1st Sunday of Lent - Temptation

02-22-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this 1st Sunday of Lent, we are reminded that we are in a spiritual battle. We see this battle in today's Gospel as we hear about the devil leading Our Lord out into the desert to tempt Him. The devil is no match for Our Lord because Jesus is All Powerful, Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We, on the other hand, are not always able to resist temptation.

The devil tempts us to turn away from Jesus. I think about my own prayer life and when I try to speak with Our Lord. The devil will do almost anything to distract a person while praying. Mass is the greatest prayer of the Church and so the enemy will especially attack your efforts to pray at Mass. Even getting ready for Mass can be a big ordeal for some families. Do you think that these distractions or setbacks are just a coincidence? The answer is, of course, no. The devil is always tempting us to not speak to Jesus, especially at Mass.


Lent 2015

02-15-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Lent begins this Ash Wednesday. It is a season of fasting, self-denial, almsgiving, and prayer. The season of Lent begins with a symbol of repentance: placing ashes on our foreheads to remind us of the brevity of our lives and our need for a Savior. We have four Masses scheduled that day to allow you to get the season off on the right foot. The Mass schedule for Ash Wednesday, February 18th is: 7:00am, 8:30am, 5:00pm in English and 7:00pm in Spanish.

The season of Lent invites us to surrender something important - be it TV or sweets or meat, or snacking or negative attitudes or less than noble habits. All of these sacrifices are meant to bring us to a greater connection to the awesome love of Jesus Christ and the ultimate sacrifice that He offered for us and for our salvation. He died for us so that death may no longer have power over us.


The Vocation and Mission of the Family

02-08-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Did you know that your family has a vocation, a calling from God? Pope Francis has called for a synod in Philadelphia focusing on the family. The goal is to show the importance of family and to strengthen the family bond. In a world that often devalues and even manages to undermine the family unit, our Holy Father recognizes the need to give thanks to the Lord for the generosity and faithfulness of so many Christian families.

As the bishops have said: "Within the family are joys and trials, deep love and relationships which, at times, can be wounded. The family is truly the "school of humanity" (Gaudium et Spes, 52), which is much needed today. Despite the many signs of crisis in the family institution in various areas of the "global village", the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and serves as the basis of the need of the Church, an expert in humanity and faithful to her mission to proclaim untiringly and with profound conviction the "Gospel of the Family", entrusted to her together with the revelation of God's love in Jesus Christ and ceaselessly taught by the Fathers, the masters of spirituality and the Church's Magisterium."


St. Joan of Arc Respect Life

02-01-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Sundays at SJA
3rd Sunday of the month – 4:00pm – Weidner Hall – Free Admission

Feb 15
Lee Ann Able - Adoption: Can We Do Better?
A life affirming choice, but many of us are unsure how we truly feel and think about it.
(See Lee Ann's bio on page 4.)

Mar 15
Nik Nikas - What Every Catholic Should Know About End of Life
Issues surrounding our ability to have a natural and holy death.


Prayers for Granted and Granted Prayers

01-25-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

People tell me after Mass (especially visitors) how Mass is so prayerful. This parish is very blessed to have many people who are sincere about their relationship with Our Lord. Hopefully every parish is recognized as a place of prayer.  Whether you are at Mass, Adoration, bible study, That Man is You, religious education, youth group, senior group, preschool, and all of other activities in our parish, prayer is central.  This is something we cannot take for granted. Our Lord wants us to turn to Him, every day with sincere hearts.

It doesn't matter how nice the beautiful the parish looks, how great the choir sounds, how amazing the homily is… none of those things matter if we don't understand that we are called to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  This seems so obvious, and yet, in day-to-day activities, we can become very busy and forget that Jesus died for us that we might have eternal life.


Catholic and Pro-life through the years

01-18-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Twenty-eight years ago this month, I took my first trip to Washington D.C. Fourteen years past the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, my seminary took a day trip to the Washington D.C. Right to Life March.

I remember it vividly. It was powerful. I realized how my view changed over time. There was a time when I vilified anyone involved in the abortion industry, particularly mothers and fathers who "killed their babies." I couldn't get my mind around the "why" of abortion.

So, many years later, I still am a pro-life Catholic doing what I can to demonstrate respect for human life from conception to natural death. As the U.S. Bishops have reminded us, a human being has "a unique dignity and an independent value, from the moment of conception and in every stage of development, whatever his or her physical condition."

But in addition to remembering those millions of children who were denied the right to life, I remember the theme of the March many years ago that demonstrated the pro-life commitment to women's emotional health and stability as well. The slogan that was duplicated on placards throughout the city read, "No more babies die, no more mothers cry."


In the Flesh

01-11-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today's Gospel, we hear a strange conversation between Our Lord and John the Baptist. It is strange because John called people to repentance, to turn away from sin and turn to God. Jesus had no sins. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus doesn't need to repent, and, therefore, He has no need to be baptized. And yet, Our Lord shows up by the river and gets in line anyway. John sees Him and objects, but Jesus insists on taking His place right beside the rest of the sinners.

This is exactly what Our Lord does for us at every Mass. Whenever we receive Holy Communion, we are receiving God Himself as our nourishment. Our Lord could not be any closer to us than He is in Holy Communion. He desires to take His place right with us!

Whenever we stop by a Catholic Church, we can go and kneel before the tabernacle, the golden box behind the altar, where the consecrated hosts not used at Mass are reserved. We are also blessed to be able to be with Our Lord in our adoration chapel 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Jesus is waiting there for us all the time. Our Lord is ready whenever we need to talk to Him. You always know where to find Him. Please consider spending one hour per week with Our Lord here at St. Joan of Arc.


Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord

01-04-2015Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. What exactly is an epiphany? Some would say that it is a sudden, profound realization of something important; a breakthrough; a deep and profound understanding of something once mysterious. The Church uses the term to describe God as being made manifest in Jesus Christ. On Christmas we focused on Jesus' humanity. On Epiphany we turn our attention to Christ's divinity. We pause here today, just like the wise men, to pay this Divine Child homage and adoration as only a true King deserves. Next week we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, a dramatic leap forward in Jesus' life when we celebrate the initiation of Jesus' public ministry.


JMJ The Holy Family

12-28-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Some of you may be familiar with a great Catholic school tradition and that is to put the letters "JMJ" on the top of all your papers, tests, homework and anything else you may be writing on at the time. This was to remind us as Catholic students to do our best work in honor of the Holy Family—Jesus, Mary and Joseph whom we celebrate today.

It's amazing how little we know of the inner life of the Holy Family. The Gospels speak of the events around Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and his presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt and the finding of Jesus in the temple. Then, outside of the fact that Jesus grew in wisdom and was obedient to his parents; there is a huge pause in information. They're known as the "hidden years."


The Final Sunday of Advent

12-21-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we begin this last Sunday of Advent, let us remember that this time before Christmas is to help us find intimacy with God in the midst of our everyday lives.  This year the Fourth Week of Advent is only four days long! As we all know, Wednesday evening is Christmas Eve and Thursday, Christmas.

For many, Christmas is a wonderful time of the year—food, presents, children, decorations, cookies, and family traditions. It is a time for parties and remembering, as well as creating, fond memories!

But sometimes, it's the opposite. For those who mourn, it heightens a sense of grief, for example. Some of us are lonely. For some, the Christmas we will celebrate this year pales in comparison to past Christmases, perhaps because we've gotten older… or maybe we are away from loved ones. Others struggle getting along with the family they are with! Perhaps daily struggles, financial or world problems have robbed us of joy this Christmas.


Gaudete Sunday

12-14-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We light the rose colored candle on Gaudete Sunday. On this Sunday of rejoicing, the Church has arrived at the mid-point of Advent. Preparations are half over, Christmas is nearer and we are also closer to what the church calls, the "O Antiphons" of the Advent Season.

We make a transition during the weekdays from December 17 to December 24. In the first days of Advent we focus on the second coming of Jesus at the end of time. Now, we focus on preparing more directly for the remembrance of the Lord's birth.

During these days, both the Liturgy of the Hours and during Mass, we include the traditional "O Antiphons" which express the meaning and spirit of the season.


What is the meaning of the Advent Wreath?

12-05-2014Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize God the Father and eternal life. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent.  The light of the flame is a visual reminder that Christ is "The Light of the World" (John 8:12). There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior.

Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of penance, sacrifice, and prayer. During the first two and the last weeks of Advent we light violet candles.  The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for Christmas is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent.