Pastor’s Pen – May 30, 2010

Published on 30. May, 2010 by in Pastor's Pen

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Sometimes it is bad planning –because you said yes to too many things. Sometimes the project that seemed so far away and that you had plenty of time for when you signed up for it comes due just as a boatload of emergencies suddenly strike. And sometimes, you simply realize that it is the month of May.

I don’t know if it is true for you, but it certainly is in my world. May is a crazy time. Two weddings (and a funeral). Confirmation. Two Auction dinners. School Picnic. Mother’s Day. Interviews for a new hire at the Newman Center. Finals fling. Priests’ Council Exec Board. Regular Priests Council meeting. Graduation. And so it goes…

Like many of you reading this, there are many things that demand our time and energy. We do them because they matter to us. We invest our time and energy in our own events as well as in the things that we value for our children. If you want to know what really matters to people, then simply look at the ways they spend their time. Perhaps even more than the pocketbook, our use of time measures what truly matters for us.

So I find myself ‘guarding my calendar’. Trying to say yes when I can, but making sure that I balance those choices with the things that recreate the spirit. It is not always an easy task. And this May, perhaps unlike other years, I realize how necessary it is to “do the do-able, not the impossible” as St. Vincent de Paul says.

In our Good Leaders, Good Shepherds training, they invited us to think about our Key Responsibility Areas. (KRA’s) A simple image to explain this is that of a bucket. If you wrote down all the things you do onto slips and then had to sort them into about 5 buckets, those ‘buckets’ would be your KRA’s.

The challenge to these buckets is to allow them to help set the priorities in your life. Like the junk mail that you sort through and many times discard without ever opening, there are ‘junk events’ that, though you could do, they are not the things that give you energy and/or that God gave you the most gifts and talents for.

Recognizing that has been a great freedom for me, even in the midst of crazy busy days. Do the things that matter most first. To update St. Vincent’s quote: “Do the important and the doable, not the trivial and the impossible…”

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What difference does the Trinity make in our lives?

I have to tell you a secret.  I spent a week here on earth, walking with the Trinity.  And like the triune God we know and love, it was in the form of a single person.  His name was Benjamin.  He was 33.  I found out on Sunday night that he was going to be one of my 3 charges for the week.  He was a mentally handicapped resident like all the people on “State” week. That, I was used to.  He was also deaf.  That I wasn’t.  I wasn’t sure I could handle that.  But when he came off the bus and I “mimed” and introduction as his counselor, he smiled a smile that lit his entire face up.  And I thought:  I might just be okay.

After two days – we developed a few rituals.

When the morning wake up call came, he was always cocooned in his blanket– oblivious to all the commotion around him.  So I would gently wake him.  The covers would come back, and his first act of every day was to smile….  His first act each day was to smile.  And in that moment, I knew a God who smiled upon me.  I knew a Father who in his goodness blessed me with life and love and the gift of a new day.

A second ritual was around his smoking habits.  He always wanted the “after-meal cigarette.”  So he would mime that he wanted one.  I would mime walking down to the cabin so my other campers could do what they needed.  He was always contented to wait on me and always trusting that I would be fair/would live up to my promises.  And as he smoked, he would stand there in my presence, and there was nothing more important in the world than being there and enjoying each other’s company.   If I tried to leave, he’d get agitated.  But standing there with him – that was his universe, all in that moment.  Standing there, he was connected to me and I to him.  And that was all he needed. I came to know what it was to be “Son” at that moment.  Obedient to the father.  Content to trust in the father.  Content to delight in God’s presence.

Finally, there were the crafts, though we only had them twice – Wed and Friday.  He liked to draw with crayons.  It became a guessing game as to what he would draw. On the last day he drew something I couldn’t figure out.  I gestured. (hold hands up in questioning form)  He held up hand in the “Wait” gesture.  THEN HE  WROTE the word WINDOW below it.  HE could write.  NO ONE TOLD ME!  He could communicate by writing.  I was blown away in joy and amazement.  The last thing he wrote that Friday was: “I love you”.  And I knew God’s Spirit – who surprises us with joy, who teaches me how to communicate and who finds a way to speak the Love of God into our hearts…

That is what we celebrate this day.  Not an abstract concept of Trinity –one nature, two processions, three persons, four relationships – not the technical vocabulary that the church so carefully hammered out with words like spiration, perichoesis, homoousion – but a personal God – a God in whose image we are created.  And if we image that God, then we will only find our fullness as human beings when our lives mirror the actions and life of the Trinity.

Though my experience of God as triune is not limited to Benjamin, it is a good place to start.  So I invite you this week to walk in the awareness of the Trinity.

Walk with the Father who smiles upon his world, and who created you and me with such dancing and celebrating in our presence.  Let your first act of each day be to smile upon this world…

Walk with the Son – who is obedient to the Father, who delights in being in the Father’s presence, whose whole world is the Father’s will.  How will you let your life be ‘turned toward the Father’?  How will you be obedient this week?

Walk with the Spirit, who will help you find ways to communicate love to the world.  Seek to discover a vocabulary to speak to those who are far off in your family or in your world. And expect the Spirit surprise you with joy sometime this week.

It was not a text book – but a person who taught me best about the trinity.  So, too, it will not be a homily- but a walking with God who is Father, Son and Spirit who will teach us to live his life more deeply.  May we walk with our God this week…

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Pastor’s Pen – May 23, 2010

Published on 23. May, 2010 by in Pastor's Pen

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In good hands, continued…

If you happen to drive or walk through our cemetery these days, you’ll notice a change in the road surface. Norm Jacobs has generously donated MANY tons of white rock to re-cover the road surface. Thanks to Norm’s generosity and the hard work of Mark Kohler (and his truck) and Dave Williams, our beautiful cemetery continues to be a place of peaceful resting, both for those buried there, and those who come to pay their respects. What a gift their time and talent is to our parish.

St. Ann Catholic Church Cemetery

As always, the spring and summer months find the cemetery in need of volunteers to cut grass and pick up the fallen limbs. I am also looking for someone who is willing to do some rather serious trimming of the tall grasses that grow alongside the creek that emerges from the drainage field of our parking lot. Having done this for several years running, it is not a task for the faint of heart or body. If you are willing to help in any capacity, please let me or Bob Beckring know.

After many months of prayer and preparation, the Bereavement Ministry team is wrapping up their training and will be ready to assist those who suffer the loss of a spouse or loved one with open ears and compassionate hearts. Their final meeting is May 25 after which I will ‘commission’ them to be part of the healing outreach of our Savior to the grieving. The members of the team are Gary Uthoff, George Keller, John and Mary Schulte and Ann Beckring. Thanks to each one for this commitment to our parish community. Thanks to Ms. Teresa Roberson-Mullins for her time in training them for this work. Their service is a sign that the Spirit continues to pour out his gifts into the hearts of each generation, inspiring people to put their unique gifts at the service of the Lord and His Church.

As we celebrate the feast of Pentecost this weekend, my hope is that YOU reflect on the invitation of the Lord to continue to be His hands, His heart, His love to the world. What is the dream, what are the skills, what are the gifts that have been given to you for the good of this community? Are you willing to ‘stir those into flame’, as we hear from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy? Are you willing to pray that the Spirit uses YOU to ‘renew the face of the earth?” Come, indeed, Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful…

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Pastor’s Pen – May 16, 2010

Published on 16. May, 2010 by in Pastor's Pen

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Busy days…

These have been whirlwind kind of days at our little St. Ann parish. After months of preparation by our co-chairs of the Sponsor’s Dinner Dance, Kay Dieckmann and Cheri Smith and their fine tuned crew of volunteers, we had a delightful evening celebrating the gifts and generosity of so many parishioners, alumni and supporters of ‘the Rock of Normandy.’ This year marked forty years worth of people stepping up to the plate with their time, talent and treasure to keep the mission of the parish alive and growing.

In a conversation I had that evening, an alumni commented: “It is amazing to see how much impact a small, dedicated group of volunteers continues to have on this parish. I bet you could trace a ‘core’ group of volunteers through out the entire history of this parish. Though the names will have changed through the decades, there are always a small number of families and individuals who truly are the pillars of this parish. It is such an amazing thing to see that kind of continuity of spirit, and to see how God uses people in each generation.” To that truth I could only say one thing: “Amen”.

Thanks to all who made the evening such a success. The numbers are amazing. As of this moment, Eileen tells me we made $65,329.84. What a huge gift to the future of our school and parish community. THANKS ONE AND ALL!!!

St. Ann Catholic Church Parish Picnic 2010

This past weekend, found a different crew of dedicated parishioners creating another ‘event’ for the parish. Thanks to Michelle Haley who spearheaded the Parish and School Picnic on Friday and Saturday of this weekend. I have to admit, I was a bit leery about being able to afford the rides (thank you parents and grandparents!), but due to much hard work by Michelle’s committee, they were able to turn a profit from the picnic for the parish as well. (~ $2,300…)

Thanks to Michelle and Mark Haley, Katie Andrews, Robin Provost, Carrie Simms, and the rest of the committee for all their hard work and energy. Thanks to all who braved the dunking booth for what was a chilly bath. Thanks to the Knights of Columbus for the ice cream booth, SACPO for helping to underwrite the costs of the picnic, Norm Jacob and Bruce Gardiner who kept night vigil on the grounds making sure that nothing ‘walked away’, to the band “No Exit” for providing entertainment, to the Men’s club for their always succulent BBQ and for all who helped make the weekend such a gift for our parish community.

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St. Ann Confirmation Class of 2010

Published on 11. May, 2010 by in Events, News

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Congratulations to the 2010 St. Ann Confirmation Class! This past Monday twenty-two of our seventh and eighth grade students received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Msgr. Vernon Gardin, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese, celebrated the sacrament with them. This sacrament completes their full initiation into the Catholic Church and shows their personal commitment to their faith.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the photos below please visit photos.patrickgarrettphotography.com where you can buy them online.  50% of the proceeds will come back to support St. Ann Church and School.

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Parish Picnic Photos

Published on 11. May, 2010 by in Events, News

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Thanks to everyone who came out and made the 2010 St. Ann Parish Picnic a success.  Everyone had a great time playing games, experiencing the rides, eating great food and most of all trying to dunk their family and friends in the dunking booth.  Even our own Fr. Bill braved the cold temperatures and started the day off in the dunking booth.  Our hats go off to everyone who braved the icy water to support the parish.  Below you will find a collection of photos taken throughout the picnic.

You may also purchase prints of the photos at photos.patrickgarrettphotography.com.  50% of the profits raised by sale of the photos will come back to St. Ann Church and School.

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Pastor’s Pen – May 9, 2010

Published on 09. May, 2010 by in Pastor's Pen

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One of the largest collections of art, documents and historically significant objects from the Vatican ever to tour North America opens May 15 at the Missouri History Museum in Saint Louis for a limited engagement. “Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art” will present unique objects illustrating the Vatican’s impact on history and culture through 2,000 years.

The exhibition features approximately 170 rare works of art and historically significant objects, many of which have never left the Vatican. Taken together these works explore how the papacy has influenced – and been influenced by – the world throughout the centuries.

St. Louis is one of only three U.S. cities to host “Vatican Splendors.” Highlights of the exhibition include artwork by Michelangelo, personal objects, and tools used in work on the Sistine Chapel and Basilica of Saint Peter’s; works by masters including Bernini, Giotto and Guercino; artwork dating back to the third century; venerated relics (bone fragments) of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; storied frescoes and mosaics; works by well-known sculptors; intricately embroidered silk vestments; precious objects from the Papal Mass; historical maps and documents; objects discovered at the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; and historical objects from the modern and ancient basilicas of Saint Peter’s in Rome.

I would like to organize two parish outings to view the exhibit. I thought it best to plan a weekday morning outing for those whose job/life situation allows them that freedom and then a Sunday afternoon outing for those who cannot make other times. Though dates are flexible, I have randomly selected June 13, (Sun.) and June 16th (Wed.) for our group tours. Costs are $17.50 for adults, $15 for seniors and $11 for children. (If you want to go on a tour on your own, mention the code word: PARISH, and you can get these same prices for yourself as an individual. This offer ends June 30th.)

If you could call Pat Marstall and let her know of your interest in attending a “St. Ann” tour of the exhibit and your preference for the Wednesday morning or a Sunday afternoon tour. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of us. I hope you can join us on either June 13th or June 16th.

p.s. – Happy Mother’s Day…

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2010 St. Ann Parish Picnic

Published on 05. May, 2010 by in Events

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Come one, come all to the St. Ann Parish Picnic on Friday May 7th 5 pm – 9 pm, and Saturday May 8th 12 Noon – 8 pm.

The Parish Picnic Committee is working very hard to make this year’s picnic bigger and better than ever before!

We invite all to attend, students, parish members, teachers, Alumni, friends, family, and local residents! So mark your calendar NOW!

There will be something for everyone to enjoy including games & inflatables for the kids and music, food, drinks and card games for the adults. Everyone is sure to enjoy the dunking booth….who do you want to dunk?

  • Fabulous Hot Dog’s Friday 5 – 9 pm or Men’s Club Food on Saturday: 12 pm – 8 pm
  • Beer & Margarita Garden: Adults only 12pm-8pm
  • Delicious Knights of Columbus Ice Cream
  • Games Booths including a Dunking Booth (Saturday Only) 12 pm – 8 pm
  • 6 Rides Both Days!!
  • Pull Tab Bingo
  • Raffles
  • Entertainment: Both Days
  • Karoke Saturday 8pm (at end of picnic!)

Help make the picnic a NOT to Miss Event! We are now seeking Committee Volunteers……Contact Michelle Haley if you can volunteer [email protected] or call 314-348-1553

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Pastor’s Pen – May 2, 2010

Published on 01. May, 2010 by in Pastor's Pen

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In good hands…

I continue to reflect on the tag line from the Allstate people and last Sunday’s homily: You’re in goods hands. I received a copy of an email sent to our youth Minister, Beth Buchek, written in response to her question about how the youth group did helping with the confirmation retreat.

“Beth, I just want to let you know that the Confirmation Retreat went VERY well, thanks to Lizzie Dulle, Theresa Reid, Anna Muckerman, Connor Mohan, and Philip Yoffie! Their talks were inspiring, their small group leadership was phenomenal and their interaction with the Confirmandi was faith-filled and fun! I couldn’t have done it without them! Please extend my sincere appreciation them.” She continued her praise in a side note to me. “They really were one of the best groups of youth leaders I have worked with on a Retreat Team. And you know I have worked with a lot of Retreat Teams. I was very impressed!” Thanks, too, to Mrs. Teresa Roberson-Mullins for her work on the retreat.

It is good to know that our Confirmandi and our Youth group have been held in good hands these days. And I ask that you continue to pray for them in the days leading up to May 10th…

I was also thinking back to our Lenten Friday Fellowship nights – also known as our Fish Fry night. They ran so smoothly that you hardly notice all the work behind them. Al Durand begins inspection of the equipment several weeks before Lent begins, reviews the previous year’s orders, lines up the volunteers, coordinates the fish fryers and clean up people, secures groups to bring deserts, lines up entertainment and… well, you get the picture. And though he never looks for applause for what he does, we have been in such good hands with Albert these many years. From all of us – THANKS!

As the morning sun was shining brightly during mass, reflecting off the highly polished floors of the church, I thought of the working hands of Sr. Celine Maasen, who is our cleaning guru for the church and parish center (and part of the school). She works so tirelessly to make the parish complex a welcoming place – neat, tidy, and all in order. And as an added bonus, she prays for us all as she works. What a gift those working and praying hands have been for us. THANKS from us all for keeping us in your good hands…

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