From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |September 27th, 2020|

There’s an awful lot going on at the parish these days, so this week’s bulletin column will be a little bit of a hodgepodge.  Here are a few things you should be aware of:

We finally have some definite information to pass onto you about Fr. Mike’s departure from Christ the King.  Fr. Mike is scheduled to begin his new assignment as an active-duty Army Chaplain at Fort Benning, Georgia, this November.  Therefore, his last day at Christ the King will be Sunday October 25th.  Fr. Mike will preside at all of the Masses on the weekend of October 24-25.  We won’t be able to have the kind of going-away reception that we usually do, but our Pastoral Team is thinking of some more creative ways to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to say good-bye.  Please keep Fr. Mike in your prayers during this time of transition.

We continue to make progress on our building.  As I mentioned in an earlier column, we moved into the four 1st-floor classrooms at the end of the August when we started school.  This week we’ll be able to move into the 2nd-floor classrooms!  That leaves the gym and a few more miscellaneous locations before we have total occupancy.  In the meantime, I think everyone agrees that the new rooms are beautiful!  I’m so grateful to the contractors who have worked so hard to make this new building a reality in such a challenging environment.  I’m also incredibly grateful to our teachers who have been so flexible as we’ve had to move into the new building in stages.

¨ We’re so excited to host our first in-person parish event in ages, a Living Rosary on Wednesday October 7th (the Memorial of Our […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |September 13th, 2020|

Over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed that we’ve reconfigured our seating.  Instead of every third pew being available, we’ve opened every other pew.  Over the last few weeks, we’ve noticed a marked uptick in Mass attendance, even at Masses that previously were never close to being full.  The Pastoral Team and Pastoral Council both engaged in discussions about the best way to manage this increased attendance, keeping people as safe as possible while maximizing the number of people who can celebrate Mass in the church.  (The overwhelming feedback that we got suggested that people would much rather be in the church than watching a live stream in the basement.) 

This new arrangement should allow us to accommodate more people in the church, while still keeping people 6 feet apart.  The previous arrangement separated folks by far more than 6 feet, which we thought was the prudent way to go during the first few months of reopening.  After carefully watching what other local parishes are doing, we felt this was a good time to make this change. 

In the coming weeks, you should also notice some additional signage that will spell out how and where to sit in the available pews in order to accommodate the greatest number of people while maintaining six feet of distance between people.  I know this is a little bit of micro-managing, but since we’re still knee-deep in this pandemic, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Additionally, beginning this weekend we’ll offer an overflow Mass in the basement.  Now that Fr. Gil has been ordained and we’re back up to two priests on Sundays, we’ll be able to offer a live Mass in the basement instead of just live streaming […]

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From Deacon Gil

By |September 9th, 2020|

It is a great joy and an unbelievable privilege to have made my Perpetual Vows and been ordained a deacon last weekend. In my prayer and reflections leading up to this moment, I’ve thought a lot about the roles of a Deacon. According to the Catechism, Deacons assist during the “divine mysteries” (Mass), preach the Gospel, and in a special way serve the poor.

I thought about this a lot because a recent PEW survey found that only 25% of Catholics believe the Eucharist to truly be Christ’s Body and Blood. Most see it only as a symbol. Flannery O’Connor, the great American Catholic writer, once wrote in a letter “Well, if the Eucharist is just a symbol, to heck with it.”

Flannery saw a gift far great than a symbol. In the Eucharist, God doesn’t just symbolically give himself to us. He actually does it.

He truly descends and dwells with us. Jesus says, “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink” (John 6:55) and “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). He gives his whole self to us as a gift, so that we might in return give ourselves completely back to Him. That exchange is the goal of the Christian life. It is what we hope for and pray we can enjoy eternally as Christ’s Body in heaven.

We don’t need to be angry at our fellow Catholics who see the Eucharist primarily as a symbol. For one, our disappointment won’t change anything. Instead, we can let this survey spur us to talk more openly with […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |August 18th, 2020|

At long last, our kids are coming back to school!  The first day of school will be this Wednesday, August 26th (Happy Birthday, Mom!), and it will be great to have the kids back in the building.  Five months without students in the school has been way too long – we’ve missed you!

Getting ready for a new school year is always a hectic time, but this year has obviously been especially challenging.  Our principal, Mr. Hoffman, and the rest of our administrative team have worked nonstop throughout the summer, without getting their usual summer break.  We’ve also been blessed to have a dedicated task force comprised of administrators, teachers and school parents (including some health care professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic) who have met weekly to help us put together the most comprehensive plan we could.  Their dedication to our parish and school is both humbling and inspiring.

Our school families have already seen a copy of our plan and have received weekly updates throughout the summer, but I think it’s important that all of our parishioners hear the basics of this plan since the school is the largest ministry of our parish.  First and foremost, I think it’s important to know that our plan to return to the classroom was reviewed in detail with the Director of the St. Joseph County Health Department and has received his blessing; as badly as we want to return to school, we would never want to make the decision to bring students into the classroom without making sure it’s safe. 

The cornerstones of our back-to-school plan are mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene.  Students and teachers will wear masks throughout the day, although teachers will have […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |August 8th, 2020|

Just a couple of notes about Masses this weekend:

 

Mission Appeal.  This weekend is our annual Mission Appeal.  Normally we have a speaker who comes in to preach about their firsthand experience in the mission territory to which our appeal is directed that year.  This year, our guest was supposed to have been Fr. Tad Balinda, who currently serves in our diocese at St. Patrick’s Parish in Angola, Indiana.  This year our appeal is going to the Diocese of Kasese in the East African nation of Uganda, where Fr. Tad is originally from.  More information about the diocese can be found at www.kasesediocese.org, and the appeal this year will go towards the construction of their new cathedral.  Because of COVID restrictions, Fr. Tad won’t be able to join us in person, so we will instead give you a message he has prepared for us.

Typically, we have special envelopes in the pews for the Mission Appeal (since this isn’t included in your regular envelope set) so that you can offer your donation during Mass.  This year, however, since we’re not leaving any materials in the pews or taking up collections in the same way, we’ll do things a little differently.  We’ll have a second collection box near the back of the church that will be clearly marked for Mission Appeal donations.  We’ll leave that box out for a few more weeks in order to give you plenty of time to contribute.  If you’re mailing in your contribution or dropping it off at the rectory, either place it in a separate envelope clearly marked “MISSION APPEAL” or write it in the memo line of your check so that your donation is sent to the proper place.  Thanks so much […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |August 3rd, 2020|

This Saturday we’re celebrating First Communion for our second graders.  (I guess they’re not second graders any more, are they?  They’re now rising third graders!  Sorry about that.)  Instead of our usual practice of celebrating First Communions at our regular Sunday Masses, this year we’ll have two private Masses on Saturday for the First Communicants and their families.  This will allow us to gather in small enough groups to maintain social distancing.

 

First Communion Weekend is always special, but this year it feels a little extra special.  These children prepared all of last year with the expectation that they’d receive the sacrament in May.  Like so many other things, that was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  I know that it’s been tough for them to wait so long, but to see how eager they are to receive the Blessed Sacrament is truly inspiring.  It shows that they really understand how special the Eucharist is and how close it brings us to the Lord.  They remind us all that we should never take the Eucharist for granted or lose sight of how truly blessed we are to be able to receive His Body and Blood here at Mass.

 

When we see the “holy longing” of our younger parishioners preparing for their First Communion, it should remind us of some of our other parishioners who are experiencing that same longing.  We still have many parishioners who are homebound or in nursing homes who can’t attend Mass.  We have many others who haven’t come back yet because of medical vulnerability or anxiety.  They are all part of the Body of Christ, and we miss them.  When we receive Holy Communion at Mass, let us take a moment to pray for […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |July 26th, 2020|

This week, we’ll celebrate our 8th Grade Graduation Mass.  We’re always excited to recognize our 8th graders as they complete their time at Christ the King School and move on to high school, but this year we’re even more excited to honor them.  After all, this ceremony has been a long time coming!  Just like other graduates across the world, they missed out on a lot when we moved to distance learning in March:  field trips, extracurriculars, the Service Immersion, and graduation, just to name a few.  I know that had to be a huge disappointment for them, but I’m proud of the way that they finished up a difficult year.  I’m also excited that so many of them will be back for our Graduation Mass.  It will be great to see them, and I’m sure they will be glad to celebrate with each other one last time before moving off to high school next month.

Speaking of going back to school next month, we have been hard at work on our plan to welcome students back to our school at the end of August. The start date of the new school year had already been pushed back due to construction, so we’ll begin the school year on Wednesday August 26th.  A very dedicated task force consisting of administrators, faculty and parents has worked throughout the summer to look at every aspect of our school day.  We’ve consulted broadly with experts in medicine, public health and education throughout this process.  No plan is perfect, and the situation around us is obviously fluid, but we have done everything in our power to make our school as safe as it can possibly be.  Our students and staff deserve no less.

We’ve […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |July 18th, 2020|

Believe it or not, it’s been almost two months since we’ve resumed public Masses.  I know that this has been a huge adjustment for all of us, and it will continue to be a challenge until the pandemic is truly behind us.  However, we’ve also seen tremendous grace at work through this whole process.  Here are some observations:

Mass attendance has gradually increased a little bit each week.  Our first weekend back, there was (understandably) a very small crowd.  Each week we’ve seen a few more people return.  We haven’t made much use of the overflow Masses yet, but right now many of our Masses are at capacity – we’ve figured out that we can get about 80 people in the church right now while maintaining social distancing – so we expect that overflow Masses will be needed regularly.  However, we don’t anticipate having to turn anyone away in the near future; since we can accommodate another 100 people in the gym.
I am so grateful for how patient all of you have been with all of the changes we’ve had to make.  I know that many of these changes are difficult.  People have been so gracious about things like wearing masks and receiving Communion on the hand, which I realize are big changes for many of you.  Thank you for adapting so readily.
Most of all, I have seen so many beautiful displays of our parishioners’ deep love for the Eucharist.  So many parishioners have made big sacrifices and put up with significant changes just in order to receive Communion.  I’ve also seen many tears of joy, especially when people return for the first time after a long time away.  It’s truly inspiring; you […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC Welcome Geoffrey Mooney, CSC

By |July 13th, 2020|

Our new seminarian, soon-to-be-deacon, Geoff Mooney has arrived at Christ the King!  We are very pleased to welcome as he prepares to be ordained a deacon (in September, at the same as Deacon Gil’s ordination to the priesthood) and ordained a priest in April.  (At this point we don’t have firm details about Fr. Mike Palmer’s transition to his new assignment, but I’ll keep you posted as we find out.)  Here are a few words of introduction from Geoff.

 

Dear Christ the King family,

It was Christmas Break of my fourth year teaching high school and the final week of 2012.  Just hours after returning from Midnight Mass with my family, I boarded an airplane bound for Rome to meet up with a group of Notre Dame graduates from the ACE program.  On our pilgrimage to the Eternal City, we toured the Coliseum and the Vatican museums, celebrated vespers inside St. Peter’s Basilica, took a train ride to Assisi, and watched fireworks from the rooftop of the Holy Cross Generalate on New Year’s Eve.  We took in all the sights and sounds (and tastes) of Rome, and for this I still have great memories, but perhaps the greatest personal impact of the pilgrimage came from an opportunity to spend a week in prayer and fellowship with young adults discerning God’s call for their lives in a place where so many Christians over the centuries—saints and sinners alike—had done the very same thing.

Though the first stirrings of a vocation to religious life for me came much earlier, this trip provided me the gentle push I needed to reach out to others and share how I thought God was calling me.  Growing up in southern Indiana, I attended Catholic […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |June 27th, 2020|

In last week’s column, I talked about how the leadership of our Church is responding to the racial unrest our nation is experiencing.  This week, I’d like to talk about the Church’s broader response to the sin of racism.  After all, the responses made by our leaders are based on the social teaching of the Church. They are rooted in the Christian belief of the dignity of every human life, and this belief has compelled the Bishops of the United States to speak out against the sin of racism long before the current wave of unrest began.

 

The U.S. Bishops recently (2018) published a document entitled Open Wide Our Hearts (http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/open-wide-our-hearts.pdf) addressing the sin of racism.  It’s just one of many things that they have written on the subject, but I think it encapsulates the Catholic perspective on racism very well.  It is certainly prophetic, and parts of it look like they could have been written last week.

 

The Bishops caution against thinking that racism is “someone else’s problem”, but rather stress that a sin against one member of the Body of Christ damages the whole Body, and that each and every one of us (including the institutional Church) is in need of ongoing conversion.

 

With the positive changes that arose from the civil rights movement and related civil rights legislation, some may believe that racism is no longer a major affliction of our society— that it is only found in the hearts of individuals who can be dismissed as ignorant or unenlightened. But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart.

 

Each of us should adopt the words of Pope Francis as our own: let no one “think that this […]

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