On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate

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1 November 2015 Learning to Accept God s Mercy Is the Goal of Our Lives and Our Faith St. Michael Catholic Church and the Year of Mercy Inside 3 November: Time to Be Grateful 4 These Are Sacrifices That Will Bring Us Great Joy Our St. Michael Annual Stewardship Renewal 6 Twenty-Four Common Charisms 7 This Month s Spotlight on Our Parish Ministries Frankfort Pkwy NE St. Michael, MN On Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we at St. Michael, along with Catholic churches and dioceses throughout the world, will institute a Year of Mercy. This Year of Mercy was proclaimed by Pope Francis as he announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of mercy to highlight the Catholic Church s mission to be a witness of mercy. Our Associate Pastor, Fr. Joah Ellis, truly understands and appreciates what is unique about an extraordinary jubilee. This is a Jubilee, not just a year to commemorate something, he says. Going all the way back to the Old Testament, a jubilee year was observed every 50 years. It was traditionally a time when people returned home, debts were forgiven, and slaves were set free. For the past 600 years, our Church has observed a Jubilee every 25 to 50 years a special time of mercy and grace from God. Our last one was in the year 2000, the Great Jubilee. Fr. Ellis further explains that every Jubilee has to do with mercy, but this one is specifically about mercy. In some ways, learning to accept God s mercy is the goal of our lives and our faith, he says. Every single human being who has ever lived has depended on God s mercy. Without that we would be stuck in sin, both original and personal. It may sound simple, but it can be quite challenging. Receiving mercy means that we are truly converted, that we acknowledge we have done things that are wrong, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not, sometimes gravely and sometimes not. It is hard for us to accept that we are sinners. My hope for this Year of Mercy is continued on page 2

2 Learning to Accept God s Mercy Is the Goal of Our Lives and Our Faith continued from front cover that each of us can accept our sinfulness and bring those sins to the ocean of God s mercy. The parish will acknowledge the Year of Mercy and schedule events and education throughout the year in order to live it out. The one major event already scheduled is our parish retreat on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12 and 13. This retreat is offered by Fr. Chris Alar, MIC. Fr. Alar is a Marian Father, and that community has as its charism and mission spreading the message of and devotion to Jesus Divine Mercy. Fr. Ellis confides that he has many other hopes for this year. Specifically, I hope that people will take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession, which is the way we bring our sins to God to receive His great mercy, he says. I especially hope that those who have not been to confession for a long time will have the strength and courage to return, so that the burden of their sins can be taken off their shoulders and placed on God s. Yet, as Father also notes, mercy can be a two-way street. It is only when we have received mercy ourselves, and are grateful for it, that we can show it to others, he says. Once we have experienced the fact that God forgives us even though we do not deserve it, we are better able to forgive others, even when we think they do not deserve it. It is not that our own works of mercy earn us God s forgiveness. We already have that. However, our own mercy is a sign of our appreciation for the forgiveness we have received. Finally, as Fr. Ellis notes, during this Year of Mercy, there are indulgences available to us for performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These are already part of our stewardship awareness and challenges here at St. Michael, and they will be even greater sources of grace and mercy during this coming year, he says. In some ways, learning to accept God s mercy is the goal of our lives and our faith, he says. Every single human being who has ever lived has depended on God s mercy. Without that we would be stuck in sin, both original and personal. It may sound simple, but it can be quite challenging. Receiving mercy means that we are truly converted, that we acknowledge we have done things that are wrong, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not, sometimes gravely and sometimes not. Fr. Joah Ellis 2

3 A Letter From Our Pastor November: Time to Be Grateful Dear Parishioners, I thank God every day for my priesthood; I thank God every day for each one of you; I thank God when I say the Mass; I thank God for each and every day. There are so many ways that the Lord has blessed me that I cannot really mention them all. That is a lot of gratitude, I know, but it is that kind of attitude of appreciation for God s presence in our lives, and His many gifts to us, that we need to concentrate on not just this month when Thanksgiving is so much on our minds, but throughout the year. It has been said many times that people who are good stewards are grateful people and, as a result, are happy people. If we think about the good things in our lives no matter how many challenges and sorrows there may be and make them the center of our thoughts, it makes everything better. As Catholics, we are thankful people by nature. We share the Eucharist regularly, and this is a gift from God on which we should always unite. You are probably aware that the word Eucharist itself comes from the Greek word eucharistia, which means, quite simply, thanksgiving. As a faith family, we share this meal of thanksgiving often, and certainly at every Holy Mass. Thus, my thoughts of thanksgiving are not confined to one time of year, but every day of the year. That should be the goal for each of us. I heard someone say recently that our Thanksgiving holiday has Protestant roots, but there are Catholic roots to the tradition, as well. Were you aware that in years before the Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving Spanish Catholic settlers and Native Americans celebrated a Thanksgiving at a Holy Mass in St. Augustine, Fla.? Thanksgiving is a way of life for us. Every time we gather to celebrate Mass, to pray, or to just enjoy one another s company, it is a time for that eternal gratitude. Everything we have is a gift from God. It may be something basic like fresh air and clean water. It may be food. It is certainly family, friends and our very parish. Let us thank God not just at this time of year, but always. You and I are blessed. Sincerely yours in Christ, Fr. Peter Richards, Pastor As Catholics, we are thankful people by nature. We share the Eucharist regularly, and this is a gift from God on which we should always unite. You are probably aware that the word Eucharist itself comes from the Greek word eucharistia, which means, quite simply, thanksgiving. As a faith family, we share this meal of thanksgiving often, and certainly at every Holy Mass. 3

4 These Are Sacrifices Tha Our St. Michael Annua In his letter explaining our Annual Stewardship Renewal and calling us to participate, Fr. Richards reminds us that The end goal of a stewardship way of life is to grow in holiness that is, love of God and neighbor. We should not think of this as something we do once each year, but rather as a re-commitment we make to a way of life for our parish and for the members of our parish family. Jesus invites each of us to follow Him with all our heart, our mind, and our strength. First & Last Name (more than one child can use card) Parent's First & Last Name Street Address City State Zip Telephone (Important) St. Michael Catholic Church St. Michael Catholic Church What you have received as gift, give as gift. Matthew 10: Commitment Card 2016 Youth Commitment Card My offering of Time, Talent & Treasure First & Last Name (One card per family) Street Address City State ZIP Telephone (Important) Please bring your completed card to Mass on Commitment Sunday, November 7/8, or mail to the parish office. Father also points out, Each year we re-examine how we can grow in stewardship. We believe that the Lord wants us to be a community of people who actively use all our gifts as disciples to love selflessly and unconditionally. We therefore ask you to make commitments of 1. Time to pray personally and as a family; 2. Talent by participating in service through involvement in parish ministries; and 3. Treasure by committing a proportional amount of your income to God. Our theme this year is What you have received as gift, give as gift (Mt 10:8). Father concludes, Making commitments like these certainly involves sacrifice, but when we put them in their proper perspective and understand that this is part of answering God s call to holiness, we will soon find that these are sacrifices that will bring us great joy. The following are questions (and answers) pertaining to our annual renewal. What is a Stewardship Renewal? This is not a fundraiser far from it. Our annual renewal is a time when each of us is asked to prioritize the ways we use God s gifts to become more intentional about how we serve the Lord. Ask How will I love God and neighbor more this year? and then respond to that question with your written commitment. When does the renewal culminate? Our Commitment weekend is November 7-8. Please bring your commitment cards to Masses that weekend. There is a two-fold reason to complete that card and to make commitments. First, filling out the card helps us answer the call to pray and to serve. Second, the commitments allow our parish leaders to coordinate, develop, and responsibly manage parish ministries. What exactly is a parish ministry? Although it is a general term, it refers to parish groups and organizations endorsed by the parish and which provide service in the name of Jesus. You can sign up for new ministries or re-commit to ministries in which you may already be involved. 4

5 t Will Bring Us Great Joy l Stewardship Renewal Am I completely obligated by filling out my card? We want people to take their commitments seriously, but in the end your commitments are between you and God. You may find a ministry to be different from what you thought, or that the schedule demanded may not match your personal schedule. If one ministry does not work out, there are many other ministries to consider. In terms of treasure, your pledge is certainly not a legal commitment. Your financial circumstances may change, and your pledge can be adjusted at any time. The standard of giving is based upon percentages, so if income decreases that will be reflected in your gift, just as an increase in income should also be reflected in your gift. What if I do not fill out a commitment card? The card is not a requirement of membership in the parish. Nevertheless, it is an important part of being an active member or our faith community. If we do not hear from you, we will send you a reminder letter with a new commitment card. Father said in his letter of introduction about the renewal, As Christian stewards, we receive God s gifts gratefully, share them generously with others, and return them with increase to the Lord. Please take the time to sit down with your family and prayerfully consider how God is calling you to grow in service. Will you accept the Lord s invitation? What you have received as gift, give as gift. Matthew 10:8 What you have received as gift, give as gift. Mt ANNUAL STEWARDSHIP RENEWAL 10:8 St. Michael Catholic Church 2016 RENEWAL BROCHURE St. Michael Catholic Church Making commitments like these certainly involves sacrifice, but when we put them in their proper perspective and understand that this is part of answering God s call to holiness, we will soon find that these are sacrifices that will bring us great joy. 5

6 TWENTY-FOUR COMMON CHARISMS In this section we will highlight two to three charisms each month that are among 24 common ones given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Church The charism of Evangelism empowers a Christian to be an effective channel of God s love by sharing the faith with others in a way that draws them to become disciples of Jesus and responsible members of his Church. The word evangelism is often associated with TV preachers and other methods used by evangelical Protestants. Most lay Catholics can t imagine doing anything so public, and so fail to recognize the ways in which God s love has been communicated through their lives. The fact is that the simple personal sharing common among Catholics is the most effective type of Christian evangelization. Those with this gift are often drawn to non-christians and befriend them. Some evangelizers are apologists who remove roadblocks by explaining the truth about Catholic teaching. Others share their own personal experiences of transformation in the love of God, and still others witness primarily through deeds rather than words. The true test of an evangelizer is not how one shares, but what happens when one does. If people begin to find the person of Jesus compelling, and are drawn toward discipleship and becoming part of His Body, the Church, there is a good chance that you have the charism of evangelization. The charism of Celibacy empowers a Christian to be most fulfilled and spiritually fruitful by remaining unmarried and celibate for the sake of Christ. There is a difference between celibacy and chastity. To be chaste according to one s state in life is required of all Christians. This includes lifelong sexual faithfulness for married Christians and sexual abstinence for unmarried Christians. The grace and strength necessary to live a chaste life is available to all who seek it from God. Celibacy refers to the state of those who never marry and is a discipline freely undertaken by those who answer the call to religious life or to the priesthood in the Western Church. The charism of celibacy never stands on its own. Christians with this gift are being freed up for something else. Since the life of a celibate is not shaped nearly so much by the demands of family life, there is a greater need and freedom to shape one s life according to one s charism and call or vocation. The discernment of God s call and overall life direction is of critical importance for someone with the gift of celibacy. A Look Back on Our Fall Festival 6 This Sept. 13, our St. Michael family gathered to share in fun and fellowship during our Fall Festival. We thank all who attended this year s event!

7 This Month s Spotlight on our Parish Ministries WINTER BLAST Come join us for the best night of the winter! Winter Blast is for students in sixth through eighth grade and is typically held in December. We begin by celebrating Mass at St. Vincent de Paul in Osseo and spend the rest of the evening until early morning at the Maple Grove Community Center. We have large blow-up games, basketball, swimming, skating, late-night dance, teen center, crafts, hair salon, and an adoration chapel all night long. Registration is required. Please refer to the parish website to register for this event. Contact John O Sullivan at , ext. 242 or PRESERVATION COMMITTEE The goal of the Preservation Committee is to facilitate the preservation of the parish s historic church building, which was completed in For over 100 years, this church was the focal point for parish life and worship in St. Michael, and so an important part of our history. We strive to maintain it in a condition that honors the central role that it played in that history. Contact Lisa Mueller at or 7

8 Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit No. 6 St. Michael, MN Frankfort Parkway St. Michael, MN ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED Sunday Mass Saturday Vigil, 5:00 p.m. Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 6:00 p.m. Daily Mass Monday, 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. Thursday, 7:30 a.m. Friday, 7:45 a.m. Sacrament of Reconciliation Saturday, 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, 5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. VISIT US ON FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/stmcatholicchurch Quotes for Catholic Living Rights are what man is entitled to, not what society is willing to let him have. They belong to man because he is man, and are valid even against society. Unless they are this, they are not rights at all, but only a more or less hopeful expectation of society s kindness. Frank Sheed 2015 Advent and Christmas Liturgies Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 29 Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Christmas CHRISTMAS EVE - Thursday, Dec p.m. Children s Mass 6:30 p.m. Mass CHRISTMAS DAY - Friday, Dec. 25 Masses at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. (No Evening Mass) Tuesday, Dec. 8 7:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. +ADVENT PENANCE SERVICES+ All at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 St. John the Baptist, Dayton Sunday, Dec. 20 St. Albert, Albertville Monday, Dec. 21 St. Michael Catholic Church, St. Michael Tuesday, Dec. 22 Mary, Queen of Peace, Rogers MARY, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD Thursday, Dec p.m. Vigil Mass Friday, Jan. 1, :30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (No Evening Mass) As throughout the year, individual confessions are available on Tuesdays from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., Thursdays from 8 to 8:30 a.m., Saturdays from 7:30 to 9 a.m.; and 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.

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