Dear of People of St. Anthony, St. Mary and Holy Family Parish:
“But I say to you, love your enemies….”
If only Jesus had been more theoretical, more abstract, a little more vague….. it would be so much easier to be a Christian. But he was black and white clear. The very people who fill us with anger are the ones we must will good for, if we ever want peace in this world. And of course there are opportunities everywhere to put this into practice.
Thank you to the St. Mary Holy Name men for drawing our three parishes and people from beyond our Catholic faith community to sit next to each other at one table and share conversation along with great food. It is in gentle form, but still the same power at work: truth overcoming ignorance and love overcoming fear.
This Tuesday pastors and representatives from Our Savior’s Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran, Loyal United Methodist, Immanuel UCC, Neillsville UCC, St. Mary’s in Neillsville as well as our own three Catholic parishes are sitting down together to work at ending homelessness in Clark County. We will be marking the 500
th anniversary of the Reformation by rolling up our sleeves and working together on overcoming fear with love. We will be sketching out the July 22 gathering at the Alan Walter’s farm and identifying the work groups we will need to make it happen.
Sometime the work of overcoming hatred and fear with love involves our pocket books. I draw your attention to the totals thus far for our annual Diocesan Appeal. Thank you to all who have contributed again this year. Your contribution keeps our diocesan offices running, educates seminarians, supports retired priests, Catholic Charities, Catholic Schools and gives the diocese the resources to support the work of the larger Church. If you haven’t made your contribution yet, there is no time like the present! The drive will end in June. Any amount we are short of our target becomes interest bearing debt to the parish.
Speaking of finances, please note the new simplified monthly report in this bulletin. Our Finance Council members were getting feedback that our previous report was too complicated. “The fewer numbers the better” was one person’s quote. Please let me or one of the Finance Council members know what you think. And for those who would like the full financial reports, they are available on the parish website.
I would also like to update people on the availability of gluten free hosts at Mass. After experimenting with small plastic bags at St. Mary’s we have settled on having a small container of gluten free hosts in the priest’s ciborium. It works really smoothly for a person desiring a gluten free host to simply say so when they approach. Then I offer them the container with the gluten free hosts in it and they take one. It is working so well that we will start doing the same at St. Anthony’s. I learned this week that there is at least one person who has not been receiving at St. Anthony’s because they didn’t want the embarrassment of stopping the whole communion line while the minister went to the altar and back with the special ciborium. So if there are any other people out there who have been holding back for the same reason, please hold back no more!
Lastly, we had originally scheduled the Rite of Sending for next Sunday at the 10:30am Mass. This is where we call forward those in the RCIA program preparing to enter our Catholic Faith Community this coming Easter and receive testimony from their sponsors that they are ready. We do this so we may send them to the Bishop the following weekend for the Rite of Election. There, he hears testimony on their behalf and approves them for reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. Because of scheduling problems for the candidates we will be celebrating the Rite of Sending Sunday morning March 5
th at the 8:30am Mass. That will still give them time to get to the Cathedral in La Crosse for the 2:00pm celebration.
It is in greeting the stranger at the Turkey Dinner table, and taking care of the homeless in our county, in caring for those with special diets, and welcoming new members that we practice for the big one…. loving our enemies!