Feed My People

The Church calls on us to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church has named these acts of charity the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Part of being a good Christian Steward is sharing our abundance with others, which some call “paying it forward”.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy:
• Correct the Sinner
• Instruct the Ignorant
• Counsel the Doubting
• Comfort the Sorrowful
• Be Patient with Those in Error
• Forgive Offenses
• Pray for the Living and the Dead

The Corporal Works of Mercy:
• Feed the Hungry
• Give Drink to the Thirsty
• Shelter the Homeless
• Clothe the Naked
• Visit the Sick
• Visit the Imprisoned
• Bury the Dead

I was approached very recently by Kim Mikulka and Marlyn Delo, parishioners who are part of our Stewardship Team and also involved in other groups and ministries. They asked if they could revitalize our Parish Food Program. Of course, I answered immediately with a resounding “YES!”

The call to Feed the Hungry takes on many forms. It can be writing a check to feed orphans in Nepal. (I remember raising money as a child for the “pagan babies” in India.)

Or it can be more hands-on and pastoral. We hope you want to be involved in our own parish’s efforts to fulfill the call of Christ to care for those less fortunate.

The program is being reorganized to act as the parish’s food coordinators, assisting any ministry that currently feeds the hungry. This includes but is not limited to St. Vincent de Paul Society, our funeral and bereavement ministry, Faith Formation programs, daily sack lunches for the homeless.

To be as efficient as possible, the team would like to start by accepting specific items only. As time progresses, more items will likely be added.

For now, you will find grocery bags in the vestibule with a shopping list attached. Cash and grocery store gift cards are also gratefully accepted.

• Reusable flat-bottom grocery bags with handles
• Dry pinto beans
• Rice
• Peanut Butter
• Canned tomato sauce, vegetables, chili, fruit, pasta, tuna, soups
• Tortillas

• Brown paper lunch sacks
• Peanut Butter
• Jelly
• Bread
• Water
• Fruit
• Baked Goodies
• Wet Ones
• Cheese Slices
• Cracker packs

If you would like to help in this ministry, you can send your information to me at Barbie-stmarys@hotmail.com and I will see that Kim and Marlyn get your contact information.

(FYI: The monies that you have been donating monthly to “Feed the Hungry” are being used in this program as well.)


From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I always thought I wanted six children, but reality set in when the time finally came!

I was blessed with two children. My son, Jens (named after my Daddy) is 29 and my daughter, Rachel is 30. They are the joy of my life. We have a very close relationship which was a result of very hard work and a lot of prayer. I thank God every day for “my babies”.

I remember once when my parents invited me to go with them to Laughlin for a few days. Of course I went. They took me to dinner at their favorite steak house inside Harrah’s. (Maybe you’ve eaten there?) The waiter (who had come to know my parents) came over and Daddy beamed with pride as he introduced his daughter. He and Mom started telling him about all that I had accomplished. I didn’t understand why they were so excited about introducing me. Now I know. I’m the same way with my children.

As a child, I never gave any real thought to how it would feel to be a parent, to love another human being unconditionally. Without question. Without reservation.

I saw a story on the news not long ago about a man who was being executed. A mother’s love is so deep and so unconditional, that she loves her child even under those circumstances. She will never stop loving him even if she believes he is guilty as charged.

How many mothers have a child who has made a few bad choices in their lives? (You can put your hands down now. Too many to count.) I can remember when my daughter was making some poor life choices. All I could do was hold her closer, pray harder, and love her even more unconditionally (if there is such a thing). She asked me years later if it had been hard to love her through those difficult years. Without hesitation I said “No. It was never difficult. I never stopped loving you. But…it was a huge challenge to like you.”

I’ve mentioned on several occasions that I was Daddy’s Little Girl. Through and through. I obviously loved my mom, but didn’t have the same kind of close relationship with her. My Daddy died just before my 50th birthday. I promised Daddy that I would take care of Mom in his absence. She suffered a stress-induced heart attack the night he died, and there was a lot of care that followed. For seven years. I thank God that

I was given the opportunity to get to know my mom so much more personally before she died. I got to know her as a beautiful human being, not just my mom.

God doesn’t make mistakes. He knew it would be a gift to me in the end. Mom died five years ago, and I still find myself picking up the phone to call her.

I really find it interesting how life meanders along and how the scenery along the way changes when you’re not really paying attention.

One day you’re a little girl, playing with dolls, daydreaming about being a Mommy. The next you are that Mommy, raising the children about whom you’ve dreamed. And later, you are the daughter, caring for your own mother in her twilight years.

I want to remind you that time passes so very quickly. We blink and our children are grown. Cherish every day, every moment you have with them. They are a miraculous gift from God. We blink and our parents are gone. Cherish every day. Visit or call them often while you have the chance. Thank God every day for your family and friends. You are truly blessed to have them.

Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life

The following is a story written by Mary Ann Otto, Stewardship Director for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A Model Stewardship Teacher: Sister Esther Joy

I remember her vividly. As I look through the eyes of a Christian steward, I could see why my teacher, Sister Esther Joy perfectly inspired the young students in her care. Second grade was her specialty and there were about fifty of us.

Sister Esther was able to use her God-given talents as a teacher. Her joy and faith were passed on to us. It seemed like we each had a place and school was an experience of Jesus as well as a place for learning.

I believe that Sister Esther was an expert at time management because we accomplished so much that year. We honed our skills in the three “R’s” (Reading, writing and arithmetic), were perfectly prepared for First Penance and First Communion and played games to remember the answers to the questions in the Catechism. We also prayed the rosary in Latin every day and filled our rice bowls during Lent.

She was with us at Mass each day and encouraged Saturday participation where she would have her classroom open and we could work on crafts after Mass.

Sister Esther was also a woman who loved music and literature. She would encourage us to finish our projects and had us all singing as she played the violin. At the end of the day she would read aloud a chapter from a book. I remember “Heidi” as being one of my favorites.

This lovely woman was fifty-three years old when I encountered her as a second grade student.

It was the sparkle in her eye, her love and her many gifts that touched me so deeply. She died on February 22, 1989. She was 79 years old, taught for 40 years and had just celebrated her 60th anniversary as a Racine Dominican. Amazing!

I would invite everyone to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life by going to the website of your favorite religious community. Find out how you could tell one of your own stories and thank them for how they have impacted your life. No doubt, they deserve our gratitude and we deserve the joy of remembering.

The Prayer Process

In The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, Matthew Kelly addresses how a dynamic Catholic is identified. The dominant qualities are:

The most dominant quality among Dynamic Catholics is a daily routine of prayer. He notes that when we are spiritually healthy, nothing bother us.

A daily routine refers to a specific time and a place to prayer. Dynamic Catholics have a routine within their routine. When they sit down to pray each day, they don’t just see what happens. They tend to begin their time in very specific ways: by reading the Bible, praying the morning prayers of the Church, reading from a favorite spiritual book, etc. Dynamic Catholics universally begin their day with some type of prayer, even if the main time they set aside for prayer is later in the day.

God speaks to us in the silence. Spending time in the classroom of silence is indispensable in our quest for spiritual growth. Most Catholics have never been taught how to develop a daily routine of prayer.

A Dynamic Catholic sees a connection between the joy and fulfillment in their lives and their efforts to walk with God and grow spiritually. At some point, Dynamic Catholics have become convinced that a life with prayer is better than a life without prayer.

If you want to start a regular prayer routine, you are encouraged to start with The Prayer Process:

GRATITUDE: Begin by thanking God in a personal dialogue for whatever you are most grateful today.

AWARENESS: Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours when you were and were not the best-version-of-yourself. Talk to God about these situations and what you learned from them.

SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS: Identify something you experienced today and explore what God might be trying to say to you through that event (or person).

PEACE: Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed (against yourself, another person, or him) and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.

FREEDOM: Speak with God about how he is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the-best-version-of-yourself.

OTHERS: Lift up to God anyone you feel called to pray for today, asking God to bless and guide them.

FINISH by praying the Our Father.

Stewards Find Hope in the Cross

Do you ever think about how you experience the cross of Jesus Christ? Do you ever think about the power of that cross in your daily life? Is the cross even relevant to your life? It is to stewards of the Lord, who recognize the hope Christ brings through the gift of his cross. They acknowledge that for them, the cross is their only hope.

Being good stewards of our life in Christ is not easy, but to embrace the cross is not only countercultural, it seems absurd. Then again, we cannot avoid what Jesus said to his disciples: “If you wish to come after me you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. For if you wish to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake you will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

The cross is more readily embraced by people of faith who suffer, are poor, broken, or are the victims of such things as violence, oppression or natural disasters. They see the cross as the hope that no matter what has happened to them, God will see them through. The Father did it for Jesus who hung on the cross, so surely their sufferings will be redeemed by Jesus’ sufferings.

Where people possess much material abundance, comfort and leisure, how¬ever, there is a tendency to de-emphasize the cross, to draw away from it. They can’t touch it or feel it so they wish to “save” their lives by looking to other things: power, wealth, fame, relevance, being the center of attention. What is preached about the cross from the pulpit sounds good, but in reality something more tan-gible is desired.

Christ emptied himself completely in humble obedience, allowing himself to suffer and die out of compassion for the world (Philippians 2:6-11).

Good stewards follow his example and work day-to-day to empty themselves and live com-passionately; most noticeably by sharing their lives with others.

Just last week we experienced the Easter triduum, the climax of our liturgical year. As we continue in this Easter Season, let us ask the Holy Spirit for an even deeper awareness of the cross in our lives.

Let us find hope in the cross and pray that as we embrace it, we too will experience in a special way the joy of new life in the risen Lord.

The Experience of Easter

We are an Easter people. The joy of Easter is celebrated not only during the liturgical season we call Easter. It is celebrated every day of the year. The Mass is the Paschal Mystery, and every time it is celebrated, we participate in the sacrifice, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As St. Paul teaches, we die with Christ and rise with Him in the Holy Spirit. We are transformed into new creations. We are renewed.

Stewards of God’s abundant gifts hold dear the promise of renewal and pledge themselves to the work of reconciliation, healing and proclamation of the risen Lord. For Christian stewards, each day is a new dawn for living in the light of Christ. There is much about dying and rising with Christ that we do not know; much about the Paschal Mystery we do not understand. But stewards of God’s love are always open to learning more; to being called out of their ignorance and into the light of faith which comes with an ever-deeper understanding of its peace and joy.

Easter is a good time to reflect on how we experience the joy of Christ’s peace. It is also a time to ask ourselves how we can experience the gift of Easter each day of our lives.

On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who has been praying for my sister and brother-in-law, Sally & David Frey. They have been on the Prayer List, the intention of Masses, and on personal prayer lists as well.

Dave had been buy cialis australia online sick for 15 years, and critically ill for the last year. Two weeks ago my sister told me that they were bringing him home to die and she needed me with her. [I was gone from the office for 10 days, and I truly appreciate your patience and understanding.]

We prayed for God to be merciful and accept David into his loving care as quickly as possible. He passed away surrounded by his loving family just two hours after returning home.

I was so grateful that I was able to be there as a support for my sister and the extended family, but most of all for Dave.

I kept reminding myself and saying to the family that death is what we as Christians live for. It is through dying that we are born to eternal life. Dave is the lucky one. He has achieved his goal and now he is one of the angels in God’s presence.

It is fitting that this happened just before I had to prepare this Easter bulletin. I am reminded on this day that Jesus lived that he would die. During his time on earth he was fully present to those around him as he continues to be every day and especially when we celebrate the Eucharist.

I pray that each and every one of us keep this in our minds each and every day. We are born with unique gifts and talents that are intended to be shared with abundance as we prepare ourselves for Eternal Life.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Stewardship: Jesus Sets the Example

As we move through Lent and approach Holy Week, we might think about the Lord’s Passion as a goodbye story, almost as if it were a closure. It begins with a Passover meal, where there is a discussion of what might happen in the future for the disciples.

However, listening to Jesus must have been very uncomfortable for some of those gathered. One of the disciples learned that he would betray Jesus; Peter heard that he would deny him. These predictions might remind us of what it is to be human – that we make mistakes and that we are limited

This meal is followed by Jesus’ rejection at the hands of the authorities – and his humiliation as he is whipped and mocked. He then dies on the cross.

Jesus is at the mercy of the worst kind of humiliation. How does he respond? With anger or indignation? No. He is humble until the end.

He shows great respect for authority but also remains true to himself. We see this when he goes off to pray on his own: he ‘withdraws’. He needs to be rooted in that relationship with his Father.

What kind of a saviour is Jesus? How does it feel to have a saviour who was mocked and abused and humbled himself to death on a cross? How counter-cultural is Jesus, and how is he still counter-cultural for Christian stewards today?

As we continue through our Lenten journey, let us think about how we live as Jesus’ followers, as stewards of his Gospel message. How often do I empty myself, even a small amount for others?

Jesus sets us an example of how to live. Even at his death he was living his ministry by reaching out to the women at the foot of the cross. We are all called to live that ministry too – we are accountable for how we live our lives.

Our faith has been passed to us and faith is a huge gift. How we live in response to that gift is left to each of us, but we are called to reflect God’s love.

Mother Teresa once commented that each of the people we meet is Jesus in disguise. Try to see Jesus in just one person each day this month. At the end of each day, try and reflect on how that was. Was the person in whom you saw Jesus someone you find easy to love?

This article was written by Teresa Keogh from the Diocese of Portsmouth, U.K. Other great dynamic articles can be found at CatholicStewardship.com.

Almsgiving: An Expression of Gratitude

When we look at the three traditional “disciplines” of Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we know that almsgiving gets the least attention. Yet, the Bible places emphasis firmly on almsgiving:

Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness … It is better to give alms than to store up gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life (Tobit 12:8-9).
Almsgiving is simply an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given us, and a realization buy neurontin that as a member of a community of faith, it is never just about “me and God.” It is fundamental to being a good steward of our community. For disciples of the Lord, almsgiving means much more than simply throwing a little change in the poor box. It is an attitude of generosity. It challenges us to examine how we are using our time, abilities, and money to better the lives of those around us. It urges us to share what we have been given by God with others in love and justice. It reminds us that Jesus blesses those who seek to be “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3).

Almsgiving opens our hearts to the realization that God blesses us through those we serve. It is here that we find the great mystery of Christian service. We see God in the life of Jesus, and we see Jesus in all those who are in need of our care. Look around, see those who are in need, and ask God to take away those obstacles and distractions that keep us from being generous with them. In turn, we will receive God’s blessing.

Consider one or more of these creative almsgiving ideas for the remainder of this Lenten season:

• Show an act of kindness to some¬one you don’t speak to often.

• Visit an elderly person who may be lonely.

• Reflect on the regular contributions you make to the parish. Could you do more?

• Perform an extra chore for your parents one day each week during Lent.

• Go through your closet and find some clothes in good shape to give away to other children who are in need of clothes.

• Write a letter or create a card for someone who is sick or might be lonely.

• Buy some cans of food to give to a local food bank or soup kitchen.

• Donate diapers, formula, baby clothing, baby furniture or maternity clothing to a local crisis pregnancy center.

Accept the Grace of Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is ALWAYS a beautiful thing. I had a friend recently who hadn’t been to confession in about 40 years. I’m sure you know someone like that…maybe yourself? He decided in his heart that it was time to go, but he feared being judged or chastised. I assured him that God would be thrilled to see him return to grace.

So, he corralled his fears and trepidation and showed up at the confessional one Saturday. Rather than scolding him for his absence, the priest asked “Why now? What brought you back to the Sacrament?” We all have our reasons why we stay away and we all have our reasons why we return. If it’s been awhile, why not now? Why not this Lent? God is patiently waiting for you to kneel before Him and say “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

Our parish is hosting a Communal Lenten Penance Service on Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. As a community, we will share a short prayer service, an examination of conscience, and then each penitent will have the opportunity to meet privately with a confessor. (About 10 priests will be on hand for the evening.)

If you would rather go to confession in the traditional manner, we will continue to offer confessions every Saturday in Lent at 8:00 a.m.

Your other option is to attend a Communal Penance Service at a neighboring parish. (See list at far right.)


I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD: YOU SHALL NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME. Have I treated people, events or things as more important than God?

YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD YOUR GOD IN VAIN. Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?

REMEMBER TO KEEP HOLY THE LORD’S DAY. Do I go to Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation? Do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship to God, joy for the Lord’s Day, and proper relaxation of mind and body? Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?

HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER. Do I show my parents due respect? Do I seek to maintain good communication with my parents where possible? Do I criticize them for lacking skills I think they should have?

YOU SHALL NOT KILL. Have I harmed another through physical, verbal or emotional means, including gossip or manipulation of any kind?

YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?

YOU SHALL NOT STEAL. Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another?

YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBOR. Have I gossiped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of others?

YOU SHALL NOT COVET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S SPOUSE. Have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?

YOU SHALL NOT COVET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S GOODS. Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?

Lent is Just Around the Corner

The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18. That’s just 3 days from now! So now is an appropriate time to think about your Lenten Journey.

You will notice on the back page of this publication, I have printed all the liturgies, devotions and events that are being offered at St. Mary’s this Lenten Season.

Please take the time to read it over. Think about the various opportunities made available to you. Maybe you’ve never spent time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. You can sign up for an specific hour each week, or you can just drop in at any time the Chapel is open. Jesus is there in the Blessed Sacrament, just waiting for your visit. It’s like stopping in to see your best friend. You’re friends whether or not you see each other often, but isn’t it amazing when you get together and share a little of your precious time?

When was the last time you came to the Stations of the Cross? Or received the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

Catholics tend to think that Lent is all about giving up. “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” Soda, coffee, cigarettes, candy? There’s nothing wrong with making a sacrifice during these 40 days. After all, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us. But what if, this year, right now, you look at Lent in a different way. Instead of “Sacrificial Living”, you think about “Sacrificial Giving”.

Sacrificial Giving is what some people call Giving ‘Til It Hurts. I don’t know that we are expected to hurt ourselves, but I do believe we are expected to go out of our comfort zone.

The principles of Stewardship challenge you to accept God’s gifts gratefully, cherish them and attend them in a responsible manner, share them in justice and love with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.

I would like to take that a step further and encourage you to give outside your comfort zone. Usually we give what is comfortable for us. Sure, we write a check each week to support the church, but could we dig a little deeper into our purses, pockets, and wallets. Could we give a little more generously to our parish, the church outside our parish (Annual Catholic Appeal of our Diocese), the world church, or any other charity of our choice?

This goes for time as well. Try to spend just a little more time reaching out to someone. It can be in a formal program, or it can just be by following the Corporal Works of Mercy (visit the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry…) Offer to pick up the newspaper or the mail for your neighbor who doesn’t get around well. How about picking up a loaf of bread for that neighbor next time you go to the store?

The Lenten Season would be an appropriate time to mentally review the promises you made with God in your Covenant. Did you resolve to add just a few minutes a day to your prayer time? (Or establish a prayer time.) Pray for a deeper understanding of the Stewardship Way of Life.

Were you planning to take advantage of more Adult Education opportunities? Read Catholic books and literature? Hopefully you picked up a copy of Rediscover Catholicism a few months ago and have begun to read the book.

The parish made the book available to you to help in your Faith Journey and to help make your relationship with God stronger. You are encouraged to attend the Book Study (whether or not you have read the book) that will begin on Sunday night, March 1. (We need an RSVP to make dinner arrangements.)

Whatever you choose to do to observe Lent this year, don’t let it slip by unnoticed. Step outside your comfort zone and return your gifts to God with increase.