Recently we had a reading in daily Mass from the book of Judges. It was about how the people of God turned away from the Lord and worshiped other gods. This seems incredible. After all, the people had been led out of Egypt; they had seen the miracles; they had entered into the covenant; and finally they had entered the promised land. How could they turn away after all of this? The answer is that the surrounding culture corrupted them. When they entered the promised land, they were supposed to clear out all the peoples who had been there. But they did not do this. They cleared out some of the peoples but not all of them. Those that remained worshiped false gods and it was these that lured the people astray. It was the surrounding culture.READ MORE
File this under “Getting to know Fr. Vietor Better.” I like to read literature. This probably goes back to my being an English major in college, and this probably goes back to my boyhood when I first developed a love for reading. Every day I try to get in a few pages at least. I find it relaxing and invigorating to make my way through a good book. Recently I started a walloping new book called In Search of Lost Time. It is actually six fat volumes, so this will keep me busy for quite some time. It is by a Frenchman named Marcel Proust and so I am reading a translation in English, but it is still very well done. I read it once before and thought it was worth doing again.READ MORE
Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a wonderful reminder of our priorities in this back-to-school month. Just as we have begun again the busy school schedule, we pause to remember the great honor bestowed on our Blessed Mother. We see again what is of real value in our lives. We see again the right order of things.READ MORE
The lens through which we view life makes a difference. It also determines who we choose to learn from and what we allow to shape our thoughts and feelings. For many, life is simply what it appears to be, a given that either through evolution or some other means just came to be. There is no apparent rhyme or reason to things and things can be dissected and understood only in terms of what they empirically present. To the person using this lens, a tree is a tree and a flower is a flower. Their composition and existence can be understood only to the extent that current human knowledge allows. Through this lens, what gives life purpose and meaning? This lens has an essentially unknown beginning and definite end. Once those are accepted, the middle becomes some kind of pursuit of happiness, with values and principles being things that are self-created and found acceptable.READ MORE
Greetings in Christ!
What a joy and grace it has been to serve as St. Joan of Arc’s Youth Minister this past year. I look forward to the graces our good and gracious God has in store for our upcoming year. Two words come to mind as I reflect back on this past year of Verso L’alto youth group- those words are hope and courage. I have a tremendous amount of hope in the future of our Church. Getting to journey and walk with the teens of St. Joan of Arc has been such an authentic source of hope to me. The ways the teens have opened their hearts to dive deeper into a relationship with Christ in the midst of some crazy and unpredictable times is absolutely incredible. It is a gift to have St. Joan of Arc as the patroness of our parish and to pray for her intercession as a youth group. She modeled courage in the face of adversity and strong faith despite what the threats were. Please join me in continuing to pray for St. Joan of Arc’s intercession for the teens in our youth group, that they may have the courage from the Holy Spirit to live out and share their faith.READ MORE
Thank you to everyone who helped prepare for my installation as Pastor of St. Joan of Arc. It has been a great joy for me to be here these past two years and find a home here. It is a great gift to be able to minister as a priest so close to where I grew up. I look forward to many more years here at St. Joan of Arc.READ MORE
I almost handed this week’s bulletin letter over to promoting our youth group, but there’s a lot happening in July and I wanted to pass along a few updates. This weekend we are re-introducing the Sign of Peace at Sunday Masses. I’ve been slow on bringing this back because I wanted to share a few thoughts about the Sign of Peace before it returns. In Matthew 5:23-24 we read this, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”READ MORE
Maybe the work is best left to the professionals. That’s how many people view the preaching of the Gospel. That’s the stuff priests, religious, deacons, lay ministers, and other professional Church people do. It has little to do with me. Well, that’s not really true. The fact of the matter is that preaching the Gospel has everything to do with you, with all of us who are baptized members of the Body of Christ. Nobody gets off the hook from that job. The question is, however, how do we do it? Well, there’s a safe way, which many choose, to preach the Gospel — and the risky way. The safe way pretty much keeps the Gospel in church and around like-minded people. I say my prayers, go to Mass, contribute to the food pantry, tithe, and attend Bible Study. That pretty much covers the bases, right? Wrong.READ MORE
Happy 4th of July! This Sunday is the first weekend in which the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass is lifted. It’s great to have everyone coming back. If you know of parishioners who have not been back yet, please invite them. The Sunday Mass is not merely a rote obligation to fulfill, but removes us from this world for a time to offer right praise and worship to the living God. In the Mass, we get a foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our final aim. We gather as a community because we are meant to live in relationship, not in isolation. We do not worship singly, but as a community and living body. It is for this reason that we speak of the Church as the Body of Christ.READ MORE
The author of The Cloud of Unknowing prays, “That which I am and the way that I am, with all my gifts of nature and grace, you have given to me, O Lord, and you are all this. I offer it all to you, principally to praise you and to help my fellow Christians and myself.” Knowing that God sustains us in being is the key to faith. All that we need to do is to love God as God is and the rest will begin to fall into place. God made us in His image and desires that we have life. God also desires that we be healed of all of our wounds, especially those caused by sin, and know his loving touch. Being weighed down by negativity, imperfections, the cares of the world, and weakness is not something that God desires.READ MORE
Happy Sunday and Happy Father’s Day!
We are grateful to God for all the many blessings bestowed on us through the fathers of this parish. I am always edified seeing the many fathers of our parish bringing their families to Mass, keeping them rooted in the faith, and leading their families in joy. You are all a great gift to me and the parish community, may God continue to richly bless you and may you always seek to live from the heart of our heavenly Father!READ MORE
As our world faces so much turmoil and change, it is now more important than ever to remember who God is, who we are and where we are going. It is easy to get distracted and lose focus, especially when we are being pulled in so many directions. We can not only lose sight of God but one another. Maintaining our well developed and mature relationships with God and one another is essential to continuing to live, healthy, happy, and focused lives. In a message to young people, Pope Benedict XVI said, “the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.” What is true for those who are younger is even truer for those who are older. Regardless of how the particulars of life change over time, human beings are still hard-wired to seek the fullness of life and happiness. How we embark on this journey and what we choose along the way will indicate whether we meet success.READ MORE