Strive to enter by the narrow gate.

08-25-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A man asks Jesus, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" His question is not something new. Many people wonder if only a few people get to heaven or will almost everyone make it? Our Lord answers this question of our salvation. Today Our Lord speaks about people coming "from east and west, north and south" to "recline at the table in the kingdom of God." Some people hear verses like that and conclude that it is fairly easy to get into heaven, that a person would have to sin "big time" in order to wind up in hell. That is a comforting view.

Before we get too comfortable with this conclusion, listen to what else Jesus says to us. He says, "Strive to enter by the narrow gate." And he speaks about people who thought they had it made are actually locked out. Our Lord wants you and me to consider the possibility that we might not be saved. Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar - who was one of the gentlest of all theologians - put it this way: "It is indispensable that every individual Christian be confronted, in the greatest seriousness, with the possibility of his becoming lost."


Light a Fire

08-18-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our Lord says, "I did not come to establish peace, but I have come to establish division." What? Did the Prince of Peace just say that? Did Jesus really come to establish division? Many people wrongly believe that Our Lord came or peace for good reason. The Sacred Scripture refer to Jesus and peace often. How can we make sense of this apparent contradiction?

Our Lord is speaking about what can cause division in people's lives. Our Lord is telling us that Truth can cause division in families' lives. For example, a member of a family may have discovered the truth about the Catholic Church. Most of his life, he has been told lies about the Church. Now, he comes to realize the truth. So he enters the Church. The problem is that the rest of the family doesn't see the truth as he sees it. They think he's out of his mind. The result is that the family is divided because of his decision to follow Our Lord. Truth causes division!

Another example would be a daughter who is pregnant wants to have an abortion. But her mother knows the truth. Her mother knows that this is another human being in the womb. So the mother does her best to save the child and the daughter does her best to get an abortion. In the process the two are divided which brings the entire family to be divided as well. Truth causes division!


Be prepared. Be vigilant.

08-11-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today Our Lord reminds us to be vigilant, watchful, and on your guard. Sadly, many people are vigilant and watchful and on guard about things that in the end really don't matter. Our Lord invites us to watch for Him and the things of Heaven and to avoid sin and the devil.

Maybe you have heard the story about a demon assigned to tempt a young man. It was his first assignment so the "junior devil" discussed his strategy with a senior devil. "I know how to bring this young man down," he said, "I will convince him there is no God." The senior devil said, "That's fine for some, but it will not work for this young man. All he has to do is look at the night sky and he will realize that God exists." The junior tempter said, "Well, then I will convince him there is no devil." The senior tempter said, "That approach has more promise, but if he looks around his neighborhood, he will realize the devil exists." Then the senior tempter said, "Here's the best plan. Don't try to convince him that there is no God or that there is no devil. Just tell him there is no hurry."


Catholic Academy for Life Leadership (C.A.L.L.)

08-04-2013Pastor's LetterBishop Thomas J. Olmsted

Dear Parents and Teens,

How blessed we are to be Catholic! With the constant assault on our youth from the current culture, it is difficult to hear the consistent and positive message of our Catholic faith when it teaches about life, love, and the value and dignity of each person. We need only look at the confusion regarding sexual behavior and its devastating effects on our teens, on marriages, on families, and on society to know we are in a battle. We want our teens to make it through their youth without stepping on a mine in this cultural minefield and especially to make it through their college years and into their future vocations with a thriving and growing faith.

Parents, as the first teachers of their children, now have the Catholic Academy for Life Leadership to help them in guiding their teens through these years and into a happy, healthy, and holy future. The Catholic Academy for Life Leadership (C.A.L.L.) is a three-year program that will meet just four times a year to offer high school students service and leadership opportunities, as well as formation in topics of life and love such as the Theology of the Body, relationships, marriage, the beauty of human biology, and bioethics. When they get these topics of life and love right, our youth will be better prepared for marriage, or the call to the priesthood or religious life. They will be presented with a Catholic worldview and furthered in their journey of understanding our faith, which is based on the knowledge that we are made to love and be loved in the image and likeness of God.


True Freedom

07-28-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Greg Menegay

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Forty-five years ago, in July of 1968, the late Pope Paul VI released the encyclical "Humanae Vitae," (Of Human Life). This encyclical upheld the Church's traditional teaching prohibiting the use of artificial contraception and emphasizing that human life is sacred from the very moment of conception. This encyclical also predicted that widespread use of contraception would lead to an increase in marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. How true this prediction has become as we now live in a society plagued with adultery, abortion, pornography and a growing lack of respect for the sacred institution of marriage.

However, in spite of the moral decline that has taken place, or perhaps because of it, many people are turning to the wisdom of the Church and discovering that there is a better way. By familiarizing themselves with the encyclical "Humanae Vitae," Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body," and "Natural Family Planning," Catholics are discovering the "gift" of human sexuality, and how by following God's plan in this area one can experience tremendous peace and joy. Consider the following quote from Humanae Vitae; "Conjugal love reveals its true nature and nobility when it is considered in its supreme origin, God, who is love, the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named."


That Man is You

07-21-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Greg Menegay

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

While Fr. Kline is away on some well deserved R&R he asked me to cover his column, so the Pastor's column will be the Parochial Vicar's column for the next couple of weeks.

This past winter we successfully launched a Catholic Men's Fellowship group here at the parish. We met on Saturday mornings from 7:00am until 8:30am and the morning consisted of an instructional DVD, small group discussion, and, of course, bagels, donuts, and coffee. It was a good opportunity for men in the parish to get to know each other; learn about the faith; and support each other in living their faith. All in all it was a good beginning.

Beginning Saturday, September14, we're going to begin our second season of Catholic Men's Fellowship. The core team and I are very excited because we will be using a program that is spreading rapidly in parishes throughout the U.S. entitled "That Man is You!" The following is an excerpt from one of the promotional brochures; "That Man is You! Is an interactive men's program focused on the development of men in the modern world. It combines the best research from science with the teachings of the Catholic faith and the wisdom of the saints to develop the vision of authentic men capable of transforming themselves, their families and greater society." The program is divided into two 13 week sessions, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. All men 18 and above are welcome and encouraged to attend.


Stewardship & Gratitude

07-14-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,

As I begin my fifth year as pastor of St. Joan of Arc, I have been reflecting on the question: Why am I here? The obvious reason I am here at St. Joan of Arc: Bishop Olmsted sent me to this parish. Bishop sent me here. I suppose I have had any number of responses to being sent here, but I would say that my daily response to God is one of gratitude.

Some of things I am grateful for would include the incredible campus… it is incredible because of the many people involved in making it so. I am grateful for the faith and sacrifice of those who entrusted this holy place to us. When I came in 2008, I was impressed by the Stewardship of many parishioners who sacrificed their time, their treasure and their talent to build the beautiful campus and church we now enjoy. There wasn't a police officer to arrest you if you didn't contribute every week to the collection. Nobody asked you how much you make every year or told you what to do with your hard earned money. No one made you become volunteer or how you must help to keep St. Joan of Arc in operation. Everything you give… your time, your abilities and your financial resources, these things are a free gift… and many of you gave with a grateful heart.



07-07-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we observe Independence Day celebrations every year, we hear the word freedom being bantered around a lot. But the problem is, in our country today, our understanding of what freedom is and what it is supposed to be used for is dramatically disordered. That is, we see freedom primarily, often only, as "freedom from." Ask many Americans today and they will most likely tell you that freedom means freedom from something or someone. Men and women have come to the United States for over 230 years to escape from tyranny and oppression—all good things.

Instead of only thinking about "freedom from" we, as Catholics, need to be thinking of, "freedom for what?" Moving away from the pitfalls of the "freedom from" mentality, we need to reflect this Independence Day on what freedom is ultimately for.

So what do we use freedom for? St. Paul reminds us, "For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters, but do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love."


How Should you dress for Mass in the Summer? (Part 2 of 2)

06-30-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week I would like to continue to speak about pleasing Our Lord by how we dress for Holy Mass.

I read that Muhammad Ali explained modesty to his daughter this way: "Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at he bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them...Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too."

While mothers need to teach their daughters the art of being attractive without compromising their dignity, fathers need to teach their sons how to be gentlemen. Gentlemen do not wear shorts to church or hats inside church. Furthermore fathers need to speak to their sons about how to appreciate the gift of a woman without reducing her to a mere object of pleasure. For example, if a woman fails to dress appropriately the young man needs to learn the value of practicing custody of the eyes. Our Lord has warned us, "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).


Modesty (Part 1 of 2)

06-23-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With the hot weather it is a good time to remember the importance of dressing appropriately for church.
Sometimes during the summer people forget that they are going to the Lord's house for worship, and confuse it with a trip to the beach. Therefore, I would like to remind everyone, men and women, boys and girls, about the virtue of modesty.

Modesty is part of the virtue of purity. Modesty may vary from one culture to another, but there is nonetheless a universal "code" that we are to respect the dignity of every person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of it this way: "Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden...It inspires one's choice of clothing."


Happy Father's Day

06-16-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we give thanks to God for those who have the special title of father. St. Joseph, the appointed father of Our Lord, teaches us the importance of the role of a father. His steadfast presence as provider and protector for Our Lord and Our Lady are beautiful reminders of a father's love. Those who have experienced a father's love – have experienced a great blessing. For those who have had a negative experience of their earthly father, Our Lord provides us with the answer.

Jesus told us to call God – FATHER. When his disciples asked him to teach them to pray, Jesus said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Our Father…' " Our Lord actually went a step further than telling us to call God "Father." He himself addressed God as "Abba." (Mk 14:36). That word is from Jesus' own language, Aramaic. It is the word small children used when addressing their father; it is the word for "Daddy." We don't need to bother asking a little child why he or she calls their father "Daddy." The whole point is that it's not something that has to be thought about: it's a spontaneous expression of affection and trust. It's something a child just does because they simply love and trust.


Celebration of First Eucharist and Confirmation

06-09-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I look forward each year to the celebration of First Eucharist and Confirmation at St. Joan of Arc. It is a wonderful day of celebrations! We especially welcome all the grandparents and extended family who have gathered to celebrate with those receiving their sacraments. Our first communicants and confirmandi are a wonderful group of people and we are honored to serve them at St. Joan of Arc.

In an encyclical entitled, Sacra Tridentina, published in the early years of the 20th Century, given to us by Pope St. Pius X, he encouraged daily communion in a time when people felt generally unworthy to receive Our Lord because of a heresy called Jansenism. St. Pius called the Eucharist, "the antidote whereby we may be freed from daily faults and be preserved from mortal sin." In other words, yes, we must be worthy to receive the Eucharist having repented from sin. But St. Pius X also believed that regular, even daily reception of communion gives us the grace to avoid sin and remain faithful to Our Savior.


The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

06-02-2013Pastor's LetterFr. Don Kline

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Christ,

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is a special time when Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is offered to Catholics and non-Catholics in the Eucharistic Procession. This is a wonderful opportunity for Catholics to show their love for Christ in the Real Presence by honoring Him in a very public way. According to Canon Law “Wherever in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop it can be done, a procession through the streets is to be held, especially on the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, as a public witness of veneration of the Blessed Eucharist” (Can. 944 §1,2).

This weekend, after all the Masses at St. Joan of Arc, we are given the opportunity to participate in a Eucharistic Procession. A solemn procession with Our Lord is a wonderful way for Catholics to show our love for Our Lord and our neighbors. There have been many conversions of those struggling with their faith because of Eucharistic Adoration in our humble adoration chapel. How many more there would be if we could reach those who only drive by the church? Visible expressions of faith can be so powerful. There were many wonderful comments about the Eucharistic Miracle display offered here a few weeks ago. This display gave many people a chance to grow in their understanding of Our Eucharistic King and the many miracles directly attributed to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. When people are exposed to Our Lord truly present in the Eucharist their hearts can be changed for good forever.