through following Jesus and his teachings to love God and neighbor, Jesus is being a parent to his followers. The Church is the bride of Jesus and thus we are his family. He is the road map that we can refer to at any time we choose so that we will stay on the right path to the Father’s house and to Jesus who resides with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As Scripture tells us, “The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want.”

Parents’ primary responsibility is to their children and to provide not only food and housing to their children but also to be there to help their children stay on the right path which will lead them to happiness and peace during their lifetime here on earth. Christian parents know that this can only happen if their children form a relationship with Jesus who is “the way” to not only happiness in this life but also eternal happiness when we are called to join Jesus at the Father’s home.

I was blessed with having good parents who instilled within us children the need to form a relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. During challenging times we were taught to pray for help from above, to not try and do it alone. I can remember that during my schooling years and challenges to obtain and find a vocation in life, my mom would pray to Mary and light a vigil light weekly for me to find and accomplish the goals necessary for me to have a good life. Going to Mass on Sundays and giving thanks to God was never optional – it was just something our family needed to do to say “thanks” and share Eucharist with our faith family friends.

Jesus was telling his disciples and he is telling us that we need to share with our community and friends the road map to get to the Father’s house. That road map is Jesus. Jesus and the Holy Spirit was God’s parental gift to us kids to help us find the way which will lead us ultimately to the Father’s house. Let us all fulfill and be good moms and dads to all; for this is our heavenly Father;s wish, that we partner with him in providing guidance and a map so that all may find happiness and eternal life with Jesus, Mary, and all the saints who reside at the Father’s house.

Wishing a special blessing upon all the moms, both living and deceased, who have helped us kids find the road to happiness and peace in God’s kingdom through Jesus and His paternal guidance.

Come to Confession this Weekend (May 9 & 10)

May 5, 2020

Saturday, May 9th:

3:00 – 3:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot
6:30 – 7:00 PM @ St. John’s west-most parking lot

Sunday, May 10th:

Noon – 12:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

.


Fr. Feltes will be hearing Confessions from inside of his car with his window closed.

Car-to-Car (if you come alone):
Drive up alongside Father, roll down your window, and turn off your engine to confess.

Walk-up (if you come with others):
Park some distance away and take turns sitting in the chair beside Father’s window to confess.

Please share these Confession times with others.

How They All Went Wrong

May 3, 2020

4th Sunday of Easter—Year A

Why did Satan rebel against God?
Why did Judas betray Jesus?
Why did Peter deny the Lord three times?
The underlying answer is important for our present lives.

Why did the Devil rebel? Though mysterious, it seems that this angel proudly desired a greater “glory” than was found in God’s hierarchy. To be God without God. This was his suggestion in tempting our first parents; “you will be like gods”. Satan, being the most powerful of the demons, rules a fallen kingdom apart from goodness, truth, and God.

Why did Judas Iscariot betray Jesus? It might have been for the money; thirty pieces of silver was about five weeks of wages and St. John the Apostle reports that Judas “was a thief and held the [apostles’] moneybag and used to steal the contributions.” Yet St. Matthew writes that when Judas saw Jesus condemned he deeply regretted what he had done and returned the money to the chief priests and elders saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” Perhaps Judas never intended the Lord to die but had hoped that Jesus, with his back against the wall, would finally wield his mighty, miraculous powers to claim David’s earthly kingdom (and hand Judas himself a privileged place within it.) Yet Judas’ dishonest and disloyal scheming left him with nothing.

Why did Simon Peter deny the Lord three times during the Passion? St. John’s Gospel suggests he lied about having any connection to Jesus first to gain entry into the courtyard of the high priest, then to keep from being tossed out, and finally to avoid being physically assaulted by a relative of the man whose ear he had severed with a sword earlier that evening in the garden. St. Luke tells us that Peter, when he then heard a rooster crow, “went out and began to weep bitterly” over what he had done.

Satan, Judas, and Peter chose sin because they thought wrongdoing was the way to good things they would not otherwise have. But this is not Jesus’ way. In our second reading St. Peter writes of the Lord, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” He was “leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” In our Gospel, Jesus declares:

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers. … Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.

Jesus is our gate. He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Always come and go through this narrow gate, for many prefer to bypass it like thieves and robbers. “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” Jesus’ sheep know his voice and are called to uncompromisingly follow it. Before Pontius Pilate, Jesus said, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

The words of a Jewish proverb pray to God:

Two things I ask of you,
do not deny them to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the Lord?”
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.

In our present season of trial, the complacency of riches has withdrawn but other temptations draw near. This is a time of testing. Will I tell lies? Will I steal? Will I sin to possess or enjoy good things I might not otherwise have? Do not give in, do not compromise, do not capitulate to evil. This is Christ’s will for you. Remember and be resolved: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

But what if you do go on to fall, or what if you have already sinned? What then should you do? Due to their nature, the demons will never adjust their wills towards repentance. Judas deeply regretted what he had done but he despaired of forgiveness and forfeited his life. St. Peter however returned, repented, and renewed his devotion to his Savior. (“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”) St. John assures us about Christ, “If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.”

The commandments of Christ flow from his own divine nature — total truth, pure goodness, perfect love — and these must not be spurned. Yet realize that the essence of Christianity is not rules or laws but a personal relationship: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. … I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” Follow the Good Shepherd faithfully and goodness and kindness will follow all the days of your life and you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Christian Commentary of the Ferengi Fathers

April 28, 2020

Though thoroughly pagan, Ferengi culture is very rich. While the love of money and of what tickles the ears leads to many sins and errors, the brilliance of hidden treasure may still be glimpsed shining forth through dirt. Like St. Justin Martyr wrote, God has planted “seeds of truth”, seeds of the Logos, within all pre-Christian peoples in preparation for the fullness of the Gospel.

Let us examine how aphorisms found within Ferengi society’s most influential text (Grand Nagus Gint’sThe Rules of Acquisition”) sometimes point, even despite themselves, to revealed Christian truths. I doubt many Ferengi will forgive me if my interpretations here are too generous, but I hope that many may gain some profit from them.

 

 

Jesus called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

Rule #6: Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.

 

“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Rule #7: Keep your ears open.

 

“You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
and he who earned wages earned them
for a bag with holes in it.”

Rule #19: Satisfaction is not guaranteed.

 

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.   No one can take them out of my hand.”

Rule #42: What’s mine is mine.

 

“I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.”

Rule #43: What’s yours can be mine.

 

Jesus said, “Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder, but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

Rule #44: Never confuse wisdom with luck.

 

On that day, there broke out a severe persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Rule #45: Expand or Die.

 

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

Rule #46: Make your shop easy to find.

 

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

Rule #49: Everything is worth something to somebody.

 

The angel said to the women at the tomb, “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised… Go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead… Behold, I have told you.”

Rule #55: Advertise.

 

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?!”
And Jesus replied to them, “What sort of things?”

Rule #56: Be discreet.

 

“You must not distort justice: you shall not show partiality; you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes even of the wise and twists the words even of the just.”

Rule #61: Never underestimate the power of bribery.

 

“We speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Rule #85: Never let the competition know what you’re thinking.

 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.”

Rule #90: The Divine Treasury awaits.

 

In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! … Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.”

Rule #93: Act without delay! The sharp knife cuts quickly.

 

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”

Rule #118: There is no profit in revenge.

 

“[Jesus Christ] emptied himself… he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…”

Rule #154: Pain passes, but profits remain.

 

After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots…

Rule #162: Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit.

 

Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.

Rule #173: Dream, plan, believe, act.

 

“Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him… In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Rule #195: You can’t jump a twenty foot gorge in two ten foot jumps.

 

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”

Rule #207: Sense without education is better than education without sense.

 

The high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?”
Then Jesus answered, “I am;
and ‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Rule #208: Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question, is an answer.

 

When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Rule #225: Always follow one step ahead.

 

(On the pride of Goliath and Absalom)

Rule #235: Duck; death is tall.

 

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Rule #250: Precious things are for those that can prize them.

 

“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.”

Rule #257: Despise the things you cannot have.

 

“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.”

Rule #276: Overbooking is standard practice.

 

The Face of a Friend

April 25, 2020

3rd Sunday of Easter—Year A
By Deacon Dick Kostner

Our world tells us that death is the end of life. Jesus has parabled us into a new direction. Death is but the birth of a new and perfected life. I believe that our readings this Third Sunday of Easter tell us two important lessons to be learned. The first is that we are living at this moment in trying times, and that is anxiety, fear and confusion not only causes us to be disoriented but it also distracts us from seeing the cure for our affliction. The second lesson is that Jesus has, through our baptism, commissioned us to be the body of Christ in this very confused world. We no longer bear the face we were born with, but rather we are no longer recognized by our face but rather we are recognized by our heart and our actions.

We learn through our scripture readings that because of earthly death and the anxiety that follows we all will be confused and disoriented. This anxiety blinds us to the reality of the Easter Proclamation: “The light of Christ!” The disciples who knew Jesus well were so filled with the emotion of death that they failed to recognize their friend as they walked the road to Emmaus. This friend of theirs who could walk on water and still storms died and was buried. The fact that Jesus had taught them that death was not the end and that he would rise, blew right over the top of their heads because of their fear of death.

Isn’t it a “coincidence” that our whole world is experiencing, firsthand, the fear of death and the confusion that developed during this Holy Season? The same confusion that disciples of Jesus felt two thousand years ago is still with us on this Third Sunday of Easter. Like the disciples in our readings we are so filled with anxiety that we fail to recognize Jesus walking with us on that road to Emmaus. We fail to see his face in the nurses and doctors who treat us, and the clerks and people who serve us. We fail to hear his voice and feel his presence in the waive we see from our family and friends we no longer can touch. We fail to hear his wisdom and words proclaimed by His ordained ministers every day through cyberspace.

Jesus has many faces and I believe his disciples were unable to recognize him because Jesus wants to be recognized not by his facial features or color of skin but rather by and through his actions and words. It was not until he preached to his disciples and broke bread with them making them a part of him, that their eyes moved from his face to his heart and they could see their friend as the risen Christ.

We are commissioned to be the body of Christ. It is through our behavior driven by the heart not the brain that the face of Jesus will be recognized as we walk the road to Emmaus with Jesus at our side. May the peace of the risen Lord and the grace he gifts us with, be always with you!

Divinely Merciful

April 18, 2020

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Cenacle, the Upper Room in Jerusalem,
site of the Last Supper and Pentecost

Imagine an event as it did not happen…

On Easter evening, when the disciples were gathered behind locked doors in the Upper Room, Jesus came and appeared in their midst and said to them, “I condemn you. Each of you. All of you abandoned me.” And when he had said this, he showed the wounds in his hands and feet and side and said, “I suffered these because of your sins.”

If Jesus would have declared such things to his apostles his charges would not have been untrue. But this is thankfully not what Jesus did. Instead, he came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you,” a phrase he says three times in this Sunday’s gospel. Christ’s Passion, death, and Resurrection are not for our condemnation. Jesus comes in mercy for his apostles and for us. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” St. Peter writes, “who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

After assuring them of his friendship and the reality of his Resurrection, the next most important item on Jesus’ Easter list is to entrust his Church with his mission of mercy: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

In this season of pandemic, public Masses are suspended; first Communions, Confirmations, and weddings are being postponed; but the Sacrament of Reconciliation continues to be offered. Did you get to Confession this Lent? Jesus has peace to give you in this great sacrament. So, where and when you can, make it a top item on your list to experience his Divine Mercy there.

Divine Mercy Weekend Confession Times

April 13, 2020

 

Saturday, April 18th:

3:00 – 4:00 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot
6:30 – 7:30 PM @ St. John’s west-most parking lot

Sunday, April 19th:

3:00 – 4:00 PM @ St. John’s west-most parking lot
6:30 – 7:30 PM @ St. Paul’s east parking lot

 

.

Fr. Feltes will be hearing Confessions from inside of his car with his window remaining closed.

Car-to-Car Confession (if you come alone):
Drive up alongside Father, roll down your window, and turn off your engine to confess.

Walk-up Confession (if you come with others):
Park some distance away and take turns sitting in the chair beside Father’s window to confess.

Please share with others these final Confession times for Divine Mercy Sunday weekend.

The Questions & Answers of Easter Vigil

April 11, 2020

Easter Vigil

Tonight’s Easter Vigil Mass features many readings and accompanying psalms. The Church says the celebrant may chose to skip some of these readings, but tonight we are doing them all; seven from the Old Testament and two from the New, a journey from Genesis to the Gospel. But how does one preach about nine readings in one homily? As I pondered that question, I wondered, “What questions are asked in the readings themselves?

In the beginning in Genesis, when God created the heavens and the earth, there are no questions, only God’s declaring word. Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. God looked at everything he had made and they were very good. From the beginning, God knows his plan.

By the time of our next reading from Genesis, sin has entered our history. Humanity’s rejection of God, reflected in every sin, not only leads to death but creates injustices which must be rectified, hearts which must be converted, relationships which must be reconciled, and evils which must be undone, through sacrifice. “Father!” Isaac says, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?” “Son,” Abraham answers, “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.

Isaac was spared but would God always provide? Generations later, Moses and the Hebrews are alarmed on the shores of the Red Sea when Pharaoh’s army threatens them. The Lord says to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea, split the sea in two, that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.” God delivers his people, destroys their enemy, and leads them to his Promised Land.

How great is God’s love for his people? Isaiah proclaims that the Lord loves and desires Israel as a man does his bride: “The One who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the Lord of hosts.” Yet Israel would often stray from him. Elsewhere Isaiah asks her, “Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy?” Later the Prophet Baruch asks, “How is it, Israel, that you are in the land of your foes, grown old in a foreign land, defiled with the dead, accounted with those destined for the netherworld? You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!” Baruch asks “who has found the place of wisdom, who has entered into her treasuries? The One who knows all things knows her; he has probed her by his knowledge—the One who established the earth….

Through the Prophet Ezekiel, the Lord promises to bring his people to their true home, to wisdom, to holiness, to communion with himself: “I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. You shall live in the land I gave your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

How is all this to come about? Through Jesus Christ. St. Paul asks the Romans, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.

When Jesus Christ was so shockingly, so horrifically, so unjustly murdered, his heartbroken disciples were full of questions. Is there no reward for the just man? Is there no victory for righteousness? Is evil more powerful than goodness? Is God indifferent to our suffering? Does he not care? Is there no deliverance from sin? Do we have any reason to hope? God answers with Christ’s empty tomb.

Do not be afraid,” the angel says. “I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” The women, fearful yet overjoyed, run to share this good news when they encounter Jesus on the way. They approach, embrace his feet, and do him homage. Then Jesus says to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

This was God’s plan from the beginning. That sin would be conquered through self-offering. That all would trust in God’s providence and love the perfect Bridegroom. Why spend yourself on what does not satisfy? Why live any longer away from the Lord in foolishness? You have access to a new and transforming Holy Spirit through your baptism, a baptism which has its power from the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is God’s answer to our greatest questions. How will you respond to him? Answer with your faith and love.