In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replies, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”“Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?” To read the rest of the story posted on Matthew Warner’s website, click A Tale of Two Babies.
I like to fish. If you ask anyone with whom I’ve ever fished, they’ll tell you that’s an understatement! When others have given up or been fished-out, I’m ready for “just one more cast” which is usually met with glazed-over eyes and a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-we-haven’t-had-a bite-in-over-an-hour look. I think it was the same kind of look that Jesus got when he told Simon to go out and cast their nets ‘just one more time.’ But, because Simon loved Jesus, he did as he asked – and he was rewarded with the catch to surpass all catches.
Then Jesus does something totally unexpected. His fisherman followers have just had their best fishing experience EVER, and Jesus says ‘Just walk away from it. Come follow me. Be my disciple.’ And amazingly enough they did. But why?
Maybe because Jesus said he would make them fishers of men. He didn’t ask them to become carpenters, or farmers, or hermits, he called them as they were – fishermen. Then they followed Him, learned from Him and became something more than fishermen. They were transformed.
Jesus asks no more than that of us. He calls us as we are, where we are, who we are, and how we are. When we say ‘yes’ to being disciples, we say yes to a lifetime of learning and sharing what we have learned – To Grow as Disciples & Grow Disciples. We too will become more than what we are; we will be transformed. We will be ready to answer God’s call: “Whom shall I send?” “Here I am Lord. Send me.”
Mary Marquardt, Business Administrator
Ecumenical Partnership for Housing (EPH) provides safety, stability, and solutions for homeless families in our community.
In 2015, we served 40 families, including 94 children! EPH provides shelter for struggling families, and allows them to be in a safe environment, while focusing on education, parenting, and financial obligations. We truly provide a helping hand toward long-term solutions for these families. We have so many stories of success, it is truly awesome —-all through the Grace of God.
As we start our 24th year (that’s right, 2017 is our 25th Anniversary), I want to share with you our overall belief system and strategy which is at the center of our ministry.
As faith calls us to minister with our neighbors in need, Ecumenical Partnership for Housing seeks, through partnerships with religious congregations and social service agencies, to provide transitional housing and supporting services for homeless families and children.
Through EPH sponsored transitional housing, extensive case management, and caring support services, families achieve the knowledge, skills, and “wholeness” for a self-sufficient future. 40 Family Solutions at a time by 2020.
• We will make a difference one family at a time.
• We will meet our families where they are.
• We believe our families respond to their environment.
• We will act with a sense of urgency to move families off of our waiting list.
• We believe we are called to put our faith into action.
1. Capacity and processes to serve families with increased barriers
• Implement Self-Sufficiency Index
• Growing and evolving case management
• LTSH direction
• Support services – child care, mentoring, employment
2. Operational capacity to meet future family and community needs
• Staffing alignment and infrastructure
• Partnership church development
• Growth of funding sources – capital, operational, and endowment
3. Our response to systemic issues related to family poverty and homelessness
• Increasing poverty in our community
• Socio-economic differences
• Barriers to living-wage employment
• Affordable housing
Jay Arves, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Board Representative for EPH, Inc.
“Poverty is what can make us grateful for everything we have. One new blouse does not get lost among all the other hangers in the cupboard. One new book becomes a treasure, not just one more kind of recreation. No new toys, no new clothes, no new furniture makes us treasure what little of each of them we do have. One mother I know found the pair of new shoes she had just brought her daughter that week in a bin in front of the house awaiting the city trash collectors. ‘What are these doing here?’ she asked her daughter. ‘I just got them for you two days ago.’ ‘I don’t like them,’ the teen said back. ‘None of the other kids wear anything like this.’ Only poverty, perhaps, can give us a sense of what it is to be grateful for what you have and even more grateful for what you get for nothing . . .
In poverty, God is not a question. The God who hears the cry of the poor is all the poor can really be sure of because it can only be the goodness of God that supplies their daily needs . . .
The alleluia that arises out of poverty is not about having nothing; the alleluia is in gratitude for the kind of poverty that wants for nothing that does not add to a sense of the presence of God and the liberating grace of enoughness. May we all be so lucky as to have that much. For that we must all shape our hearts in different, more life-giving ways. For that, we must all learn to cultivate in ourselves the poverty we do not know and grieve the riches that protect us from finding it.”
~Sister Joan Chittister, Uncommon Gratitude~
Advent is a time rich in family traditions. Many of them have been so effectively absorbed into our culture that their religious origins are hidden.
Some of us will set candles in our windows. That custom began in Ireland during the “penal” days extending from 1691 to the “Catholic Emancipation” in 1829 and beyond. There were harsh penalties and fines for not attending the government church. Priests were forced into hiding, but people were resourceful and determined in guarding their faith. At Christmas, they, particularly in the countryside, placed a lighted candle in the window and left the door unlocked hoping that a priest might come by and celebrate the Christmas Mass for them. The custom of the Irish window candle was so admired in Catholic Europe that it was widely copied there, and now finds a welcome in households that may not exactly expect a priest to wander in!
Many churches decorate with trees. The “roots” of this custom are in liturgical drama: religious plays performed in the churches and town squares of medieval Europe. The favorite theme for this time of year was the “Paradise Play,” a dramatic history of the human race from the Garden of Eden to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The language and music varied from place to place, but one feature was always in place: a great tree decorated with apples. As a prop, it provided lots of material for the actors: the temptation, shelter for the manger, and a reminder of the wood of the cross. Soon people began to bring “paradise trees” into their homes, decorating them with gifts and lighted candles.
Many Germans give credit to Martin Luther for transforming the “Paradise Tree” into the evergreen Christmas tree. Walking home on a starry Advent night, he was so awed by the beauty of the night that he hauled a pine tree inside and decorated it with lighted candles. Americans were holdouts. It took until 1856 for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to decriminalize Christmas decorations, the old Puritan dislikes falling before the waves of Irish and German immigrants with traditions firmly in hand!
Adapted from articles written by Rev. James Field, J. S. Paluch Co.
We’re getting to the time of year when the pace of life picks up because of the holidays. Most families gather together to celebrate. New disagreements may crop up and old ones may resurface. How does your family deal with disagreements? You may want to try these approaches to minimize the stress that the holidays can bring.
Source: Fr. Bob, Dynamic Catholic
Pope Francis warned against a temptation to practice a spirituality of illusion that ignores people’s struggles or sees things only as we wish them to be. He also warned against a scheduled faith where things are so planned out that we cannot stop for those in need or those who are crying out for our help. To read more of his statements from a homily during a closing Mass from the October 4-25, 2015, Synod of Bishops, click here.
Source: National Catholic Reporter, Joshua J. McElwee, October 25, 2015
God has a plan for our lives! He calls some to marriage, some to the priesthood, and others to religious life or to live as generous single people. Every vocation is about bringing souls to heaven. We often talk about “vocation” as “God’s call.” There is another way of phrasing this: Your vocation is the answer to the question,“Who is God calling me to bring to heaven?”
Those called to the vocation of marriage are to be “help mates” to each other on the path to heaven. They are also the primary educators of their children, especially in matters of our Faith.
Single people, too, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion” (CCC 1658).
Religious brothers and sisters seek to live the beatitudes in a radical way, devoting their whole lives to the pursuit of holiness. They help bring others to heaven by their prayer, service, and example.
It is relatively easy to see how priests help bring others to heaven. Priests bring souls into a state of grace through Baptism and Reconciliation. They preach and teach about virtue, holiness, and the truths of faith that illuminate the road to heaven. Most importantly, priests bring Jesus to others through the Eucharist—which the Church sees as an echo of the heavenly liturgy described in the first reading from Revelation.
Encourage the people in your life — friends, cousins, students, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren — to be open if God calls them to priesthood or religious life. Please ask Our Lord for more dedicated, holy priests, deacons and consecrated men and women. Here is a thought-provoking video highlighting the vocation of priesthood which includes young priests talking about their experience. It’s called Fishers of Men Catholic Priesthood and is about 18 minutes long.
We on earth are called to live as Jesus taught us, most especially by embracing the beatitudes, so that we can live with Him forever in heaven. Who will you bring with you to heaven? When you answer that question, you have found your vocation.
Sources: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catechism of the Catholic Church, www.YouTube.com
Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.
~St. Paul to the Philippians
Parable of a Water Beetle is a short reflection of transformation written by Norman Vincent Peale about the famous motion-picture producer Cecil B. DeMille.
When faced with problems, Cecil B. DeMille often went off by himself to have time to think. One such time, he took his canoe out on a lake in Maine. As he came back to the shoreline he noticed the shallow water was loaded with water beetles. One of the beetles came to the surface and crawled slowly up the side of the canoe. Reaching the top, it grasped the side of the boat and died. Hours went by as DeMille concentrated on his own issues. He happened to look at the lifeless, dry, brittle shell of the beetle. It slowly split open and there emerged from it a new form – – a dragonfly which took to the air flashing with remarkable color in the sunlight. Later when DeMille related the story to others, he concluded with a very penetrating question. “Would the great Creator of the universe do that for a water beetle and not for a human being?”
Next weekend we celebrate our Memorial Mass on Sunday, November 1 at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. We share a Mass of Remembrance for 27 families who have lost a loved one this year. There is no doubt that we experience grief in many different ways, and this grief ebbs and flows like all things in life do. This is the perfect time of year for this celebration of life. Consider the life cycle of a tree. Most lose their leaves in this season and have bare branches in winter’s death. But then they blossom into glorious shades of green each spring and burst to full out blazing beauty in the fall only to drop to the ground again to winter’s death. The falling and dying leaves nourish the soil which remarkably brings “new life” again in the spring. I believe it is one of God’s ways of offering us a visible sign of how we too will be transformed into new life with Christ one day.
May God bless you all with His peace,
Our recent SEAS Newsletter had an overview of the many spiritual enrichment adult faith formation opportunities that will be available at our parish over the next several months. You may be wondering why there has been an increase in opportunities for adult enrichment being presented in the parish; after all isn’t faith formation for our youngsters, youth, and young adults? It definitely seems that’s where the emphasis for faith formation has been over the last several years, but a better understanding of the Church’s position on adult faith formation would help.
The following excerpts are from the introduction of a document formulated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Pastoral Plan for Adult Formation in the United States. http://www.dioceseoflaredo.org/images/Image/adultrel/OurHeartsWB.text.usccb.pdf
“The Church’s pastoral ministry exists to sustain the work of the Gospel. One way it does this is by nourishing and strengthening lay men and women in their calling and identity as people of faith, as contributors to the life and work of the Church, and as disciples whose mission is to the world. To grow in discipleship throughout life, all believers need and are called to build vibrant parishes and diocesan communities of faith and service.”
“Adult faith formation, by which people consciously grow in the life of Christ through experience, reflection, prayer, and study, must be ‘the central task in [this] catechetical enterprise,’ becoming ‘the axis around which revolves the catechesis of childhood and adolescence as well as that of old age.’ This can be done specifically through developing in adults a better understanding of and participation in the full sacramental life of the Church.”
“To make this vision a reality, we, as the Catholic bishops of the United States, call the Church in our country to a renewed commitment to adult faith formation, positioning it at the heart of our catechetical vision and practice. We pledge to support adult faith formation without weakening our commitment to our other essential educational ministries.”
What does this mean for all of us – particularly as a member of SEAS Catholic Community? By participating in spiritual enrichment opportunities as adults, we continue on our journey of discipleship that was bestowed upon us through Baptism and that we further accepted and acknowledged as adults through Confirmation. We “Grow As Disciples” through these experiences, which allows us to help bring to reality our SEAS vision that “Every person touched by our Parish community is Welcomed, Valued and Enriched in Christ.”
We’re looking forward to growing with you at these opportunities.
“If not me, who? If not now, when?” (Ancient Babylonian derivative)
Submitted by: Mary Marquardt, Business Administrator
St. Francis of Assisi
Feast Day: October 4
Patron of Animals, Merchants & Ecology
Blessing for Pets
Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air, and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis of Assisi to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.
If you want to fight evil in the world, be holy. Personal holiness changes the world. We are not the first Christians who find ourselves living in a world that is increasingly hostile to our faith. We have absolutely nothing to fear. St. John Vianney, pray for us! These statements are from an online article on Catholic Exchange’s website by Sarah Metts, a freelance writer and copy editor. To read the entire article, click here.
Catholic Exchange seeks to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world by providing tools for spiritual growth, insightful opinion, and the latest news. Visit their website at http://catholicexchange.com.
Recommended by: Mary Marquardt, Business Administrator
Next weekend, the first weekend in October, begins the 43rd year designated as Respect Life Sunday. Throughout the month of October, Catholics will be reminded of the preciousness of all human life, beginning in the womb continuing through natural death.
As Pope Francis travels in the United States, we will be reassured of his views on the respect of human life. The following are words of Pope Francis that remind us of our moral, and ethical responsibility as Catholic Christians to uphold the sanctity of life. “All of life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn, and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect. Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection. And every elderly person even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests! It is necessary to raise awareness and form the lay faithful, in whatever state especially those engaged in the field of politics.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia wrote, “Right to Life is still the foundational human right. When we revoke legal protection for unborn children—when we accept the intimate violence abortion inflicts both on women and their unborn children; when we license abortion as part of what Pope Francis calls a ‘throw away culture’—we violate the first and most important human right—the right to life itself. And, once we do that, and create a system of alibis to justify it, we begin to put every other human and civil right at risk”
“All of us must care for life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open our heart, and to care for life is to give oneself in tenderness and warmth for others.” ~Pope Francis
God Bless you all,
Gloria Nolan, Pastoral Minister
As summer-time vacations come to a close, life again settles into the fall routine of school and other scheduled activities. Life at the parish also gears up for fall with Faith Formation classes, committee meetings and community events.
Bishop Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, in a Pastoral Reflection “Teach My People to Pray,” invites all parishes in our diocese to continue to promote a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer experiences at the parish and most importantly in the home.
This coming fall, the focus is on the catholic household as a home of prayer and love. Some highlights for this focus are…
- The home as a home of prayer and love
- The importance of parents
- Keeping Sunday Holy
- The dedication to the Holy Family
We will hear more about this as the weeks go by, but here are Bishop Ricken’s Top 10 Ways to Build a Household of Prayer.
- Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures
- Attend Sunday Mass as a family
- Teach the Sign of the Cross and essential prayers
- Pray for loved ones, pray the rosary
- Display religious symbols, images, statues
- Volunteer together
- Attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- “Keep Holy the Lord’s Day”
- Speak of God and Jesus, and say Meal Prayers
- Celebrate Holy Days
So, as you gear up for the fall season, remember to gear up as a household of faith by inviting Christ to be with you and your family in your routines, your work, and your life.
God Bless you all,
Gloria Nolan, Pastoral Minister
There was a lot of anticipation regarding Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, and now comes the commentary from reporters, writers, and the general public. This online article caught my eye because of the title “Pope Francis: Technology + greed = disaster.” Here are snippets of Thomas Reese’s article from the National Catholic Reporter.
The Pope “has very critical things to say about technology, especially when it is connected to greed. . . But Francis begins his examination of technology by acknowledging in chapter 3 of his encyclical that we are the beneficiaries of two centuries of technological advances. ‘Technology has remedied countless evils that used to harm and limit human beings,’ he writes. But he notes that the power that comes from technology can be used by those with knowledge and economic resources to dominate humanity and the entire world. . . Quoting Romano Guardini, he notes that there is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means ‘an increase of progress itself’ but in reality ‘contemporary man has not been trained to use power well.’ Sadly, Pope Francis argues, ‘our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.’ ”
To read the entire online article, click here.
The writer ends his article with, “On the other hand, he believes that technology can and should be used to improve the lot of humanity and that business people are called to a noble vocation that is in service to the common good.”
We have a copy of Laudato Si in our library in the office. The library is open after all Masses on weekends and on weekdays when the parish office is open.
Written by: Mary Marquardt, Business Administrator
Edited & Approved by: SEAS Pastoral Staff
Since I arrived here at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton almost a year ago, I have been very impressed that we are a community that strives to actively, fully, and consciously participate in the liturgy. This is especially true with regard to congregational singing. When we sing together as a parish community, we acknowledge our common beliefs, affirm our faith, and collectively give praise to God in a very powerful way.
However, for some people, singing at church is scary. I mean, singing in the shower or in the car is one thing, but singing when other people are around? That’s an entirely different animal. I think this is why I’m often told by parishioners, “I don’t have a great singing voice, so I don’t really sing during Mass.” In response, let me say this: You don’t need a great voice to sing during Mass; you just need to use the voice God gave you.
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) is often credited for the statement, “Qui cantat, bis orat” translated “A person who sings prays twice.” But, what does that truly mean? For Augustine, singing was not only about proclaiming the actual words of a song, but also about using our own unique singing abilities given to us by God in order to participate in the beautiful act of praising of God.
By all reports, Augustine’s speaking voice was quiet and the quality of his voice was less than ideal. As a consequence, it is also presumed that he was not blessed with a strong singing voice. However, Augustine saw the value of singing as a way of praising God. So he did just that – he sang with the voice God gave him.
In his writings, Augustine promoted congregational singing. He stressed the importance of singing not just with the mouth, but also with one’s heart and one’s deeds. He described singing as a foretaste of the abundant joy we will experience in Heaven. He was convinced that singing praises to God was indispensable for personal faith and was for the good of all the faithful.
So, when you’re at Mass, don’t be afraid to sing! Even if you feel you do not have the best voice, sing just like Augustine did! You’ll be surrounded by several hundred friends in the congregation who are joining with you in that collective act of praising God. By singing and contemplating the lyrics of a given song, you’ll grow deeper in your own faith. In turn, you will strengthen our parish community by contributing to a worship experience that enriches everyone in Christ. How cool is that!?
Written by: John Popke, Liturgical Music Director
Edited & Approved by: SEAS Pastoral Staff
It’s always nice to be invited…isn’t it? We often find ourselves sorting through the mail or incoming messages. When we see a note from a friend and it says, “You’re Invited,” our curiosity takes over, and we race to find out what we’re being invited to. Even before we learn about the details, we may be thinking. . . ‘Oh, it’s so nice that they thought of me.’
Three months ago in this letter, I passed along a ‘bucket list’ suggestion to invite someone you know (maybe a family member, friend, or neighbor) to learn more about our Catholic faith. That invitation could take several forms. Maybe it’s inviting that person into a conversation about our faith and why you’re Catholic, maybe it’s inviting that person to Mass, or maybe it’s inviting that person to explore becoming a Catholic through our parish RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).
The first stage of the RCIA process is inquiry. We’ll be beginning this inquiry process in early October. This is a perfect time for any adult to join us for a discussion about our faith and to answer any questions they may have. There are no commitments in this stage of the process. More details about these sessions will be coming in the weeks ahead. If you are interested, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 499-1546.
For people who choose to continue the RCIA process, the culmination is being received into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass and receiving the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. A few notes…first, if the person is already baptized, they won’t be baptized again. Second, if the person is already Catholic, they have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of confirmation. Of course, the first step of this process is up to all of us… it’s the personal invitation!
Now I have a few invitations for you! First, if you have not yet attended a Living Christ Retreat at our parish, please mark your calendars for October 15-17 (Thursday and Friday evening and Saturday morning). As far as I know, we have a 100% satisfaction rating from those who have attended!
Second, I’d like to invite interested adults in attending a Cursillo weekend. I will be assisting Fr. Walter Stumpf who is the Spiritual Director of the next Men’s Cursillo. It’s scheduled for Thursday evening through Sunday evening on September 24-27 at St. Mary’s, Menasha. The Women’s Cursillo begins on Thursday evening October 29 at Most Precious Blood Parish in New London. For more information, please contact me or consult the Cursillo website at: http://natl-cursillo.org/Greenbay/.
So, there you go….you have been invited, and you are called to invite others. May the Holy Spirit guide us in our thoughts, words, and actions when we have the opportunities to say…”You’re Invited!”
Blessings to you and your families!
Deacon Mark Mullins
The Exodus reading (Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15) for the weekend of August 2, 2015, reveals some pretty basic human qualities that we can relate to. The Israelites “grumbled” because they did not feel they were being taken care of as well as when they were in slavery. They were in uncharted territory and didn’t have a clue where they were going or how long it would take to get there. Like sheep, they had blindly followed Moses out of Egypt. Now they wondered why they had decided to make this change in their lives and follow this God who was supposed to care about them. They were given one day’s worth of food and nothing extra. What was so great about that?
Sometimes we are satisfied to be taken care of on the most basic physical level and change brings about challenges. When life goes along smoothly (the bills are paid, the marriage is happy, the kids are doing well, everyone is healthy, etc…), we don’t have a great need for God. We might kindly thank him for our blessings, but there is nothing too distressing, so we take our situations for granted. Life is good.
But when life throws us a curve, we often find ourselves “grumbling” to God about it. “Hey God, everything was going well. Why did things have to change? Why do I have to relocate because I lost my job? I can’t believe I’m having such health issues. I thought my marriage was going well, but it’s not. I was doing everything right and I thought you were taking care of me.”
At some point, we can all relate to the Israelites. The message is pretty clear. Trust in God in good times and bad. Be grateful for what you have. Your faith will sustain you when you rely on God. Can we recognize the gifts God offers us even in the midst of our circumstances and situations? Can we find the grace, the giftedness, in change and challenges? It’s always good to be reminded of God’s love and care for us.
Gloria Nolan, Pastoral Minister
Most of us have heard of “Christmas in July,” which is an unofficial holiday often celebrated by retailers to re-live the festivities of Christmas. It can also reflect our yearning for cold winter days amid the heat of the summer months. But have you ever heard of “Easter in July?” (I doubt it, since I made it up.)
I’m one of the few members in our household who likes the smell of Easter lilies. When I smell an Easter lily and see the pure white flowers that seem to be trumpeting “Christ is risen!” it brings back warm memories of Easter when I was growing up.
It’s been almost 10 years since I bought an Easter lily plant. I decided that I should give that plant an opportunity to join the other flowers in our backyard. Now, instead of just a few flowers, we’re treated to more than 50 flowers every July…What a treat! (Our God is the great multiplier!)
At Easter time, we celebrate the paschal mystery…the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And, we can extend this great celebration throughout the year by making every weekend a paschal mystery experience. Begin each Friday with a mini-Lenten observance in preparation for Sunday’s Mass – – a little Easter celebration. We are an Alleluia people…Not only at Easter, but all year long!
Blessings to you and your family,