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So far Christ the King has created 44 blog entries.

Meeting of the Bishops

By |August 4th, 2019|

This week, I’ll give you a quick update on the summer meeting of the United States Bishops and the latest developments on implementing reforms in response to the clergy abuse scandal.  As you might recall from news reports (and bulletin columns) earlier in the year, Bishops from all over the world met with Pope Francis in February to have an unprecedented meeting to discuss this issue.  Shortly after that meeting, the Pope issued a document with new laws concerning reporting of clergy sexual abuse, as well as accountability measures for bishops who commit or cover up abuse (click here for more).  He gave the bishops a year to create the offices and procedures necessary to enforce this law.

Many of the things that were required of this law were already in place in the United States as a result of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (a.k.a the “Dallas Charter”) adopted by the bishops in 2002, which called for mandatory reporting, zero tolerance and Safe Environment training programs.  At their June meeting, they adopted some more measures to build upon the Charter and deal with some of its inadequacies and loopholes.  Specifically, they did the following:

Expanded the Dallas Charter to include bishops.
Authorized the development (by May 31, 2020) of a third-party system for receiving reports of possible violations by bishops.
Established protocols for imposing limitations and restrictions on bishops who were removed from office for any abuse of power.
Presented a plan for implementing the rest of the reforms mandated by Pope Francis.

I think it’s important for all Catholics to stay up-to-date on what is being done in this area.  We all felt shock and pain at the revelations of […]

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Serving the Homebound and those in Nursing Homes

By |July 27th, 2019|

I’d like to use today’s bulletin column to give you an update on how the parish serves our parishioners who are homebound or who live in a nursing home.  Ministry to these parishioners is an important part of our parish life.  Many of these folks have been in the parish for a long time and have contributed to our parish in many ways throughout the years.  It’s important that we don’t forget them later in life, especially when they’re physically unable to get to Mass on Sundays.  They’re still an important part of our parish family.

Between the clergy and dedicated parish volunteers, we do our best to reach out to all of our homebound and nursing home parishioners.  Here’s a summary of what this ministry has looked like over the past year:

We keep track of about 65 parishioners who are either homebound or who live in a nursing care facility.  We learn of most of these cases either from the parishioner themselves, or from friends and family.
Among the clergy (including all the priests, Deacon Joe and a seminarian helper), we’ve made over 400 visits to homebound parishioners over the past year.
We also have 15 lay parishioners who serve as EMHC’s to the homebound.  They made over 700 Communion calls last year.  Between 10 and 15 parishioners receive a Communion call each week.
Through our 24/7 emergency line, we respond to anointing requests from Roseland Hospice on a regular basis.

We also have special relationships with our neighbors, Wellbrooke and Healthwin:

A volunteer EMHC brings Communion to Wellbrooke residents every week.
We have Mass at Healthwin every Sunday, which is made possible by the many parish volunteers who bring the residents to and from […]

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New School Service Program

By |July 20th, 2019|

This year our school introduced a new school service program.  The School Board, along with other dedicated parent volunteers, spent a year forming this program, and each grade partnered with a local service agency with whom they worked throughout the year.  So many good things happened this first year that I wanted to make sure the whole parish knows about them!

Kindergarten & Pre-K:  Wellbrooke

Kindergarten and Pre-K visited Wellbrooke at different times of the year to deliver crafts for Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, as well as to sing Christmas carols.  In the classroom, the teachers taught children about the aging process so that they understood more about the needs of the elderly.  They remembered the residents of Wellbrooke every day during prayer intentions, and they dedicated decades of the rosary to the residents and staff of Wellbrooke.  They also introduced a Christmas service project by collecting over 100 puzzles and delivering them to the residents.

1st Grade:  St. Joseph County Soil & Water Conservation District

First graders learned about care for the environment as an important part of service.  The District’s Education Coordinator came into the classroom several times to talk about soil and composting, and waste vs recycling. She taught the students how to set up and maintain a compost with red wiggler worms in the classroom.  Then in culmination, they joined her for a day at the Mishawaka Reservoir, where they examined the outdoor environment for signs of decomposing matter and also signs of a healthy environment, including microinvertebrate life in the river.

2nd Grade:  LOGAN Center

This year, second graders went to LOGAN in December and performed Christmas songs for the clients.  A LOGAN representative come into the classroom in October to enlighten them on what LOGAN […]

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Welcome our children

By |July 15th, 2019|

In recent months, I’ve had more than one parishioner tell me about negative experiences they’ve had when their young children have acted up during Mass.  I know that in some cases, it’s even made them feel self-conscious about coming back to Mass the following Sunday.  I want to use this column to ask for the cooperation of all of our parish family in making our young families feel welcome.

I know that everyone has different opinions on when would be the right time to take a fussy child out to the vestibule or the cry room.  That decision is up to the parents, and our response goes a long way towards making this a welcoming congregation for them.  And so I humbly ask all of you to please join in this important effort of hospitality:

Remember what Jesus said to His disciples when they tried to discourage people who were bringing their children to Him:  “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  (Mt 19:14)  If a fussy child is disturbing you during Mass, please do not scold the parents.  That generally doesn’t accomplish much!
Instead, offer it up!  Pray for that child.  Pray for their parents, who certainly need a little extra love and support when their child is acting up.  Always remember that we are not here to “get” something from Mass, but instead to give this hour to the Lord.  Mindful of the fact that “bearing wrongs patiently” is a spiritual work of mercy, part of our sacrifice may be patiently bearing a little extra noise.
If you ever see someone being treated in an un-hospitable way because of their […]

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Solemnity of Corpus Christi

By |June 22nd, 2019|

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Christ), which means that today is the feast day for our sister parish, Corpus Christi Parish in Jalchatra, Bangladesh.  We’ve had a sister parish relationship with Corpus Christi for the last 10 years, and it’s truly been a blessing to all of us.

Bangladesh is a very poor country about the size of Wisconsin, but with a population of over 160 million.  Jalchatra is in the northern part of the country, and the Catholics there are members of the Garo tribe.  In an overwhelmingly Muslim country, where fewer than 1% of the population is Catholic, the parishioners are both a religious and ethnic minority.  This creates many challenges on a daily basis.

In the face of such challenges, the faith of our brothers and sisters in Jalchatra is inspiring.  Corpus Christi is a vibrant parish that serves more than 5000 Catholics.  Since parishioners are so spread out – and since travel can be very difficult – parish life looks a lot different than it does in the States.  There are many outpost chapels that serve people who can’t travel to the main church, and when a priest is unable to make it to those chapels, then trained catechists take responsibility for prayer and religious education.  There are also several schools as part of the parish, including some boarding schools, and other ministries in fields such as health care, vocational training and social justice.  The parish does an incredible job of ministering to the spiritual and material needs of its parishioners with very limited resources.

While our relationship with Corpus Christi is more about prayer and solidarity than it is about financial assistance, the humble funds that […]

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In the news

By |June 17th, 2019|

This week you may have seen reports in the news about the list that was released by the U.S. Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, which contains a list of all members of the Province against whom there have been credible allegations of sexual abuse.  Holy Cross, of course, is the community to which Fr. Michael, Fr. Mike and I belong, and Christ the King has been staffed with Holy Cross priests and brothers ever since we were founded in 1933.

I need to draw your attention to two names on this list, since both of these men served at our parish at one point:

Ralph Luczak served as Parochial Vicar of Christ the King from 1965 to 1969. He was accused of sexual assault in 1969, although the incident did not occur at Christ the King.  He died the following year.
Randall Blum was a seminarian who lived at Christ the King from 1983 to 1985. He was dismissed from the seminary, and after the accusation was made, his case was turned over to civil authorities for prosecution.

These allegations aren’t new, and both of them have been previously disclosed, but it is still very jarring to see these names in print and to know that they served at our parish.  I know that the hope of our Province in releasing this list is that having these names exposed all at once will aid the victims in finding healing and closure, as well as reinforcing a new level of transparency in dealing with these kinds of crimes.

Over the past several months, many parishioners have approached me individually to express how this scandal has been a severe test of their faith.  I’ve tried to include a […]

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Groundbreaking Ceremony

By |June 17th, 2019|

Today is the Groundbreaking Ceremony for our new addition!  I hope you can all join us for the ceremony this weekend right after the 12:15pm Mass.  We’ll pray for good weather, but we’ll be out there rain or shine!

Many of you have told me that you can’t believe that this day is finally here, and I feel exactly the same way.  It’s hard to think that, when I moved into Christ the King four years ago, my office was completely empty except for a rolled-up document that Fr. Neil left me, along with a note saying “good luck”.  So much has happened since then to get us to this point.  First came over two years of planning, with a terrific committee of parishioners helping us refine our design and assess the feasibility of a capital campaign.  Then came our campaign, which we announced about a year ago.  Under the leadership of an incredible group of parish volunteers, we planned an ambitious $5 million campaign.  The response from all of our parishioners was absolutely amazing.  Not only were we able to reach our goal before the end of the calendar year, but the goodwill and enthusiasm that I saw throughout the campaign reminded me daily why this is such a special parish.  And since the close of the campaign, we have spent the last several months getting ready for groundbreaking.  After signing Majority Builders as our contractor, we’ve been working to finalize our design and make sure that our total project cost stays under $5 million.

Now the day is finally here, and we’re ready to break ground!  I know there will be a lot of headaches and inconveniences over the next 14 months, as the construction […]

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New Deacon

By |June 1st, 2019|

Around this time of year, many parishioners start asking me, “Are we getting a deacon?”  For those of you who’ve been around the parish for awhile, you know that spring is the season when assignments start being released for Holy Cross religious.  Well, I’m very happy to report that we will, in fact, be assigned a new deacon in July!  His name is Gilbrian (Gil) Stoy, and he’s a Minnesota native who has just completed his theological studies and will take his final vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in September.  He’ll be ordained a deacon at that time, as well, and then he’ll been ordained a priest next April.  Deacon-to-be Gil will move into the parish in July, and I’ll be able to introduce him to you formally at that time.  His assignment here is a real compliment to all of you, our parishioners.  Christ the King has proved to be a great place for deacons to learn the ropes (as I did here in 2007), and that’s a real testament to our parishioners.

But, as those of you who’ve been around awhile also know, when someone new is assigned here, someone else usually moves on.  After 5½ years here at Christ the King, Fr. Michael Belinsky will leave us this summer to begin a new position as Parochial Vicar at Holy Redeemer Parish in Portland, Oregon.  Fr. Michael’s last weekend with us will be June 29th and 30th, and so all of you will have a chance to say goodbye and wish him well in his new assignment.  We are so grateful for all that he has contributed to our parish over these last several years.

Please join me in praying for Deacon-to-be Gil and […]

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Church Crisis

By |May 25th, 2019|

In a previous bulletin column, I mentioned that Pope Francis had gathered bishops from all over the world in February for a conference on the sexual abuse crisis.  This month, Pope Francis has followed this up with the first Church-wide law requiring the reporting of clergy sexual abuse.  This includes accountability for bishops who commit or cover up abuse.  The law was issued in a document (a “motu proprio”) entitled You Are the Light of the World, which goes into effect on June 1st.  The full text of the letter can be found here.

The Pope has given all bishops’ conferences a year to create the offices and procedures necessary to enforce this law.  In the United States, this task will be taken up by the U.S. bishops’ at their next meeting in June.  I think that the response of the U.S. bishops to Pope Francis’ letter is particularly helpful, so I’m including part of it below.  The full text can be found here.

“… Pope Francis ordered a worldwide response to the evil of sexual abuse. It calls for the establishment of easily accessible reporting systems, clear standards for the pastoral support of victims and their families, timeliness and thoroughness of investigations, whistleblower protection for those making allegations, and active involvement of the laity. It also leaves latitude for national bishops’ conferences, such as the USCCB, to specify still more to account for their local circumstances. We receive … You Are the Light of the World as a blessing that will empower the Church everywhere to bring predators to justice, no matter what rank they hold in the Church. It also permits the Church the time and opportunity to bring spiritual healing …
In […]

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Good Shepherd Sunday

By |May 11th, 2019|

Today, the 4th Sunday of Easter, is typically referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” When we hear the Gospel in which Jesus describes Himself as the “Good Shepherd” who lays down His life for His sheep, the Church also asks us to remember the vocation of priesthood, which Jesus left to the Church so that His sheep would never be without a shepherd.

It may seem a little self-serving for me to write a bulletin column about the vocation of the priesthood, but it’s also a little sobering in this day and age, when over the past year the sins of priests have been particularly on display.  These sins have caused deep wounds not only to those directly victimized, but also to all the faithful.  They’ve also caused some to even question the priesthood itself, wondering if perhaps the priesthood is somehow fundamentally broken.

In talking about the priesthood on this Good Shepherd Sunday, a few things come to mind.  First of all, I can testify firsthand that being a priest is an incredible life.  It’s challenging, just like any vocation, but the blessings outweigh the challenges every single day.  As a parish priest, I’m so blessed to be able to preside at the sacraments and to be a part of my parishioners’ lives.  We priests get a window into the faith of our parishioners which strengthens our own faith in countless ways.  I wouldn’t trade being a priest for any other life, and I know that most of my brother priests feel exactly the same way.

I can also attest that there is a lot of reason to feel hopeful about the future of the priesthood.  As you’ve read about the horrible scandals reported in the news, […]

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