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March 31, 2015

Catholic Social Teaching Principle – Dignity of All Humans:
Since all people were created in the image of God, and we need to treat ALL with respect.

I was surprised, again, by the role modeling of Humility by Pope Francis…
Pope Francis said… “Pray for me. I’m in need of prayers by people like you,” and he said this to a gathering of 150 homeless people who had been invited to the Vatican Museum by the Office of Papal Charities.

ACTION: to bring New Life and Love to the people around us who are so often overlooked
Pope Francis did… as part of their tour they visited the Sistine Chapel where Pope Francis surprised them by visiting in person. This Pope Said… “Welcome. This is everyone’s house, and your house. The doors are always open for all.” Blessing them, the Pope said: “May the Lord protect, may He help you in the path of life and make you feel His tender love of a Father.” And then the Pontiff took 20 minutes out of his busy schedule to greet each one of homeless persons there, after which the Homeless people were all served dinner.

How will I bring Life to those less fortunate than I am, who are struggling just to survive?
One Idea: Bring in Kitchen Kits for Bridging during the month of April. New Life for New Homes! In order to help people transition out of homelessness and poverty, Bridging provides a one-time opportunity for people in need to get some quality items needed to furnish their new homes, like Kitchen Kits – they give out more than 80/week! Kits include: Can Opener, Mixing Spoon(s), Spatula, Dish Towel/ Cloth, extra items like Ladles, or Whisk or Peeler, or Measuring Cup. Thank you for offering New Life!

Thank You for your Generosity in Donating FOOD &/or $$$ to our March Food Drive Month Our Goal = 1500 lbs. of food for VEAP – As of last week we surpassed it with 1600 pounds!

When we consider Adopting the Yard of an Elderly resident to Mow the Lawn every 2 weeks or so and keep their yard clean, through H.O.M.E. (Household & Outside Maintenance for the Elderly) 952.767.7894 / scsvolunteer@seniorcommunity.org, we are living the value of loving our neighbors.

March 22, 2015

Catholics like Us are Called: to bring our Christian Values where we work

Pope Francis said… “You are called to permeate Christian values in the environments in which you work with the witness and the word, meeting people in their concrete situations, so that they have full dignity and are reached by salvation in Christ.” If you do this, he stressed, like leaven, you can help live the Gospel through a witness of faith, hope and charity.

ACTION: make God the Center of Your Life to Shine through YOU to others

So many times, even in the Church, Pope Francis noted, we believe we are good Christians because we do social works and well-organized charity work. “Let Him, the Lord, occupy the center of your heart and of your work. And remaining firmly united to him as branches to the vine, you can go to the suburbs of the world,” our Pope stressed.

During this Lent, practices like Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving help us to “let God occupy the center of our hearts.” Prayer may include praying for those who are difficult for you to work with, … A “Fast of Words” is one of the Fasts described in Isaiah 58. Fasting could mean Fasting from all negative, complaining, critical, and judgmental, gossiping words, so often associated with the workplace. Almsgiving in the workplace could be the “Giving of Life-filled Words,” to uplift, com- pliment, praise, affirm, add humor, make peace, and acknowledge what’s good in your day-to-day workplace and colleagues. What a great way to build God’s Kingdom of peace and joy here on earth!

How will YOU live the Gospel through a witness of faith, hope and charity for the people in your workplace?

Donate FOOD &/or $$$ to our Food Drive during March – MN Food Share Month
Our Goal = 1500 lbs. of Food for VEAP – The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign raises more than half the food distributed annually at 300 food shelves statewide. Our goal is to raise 115,000 lbs or dollars throughout the month of March. Help us achieve this goal and keep our shelves stocked.

A helpful flyer to take shopping with you or envelopes for your convenience can be found on the poster in the foyer or on the VEAP food bins.

When we consider applying to become a member of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission – to advise the City Council on human rights matters, and sponsor events and educational activities for the community, (call 952.563.8733 or humanrights@BloomingtonMN.gov ), we act on our value of protect- ing the dignity of each person.

When we consider Adopting the Yard of an Elderly resident to Mow the Lawn every 2 weeks or so and keep their yard clean, through H.O.M.E. (Household & Outside Maintenance for the Elderly) 952.767.7894 / scsvolunteer@seniorcommunity.org, we are living the value of loving our neighbors.

March 5, 2015

Pope Francis has said… “Listen to him!” “Listen to Jesus. He is the Savior: follow him.” The Holy Father reflected on last week’s Gospel, which recounted the event of the Transfiguration, when Jesus gives Peter, James, and John a glimpse of his glory, to confirm them in the faith and encourage them to follow Him and the path of the Cross. Francis stressed that when we follow Him, we will always find happiness. “The Lord,” he rejoiced, “is able to transform us!”

Catholic Social Teaching Principle – Community & Common Good:

In a culture driven by excessive individualism, our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social. Human dignity can only be realized and protected in the context of relationships with the wider society… The obligation to “love our neighbor” has an individual dimension, but it also requires a broader social commitment.

ACTION: Amp up your Joyful Sacrifice through radically loving others

Francis said, “What we must have is an attitude of detachment from worldly things and interior free- dom.” Listening to Christ, in fact, involves taking the logic of his Paschal Mystery,” which, he said, requires us making our lives a gift of love to others, in docile obedience to the will of God.

During this Lent, Prayer helps us to find this “Interior Freedom and God’s will;” Fasting and Alms- giving help us to “detach from worldly things.” All of these help us to look outward toward how we can make our lives a gift of love for others around us – seeing what they might need and how we might give to the point of feeling a twinge of self-sacrifice. When we give food to VEAP’s March FoodShare Month Collection, maybe we can give MORE than the extra’s – maybe an entire grocery bag or cart. Maybe we could look at what Charitable Organizations we have been getting things from in the e-mail, & decide to TRY to actually GIVE to those, and give more than feels comfortable, so that God’s work can continue through them. Listen to Jesus. What is He calling YOU to do?

Catholics like US are CALLED

“Veggies-4-VEAP” Giving Garden is in the “Seeds of Planning” stage! We will meet Monday, March 9
at 7:00 pm to discuss the plan for this year’s garden for VEAP’s Food Shelf. Any new people interested in being part of this Team for coordinating our garden, please join us !

Donate FOOD &/or $$$ to our Food Drive during March – MN FoodShare Month – Our Goal = 1500 lbs. of Food for VEAP

The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign raises more than half the food distributed annually at 300 food shelves statewide. At the beginning of every year, as the giving spirit of the holidays wanes, food shelves across Minnesota begin to struggle to get enough food to serve the people in need in their communities. Our goal is to raise 115,000 pounds or dollars throughout the month of March. Help us achieve this goal and keep our shelves stocked. Please bring food or $$ to the Food Shelf. A helpful flyer to take with you or envelopes for your convenience can be found on the poster in the foyer or on the VEAP food bins.

February 27, 2015

Pope Francis has said… Since the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis has spoken extensively on the rights of the poor and has stressed that faithful must help those on the margins. Pope Francis practices what he preaches: When a local Sri Lankan church donated more than Rs. 8.7 million to the Charity Fund of the Pontiff; the Holy Father refused the check, requesting that local churches use it to help the poor. Sri Lanka’s bishops have decided to distribute the money among the dioceses to help the poor.

Catholic Social Teaching Principle – Preferential Option for the Poor: Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all.

ACTION: Reflect on How YOUR “Almsgiving” is truly helping the poor?

In Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father urged for all faithful to have a spirit of “generous openness,” and to care for the weakest members of society. During Lent, try taking Almsgiving to a new level of ACTION. Reach out to those on the margins, whom you do not ordinarily see, and figure out a way to Act with Compassion to show God’s love to them! There are so many organizations that you can give to that help the marginalized in our local community and beyond: Loaves & Fishes, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative (FMF), VEAP, Bridging, Second Harvest Food Bank, or Feed My Starving Children, … and many more. Consider VEAP’s March FoodShare Month Collection!

Donate FOOD &/or $$ to our food drive during March – Our Goal = 1500 lbs.
The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign raises more than half the food distributed annually at 300 food shelves statewide. At the beginning of every year, as the giving spirit of the holidays wanes, food shelves across Minnesota begin to struggle to get enough food donated to serve the people in need in their communities. Our goal is to raise 115,000 pounds or dollars throughout the month of March. Help us achieve this goal and keep our shelves stocked.

A helpful flyer to take shopping with you or envelopes for your convenience can be found on the poster in the foyer or on the VEAP food bins.

“Veggies-4-VEAP” Giving Garden is in the “Seeds of Planning” stage! We will meet Monday, March 9 at 7:00 pm to discuss the plan for this year’s garden for VEAP’s Food Shelf. Any new people interested in being part of this Team for coordinating our garden, please join us!

February 27, 2015, by Father Brian Fier

Dear Fellow Parishioners:

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of our Lenten journey. Forty days to prepare ourselves for the upcoming Easter Triduum. The traditional practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are to be our resources. I pray that each of us is taking time as an individual, as a family and as a community member to enter in to this penitential season. There are so many opportunities!

Often we focus our energies on the individual and family areas, not realizing how our community has also taken on this responsibility. One of the ways we prepare ourselves as a community is through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

DSC_0312webThis program actually begins in the fall. Through weekly meetings the participants — catechumens (the unbaptized) and candidates (baptized non-Catholics) — – enter into a process by which people become members of the Roman Catholic Church. While the parish catechist — I am currently serving in this role — represents the community in the formation process, there still are opportunities for the community to support the participants.

For example, this past weekend we celebrated the “Rite of Sending Forth” at the 10:30 Mass. We sent forth our catechumens and candidates to the “Rite of Election,” which took place later that afternoon at the Basilica of St. Mary’s. Over 400 RCIA participants gathered together with Bishop Lee Piche to declare their interest in the Catholic Faith. (Note, at the same time an identical celebration was taking place at the Cathedral of St. Paul with Archbishop John Nienstedt — isn’t it great to see that we had so many participants that we needed two churches!) Their sponsors and the entire community proclaimed our support for these men and women. Truly this was a beautiful moment for everyone.

I invite you to reflect on the questions we said “yes” to before God and the Church:

  1. Have they listened to God’s word proclaimed by the Church?
  2. Have they responded to that word and begun to walk in God’s presence?
  3. Have they shared the company of their Christian brothers and sisters and joined with them in prayer?
  4. Are you ready to support the testimony expressed about these catechumens/candidates and include them in your prayer and affection as we move toward Easter?

Therefore, how will you and the Church of St. Edward support these men and women seeking to embrace our Catholic faith? Keep them in your prayers during this Lenten season. For further input, feel welcome to contact our RCIA catechist.

Keep the faith! Fr. Brian

February 20, 2015

Pope Francis has said “Whoever says: ‘I abide in Christ’, ought to walk just as he walked…. For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restor- ing everyone to God’s family, … without being “hemmed in” by prejudice, conformity to the prevailing mindset or worry….” To fully adopt God’s own approach, he said, requires “rolling up our sleeves and not standing by and watching passively the suffering of the world. The way of the Church is not to con- demn anyone for eternity…. Compassion leads Jesus to concrete action,” the Holy Father said. “May we always have before us the image of Saint Francis, who was unafraid to embrace the leper and to accept every kind of outcast.”

Catholic Social Teaching Principle – Preferential Option for the Poor:

Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all. And – Rights & Responsibilities: Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency – starting with food, shelter and clothing, employment, health care, and education. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities — to one anoth- er, to our families, and to the larger society.

ACTION: Reflect on How Compassion Leads You to Charitable Action?

Pope Francis says “Charity cannot be neutral, antiseptic, indifferent, lukewarm or impartial! Charity is infectious, it excites, it risks and it engages! For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous!” During this Lent, try taking Fasting, Almsgiving & Prayer to a new level of ACTION. Reach out to those on the margins, whom you do not ordinarily see, & figure out a way to Act with Compassion to show God’s love to them, without letting the voice of society & what other people might think of you, get in the way. And be amazed at how God will bless you!

Pope Francis has said “Christians have a duty and a responsibility to care for the Earth.” The Holy Father reflected on the story of Creation from the Book of Genesis, and the Gospel which recounted Jesus’ ministry of preaching and healing. Jesus, he said, is a ‘second creation’ who comes “to re-create that which was ruined by sin.”

“To the ‘first creation’ we should respond with the responsibility that the Lord gives us: ‘The Earth is yours, bring it forward; subdue it; make grow.’ This supports the Catholic Principle of Social Justice: Stewardship of Creation: Catholic tradition insists that we show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. The goods of the earth are gifts from God, intended for the benefit of all. We humans are not the ultimate owners of these goods, but rather, the temporary stewards. We are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for these gifts and preserving them for future generations.

ACTION: How do You preserve, conserve & contribute to the health of our Natural Environment?

Pope Francis says that there is the responsibility Even for us to make the Earth grow, to make Crea- tion grow, to take care of it and make it grow according to its laws. We are lords of Creation, not masters.” The Jesuit Pope went on to say that caring for creation is not just the concern of environ- mentalists, but of Christians. “It is our response to the ‘first creation’ of God. It is our responsibility!” he exclaimed. “A Christian that does not care for creation, that does not make it grow, is a Christian who doesn’t care about the work of God; that work born from the love of God for us. And this is the first answer to the first creation: to care for Creation, to make it grow.” Consider your use of fuel – for heat, cooling, electricity, electronic devises, your own travel plans requiring lots of fuel – are you conserving? Consider your Consumer Buying Habits – do you pay attention to the packaging of things you buy, & whether they’ll end up in a landfill? Do you by items made from easily renewable resources? Do you consider local products rather than those who need to be transported from great distances, paying attention to the amount of fuel necessary to get these things to us? Sometime the first step is just opening our eyes to how our own habits affect the bigger picture of our environment and its resources.

August 31, 2014

Recently a parishioner approached me about the possibility of offering a parish Mass on the first Saturday of each month. I encouraged them to investigate the interest level in the parish and to bring the idea to our Worship Commission.

Subsequently, a poll was taken that showed 28 families expressing interest; in addition, our Worship Commission recently discussed and approved a trial period. Therefore, from September through January, a parish Mass will be offered on the first Saturday of each month at 9:00 am. I am open to meeting with all interested parties to discuss how to develop this tradition within our parish. I hope to see a good turnout for our first Mass on September 6th. Below is a description of the First Saturday devotion I found on one of the Catholic websites.

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian


What is the Catholic Tradition of First Saturday?

The Catholic devotion of First Saturdays was given to the Church by Our Lady of Fatima and the Child Jesus through the children of Fatima. It is a devotion that atones for the sorrows of Our Lady. On July 13, 1917, Mary appeared to the children and showed them a vision of hell. Afterward, she told the children,

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace… I shall come to ask for… the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays…” 

Eight years later, when one of the children, Sr. Lucia, was a postulant, Our Lord appeared to her with Our Lady and showed Sr. Lucia the Immaculate Heart, pierced by a sword. Our Lady said,

sacred-heart-of-mary“Look, my daughter, at my heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.” 


How to Practice the Devotion

The devotion takes place over a period of five consecutive months and each Saturday atones for a different offense against Our Lady. The five Saturdays atone for:

  1. Attacks against Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.
  2. Attacks against her perpetual virginity.
  3. Attacks against her place as the Mother God and mother of all humanity.
  4. Those who try to implant indifference and hatred of Our Lady within the hearts of children.
  5. Those who insult her sacred image.

On each of these Saturdays you must:

  1. Receive communion in the state of grace within 24 hours of Saturday. (This usually will involve going to confession beforehand).
  2. Say a five-decade rosary
  3. Meditate on the mysteries for at least fifteen minutes. This could be done all at once or you can spend three minutes on each mystery as you say the rosary.

Why Practice the Devotion?

You should first approach the practice of this devotion with love for Our Lady and Our Lord. When practiced worthily Our Lady promises to assist you at the hour of your death with all the graces necessary for salvation. Through this devotion many souls can be saved, including your own. As with any devotion, the promise is not a free ticket heaven. Rather, it is a promise of Divine assistance for those who have lived Christian lives and frequented the sacraments.

July 27, 2014

Below is the final installment of my summer series from Our Sunday Visitor’s “Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked.” (Click here to read Part IPart IIPart III, or Part IV). For further reading, consider Our Sunday Visitor’s recommended reading list:

  1. The New Catholic Answer Bible. Our Sunday Visitor, 2005.
  2. Madrid, Patrick. A Pocket Guide to Catholic Apologetics. Our Sunday Visitor, 2006.
  3. Madrid, Patrick. Where Is That in the Bible? Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.
  4. Salza, John. The Biblical Basis for the Papacy. Our Sunday Visitor, 2007.
  5. Salza, John. The Biblical Basis for the Eucharist. Our Sunday Visitor, 2008.
  6. Welborn, Amy. Prove It! Church. Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.
  7. Welborn, Amy. Prove It! God. Our Sunday Visitor, 2000.

A BIG THANK YOU to Our Sunday Visitor for their ongoing work to teach our Catholic faith.

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian


We Catholics are often asked tough questions about our Catholic faith and its relationship to the Bible. Here are the ten most-asked questions, and the answers that should help you satisfy both your questioner and yourself.

2. If you died tonight would you go to heaven?

Catholics have an assurance of salvation if they are faithful and keep God’s commandments (1 Jn 2:3). If they die in that state, they are assured of heaven. But to enter heaven, one must be perfectly holy, because “nothing unclean shall enter it” (Rev 21:27 — see also Is 4:4; Mal 3:2-4). The cleansing and purifying of the effects of sin is what Catholics call purgatory. This is clearly indicated in St. Paul’s writings: “Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it. Because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done….If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:13, 15, emphasis added). “For we must all appear before the judgment of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor 5:10, emphasis added).

1. Are you saved?

Catholics can be as sure as anyone else that they are in God’s good graces. The apostle John states that “you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn 5:13 — see also Jn 5:24). But this “assurance” has to be understood in light of John’s other teachings in the same book: “For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 5:3, emphasis added — see also 1 Jn 2:3-6) “We know that any one born of God does not sin” (1 Jn 5:18, emphasis added). “He who loves God should love his brother also” (1 Jn 4:21, emphasis added). “He who commits sin is of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8, emphasis added — see also 1 Cor 6:9). Likewise, St. Paul does not regard salvation as a one-time event, but as a goal to be sought after, one that can be lost: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12 — see also 1 Cor 9:27, 10:12; Gal 5:1, 4; Phil 3:11-14; 1 Tim 4:1, 5:15).

July 20, 2014

Below is the next installment of my summer series from Our Sunday Visitor’s “Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked” (Click here to read Part IPart II, or Part III).

OSV offers a regular pamphlet series on various Catholic issues/teachings. Check out their website for more info.

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian


We Catholics are often asked tough questions about our Catholic faith and its relationship to the Bible. Here are the ten most-asked questions, and the answers that should help you satisfy both your questioner and yourself.

4. Why do you worship Mary?

Catholics do not worship Mary. We venerate her because she is the mother of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Veneration is completely different from the adoration of God. It is the honoring of a person, not the worship of Almighty God, our Creator. Catholics believe that Mary is the highest of God’s creatures because of her exalted role. But of course, like any other human being, she had to be saved by the mercy of God. She herself said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk 1:47). We believe that God saved Mary by preserving her from the stain of original sin at the moment of her conception (the Immaculate Conception). The very fact that God took on flesh and became man (Jn 1:1, 14) indicates that He wished to involve human beings in His plan of salvation for mankind. Mary was a key person for this purpose, so this is why Catholics honor her so highly.

3. Why do you worship wafers?

A consecrated host or wafer at a Catholic Mass is the true Body and Blood of Christ, not merely bread; so Catholics are worshiping Jesus, not a wafer. In the Gospel of John (6:51-56), Jesus states repeatedly that “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (6:54). He is speaking literally, and He is so firm that many followers object and leave Him (6:52, 60, 66). St. Paul agrees with this interpretation and writes that those taking Communion “in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27 — see also 1 Cor 10:16). We don’t sin against someone’s “body and blood” by destroying a photograph (which is a mere symbol) of the person. Moreover, in the Last Supper passages (Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:19-20), nothing suggests a metaphorical or symbolic interpretation. The Last Supper was the Jewish feast of Passover. This involved a sacrificial lamb, and Jesus referred to His imminent suffering (Lk 22:15-16, 18, 21-22). John the Baptist had already called Him the “Lamb of God” (Jn 1:29).

(Click here to read Part V)