Christmas Day

By |December 21st, 2019|

Merry Christmas!  I realize many of you are reading this on the 4th Sunday of Advent, but this bulletin also serves for Christmas Day, as well, so I want to extend special greetings and prayers to all of our parishioners and to all who are visiting us this Christmas.  I hope that, amid the bustle of this busy season, you can find some quiet time to rest in the peace of our newborn King.  Below is part of Pope Francis’ Christmas message from last year, which I think applies just as much today.  May the Pope’s words give us all something to think and pray about during this joyful season.

Fr. Steve

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

To you … I renew the joyous proclamation of Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace among those whom he favors” (Luke 2:14). Like the shepherds who first went with haste to the stable, let us halt in wonder before the sign that God has given us: “A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). In silence, let us fall to our knees and worship.

What does that Child, born for us of the Virgin Mary, have to tell us? What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.

This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.

For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation […]

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Advent Practices

By |December 14th, 2019|

Now that we’re a few weeks into the Advent season, it’s a good chance to take stock of how our Advent preparations are going.  I always find it helpful to get ideas from other people about how they observe this season and make it meaningful, so I asked members of our St. Gianna Mom’s Group to share some of their Advent practices.  Hopefully these might give some of you ideas as to how to make future Advents (and the remainder of this Advent) fruitful.  Here are some of the things they had to say:

After dinner each night, we light the Advent wreath and do family prayer.  We keep it simple and short, singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” reading one line of scripture from the daily readings, and then use art supplies with the kids’ Advent booklets from church.
We have collected several nativity sets over the years, and we set them up throughout Advent, but without baby Jesus.  We parents hide the baby Jesus figures around the house and on Christmas Eve morning, the kids get to hunt for them and put them into the nativity scenes.
We were gifted a big Advent calendar several years ago with a tiny door that opens for each day in December.  We write different tasks on 24 slips of purple paper that help to prepare our home and hearts for Christmas, and the kids open a new door each morning to read (and hopefully do!) what the slip says. Some examples include:  set up the kids nativity set, buy gifts for the CTK giving tree, say a prayer for a friend, bake and deliver cookies to our elderly neighbor, put up the Christmas tree.  […]

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Sacrament of Reconciliation

By |December 7th, 2019|

Throughout the year, but especially during Advent and Lent, we make a real effort to encourage all of our parishioners to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I feel blessed that confession is alive and well in our parish.  Fr. Mike and I usually stay pretty busy every week when we hear confessions on Saturday morning, and we’re grateful for the lines of people there!  But Advent and Lent are particularly appropriate times to receive the sacrament.  I know that many of you are in the habit of going to confession during these seasons, but I encourage all of you to take advantage of this beautiful sacrament.

There are many reasons why some folks are reluctant to go to confession.  The broader culture seems to believe in sin less and less, believing that there’s no such thing as objective truth.  But even among those who are sincerely working to grow in virtue and fight against sin, some folks might still stay away from the confessional.  Many people wonder why they can’t just tell Jesus their sins and instead have to tell them to a priest.  Many people get frustrated because they just confess the same things over and over again.  And others find it difficult to name their sins out loud in the presence of another person.

If people ask me why they need to go to confession instead of just telling Jesus they’re sorry, I always begin my answer by saying that Jesus told us to!  When Jesus gave His Apostles the authority to forgive sins, He must have done it for a reason, right?  He certainly didn’t do it to make us jump through an extra hoop in order to receive His […]

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Advent

By |November 26th, 2019|

Advent is upon us!  Even though we’ve been hearing Christmas carols and seeing Christmas commercials for weeks, it always seems like the season of Advent sneaks up on us each year.  Maybe that’s because Advent is so much different than what the secular world refers to as “the Christmas season.”  The secular world is at its busiest and noisiest, but Advent is exactly the opposite.  It’s not a season of doing, but of waiting in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord.  It’s a season of preparation and penitence and prayer.  And if we don’t make time for it, it’s gone before you know it, eclipsed by the noise that surrounds us at this time of year.

As always, the parish is offering many different ways to observe Advent in an intentional and meaningful way:

Daily Mass: An evening Mass will be offered every Tuesday during Advent at 5:30pm, a perfect opportunity for those of you who usually aren’t able to make our morning Mass.
Confession: Plenty of extra confession times will be available.  Our Parish Penance Service will take place on Wednesday December 18th at 7pm, with several different priests available to hear confessions.  We’ll also offer additional opportunities to receive the sacrament on Thursday December 19th (10am), Friday December 20th (7pm) and Monday December 23rd (7pm).  And confession is always available at our usual time of Saturday at 9am, as well as by appointment as well as after the Tuesday evening Mass.
Bible Study: A special, 3-session Advent Bible Study will be offered on December 3rd, 10th & 17th.
Prayer: On Sunday December 8th we’ll offer a Taize Prayer Service, a beautiful sung, meditative prayer opportunity, at 7pm.  And on Sunday December 15th, […]

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From Fr. Mike Palmer, CSC

By |November 15th, 2019|

In the 3+ years that I’ve been here at Christ the King, I have been blessed to share my life and my life’s work with all of you. However, for the past five years, I have been heavily involved in a ministry that many of you may not know about: the Army Chaplaincy.

I first felt the call to this ministry before I even entered the seminary. While I was in high school, I heard several of my relatives speak about their Army deployments, and they often lamented the scarcity (if not complete absence) of Catholic Chaplains while they were overseas. It broke my heart to imagine so many men and women enduring danger without the aid of Mass, Confession, or spiritual guidance from a priest. As I progressed through the seminary, I learned that Holy Cross has a rich tradition of military chaplains, which began with Fr. William Corby, C.S.C. serving as a Union Chaplain in the Civil War. After much prayer and discussion with the seminary staff, I joined the Army Chaplain Corps in June 2014 and became a full-fledged Army Chaplain in June 2017.

I do not have nearly enough room in this column to describe everything I do as a Chaplain, but it is best summarized by the Chaplain Corps’ mission: to “Bring God to Soldiers, and Soldiers to God.” As a Battalion Chaplain, I travel to a nearby Army Reserve unit once a month and train with the soldiers there for a full weekend (and sometimes longer for field exercises). I have found great joy in celebrating Mass and Confession for Catholics out in the field, as well as providing spiritual guidance for soldiers who may […]

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Bishop Rhoades’ Visit

By |November 9th, 2019|


Just a couple of weeks ago, Bishop Rhoades paid a visit to our school.  (There was a great article with lots of pictures in Today’s Catholic, the diocesan newspaper, so I encourage you to check it out.)  The bishop periodically makes these visits to the schools in his diocese so that he gets a chance to see the ministry of Catholic education firsthand.  That’s no small task, given that there are more than 40 Catholic schools in this diocese!

The highlight of the day was certainly our all-school Mass with the Bishop that morning. He got a good taste of what our weekly school Mass looks like, with students participating in the Mass as cantors, lectors, servers, choir members and gift bearers, as well as teachers and staff assisting as EMHC’s.  The entire student congregation sang and prayed with a lot of gusto!

The rest of the day was spent visiting individual classrooms, and given the fact that we have 479 students, that took just about the whole day. There was no formal agenda; the Bishop just went from classroom to classroom to see what was going on and to chat with the students.  He took the opportunity to quiz them on what they were studying in religion, to lead them in the Hail Mary in Spanish, and to inadvertently give away some answers on the math quiz that our 7th graders were taking when he stopped in their room!  He also fielded questions from the students, and you never know what you’re going to get when you open up that door!  There were lots of questions about how he became a bishop and about the clothes he wore, with some personal questions about his favorite color […]

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Mass of Remembrance

By |November 3rd, 2019|

November is a month when the Church encourages us to pray for the dead.  Praying for the dead is one of the spiritual works of mercy that all of us are expected to practice, and we believe that our prayers for the dead are very meaningful, particularly for the souls in purgatory.  We pray for them with the hope that they will one day pray for us, taking their place with the saints and angels in heaven.

Our annual Mass of Remembrance will be this Monday, November 4th, at 7pm.  (We usually have this Mass on All Souls Day.  This year, however, All Souls falls on a Saturday, so we’ve moved the Mass of Remembrance to Monday.)  The Mass of Remembrance is a longstanding tradition at Christ the King.  Each year, we invite all those who have lost a loved one over the past year, and we pray by name for those parishioners who have died this year.  It is a beautiful opportunity for family, friends and fellow parishioners to gather together to support one another and to pray for their deceased loved ones.  I know this is often a very meaningful evening for those who are still grieving their loved one’s death.

Our prayers for the dead are a real act of Christian hope.  If we didn’t believe in heaven, there would be no reason to pray!  Our prayers for those who have died express our belief that there is a life beyond this life, and that Christ’s Passion, death and resurrection have made it possible for us to have a well-founded hope for this eternal joy.  Every time we pray that God will welcome our loved ones into heaven, we are […]

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From Fr. Steve Lacroix, CSC

By |October 26th, 2019|


As we’ve been mentioning at Mass for the past couple of weeks, this Tuesday (October 29th) we’ll have the opportunity to gather to discuss Bishop Robert Barron’s new book, Letter to a Suffering Church.  Discussions will be offered at 9am and 7pm in the Youth Room, and all are welcome.

One hundred copies of this book were donated to us so that we could make it available to as many parishioners as possible, so I hope many of you have been able to read it.  It’s a brief but powerful reflection on the effect that the abuse scandal in the Church has had on people’s faith.  Bishop Barron frankly addresses the crisis of faith that this scandal has caused, prompting many faithful Catholics to question why they should remain in the Church.  Bishop Barron doesn’t sugarcoat the scandal or make excuses for poor leadership, but his answer is that the best response is to stay and fight rather than to jump ship.  He offers a sobering but compelling explanation of why the things that make the Church good and beautiful and holy are not things that any sinful human being can destroy.  My own take on this is that it would be tragic to let the sinful actions of clergymen deprive you of the Eucharist and the other graces that Jesus offers us through His Church.

Several parishioners have talked to me at different points over the past year to let me know about the struggles that these failures in Church leadership have caused for them.  Because of leaders who abused the trust that was given to them, some people struggle to trust the human face of the Church at all.  It’s […]

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Annual Bishop Appeal

By |October 12th, 2019|

The Bishop’s Appeal is upon us!  This weekend (as we usually do at this time of the year) we will show the appeal video at all Masses, followed by an opportunity for all parishioners to fill out a pledge card to offer their support to the appeal.  (Please note that there’s also an ongoing giving option which might be more convenient for many of you.  Visit diocesefwsb.org/aba for online giving.  This year, the goal set for us by the diocese is $159,766.75.

Some of you have asked me about the appeal in relation to the capital campaign.  As you recall, last year we didn’t show the appeal video or give pledge cards because we rolled last year’s goal into our campaign goal.  (We still paid our goal to the diocese; it just came from our campaign funds.)  This year, however, we’re back to the normal routine.  I know that many of you are still paying on your capital campaign pledges, so I simply ask you to discern what pledge is right for your family at this time.

The Bishop’s Appeal is an important source of funding for the diocese’s operating budget, paying for items such as the education of seminarians and the diocesan employees who support our Catholic schools, run ministry programs and manage their business operations.  Furthermore, any amount pledged over our goal comes directly back to the parish, which is always a huge help.  Thanks so much for your generosity to the Bishop’s Appeal in the past, and I’m grateful for whatever you’re able to pledge this year.

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Year-End Financial Information

By |October 5th, 2019|

I hope that you’ll take some time to look at the insert in today’s bulletin, which details our year-end financial information the last fiscal year.  (Our fiscal year ended on June 30, 2019, but I always wait until our Finance Council has the chance to review these statements before publishing this information.)  We want to be as transparent as possible about parish finances; our parishioners sacrifice a lot for our parish, and you should know how your money is being spent.

The past fiscal year, of course, included our capital campaign.  I am so grateful for the overwhelming response to this campaign, and I know that we are all eagerly awaiting the fruits of this campaign as we watch our new addition being built.  The capital campaign is not included in the bulletin insert; instead, this insert deals with our regular financial operations, which continued as normal during the campaign.  While our collections were down a bit, I think this is typical of a capital campaign year, and I greatly appreciate the effort that parishioners made to keep up their weekly giving while still supporting the campaign.

As you look at these statements, you can see that there is room for improvement in our financial position.  On the one hand, we are able to pay our bills and maintain our facilities thanks to our parishioners’ support, as well as to discipline in our spending.  We are also diligent about preparing for future capital expenditures, so we have been able to stay ahead of these expenses.  On the other hand, though, we continue to run a deficit.  While we’ve cut this deficit over the last two years, it’s still not sustainable in the long-term.  Our priority is to […]

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