Corpus Christi

Stewardship thought for the week

May 29, 2016                                                                     Feast of Corpus Christi

 

“They all ate and were satisfied.  And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.”     LUKE 9:17

 

The story of the Loaves and Fishes shows us that when we share what we have, even if it doesn’t seem like that much, miracles can happen!  Do not think that your gift is too small or insignificant!   God blesses all the gifts we offer and makes them wondrous.

 

 

Last week’s collection: Envelopes $617.00; Loose $178.00

Total: $795.00                                                   Remember, God can never be outdone in generosity.

 

Upcoming Masses:

Date Intentions Celebrant
Saturday, May 28 Lee Lauer Father Frank Koeninger
Sunday, May 29 Josef & Marie Sedlak Father Paul Rothschild
Saturday, June 4 Michael Tallent, Jr. Father Paul Rothschild
Sunday, June 5 Joe Klein Father Paul Rothschild
     

 

 

 

 

A Look Back – The parishioners of St. John Nepomuk (SJN) responded in great numbers to the call to serve during World War II. At the close of the war, 202 names were listed on the “Honor Roll,” with an additional 21 alumni from the Hessoun orphanage. Three men from the parish and two from the orphanage were killed in action.

 

As described in the last edition, Fr. Prokes, the administrator of SJN, organized “The Home Front” to support the overall war effort, especially providing aid and comfort to parish service members. The organization undertook many actions to provide this support. Each service member received a crucifix, rosary and missal. Fr. Prokes published a monthly periodical, the “Messenger” that contained stories of the parish, schedules of events and spiritual readings. This publication was a true reflection of home and was provided monthly to each soldier. Service members were also mailed a copy of the “Register” (the precursor to the Review) on a weekly basis. Each month service members received a present to remind them of the support from home and each Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, each soldier received a special, attractive package.

 

Most important of all, the parishioners at SJN provided spiritual support. Soldiers were encouraged to participate in a retreat at the White House prior to reporting for duty. A weekly Holy Mass was offered for those serving. On June 11, 1943, a special “service-men’s altar” was erected in church. Lastly, in May and October of each year, public Rosary pilgrimages were made at the Hessoun Orphanage to pray for the soldiers and for peace.

 

 

Annual Catholic Appeal—We did it! We’ve exceeded our ACA goal of $3,731 with total pledges of $3,780. However, there are still seven cards that haven’t been turned in. Please return your card if you haven’t already.

 

Picnic News: Our picnic/barbecue will be held on Sunday, June 5 and coincides with the Lafayette Square House Tour so we’re expecting a nice crowd.

 

Thanks to Jim Peterson for once again stepping up to be our picnic chairman.

 

We are still in need of prizes. If you can donate something, especially gift cards from local merchants, it will be much appreciated. We will also need desserts. Last year we ran out and had to make a last-minute “dessert run” to the store.

 

 

CHARITY OUTREACH MAY:  Thanks to everyone who contributed to our May collection. The items have been given to St. Martha’s Hall Emergency Shelter and will be put to good use.

 

 

2nd Collection next weekend will be for Cardinal Glennon Hospital.

 

Memorial Day: Monday is a day set aside to remember those who have given their lives that you and I might be free. Our secular society wants us to think it’s a great day for picnics and barbecues and an excellent time to buy new furniture.

 

There’s nothing wrong with those things, as long as we keep the purpose of the holiday first and foremost in our minds. Please pray for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us and for their families. Pray for our nation, that these brave men’s and women’s sacrifices have not been in vain. And, thank God for the brave servicemen and women currently putting their lives on the line to defend our freedom.

 

 

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6th Sunday of Easter

As Catholics living in the twenty-first century our faith has been much affected by the Second Vatican Council. The Council, which began in 1962, clarified and codified a lot of things. Sadly, as human beings, we all read things into the Council documents that weren’t really there. Also, as human beings, a lot of us were resistant to some of the things that the Council said. Some of us still are.

 

As an adult convert, the modern Catholic Church is the only Church I’ve ever belonged to. Some of the things that the rest of you grew up with are very foreign to me. My mass has always been in English. In my experience, the priest has always faced the congregation. Joining the Church in 1968, all the big changes had already taken place before I ever set foot into a Catholic Church.

 

Because the Church works so slowly, it’s almost fifty years since Vatican II and some Catholics are still resisting some of the so-called “new” things. Ironically, my life has been more affected by one of the Vatican II reforms than most of you. That would be the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate. If not for the Council, I wouldn’t have a clerical vocation, or a job.

 

Church Councils don’t happen very often. Vatican II was the twenty-first Church Council in the 2,000 year history of the Church. Historically Church Councils have been called to deal with controversy and heresy. The very first Council took place in Jerusalem around 50 AD. It was called the Council of Jerusalem and we read about it today in the first reading.

 

The issue with the council was whether you had to be an observant Jew in order to be a Christian. More importantly, at least for the men, was whether you had to be circumcised to follow Christ. Obviously, the Jewish converts were much more agreeable to this than the Gentiles. It was a big deal and threatened the future of the new Church. So, the Apostles agreed to meet and discuss the issue.

 

As we know, the Gentiles won the argument. The only requirement to join the new Church was to abstain from certain foods and from unlawful marriage. “If you keep free of these things, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.” Notice that the Apostles said “It’s the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us…” In 50 AD, and in 2016, our leaders are guided by the Spirit.

 

Here we are, twenty centuries later, and we’re faced once again with the issue of unlawful marriage. It’s funny how things keep coming around. Just this week our Missouri legislature failed to address religious freedom. After all these centuries, marriage is still a contentious issue.

 

Here at Saint John Nepomuk we have a lot of weddings. These are “lawful marriages”, the only kind that the Church recognizes. Thanks to Vatican II, this is an issue for me, just as it is for all Catholic clergy. Don’t get me wrong. If a couple chooses to have a civil union, that’s not my concern. Whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women, the Church doesn’t recognize a civil union as a sacrament. It’s just a contract. And without a sacramental marriage, a couple living together as man and wife are committing a mortal sin.

 

And no matter what the Supreme Court says, no matter what the Missouri legislature says, if you show up at Saint John Nepomuk wanting an unlawful marriage, I won’t do it. You’ll have to go somewhere else. Given the political climate in the United States today, I suppose there’s a good chance that I might be sued or even arrested. Who knows? But, regardless of the consequences, I’ll still refuse. I don’t think the Scriptures could be more plain. It’s right there in today’s first reading. “If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.”

 

Now, some of you may not care what happens to me.   And that’s ok. A lot of better people than me have suffered for their faith. I’d be proud to be in their company. Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

 

I will keep Jesus’ word; no matter what. That’s all there is to it. Because of my vocation, I’m in a position where some day I may have to put up or shut up. That’s not a surprise to me. I knew what I was getting in to when I was ordained.

 

But, what about you? Chances are you’ll never be in a position where you have to take such a serious stand. But we’re coming up on an important election. I can’t tell you who to vote for and I wouldn’t expect you to vote for a candidate just because I told you to. In fact, what you do at the polls is between you and God. But I would suggest that you think seriously about the consequences of your decision.

 

Little by little we’re losing our religious freedom. If we don’t pay attention one day we may wake up and find that our beliefs are illegal. It’s happening already. Please take this seriously. Most of our ancestors, including the Bohemians who built this church, came to the United States for religious freedom. It would be a shame if all their efforts were in vain.