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April 20, 2015

Do You Have A Blended Family Concern?

  • Do you find yourself challenged by the dynamics of your newly created family?
  • Do you struggle with different parenting and/or communication styles?When two people come together in a committed relationship, life holds exciting and rich times ahead. When one or both people bring children in the relationship creating a family, another layer of excitement and challenge are introduced. Consider a Stephen Minister. In this caring and confidential ministry, we can provide you with a listening presence, creating a supportive environment to share your concerns.

    For questions or to request a Stephen Minister, contact Dc. Jim DeShane at 952.835.7101 x220.

Jun 22, 2014

In addition to my primary service as your pastor, I help out with Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE). I believe that as a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis I also have a responsibility to assist in the ministry of the larger Church.

Every priest has the choice as to what his “secondary” ministry will be. Back in 2008 I decided to participate in CEE, for I have always enjoyed helping to prepare “starry-eyed” engaged couples to understand and embrace their upcoming Catholic marriage. With all the demands on my time here at St. Edwards, I no longer have the time to handle the pre-marriage counseling required of our engaged couples. Instead, I work with these couples through CEE: consequently, two weekends each year I step away from my parish ministry to serve as a leader of a CEE retreat. This Saturday and Sunday is one of these weekends as I will be absent from the parish at a CEE Retreat at King’s House Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota. Please include me, our retreat leaders, and our engaged couples in your prayers. May this be a meaningful experience for these couples as they explore Catholic/Christian Marriage.

The CEE motto is — “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” Check out the following CEE info:

What is Catholic Engaged Encounter? — CEE is a weekend retreat program that gives couples preparing for marriage the opportunity to examine their lives together through verbal and written communication. Retreat weekends emphasize Christian values; commitment and responsibility to marriage, God, prayer; and faith community. Retreatants are given time to share openly and honestly with each other about feelings, hopes, disappointments, joys and frustrations. CEE fulfills the retreat portion of marriage prep in many dioceses.

What happens on the Weekend? — A team of two married couples and a priest will guide you as you explore many topics including: relational communication, conflict resolution, finances, intimacy, forgiveness, decision making, marriage as a sacrament, God and prayer. After each presentation, you and your fiancé will be given time to privately share thoughts and ideas.

Do you have to be Catholic? — No. CEE welcomes engaged couples of all faiths preparing for marriage. Please note that our weekend does follow the Catholic Church’s teachings.

Weekend Details — Four meals, one night lodging and supplies are included. The retreat begins at 8:00am on Saturday and ends at 4:30pm on Sunday (It is a busy two days, so come rested and ready to work!). The facility is handicapped accessible. The cost is $225 per couple. Scholarships are available.

Contact Info
Email: ceeminnesota@gmail.com
Web: www.ceemn.org
Facebook: facebook.com/ceemn

Regardless of whether a couple is being married in the Catholic Church, CEE is a wonderful opportunity for an engaged couple to prepare for their upcoming marriage. If you are a parent or grandparent of one of these “starry-eyed” individuals, perhaps you might consider offering them a gift certificate to a CEE weekend. What a wonderful wedding gift!

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian

November 7, 2013

Have you seen the recent article (see below) from the Vatican announcing a worldwide survey on our response to social and family matters? What does this say about our beloved Pope Francis? Our Church? I pray that we view this outreach as a beacon for hope for our Church.

Keep the faith! Fr. Brian

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Questions on birth control, divorce and gay marriage designed to gather global snapshot of Catholic attitudes.

The Vatican is conducting a worldwide survey on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as birth control, divorce and gay marriage, seeking input ahead of a meeting on the family that Pope Francis plans next year.

The poll was sent in mid-October to every national conference of bishops with a request from the Vatican coordinator, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, to “share it immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received.”

Pope-Francis-2657982The survey reflects the pope’s pledges to move away from what he called a “Vatican-centric” approach towards one in which local church leaders are more involved in decision-making.

Among the questions are whether gay marriage is recognized in their country and how priests minister to same-sex couples, including how churches can respond when gays seek a religious education or Holy Communion for their children. The poll also asks “How is God’s mercy proclaimed” to separated, divorced and remarried couples. Additional information is sought on the pastoral care of men and women who live together outside marriage. The survey also asks parishes whether they believe married men and women tend to follow church teaching barring the use of artificial contraception.

Helen Osman, a spokeswoman for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, confirmed plans for the poll to the Associated Press.

“It will be up to each bishop to determine what would be the most useful way of gathering information to provide to Rome,” Osman wrote in an email. In England, bishops have posted the survey online to be filled in by a wide range of Catholics, including priests, lay people, parents and nuns.

The poll findings will help set the agenda for an extraordinary synod of the presidents of national bishops conferences in October 2014.

The introduction to the survey lays out a broad list of concerns which the document says “were unheard of until a few years ago”, including single-parent families, polygamy, interfaith marriages and “forms of feminism hostile to the church.” Surrogate motherhood is lamented in the document as “wombs for hire,” and the survey cites as a new challenge “same-sex unions between persons who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children.”

Francis has said the church needs to do a better job preparing young people for marriage, lamenting that newlyweds seem to think marriage is not a lifelong commitment but just a “provisional” one. At the same time, he has said the church process for annulling marriages is not working and must be reviewed.

The pope’s emphasis on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy and boosting the participation of local church leaders and lay people has prompted speculation about how far-reaching his changes could be.

He has urged pastors to focus on being merciful and welcoming rather than emphasizing only such divisive issues as abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

At the same time, he has made clear his support for traditional marriage and opposition to abortion. The introduction to the survey extensively quotes former popes and the Catholic catechism on marriage being the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of having children.

August 25, 2015

Originally posted August 25, 2013

I am regularly confronted with people who are lamenting the “decline” of the Catholic Church.

These concerned individuals point to people they know who have either become lax in their faith or simply left the Catholic Church to join another Christian church.

sacramentsI believe a huge factor here is our loss in the understanding of and appreciation for one of the greatest gifts of our faith, namely, the Sacraments.

For example, do we know the stark difference between how a Lutheran and a Catholic view the Eucharist? Confirmation? Reconciliation? Marriage? My personal research indicates that most Catholics do not.

In response to this growing concern our Adult Faith Formation (AFF) Committee will be offering a series on our Catholic Sacraments: The Doors to the Sacred – an Adult Perspective on Sacraments with Judy Foster Mon. evenings, Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25.

Watch for the AFF’s program booklet which will list the many wonderful offerings for the coming year or visit the Adult Faith Formation pages on Faith Series Offerings, One Time Events, Book Discussions, Second Sunday Speakers and Rediscover. A calendar for the full year of adult faith formation offerings is now available. Yes, all adult Catholics have a responsibility to know and embrace our faith, especially if we expect to be able to pass it on to our children.

With this in mind, I encourage you to check out Archbishop Nienstedt’s column in the most recent edition of The Catholic Spirit – pick up a copy at church or go to TheCatholicSpirit.com  – for he has offered a great reflection on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In fact, I am going to share his teaching in my column over the next couple of bulletins. I hope everyone will take serious this important responsibility for their continuing education in our Catholic faith.

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian

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Sacrament of reconciliation: Why confess to a priest?

— by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is “Why do I have to tell my sins to a priest?” Actually, it is a great question because the answer to it involves the whole reason behind why Jesus established a Church and therefore, why we are Catholics after all.

You recall the scene in Matthew 16:13-20 when Jesus asks the apostles at Caesarea Philippi what people are saying about him. That episode includes Jesus saying to Simon: “I for my part declare to you, you are ‘Rock’ (“petrus”), and on this rock I will build my church…” In Matthew 18:20, Jesus in discussing prayer with his disciples tells them: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.” Notice he didn’t say that when we are off on a mountainside or sitting beside a tranquil lake or even meditating alone in our room he would be present. No, Jesus proclaims that the only authentically verifiable place where we can be absolutely certain he is present is: “Where two or three are gathered” in his name.

Establishing his Church

From these and other scriptural texts we can be assured that Jesus intended to establish a Church as his abiding presence in the world. And, to be sure that it was his presence, he breathed on that Church his Holy Spirit the very evening of his resurrection. Again, notice carefully where he places the priority as he imparts the Holy Spirit: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them: if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” – John 20:22-23

“Binding and loosing” implies an outsider’s judgment; it requires therefore, the context of the Church, Jesus’ presence in the world.

(Tune in next week for part II of Arch-bishop’s reflection on Reconciliation.)