February 18, 2018

Free of debt: We just made the last payment of $22,500.00 to pay off the loan for the Heating and Air System for the north part of the building.  The parish is now free of debt. This payment also concludes last year’s Annual Fund projects.

Since the debt is paid off, the Annual Fund this year can tackle some large and small projects that have been on the back burner for a few years. The biggest project will be a Universal Access Family Restroom. It will be located near the current restrooms where the water fountain currently sits. A Universal Access Family Restroom solves 2 problems. First it creates a handicapped accessible restroom on the main floor since our current restrooms are not wheelchair friendly. Secondly, it will allow for someone to care for their handicapped spouse without any embarrassment as well as allow for parents to care for children of the opposite sex. It also is simpler to add a separate handicapped restroom rather than adapt our current restrooms. Finally, placing it by the main hallway would allow it to serve the whole main floor.

Other projects include:
Replacement of windows in the offices;
Replacement of our phone system that is now 25 years old;
Creating an HVAC Replacement Contingency fund for the aging equipment in the south part of the building;
Providing materials to leverage our labor to make other improvements throughout the building.

Annual Fund information and pledge cards are being sent out now. Help us care for our building and all who use our building.

February 11, 2018

Ash Wednesday services will be at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM on February 14th.
Soup and Stations of the Cross are every Friday of Lent at 6:00 PM. We use different reflections on the Stations of the Cross each week to connect Jesus’ passion with our lives.
Daily Mass also can be a great Lenten practice. Consider coming to just one daily Mass each week. The times are Tuesday & Friday at 8:10 AM; Wednesday at 5:30 PM; and Thursday at 12:00 noon.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14th, which creates acultural clash between Lent and the secular calendar. Ash Wednesday is set by the date for Easter, which is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring. Therefore, Easter moves around and occasionally we get these clashes with popular culture. Nevertheless, it’s time to plan for Lent. Perhaps you can plan your Valentines celebration before or after Ash Wednesday and avoid the crowds.

Fast and abstinence from meat is part of Ash Wednesday and Lent. Abstinence means every one 14 years and older abstains from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. Fasting means eating only 1 large meal and 2 small meals with no snacks and applies to those 18-60, although others can choose to participate. In reality, you must decide what fasting means to you based on your regular diet because many people do not eat 1 large meal and 2 small meals in a normal day. Fasting is required only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, although one may choose to fast other days. Fasting is a traditional part of not only our faith but all major religious traditions so fasting has a long connection to the spiritual journey. We fast as a reminder of our need for God and all God has given to us and in solidarity with those who struggle to have enough to eat. We need to look at the spirit of fasting and abstinence and not just the legal requirements. A meal at Bonefish grill may meet the legal requirements of abstinence, but is hardly a sacrifice that will connect us with our need for God.

February 4, 2018

Lent begins on February 14th. The calendar has a sense of humor this year starting Lent on Valentines Day and having Easter fall on April 1st (April Fool’s Day). The date of Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring. Therefore, Easter moves around and occasionally we get these clashes with popular culture. Nevertheless, it’s time to plan for Lent.

Ash Wednesday services will be at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM as always. Ash Wednesday also is a day of fast and abstinence from meat. Perhaps you can plan your Valentines celebration before or after Ash Wednesday and avoid the crowds.

A Plan for Lent is the more important thing to consider at this time. The goal for Lent is to make some real change in our life that brings us closer to God and a more loving person. Your Lenten practice might be some temporary practice such as using one of the Lenten meditation guides in your prayer, or reading a whole Gospel or some other practice. Yet the goal is for growth in your life and relationship with God that endures after Lent. So consider what are obstacles to growing closer to God in your life? How might your Lenten practices begin to tackle those obstacles? Secondly, what direction are you being led through positive desires to love God and help other people? How might you act on those positive desires during this Lenten season? I suggest you pray on both these obstacles to growth and positive desires in the next couple of weeks so God can lead you to a fruitful Lent.

January 28, 2018

Small Group sign-ups are this weekend. These groups are a great way to grow in faith during Lent and beyond. There are groups reading “Rediscover Jesus”, other book studies, Bible studies as well as Kapaun’s Mens groups in the morning and evening. There also is a Marriage Enrichment group that will meet just 4 times during Lent. Finally, there are a variety of crafts, social and service groups for men and women. Check out the groups after Mass or on our website. Sign up now because some of the groups are starting in the next couple of weeks.

Catholic Schools week celebrates the accomplishments of Catholic Schools in handing on the faith and educating children and youth. St. Vincent’s does not have a Catholic School but supports the children of our parish that attend other Catholic primary and high schools. If you are interested in putting your children in a catholic school, contact the St. Vincent’s office. We will work with you in making arrangements with the school of your choice.

Being Church in the Digital Age is our LIFE Event this Sunday, January 28th (Everyone) and Wednesday the 31st (Adults Only).

Prayer comes from the heart. Prayer is more than a repetition of words. Prayer is sharing our lives and hearts with God. Sometimes we might use words. Sometimes prayer is just a heart to heart sharing with God in silence. However, the heart is always the key to good prayer. Both the Old and New Testaments highlight the heart as the place of prayer. However, too often we start and end with the head. We focus our thoughts and attention, but forget to focus our desires and hearts on God. Focusing the desires of our heart are the key to prayer. We go to God with desire just like a young person in love might go to meet their fiancé.

Listening in prayer also is more often a listening of the heart than the head. God most often speaks to us heart to heart, which usually is not about words at all. Instead, we must pay attention to the subtle movements of feelings and desires of the heart. So go to God with the desires of your heart. Pay attention as God subtly touches you through the movements of the heart. Be comfortable with silence. Prayer is not about accomplishing something, but quietly spending time with God.  

January 21

Being Church in the Digital Age is our next LIFE Event. We will focus on how the digital age has shaped the younger generation and with hope, how we as Church need to adapt to thrive in this digital age. Matt Vainer, the diocesan Director of Communications will be the main presenter. This LIFE Event is next Sunday, January 28th (Everyone) and Wednesday the 31st (Adults Only). Sign up online or at the table below the LIFE banner.

Small Group sign-ups are this weekend and next, January 20-21 & 27-28. Get involved to connect with other parishioners and grow in faith. There are groups focused on everything from Scripture study to book studies to simply gathering for shared interests or service. We also are open to leaders wanting to start any type of a small group.

Respect Life:  This is a weekend is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. It is a time to reflect on respecting life from conception throughout life. The Catholic Church seeks to protect human life and promote human dignity. The Church not only works for legislative solutions, but also provides practical help for women needing help to give birth to their child as well as support for the most vulnerable people in society. The issue of abortion is at the forefront this weekend since there are over 650,000 abortions every year in the United States.

However, respect for life does not end at birth. We as a Church and nation cannot advocate for children before birth without caring for them after birth. It also requires us to fight poverty as 21% of children in the United States live in poverty, the majority of which have at least one parent that works full time. We have one of the highest poverty rates among children of any developed country. We often talk of respecting life from conception till natural death. Such language must not lead us to forget the time in between. May we continue to work to protect human life and dignity at all stages of life. May that work be more than political action, but also include real action to help people and find community based solutions that help women, reduce the number of abortions, reduce the number of children in poverty and promote human dignity at every stage of life. Each and every person is created in the image and likeness of God.