2011 St. Ann Parish Picnic

Published on 23. Mar, 2011 by in Alumni, Events, Fundraising, News


Spring is almost here and it’s that time of year again…time for the St. Ann Parish Picnic.

Not only was last year’s picnic a lot of fun it was also a huge success for the parish.  So we hope you can come out and join us again this year.  Here’s all the important details you’re going to need to make the most of this year’s event.

St. Ann Parish Picnic
Saturday, May 14th, 2011
Noon – 8:00 pm (music until 11:30 pm)

Bring your family, friends & neighbors!!!

Entertainment Schedule Saturday Attractions
12 pm – Normandy Jazz Band Beer-Margarita Garden
2 pm – Murphy Dailey Dunking Booth
4 pm – TBD Gaming Booths
6 pm – Advance Notice Carnival Rides
8:30 pm – Crossfire Sno Cones & Cotton Candy
Ice Cream
Saturday Food 50/50 Raffle
Gourmet Hot Dog Lunch Silent raffle for Gift Baskets
5 pm BBQ Pork & Fried Chicken Dinner Pull-Tab BINGO


General Tickets used for BBQ & Drinks: $1.00 Each
Ride Armbands: $22.00 each advance purchase or Day of the picnic: $25.00
Individual Ride Tickets: $1.00 each (2-3 tickets required per ride)

To purchase advance tickets, come by the Parish Rectory Monday-Friday between 9 am – 3 pm or email [email protected] to schedule a pick up time.  Advance tickets end May 6th.

You may download the Advance Ticket Order Form here for your ordering convenience.
Order Form also includes a flyer with picnic details.

If you weren’t able to join us last year check out the 2010 Parish Picnic Re-Mix video below.

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Pastor’s Pen – March 20, 2011

Published on 20. Mar, 2011 by in Pastor's Pen


Things unseen…

Most parishes have people who do the ‘unseen things’, like replacing light bulbs or cleaning out gutters or dusting in the sanctuary.  Though the effect of what these volunteers do is barely perceptible, the result makes a huge difference in the parish plant.  So I have a few kudos and words of thanks for some of our unseen heroes.

Thanks to Luke Engelmeyer who, over the course of two days, cleared the roadway into the cemetery of the dead branches and trunk of a rather large tree that the rains and wind took down.  (If you are in need of some fire wood, you may take any of the wood that is stacked along side the road there.  Better yet, bring a chain saw and have at the remainder of the trunk of the tree that sits off the road…)  Because of his work, Ameren-UE was able to get a truck back there to repair/replace the downed electrical line that provides power to our dusk to dawn light on the back part of the parking lot.

Thanks to Conrad Philipp Sr. and Bob Maixner for replacing several of the hard to get to burned out bulbs in the ceiling of the church.  It takes a very tall ladder and a very steady hand to get into those side ceiling fixtures.  The church is visibly brighter because of them.

And in perhaps the most unseen bit of work in a while, thanks to Al Horstdaniel for cleaning out the storm drains in our church parking lot storm water sewer system.  These are those little grates along the sidewalk between the church/rectory and school and the church and Post Office.  Over the course of the years, leaves and other debris accumulate inside, preventing the rainwater from being carried away underground.  This is only the second time in my ten and a half years of living here that this has happened.  (unless someone else was VERY unseen in the doing of this…)

If all goes as planned, by the time you are reading this, the updated electrical panels in the church will have been installed and be functional.  The timing seemed very good, as two more of the circuit breaker switches have ceased functioning.  Thanks to Tim Weir and AMF Electric for their always professional and excellent job at ‘church affordable’ prices.

Finally, a huge word of thanks to all our FISH FRY CREW!  ‘Nuff said…

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How do you let God direct you?

Published on 20. Mar, 2011 by in Sunday Homilies


How do you let God direct you?

“Go to a land I will show you.”  “Abram went as the Lord directed him.”  Okay, maybe I am a bit obtuse, perhaps a bit lacking in faith, but HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?  HOW did God direct Abram?  It is a valid question, is it not? Inquiring minds WANT to know the process by which that direction happened.

I can imagine the conversation that Sarai has with Abram.  “And just like that, you’re going to make us pack up all our belongings and head out?  Okay, say I agree.  Where are we going?  (Pause).  YOU DON’T KNOW?  Really, Abram, you’re crazy.  Is that all God really said: “Go to a land I will show you?”  No other hints?  Not even a country name to end up at?  Heck, we don’t even know what direction we’re supposed to be going to follow this Voice of yours.  And we’re supposed to set out across the stinking desert with just a promise that somehow, God is going to show us?  I got a bad feeling about this.”

Abram went as God directed him.

And I want to know the details!

If God is really going to direct me, then I want to know how.  How do I let God direct me?  Where do I need to put the antennae up at so I can hear the signals God is choosing to send my way?  And how do I know what I am ‘receiving’ is truly of God?

Today’s gospel gives us a huge starting place.  Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain ends with that same voice that spoke at the Baptism:  Listen to him.” So we know that somehow, all our efforts to be directed by God have to lead us to that point.  They have to lead us to listen to the person of Jesus as best we can.  So we’re back to that “How?” question.  How does God direct US?  How does he help us listen to him?  Here are a few guideposts…

  1. Is the choice I am feeling called to or directed toward coherent with the message we receive in Scriptures?  If that is where Jesus learned to be faithful, by his own praying and reading and study of God’s word, so much so that he could quote it so easily in last weeks’ Gospel story of the temptations, then somehow I also need to use that as one of my touchstones.  “God is telling me to kill my neighbor?  Probably not, or at least not in the New Testament – so I can probably disregard that bit of direction.  I feel this urge within me to volunteer time feeding the poor.  Ah, now we’re talking something that is deeply rooted in our scriptures.  [Shameless plug dept – Week of guided prayer – sign up by this Friday!]
  2. I listen for the collective wisdom of the church.  Though this takes a huge amount of trust, and though I trust our current Archbishop A LOT, these are the most faith-filled moments of surrender in my being directed.  Practically speaking, I read America Magazine, produced by the Jesuits, to keep me current on that lively push and pull within the Catholic intellectual tradition.  And the Archbishop’s column in the St. Louis Review.  And the occasional article from the Sunday Visitor.  And I flip to the NCCB website about specific issues such as Immigration and Social Justice.  Which is another way of saying – I don’t get my public policy thoughts from Glen Beck on the one side and Rush Limbaugh on the other.   There is a much richer dialogue going on within our Catholic roots and tradition that helps me to respond to Jesus’ voice
  3. On the parish level, I just do my best to listen.  Sometimes the ideas come from concerned school parents in an email.  Other times it is a chance conversation at a fish fry, or after mass.  The antenna is always up at any parish event/encounter – listening for that voice of God that directs me.

Abram went as God directed him.  It is such a simple statement, with such profound implications.  When it is all done, I draw comfort from the prayer of Thomas Merton.

My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.***

May you and I never do anything apart from that desire either…

*** – here is the rest of Thomas Merton’s prayer…

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone

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What is the most powerful two letter word in the devil’s arsenal?

“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that God put in the garden…”  With that little segue we are introduced to the tester, the great tempter of hearts in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The story tells us that the serpent is not the most powerful, the strongest, nor the smartest of the animals.  But he is the most cunning.

And so you’re going to hear in this story of Adam and Eve, how he works, how he uses that cunning.  He never directly tempts Adam and Eve, nor Jesus.  He never says deny God.  He never does a frontal attack.  But what he does do is introduce the most poisonous emotion to any relationship – doubt.  Doubt.  That’s how he tempts Adam and Eve. That’s how he tempts Jesus.  And that is how he will tempt us…

In the garden, you can see the conversation.  “Nice tree.  Good branches.  And look at that fruit, would you.  Wouldn’t you like to sink your teeth into that.”  Of course, Eve is too smart to be fooled by that direct approach.  But that is just the set up.  Here is the line that gets Eve and then Adam…  “Did God REALLY say you can’t do this?  I mean, did he really say that, or he trying to hide some power from you?” And it that instant, the seed of doubt is planted.  In that moment, sin becomes possible, for doubt has entered in…

Fast forward some 2,000 years.  The devil knows he has a more formidable opponent in Jesus.  He knows the direct approach will never work – but the cunning approach has a chance.  So he uses his best word.  That most cunning word.  “IF”.    Using that word is like hockey players dropping the gloves, only he’s dropping that IF-bomb in front of the human will.  “What do you mean, IF?” the will says.  “Of course that’s the case.”  And the battle is engaged.

IF you are the Son of God”, and you can hear the sarcasm dripping from his voice.  You really don’t believe it, do you?  That experience you had at the baptism – the sky opening, the dove descending – a momentary delusion brought on by the hot sun.  But, if you want to believe that, then you need to test it, you need to try it out, you need to be SURE it is true…  Turn stones to bread, throw yourself down, rule the world with power, because IF you really are the Son, then God will be happy to do that for you…and that is really what it means to be the Son of God – not the way you have in mind…

That’s how he tempts Jesus, and us – with that most dangerous two letter word –IF.  “IF you really are a baptized, beloved son or daughter of God – then you have certain permissions; certain things that you can pull off – because that is what it means to be beloved.  Those traditional Lenten practices – YOU don’t need them.  Fasting?  That is dieting for amateurs.  Almsgiving – sure it is important, and the people in Japan are really going to need it.  But, IF you love your kids as well, make sure that you have that college fund built up.  Prayer – ah, God knows what you need even before you ask it. If you really are as close to God as you feel you are, then a few minutes checking in at the beginning and end of the day will suffice.

It is never the direct assault that gets you – the obvious temptation to possessions or control or security.  It is the cunning moment of doubt that gets us/me the best. The temptation is in how you fill in the rest of that sentence.  “If you really are the director of the Newman Center… If you are a GOOD director …then they need you there 24-7.  If you are there all the time, then those who rely upon your help will have you there and present and you’ll make a difference in their lives…  And I am tempted to believe that it is all up to me…and to not rely upon the Father for my daily bread.  It is his best word and he will say it everyone:  IF you are…

This week, the scriptures invite us to look at how we are tempted – how we might want to fill in the sentence that the most cunning of all the animals wants to feed us with.  IF you are..-

  • If you are a college student, (and an Irish one at that) then it’s okay to really celebrate St. Patty’s day, because that’s what it means to be a good Irish college student. ***
  • If you are a good student teacher, then those lesson plans need to be perfect, even if it means that the rest of your life is completely out of balance.
  • If you are really in love with them, then it is okay to express that physically and sexually, without any boundaries.
  • IF, IF IF…    (*** see below for St. Ann examples…)

Beware of that most dangerous word the devil will use on you – and take a lesson from Jesus on how to respond:  I am God’s son and I will always be focused only on the Father’s will.


  • If you are a senior member of the congregation, all you need do is put your envelope into the collection basket.  You’ve done your time, your volunteering. It’s time for someone else…
  • If you are a good parent, then you better lay down that law with your kids really strictly, make sure they know WHO is Boss, cause otherwise, they might do all kinds of bad stuff…

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What do the season of Lent and Garmin GPS systems have in common?

If you have a Tom Tom or a Garmin GPS unit, you know that they tell you pretty accurately, turn by turn, how to get from point A to point B.  And you also know the one word that gets repeated over and over, any time you ‘veer off the path’ that it has set up for you. First it will tell you to make the first, legal U-turn.  And if you keep going, eventually it says THE word without any malice, any regret, any sense of judgment or any sense of instilling guilt in you the driver because you have taken a wrong turn.

How many of you know that word?


If here is were you are, (gesture to ‘here’) and here is where you are supposed to be, and THERE is where you are going – with infinite patience, the Garmin simply says: RECALCULATING.  You are not where you are supposed to be, so rather than retrace your steps (though sometimes it will have you do that) it just calmly figures out another way to get there.

It is not a bad image for this Ash Wednesday, nor for this season of Lent.  These days are meant to be an opportunity for us to do some RECALCULATING about the journey of life we are on, where we are, where we are supposed to be and where we are going.  It is not a time to ‘guilt’ ourselves into change, nor to berate ourselves for our lack of progress.  Heaven knows we all have made enough wrong turns over the course of a year’s or a life’s time, to know that we have some RECALCULATING to do.  Rather, like the voice from the Garmin that does not pass judgment, but calls for a change of direction, God does the same for us this Lenten season.

RECALCULATING.  Figuring out from where I am how I need to go to get to where I am called to be.  We know the three practices.  Fasting.  Prayer.  Almsgiving.

Pope Benedict says this about Fasting, which can have various motivations: “By rendering our table poorer, we learn to overcome selfishness in order to live in the logic of gift and love; by bearing some form of deprivation—and not just what is in excess—we learn to look away from our “ego,” to discover Someone close to us and to recognize God in the face of so many brothers and sisters. Fasting opens us ever more to God and to the needs of others, thus allowing love of God to become also love of our neighbor.”

Prayer and almsgiving have the same object – opening us more deeply to the love of God and the love of neighbor.  Recalculating.  Rethinking how we are to live in harmony with our sisters and brothers.

So, if you happen to have a Garmin or Tom-Tom, then as often as you hear that magic word, let it put you back into the heart of this Lenten season.  And even if you don’t have one, I invite you to live with that one word in your heart and mind and prayer – into all the situations of this world – RECALCULATING…

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Friday night was our “Wines around the World” fundraiser an the Newman Center.  Thanks to all who helped – though the figures aren’t in, I think we did more than okay.  What I noticed at one point on Friday was how easy it is for me to ‘do the busy work’ involved with the party.  Maybe it is the shy part of me that comes out at big gatherings, but I was much more comfortable with helping get the food ready and hanging up coats than I was with mingling and hanging out with people.  That is not a new pattern in my life.  If you used the “Love Languages terminology”, I express love by acts of service, and probably receive it in affirmation.  It is just how I am wired.  I love to ‘do’ things for people as a way to express my love.

In that same vein of experience, I had my permanent deacon preach at all the masses at St. Ann this weekend.  It was very hard on me.  I wanted to be “doing more” and felt like I should be doing more.  Then I remembered my experience at a trivia night on Saturday where I couldn’t ‘do much’ (cause I am so bad at trivia) and that is when I began to suspect that I border on being a do-aholic.

As the deacon continued talking about the ‘foundation/rock’ called prayer, the line from the gospel jumped back into my mind.  Jesus says to those who were so busy ‘doing things – healing, calling his name, prophesying, driving out demons – all those activities that defined their love for Jesus – “I never knew you.”

I never knew you”…  Woof! Like the proverbial ton of bricks – it hit me – Jesus could have been talking directly to me.  I who try to do so much, who keep so busy trying to love and serve him in my own love language – that of acts of service – was missing a huge cue on Jesus’ own love language: Jesus asks for “Quality time” from me.    When was the last time that I just sat in Jesus’ presence – wasting time with him?  I get so caught up in the doing, that even my vacation was ‘busy’.  It was relaxing busy, but still busy – Snorkeling twice a day and reading two books.  I find it difficult to stop.

“Hello.  My name is Bill.  And I am a do-aholic.  I am not proud of that fact, but there it is.”

Don’t get me or Jesus wrong.  There is a place for doing in the world.  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we concluded today, moves from be-attitudes to actions, from the interior disposition of the disciple to the exterior actions that flow from being people of salt and light.  Yet I realize after this weekend that I have spent too much time on the doing and not enough time on the “knowing” of Jesus.  And I run the danger of Jesus saying to me:  “Bill, I never knew YOU.  And that is what I want from you now.  I want to know YOU.  I want to love you.  I want to be your best friend and confidant – NOT just in by your actions or even mine on the cross, but in quality time. But I keep myself so busy that there is no way or time for Jesus to get through to me.

“My name is Bill, my love language is “acts of service” and I have made those acts of service the ONLY way I express my relationship with Jesus.  I AM a do-aholic.”

Perhaps that is not your case.  But I suspect that if you examine YOUR love language, the way that you most like to express your love for others, you will find, as I did, that you have let that define YOUR relationship with Jesus, to the detriment of those other languages.  Words of Affirmation, Quality time, Gifts, Acts of Service, or Touch – those are the venues, the love languages, through which we are invited to express our love for our savior, and allow him to express his love for us.  On this ‘door step of Lent’ – I invite you to spend some time prior to Ash Wednesday looking at your love language ‘gone wrong’ – and then, fashion your disciplines of Lent around that.  For me, that will be quiet, walking kind of praying – because that is the only way I’ll slow down enough to listen…

My name is Bill and I am a ‘do-aholic.’  But with God’s grace, I pray for the grace to let that go this Lent – and to set my life on the firm foundation of knowing my Lord more and more

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Pastor’s Pen – March 6, 2011

Published on 06. Mar, 2011 by in Pastor's Pen


Lent is late this year…

If you remember in 2008, the date for Easter Sunday was about as early as it could be.  Falling on April 24th, this year’s celebration of Easter finds it about as late as it could be.  (Technically speaking, it actually could be one day later, mirroring the fact that in 2008 it could have been one day earlier.)  So we have a late Lent this year.  This is good news to our Fish Fryers, who will not have to brave the cold as much as in the past.  (Though with is as crazy as this winter has been, I am not counting on anything…)

It strikes me this late date also gives us an opportunity this Lent that we don’t often have – the chance to slow down our days by being OUTSIDE for a while.  Having just returned from a vacation in the warm Caribbean, I relished the opportunity to spend time under the stars at night time without freezing, and moments walking during the day soaking in the sun’s warmth.  In a society that gets so crazy busy, there is nothing like being outside to slow down the pace, and to allow time for centering oneself in God’s presence by a kind of walking prayer.

So, as you spend time choosing the disciplines that will mark the Season of Lent this year, take advantage of the warmth and do a little outside walking and praying and slowing down.  Not only will it do the spirit good, but the heart and body as well will enjoy the benefit.  And then, when you are signed by those ashes this Wednesday, commit to the journey we all pledge to walk – to connect more deeply by our prayer, fasting and almsgiving to our Savior, our Lord and brother.

Only 266 more days…

No, that is not the number of shopping days left before Christmas.  That is the number of days until the First Sunday of Advent, which will be the day we implement the new English translation of the new Latin translation of the Roman Missal.  From the responses we pray to the Mass parts we sing, a lot of the words will change.  This is a great opportunity to do a little study and reflection on the mass which we so often can take for granted.  I encourage you to join Phil Kril on Fridays after the Fish Fry, up in church, to begin your process of learning anew how to pray with the Church our great act of Thanksgiving.  There is the ‘early bird’ session – from 6:30 to 7:00.  And the later session: from 7:05 – 7:35, for three Fridays in a row, beginning March 18th

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Dear St. Ann School families, friends & parishioners,

The 41st annual Sponsor’s Dinner Dance & Auction is coming up on Saturday, April 30, 2011.  This is the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year.  Last year we raised an amazing $65,000, which was used to finish updating the Science Lab, purchase 2 additional classroom MIMIO boards and laptops, plaster and repaint the school gym, and refinish some flooring.  In addition, the money raised helps to ensure the financial stability and budget of the school and parish, and take care of many other necessary repairs/maintenance to the school and church … all thanks to many generous donors.

You may not realize it, but you have connections to local and national businesses, individuals, and organizations that may be willing to contribute to this event!

Do you work at a hotel or know someone that does who would donate a stay?  Do you have a connection at one of the airlines who would be willing to give tickets?  Do you have a vacation home/time share you would be willing to donate for others to bid on and enjoy?  Do you have a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or movie theater that would be willing to donate a gift certificate?  How about a hairdresser, masseuse, craftsman, or contractor that would donate their services?

Please take some time to think about what you do and who you know and how you may be able to help make this year’s event a huge success!

New items and services are always needed to keep the auction going, year after year.  Just call or drop a note through school to one of this year’s auction chairpersons, Kay Dieckmann (381-7201) or Cheri Smith (382-1107) and let us know what you are thinking about.  The deadline for donations is March 31.  If you are interested in helping out in other ways with this year’s auction, please let us know… new people bring new ideas.

We hope you are able to join us and other St. Ann School parents and parishioners on April 30 for a fantastic evening of great food, fun, a live band, dancing, and over 175 incredible items and services to bid on!  Don’t miss it!


Cheri Smith & Kay Dieckmann, 2011 Auction Co-Chairs

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