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March 13, 2015

This weekend, March 15, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, we celebrate Laetare Sunday. “Rejoice Jerusalem,” are the first words the priest says in today’s Introit. Laetare is the Latin word for “rejoice.”

1327073_62860540On this day, which is a mid-point to Easter Sunday, the priest wears rose-colored vestments because there is an ancient custom of bringing pink roses to church on this day. We take a break from the austerity of Lent, add some flowers, some music which is a bit more joyful in mood, and rejoice that the paschal spring is about to blossom forth.

This weekend is Global Solidarity Sunday in our Archdiocese. The theme is: “For God so loved the world ….” This is when we offer special prayers and support our brothers and sisters all over the world. On this Sunday, a special outreach collection will be taken for four global priorities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that includes Africa, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as humanitarian activities of Catholic Relief Services. Please be as generous as you are able and support your brothers and sisters overseas. Thank you.

Collecting Dried Palms

You may bring in old palms and deposit them in the baskets at the entrance of the church.

Easter Memorials

Memorialize a deceased friend or loved one, or honor someone special in your life by donating the plants and decorations for this year’s Easter environment. Names of donors and memorials/honors will be printed in the bulletin on the Second Sunday of Easter. Fill out the forms found in your bulletin with your donation by Thursday, April 2nd.

Fifth Sunday in Lent

With less than two weeks before we begin the Paschal Triduum, the Fifth Sunday of Lent can be seen as a turning point in our Lenten journey.

Scholars often refer to today’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah as “the Gospel before the Gospel,” because through the prophets words we, as a people, are offered hope and the divine promise of a new beginning. For Christians, Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

WE have been feed on the life-giving Bread that is Christ which in turn allows us to turn, to go out as the body of Christ and feed the world; because Lent and Easter are never only about the self but always about the whole of humanity to which we belong. Let us prepare ourselves to leave behind our “desert experience” and look forward to our re-birth in Christ.

March 5, 2015, by Pastor Brian Fier

Dear Fellow Parishioners:

I hope everyone’s Lenten season is going well. Have you found your prayer, fasting and almsgiving offering? What are you “giving up”? What are you “taking on”? In case you are looking to enhance your offering, I invite you to read a biography of one of the saints. We can learn a great deal through the faith lives of these blessed men, women and children.

Sir-Edmund-Hillary22Consider one of the “unofficial” saints of our world. A good example here would be Sir Edmund Hillary. This past weekend I shared his story in my homily. Enjoy a few thoughts about this great man. I hope his life inspires you as it has countless others.

One of the greatest mountaintop experiences ever recorded happened on May 19, 1953. That was the day when Edmund Hillary and his native Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, reached the top of Mount Everest. They were the first two people ever to be literally on top of the world, somewhat like Peter, James, and John (at the Transfiguration of Jesus). After Hillary had climbed Mount Everest, he became what most people think they desire most of all in life: he became an overnight celebrity. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. His name became a household word. He achieved celebrity status as his name appeared as a logo on sleeping bags, tents, and boot laces. You can’t do better than that.

Edmund Hillary could have tried to live in his little dwelling of success for the rest of his life. But he knew better. He knew that life is not really lived on top. So what did he do? He went back to little, out-of-the-way Nepal. He went back to the Sherpas, whom he had grown to know and appreciate and respect and love. And he used his fame to bring them help.

In a speech given some years ago, Hillary recounted how an elderly Sherpa from Khumjung village, the hometown of most of the Sherpas on his Everest ascent, had come to him a few years after the exhibition and said, “Our children lack education. They are not prepared for the future. What we need more than anything is a school in Khumjung.” So Hillary established the Himalayan Trust, and in 1961 a three-room schoolhouse was built in Khumjung with funds raised by Hillary. In its first decade the fund focused on education and health. Since then, the trust has built dozens of schools, hospitals, and medical clinics, plus numerous bridges and airfields. They are also involved in the reforestation of valleys and slopes in many areas of Nepal.

sir_admund_hillaryHillary would spend more than half of each year traveling the world, raising money for the trust and supervising its various projects. And he continued to do this for more than forty years until his death in 2008. Many people today don’t know Edmund Hillary. He’s no longer a household word — he’s certainly no match for Jennifer Lopez or Taylor Swift or Brad Pitt. His monument is not written on plaques or sewn on clothing labels, but in the countless hearts of happy children. After his fifteen minutes of fame with the world, he has eternal fame with a grateful people and a loving God. What a wonderful inspiration for us all!

Lenten blessings, Fr. Brian

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!

Embrace the heightened spirituality of Holy Week

2015 Retreat Theme: “Come Away and Rest Awhile” looks at the broad idea of “holy leisure” reflecting upon the value and the importance of making space for our- selves and God in our daily lives. What are practices that can help us preserve a space for spiritual sanity in our lives?

Women’s Palm Sunday Weekend—Fri, Mar. 27 – 7:30 pm – Sun, Mar. 29 – 1:00 pm

Men’s Holy Week – Thursday April 2, 7:30 pm—Saturday April 4, 1:00 pm.

Titles: Making Space for Ourselves and Our God, Expectations: Great and Not-So-Great, Drawn by Love, Balance: Virtue Stands in the Middle

All our retreats held at the Franciscan Retreat & Spirituality Center and feature meals skillfully prepared on site by our chef Judy. Register by calling (952) 447.2182 or on line at www.franciscanretreats.net/register.

April 13, 2014

Holy Week has begun. Of all the weeks of the year, the Church declares this one to be “holy.” The liturgies throughout this seven-day period invite us to reflect on and enter into the Paschal Mystery.

Yes, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are put before us in ways not seen during the remainder of our liturgical year.

We begin on Palm Sunday with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We stand by the roadside and join in proclaiming: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!” Quickly we move to the upper room and find ourselves celebrating the Last Supper. We are troubled by Jesus’ words: “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” We rush to deny any disloyalty and to recommit ourselves as followers of Jesus; and yet, we soon find ourselves standing with Peter denying Jesus three times. The Lord’s Passion brings us to the gibbet of the cross and our hearts are crushed as we hear Jesus cry out: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” How can we move forward? How can we believe? The Church then gives us a short respite. We close our Palm Sunday liturgy by once again being nurtured by the Holy Eucharist.

We then are given three days to conclude our Lenten preparation. We fine-tune our forty-day discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

And finally, the hard work of Lent concludes with the beginning of the Triduum (i.e., the period from the start of the Holy Thursday Mass through the Easter Sunday celebration).

Holy Thursday brings us back to the Last Supper. We are asked to re-commit ourselves to serving the Lord, the Church and our fellow brothers and sisters. We celebrate receiving and being the Body of Christ. We depart nurtured, yet wondering what this service entails.

Good Friday plunges us back into the mystery of the passion and death of Jesus. How do we embrace the cross? What does the crucifix mean to us? Can we walk the walk of Jesus?

Finally, thankfully, Holy Saturday arrives. We begin in darkness. Suddenly the light of Christ shines through our despair to provide us hope. Our Scripture readings traverse our salvation history. We invite others to join us in our faith journey — Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Eucharist are celebrated — and new members are welcomed into our community (i.e., neophytes). For the first time in 40+ days we are allowed to proclaim the “A” word. Let us rejoice and be glad!

Easter Sunday brings our journey through the Paschal Mystery to its final stage as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. We kick off our fifty-day Easter party. What does this gift mean to us? What is the church? As Christians, what are we called to do with this gift?

Yes, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we have entered the most sacred of all weeks. May God bless us as we once again embrace the central mysteries of our Christian/Catholic faith.

Holy Week blessings, Fr. Brian