Purification, water, and cleansed heart: Ezekiel 36: Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The conversation between the young man and Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22): Monday, August 17th, 2020
Bulletin Points for Shepherds and Sheep: Wednesday, August 19th, 2020
"I do believe. Help my unbelief.": 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Brothers and sisters, our family needs support in a few different places. Specially, we have many people making decisions, according to their discernment and their health, as our service could always use more support. Here is where:
At our Tabernacle Society, we need several individuals. Many years ago, we had 8-10 different teams that took turns to clean our parish. Many of these men and women have served for many years. Now it is time for new generations to use your time and talent—stewardship, to continue to clean our parishes! This not only keeps us safe during Covid-19 but also saves money for our budgets. If you or your family would be able to serve this way, please contact me, Les Hendrickson, or Jackie Glowack.
We could also need support in our St. Thomas Aquinas cemetery. And if you love history, this would be a place for you! I mean, we have records for our cemetery and plots almost a century old! As we are very blessed with a crew of parishioners that have been cutting and trimming the grass, we could also use some muscle to fix some headstones and footstones to keep our buried brothers and sisters revered.
Also, we do have a Cemetery Board, which is also needed. Again, please call me, Les Hendrickson or Jackie Glowack.
Finally, as I want to connect to our families in our parishioners, please know that we continue to grow with students who have been registered at St. Thomas Aquinas School Saints—praise God! Please continue to pray for all of our (home)schools, public schools, and ours that God's will may be done. If you know anyone in your family, friends, or acquaintances who are still discerning where to send their kids to go, please pass our school's number at 283-3430.
Cool ways that our Daily Readings were Organized and Jeremiah: Monday, August 1st, 2020
The Transfiguration, Peter, James, John, Elijah, Moses and Jesus: Thursday, August 6th, 2020
John 12:24 points to Martyrs: Monday, August 10th, 2020 (St. Lawrence)
Parish Bulletin Article: "New School Information": 8-9-20
We have some more information with transparency as we are beginning to prepare for St. Thomas Aquinas School. I will first mention some of the significant thoughts of how we spoke about in our School Advisory Committee. The first question—which was pretty powerful—was asking what their first words these last few months: marathon, full (positive, negative), emotional, grateful, appreciate, protective, anxious, lots of details, worried, losing minds, drama, over it, different emotions, not stable, so busy—stay focused, terrible.
For me, the openness of our members began our meeting by listening with each other. And that is how I want our team/family to walk with each other.
Next, our goal is to have your school five days a week. Our faculty, parents, and students at St. Thomas Aquinas School may grow with peace and calmness during this time. Our school is a Catholic/Christian School, allowing many opportunities for prayerfulness, "holy spaces," safety, health, and of course, Jesus Christ.
Also, we will be having max numbers for classrooms: PreK = 10 students per session, Kindergarten = 10, First-Second Classroom = 15, Third-Fourth = 15, Fifth-Sixth Grade = 15. We have done the best we could speak with all of our families who had their student's last school year, as well as our families at our parishioners. It will now offer registration for families in our community. Please call our school and registration as soon as possible due to the safety of the maxed classrooms.
Finally, adding to this bulletin article, you may pick up Principle Jerry's Covid-19 Preparedness Plan. Now, he did not make this up by himself! He received a lot of information as our Dioceses worked together within the Minnesota state that arrived at our Diocese of Duluth. After that point, it came to our school. At the same time, each school will experience different situations, especially at the beginning of the year.
May we all pray for our students, parents, families, teachers, administrators, and our whole family as school 2020-2021 school year begins!
“What will separate us from the love of Christ?”: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“What will separate us from the love of Christ?”
· A great letter to the Romans by St. Paul
· As he continues
o “Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.”
· I must keep focusing on this, especially when I have moments of nervousness, not knowing the finish line
· No matter what, we must know of his love, seek to his love, not what we can achieve
And with His love, we heard from Isaiah again:
· “All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost…”
o Again, this probably makes sense when our lives our comfortable
o But what if you are literally thirsty? No food? No money? Free?
§ These are different around the world in reality.
§ And of course, Jesus is also showing our spiritual journeys
Finally, the connection of the above: five loaves and two fish
· Is the crowd fed? Yes, with a full belly.
· Is the crowd fed in a different way, too? Yes, with a chance to see how God shows us the more important lives beyond this place.
· Body and soul seeking the revolution of redemption.
· Devil tempted Jesus: “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”
Forgiveness, especially during Stressful Times: Thursday, August 13th, 2020
Elijah, Peter, and Ourselves: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Elijah and Peter have similar experiences
Elijah on the high of a mountain, in a cave
Now Peter’s experience
§ He did so, then, similar to Elijah, “Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;”
§ By the way…isn’t this us today?
§ “…beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””
§ And this too?
Now, aren’t some of us like Elijah, strong, faithful, and trust in what he saw and how he reacted?
· Aren’t some of us acting like Peter, wanting to walk on water, focusing to Jesus Christ, but realizing our fear with all the challenges we see, like the wind, like the storm, like the waves?
· Or, aren’t most of us doing both?
“Lord, save us!” And he will
Or, “Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.”
And he wants to do that too!
Parish Bulletin Article: "Principal Jerry's Letter": 8-2-20
I know many of you are concerned about sending your children to school and knowing what is the best option for keeping them safe. Should they be sent to school? Keep them home? Home school? On-line enrollment? Attend St. Thomas school? Enroll in the public school with distance learning or hybrid instruction? There are many options available to you.
This is a personal, emotional and difficult decision to make. Each individual case is different. We understand and support you in whatever decision you make.
It is decision time. We need to know if you will enroll your child at St. Thomas School for the 2020-21 school year. Our plans are to open up and provide face-to-face instruction. A COVID-19 Preparedness Plan has been drafted and is being reviewed by or Advisory Community, staff members, and public health officials. Once feedback is received, copies of our plan will be made available to parents, parishioners, and the general public.
Our plan calls for capping enrollment at 10 students per grade and preschool section. We have had several request for enrollment information from new families. To ensure your child has a spot at St. Thomas School, we need you to contact the school and let us know your intentions. Even if you notified us earlier in the year, please contact us again. Our community health situation is very fluid and people may have changed their plans. We need current information.
You can respond to this notice immediately via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school office starting August 3 to give us the information. Heather will be in the office at that time to receive your calls.
Please continue to be safe, stay positive and practice social distancing. We look forward to a new school year. May God continue to protect and watch over you and your family.
Jerry Hilfer, Principal
Lots of names in the Bible today!: Tuesday, July 14th, 2020
Three Collects of our Martyrs we have at Mass: Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Parish Bulletin Article: "Last Six Months with Chaos": 7-12-20
Can you believe that I will be concluding the sixth year at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban and begin the seventh? Wow!
Each year, you may remember that I offer some of my perspective, gratitude, or some updates the last six months for you.
We have had some blessed gifts earlier in 2020, like our UCA goals, students at school, a new teacher, the selling of another building, serving, and beyond. Yet I will never forget these last several months and in the future with many of you.
A perfect storm after the death of George Floyd.
I mean, we experienced the first time in world history, that most everything was closed: schools, sports, businesses, hotels, airplanes, churches, and the hardest for me: Mass.
We have also faced changes in many levels after bad decisions in our country, especially with our brothers and sisters as American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics, and more. At the same time, we continue to see chaos, polarization, and political agendas.
What do we do for the next six months from my perspective?
First, I believe that each of us has individual responsibilities, and each of us is sinners. We must seek God's forgiveness and seek His mercy. If we receive that gift from God, we must do the same to others.
Second, I believe about a crucial verse: "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). We ought to learn not only real history but also the TRUTH of God's Word in the Scriptures. Pick up that book and read it!
Finally, we must know that God IS LOVE. Follow Him. Listen to Him. Come to His Mass and His sacraments.
To my family, work and pray for our neighbors, and St. Teresa of Avila once said, "We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us."
God Bless, and may we continue to pray with each other.
Hospitality from Judaism, Christianity and Today with Covid-19? 13th Sunday in Ordinary in Time
13th Ordinary Time
This weekend, here is a curious gift that we ought to give to others in the Old and New Testaments: Hospitality
· I bring this up, even in the Covid-19
· And listen to the very first words in our first reading from Elisha:
o “One day Elisha came to Shunem,
where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her. Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine. So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof
and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp,
so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”
Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.”
During the Jewish culture, from the very beginning of humanity, and around the world today is amazing to still seeing hospitality
· And Jesus challenges us not to just do this to our family and friends, as, in one place said that pagans, tax collectors and sinners to the same
· We are called to give hospitality for those we do not know, the poor, the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, etc.
And here is the deep questions now: how do we show hospitality during Covid?
· I personally think this is the opposite of our individualism—keeping safe our family first, others second
o Well God wants us to support all of His sons and daughters
· How are you showing hospitality before, during or after this virus?
· Yes, we must make good decisions as we would speak about the words like prudence and wisdom, but we are not in this world, but of this world
· We literally have had saints that did give hospitality during the worst pandemics, injustice, and violence, like St. Damian as men, women and children were isolated on Molakai, like St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta who housed in the ghettos in Calcutta, like Dorothy Day, who took any ethnicity or even religion for food and shelter, Pius XII who saved thousands of Jews during the third reich, St. Katharine Drexel with Black and American Indians, priests who tried to dissipate the lynching in Duluth, and any other saints or individuals with missions
So how are you called to give hospitality, even during this challenging time?
Parish Bulletin Article: "Bishop-elect Michel J. Mulloy": 6-28-20
Bishop-elect Michel J. Mulloy appointed for Diocese of Duluth
Jun 19, 2020
Pope Francis has appointed Father Michel J. Mulloy, from the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, to be the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, it was announced today.
Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy
Bishop-elect Mulloy was born May 20, 1953, in Mobridge, South Dakota, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1979. He served parishes in both the Sioux Falls and Rapid City dioceses before being incardinated formally in the Rapid City diocese in 1986. He has spent most of his priestly ministry serving in parishes until his appointment full-time as vicar general of the Rapid City Diocese in 2017 and his subsequent election in 2019 as diocesan administrator after Rapid City’s bishop was transfered to another diocese.
Among other roles in the Diocese of Rapid City, Bishop-elect Mulloy has served as vocations director and director of the Office of Worship, as well as serving on the presbyteral council, the College of Consultors, the diocesan finance and pastoral councils, and the Sioux Spiritual Center Board of Directors.
His episcopal ordination and installation have been set for Thursday, Oct. 1.
Bishop-elect Mulloy will succeed the late Bishop Paul Sirba, who died unexpectedly on Dec. 1, 2019.
We need Understanding Hearts and Right versus Wrong: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
· Swimming in tough water
o Even in calm water—zig-zags vs. straight lines
o Large waves—where am I going?
o Bumping each other like minnows in a bucket
o Where’s the buoy?
o Get me out of this swim!
o Another image for me right now
Here is a great conversation between God and Solomon—the son of King David:
· “The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
· Take your name instead of Solomon…imagine this dream at night and God said the same question: “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
o As typically we ought to ask God for prayers—intercessions
o NUANCE: But again, what if He asks YOU?
How would you answer…not a genie, but God?
· A long life? Health?
· Life of our enemies?
· “I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.”
Solomon’s answer was understanding
· Isn’t that a key of life? Or, as we say throughout our history, the virtue of prudence/wisdom?
I think that virtue is crucial today.
· What about some upside-down situations today?
· Again, Covid-19?
o School that is quickly coming?
o No sports on TV?
o No movies in Holywood popping out?
o Carazy news?—right from wrong?
I hope that we may what pray for these virtues—an understanding heart, wisdom, prudence, a map no matter what situation we are in
· And the beauty is that this question from God is a question to help us on our journey
· At the same time He is the one to follow
· And the closer we are with Him, we must be with Him
· And when we are feeling distance from God, this is how we can see His will
Seeds and Sower, Ears and Eyes: 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We heard several times today about seeds
· In Isaiah
o “…till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows…”
· Responsorial Psalm
o “The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest”
· Gospel according to Matthew
o The sower that sowed on different ground, and the most important to be on rich soil
Each of these are the seeds of God’s Word
So today, I want to speak about this deeper, even beyond the prophetic and Jesus parable…why?
· Jesus challenged his disciples against a secular (or back then, a pagan culture):
o “‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’”
I mean, how often is the Scriptures in our public venue today?
· And dare would I also add that we do have citizens that are pagan, heretics, polytheism, atheism, communism, socialism, capitalism, scientism, when God is left alone
· Have you ever read, prayed, or listened to God’s Word every day? Do you hear or see how God’s Word does affect in our society?
· Or, do you remember how often our presidents normally used the Scriptures in their talks (like Abraham Lincoln emancipation of slavery?) Or Marten Luther King, seeking peace and justice? Or our Astronauts orbiting around the moon by reading Genesis 1? Or our public venue with the 10 commandments, on our money, on statutes?
Sadly, many, many people do not hear or see the best news, the most important news, even though that our Bible is not written with our 2020 data.
Please read that Bible and you’re learn a lot, and grow closer to our savior!
St. Peter and St. Paul--Martyrs: Monday, June 29th, 2020