Pastor's Corner

May 5, 2019

 

Mental Health Awareness month is May. Mental health is much more than dealing with mental illness. Many people follow a plan to maintain their physical health that includes dieting and exercise. Some people will even get a trainer to coach them in caring for their physical health. However, do we spend as much time and effort maintaining our mental health? Do we find healthy ways to deal with stress and anger? Do we develop habits that increase gratitude as part of our lives? Do we pray? So during this month of May consider what habits might help you develop your mental health muscles. Some of the best resources on mental health can be found at nimh.nih.gov .

 

I congratulate our first communicants. We celebrate with them and allow their enthusiasm to remind us of the great gift of the Eucharist. Everyone is invited to congratulate the children after Mass in the Gathering Space.

 

Part time maintenance personnel wanted. We are looking for women or men who want part time work in the evenings and on weekends. The work primarily involves cleaning, setting up tables occasionally and helping with hospitality on weekends. Competitive wages are offered. Please apply in the office.

 

 

South of the Gathering Space doors, we are having curb cuts and a small sidewalk installed. The curb cuts and sidewalk will eliminate the barrier between the south handicapped parking and the door. We are maintaining the curb around the rest of that area to protect the pillars that support the portico. I want to thank the Quilters who highlighted this need and provided the funds to pay for this improvement. 

 

April 28, 2019

 

I congratulate our first communicants. We will be welcoming children to God’s table to receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time over the next couple of weeks. We celebrate with them and allow their enthusiasm to remind us of the great gift of the Eucharist that we can take for granted. Everyone also is invited to congratulate the children after Mass in the Gathering Space.

 

Join us for our Annual Memorial Mass to remember loved ones that have passed away this Wednesday, May 1st at 5:30 PM. A reception will follow in the Gathering Space. It is a time to remember and lift those we love up to God as well as be supported by our loving God and community. All are invited. No reservations are needed.

 

Part time maintenance personnel wanted. We are looking for women or men who want part time work in the evenings and on weekends. The work primarily involves cleaning, setting up tables occasionally and helping with hospitality on weekends. Competitive wages are offered. Please apply in the office.

 

A Special Thank You to all the musicians, servers, lectors and other liturgical ministers who made our Holy Week celebrations so beautiful. The music was amazing. The lectors were great. Everything was organized so well. I especially want to thank Teresa Marshall Paterson, Melissa Seiler and Chris Dean for organizing our liturgical and music ministers.

 

 

Beware of scammers wanting gift cards. I once again heard someone sent out text messages in my name (from a completely different area code) asking for gift cards. I will never ask for gift cards through a text message, email, phone call, Facebook or any other way. If you get an unexpected email from me or anyone you know asking for gift cards, it is a scam. 

 

April 21, 2019 

 

Welcome to all celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection was a historical event, but it is not history. Jesus Christ lives in us and opens our eyes to God’s presence through sacraments and community. St. Vincent’s is a unique, compassionate community dedicated to help all grow in the life of Christ. Christ works through community as we reach out to those in need in Andover and beyond. You are always welcome to join our community in worship, small groups, service and other activities. Allow the living Christ to shape your heart and mind in the way of love.

 

St. Vincent’s Parish Staff is dedicated to welcoming you regardless of what obstacles you feel stand in your way of fully participating in the Catholic Church. I personally am willing to help you in any way I can. Call the office for an appointment if you would like to visit with me. My only desire is, in the words of Pope Francis, that you may discover “the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ and a community to support you.” All are welcome. All are wanted and that includes you.

 

Included in today’s bulletin is a list of Summer Activities for the whole family from Summer Movie Nights to Vacation Bible School. Keep the list as a reference for your family. Come and enjoy these summer activities.

 

Confirmation preparation will take place during the next year school year at St. Vincent’s. The Bishop also is lowering the age for Confirmation to 6th and 7th grade. Next year is a transition year so we will be preparing youth in 7th-12th grades. Obviously with this wide range of ages, we will set up the program next year to have small groups of similar ages.

 

 

A Special Thank You to all the musicians and liturgical ministers who have made our Holy Week celebrations so beautiful. People often remark how they have been touched by these liturgies. So I pass on the appreciation I hear from so many people to all the ministers who have served our community this past week. I especially want to thank Teresa Marshall Paterson, Melissa Seiler and Chris Dean for organizing our liturgical and music ministers. 

 

April 14, 2019

 

Holy Week Liturgies will be Holy Thursday and Good Friday at 7:00 PM, Holy Saturday Night at 8:30 PM, and Easter Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 AM. We also will have Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at 3:00 in the afternoon. We also will have a special time of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Ville after the Holy Thursday service until about 10:00 PM. You may come and go to adoration as the Spirit moves you.

 

The Holy Saturday Night Vigil is a half hour later than normal because Easter is so late in the year and we are not allowed to start the Vigil until it is getting close to dark. The Holy Saturday Vigil however is the great celebration of Easter in the Catholic Church. We will not have our regular Saturday evening confessions and Mass at 5:00 PM because Mass is not allowed before dark.

 

Come celebrate Holy Week with us, especially the services on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. These three services make up the Holy Triduum and are unique liturgies. Only Holy Thursday resembles our Sunday Masses. Together, these three liturgies create a mini-retreat for those that attend. Each person walks with Jesus through the Last Supper with the washing of the feet; through Jesus’ passion and death as we hear the passion and venerate the cross; and through the whole history of salvation that culminates in our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Saturday.

 

During this Holy Week, consider a new way of approaching Jesus passion, death and resurrection. I challenge you to go a step beyond admiration to walking with Jesus as a friend, just as you would walk with a friend through an illness. If we walk with a Jesus as a friend, we not only give thanks for the love we see, but we are led to feel sorrow for Jesus in his sorrow, abandonment when he is abandoned, and remain close as one would remain with a friend that is dying. This approach begins with a friendship with Jesus and leads one to a deeper union with Christ. May this week truly be one of growth in love of Christ.

  

Finally, invite a friend to our Holy Week and Easter Liturgies.

 

April 7, 2019

 

Wear Red next Sunday on Palm Sunday. We will begin our liturgy next Saturday/Sunday in the Gathering Space and process into the Worship Space together as is our custom on Palm Sunday.

 

Our LIFE Event is this Sunday April 7th and Wednesday, April 10th. We will focus on moral decision making and conscience. Come to learn Catholic principles of morality and conscience. Sign up in the Gathering Space or on our website.

 

Holy Week Liturgies will be Holy Thursday and Good Friday at 7:00 PM, Holy Saturday Night at 8:30 PM, and Easter Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 AM. We also will have Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at 3:00 in the afternoon. The Holy Saturday Night Vigil is a half hour later than normal because Easter is so late in the year and we are not allowed to start the Vigil until it is getting close to dark. The Holy Saturday Vigil however is the great celebration of Easter in the Catholic Church. Our regular Saturday evening confessions and Mass at 5:00 PM are not permitted this night.

 

Prepare Children to Use Technology Responsibly! Today parents face increasing challenges in teaching their children how to use the internet with virtue. Many parents feel ill-equipped to understand internet devices, apps, and smartphone settings. And, now there’s help! We invite all caring adults to sign up for The Equipped 7-Day Challenge: A Digital Crash Course by texting SECURE to 66866 to receive seven days of emailed digital tips!

 

The diocese also has created a new website https://cleanheart.online/diocese-wichita . It has resources to help families use the internet responsibly and keep pornography out of the home.

 

Thank you to all who made Tablescapes a success. I am always amazed at people’s creativity. The profits help several organizations to assist those in need in our local community. We help those in need in the local community in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, our patron. 

 

March 31, 2019

 

Lenten Parish Penance Service will be this Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 PM. After a short service, we will have several priests here to help with confessions at that time. Take advantage of this opportunity to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness.

 

Our LIFE Event is Sunday April 7th and Wednesday, April 10th. We will focus on moral decision making and conscience. Come to learn Catholic principles of morality and conscience. Sign up in the Gathering Space or on our website.

 

Safe Haven Sunday addresses the problem of pornography. Unfortunately, the internet has removed barriers to access pornography. I have seen pornography take over people’s lives much like an addiction. It steals time from real life relationships, family life and even work. More importantly, it corrupts one’s understanding of healthy sexuality within a committed relationship. Pornography makes people into objects and isolates those who view it. The cure is to avoid it completely and to invest in real relationships with real people. However, breaking off a pornography habit is difficult. Internet filters can help. It also is important to have supportive people around you. Treating Pornography Addiction is a good book to guide one through the steps to recovery. More resources can be found here. 

 

 

Exposure of children to pornography is a huge problem. The average age of exposure is the early years of elementary school. The younger the age of first exposure the more likely that pornography is going to cause problems in their life. Children at this early age do not have a context to understand what they are seeing. Parents need to actively protect their children and parents need to create a safe space so that their children can talk about pornography when they are exposed. We are offering the short book “Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture” to help parents. Families may pick one up after Mass as our gift to you. 

 

March 24, 2019

 

Our LIFE Event is Sunday April 7th and Wednesday, April 10th. We will focus on moral decision making and conscience. Come to learn Catholic principles of morality and conscience. Sign up in the Gathering Space or on our website.

 

Lenten Parish Penance Service will be on Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 PM. After a short service, we will have several priests here to help with confessions at that time.

 

Stations and Soup are each Friday during Lent at 6:00 PM. We begin with a different meditation on the stations each week. After the stations, all that wish to stay are invited to share soup together. No RSVP is needed.

 

 

Our Bell Tower was damaged by the wind last week. We are working with insurance to get the damage repaired. It will take some time since the damage is so high off the ground and will probably require extensive scaffolding. The damage was caused by two large air vents on the south side that were designed to allow sound from the speakers (bells) to be heard. Unfortunately, the large air vents on one side of the tower created internal pressure that blew out the EIFS stucco wall on the opposite side. As far as the speakers for the bells, those were moved to the roof of the Social Space many years ago. The bell tower with the cross on top is like a lightning rod. Anything electronic does not last in the bell tower. 

 

March 17, 2019

 

Lent is a time for God’s grace. Many times we focus on sin when considering how to grow in faith. There are many examinations of conscience that lead us to reflect on sin. While it is good to know what we need to change, I have found it even more important to reflect on how God’s grace is working in our lives. We need an “Examination of Grace” to help us pay attention to how God is working in our lives. When does God give us unexpected patience or move us toward generosity and a desire to serve? When are we moved to pray? When does God open our eyes to beauty? Let us pay attention to these moments of grace because they reveal God’s agenda for us to grow in faith. Change happens best when we cooperate with God’s grace.

 

Centering Prayer Mini-Retreat at St. Vincent’s on Saturday, March 23rd from 9-12 noon in the morning. Centering prayer is a simple way of praying where one simply comes and sits in the presence of God without words or a specific meditation. A simple prayer word is used to help center one’s attention. Centering prayer gives God’s Spirit room to work in us. I have heard from many who have found great growth and healing through Centering Prayer. It can be especially helpful as we mature in faith and other types of prayer become dryer and more difficult. Come and learn how to do centering prayer. Call the office to RSVP so we can plan on having enough chairs and lunch for everyone.

 

Stations and Soup are each Friday during Lent at 6:00 PM. We begin with a different meditation on the stations each week. After the stations, all that wish to stay are invited to share soup together. No RSVP is needed.

 

Lenten Parish Penance Service will be on Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 PM. Mark your calendars.

 

 

Charitable giving using your IRA can have tax advantages. While the reason for our giving is to gratefully return to God a share of what God has given us, we also can be smart about our giving. For those over 70½ who take the standard deduction, there is a great advantage to doing a charitable rollover out of your IRA. Your gift counts as part of our minimum distribution and your gift reduces your adjusted gross income, which reduces your taxes. Michele has more detailed information in the office that she can send to you. More families have been taking advantage of this option at the recommendation of their financial advisors since the new tax bill. 

 

March 10, 2019

 

Lent is a time of conversion. However, don’t try to change everything. Pick one new habit you want to start or perhaps a bad habit you want to get rid of. Forty days provide the right amount of time to start a new habit and get it ingrained in life. Begin now as we start this first full week of Lent. Then if you are successful, you will have something to celebrate at Easter. Hopefully, it will be a new habit you will want to continue after Easter, instead of celebrating that you can go back to your life before Lent. Finally, remember personal growth is best done with God’s help. Allow Jesus to walk with you on this journey of change.

 

Stations and Soup will be on all Fridays during Lent at 6:00 PM. We begin with a different meditation on the stations each week. After the stations, all that wish to stay are invited to share soup together. No RSVP is needed.

 

Centering Prayer Mini-Retreat at St. Vincent’s on Saturday, March 23rd from 9-12 in the morning. Come and learn how to do centering prayer. Call the office to RSVP.

 

The culture of any parish is defined by underlying values that are lived out in specific traditions and practices. The Pastoral Council has been looking at our parish values and culture. They want the following values to express the current culture and aspirations of St. Vincent’s. The values are:

Invitation – active outreach to disconnected Catholics and the unchurched

Welcome – hospitality and acceptance to make all people feel at home

Celebration – joyful experiences connecting us with God and community

Formation – all members, all ages growing in faith, hope and love

Compassion – loving care to support those in need

 

“Invitation” is the one value that is more aspirational than currently lived. However, we feel the parish needs to be challenged to change our culture so we move beyond welcoming to invitation. It is one thing to say, “You are welcome to stop by anytime.” It is something different to say, “You are invited to come at a specific time for a specific event.” Let me and the council know your thoughts by emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

March 3, 2019

 

Lent begins this Wednesday, March 6th. We will have Mass at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM with Ashes distributed at both Masses. Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting for all 18-60 and abstinence from meat for all. We also abstain from meat on all the Fridays of Lent as a reminder of Jesus death. Our Ash Wednesday Masses are a great way to get a good start in Lent.

 

Stations and Soup will be on all Fridays during Lent at 6:00 PM, starting with this Friday, March 8th.

 

Traditional Lenten practices call us to pray more, eat less and give to the poor. Consider what you might sacrifice to increase your hunger for God? How might you be more intentional about prayer and communicating with God? How might you give to the poor, sharing the gifts God has given you? How can you make this a great Lent of growth in your life of faith?

 

Lenten resources are available in the Gathering Space after Mass. There also are some good Lenten resources online. See my list below:

https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-lent-ever Matthew Kelly provides a short video each day sent to your email.

https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/lent/online-prayers-and-retreats/lent-retreat  This Lenten Ignatian Retreat requires a bigger commitment to a daily prayer time but gives one a taste of an Ignatian Retreat in the midst of daily life.

http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/  A variety of resources out of Creighton University from a short daily reflection and prayer to recipes to mini retreats.

https://www.lentreflections.com/ Lenten reflections by Bishop Robert Barron sent to your email each day.

 

Centering Prayer Mini-Retreat at St. Vincent’s on Saturday, March 23rd from 9-12 in the morning. Come and learn how to do centering prayer.

 

Part time help wanted in maintenance at St. Vincent in the evening and weekends. We are competitive in our wages. Apply at the office 8-5 Monday through Friday. Call 733-1423 for more information.

 

The Annual Fund this year is focused on the necessary rather than fancy extras this year. We plan to replace the south boiler; repair and seal the parking lot; paint the exterior of the building; replace the movable wall between the Gathering and Social Spaces; and finally update a number of smaller items inside the building with the help of volunteers. Help us with your pledges and gifts. Use the envelopes we mailed out or give at our website. Thank you!

 

February 24, 2019

Jesus’ way of life: “WWJD” stands for “What would Jesus do?” It is a great slogan, but to become more than a slogan we need to look at the actual moral teaching of Jesus. To discover Jesus moral teaching, we need to look beyond the Beatitudes to the verses that follow. Today’s Gospel of Luke 6:27-38 gives us the heart of Jesus moral teaching. It is summarized, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Mercy or “elieson” in Greek points both to forgiveness and to compassionate help that goes beyond what is deserved. Mercy goes beyond justice to generosity in forgiveness and assistance. Humanity can only be healed with generous mercy. Jesus calls us to follow where he has led.

 

The Eucharist makes us Catholic. Come to our next LIFE event and grow in your understanding and appreciation of this special gift from Christ on Sunday, Feb. 24th (children welcome) and Wed. February 27th (adults only). Register online or in the Gathering Space by the LIFE banner.

 

Part time help wanted in maintenance at St. Vincent in the evening and weekends. We are competitive in our wages. Apply at the office 8-5 Monday through Friday. Call 733-1423 for more information.

 

 

The Annual Fund this year is focused on the necessary rather than fancy extras this year. We plan to replace the south boiler; fill cracks, seal and restripe the parking lot; paint the exterior; replace the movable wall between the Gathering and Social Spaces; and finally update a number of smaller items inside the building with the help of volunteers. Help us with your pledges and gifts. Use the envelopes we mailed out or give at our website. Thank you in advance for your care of our parish.  

 

February 17, 2019

The Annual Fund this year is focusing on some essential items such as replacing the south boiler; filing cracks, sealing and restriping the parking lot; exterior painting; replacing the movable wall between the Gathering and Social Spaces; and finally updating a number of smaller items inside the building with the help of volunteers. A couple of the smaller projects are to put in new ceiling tile, sound and improve the lighting in the Social Space and to put replace the wallpaper in the Gathering Space with tile. None of these projects is unusual based on the age of the building and the normal life cycle of parking lots, boilers, paint and movable walls. However, all these projects are important and need to be done at this time.

 

Our next LIFE Event is about the Eucharist, one of the most important gifts in our faith. The emphasis on the Eucharist is at the heart of our Catholic faith. Come and grow in your understanding and appreciation of this special gift from Christ on Sunday, Feb. 24th (children welcome) and Wed. February 27th (adults only). Register online or in the Gathering Space by the LIFE banner.

 

Ash Wednesday and Lent will be here in a couple of weeks on March 6th. Consider how you might make this a fruitful Lent in your growth in faith and as a person. Begin by considering what changes you want to bring into your life and relationships with God and others. Then make a plan focused on what Lenten practices will help you work with God’s grace to make those changes happen. I hope you have a great Lent that gives you a reason to celebrate new life at Easter.

 

 

Part time help wanted in maintenance at St. Vincent in the evening and weekends. We are competitive in our wages. Apply at the office 8-5 Monday through Friday. Call 733-1423 for more information. 

 

February 10, 2019

Parish Culture is felt the moment you walk into a building. Yet parish culture is hard to define. 


The parish culture is more important than goals and strategy. The Pastoral Council has begun to examine our parish culture both on the level of outward behaviors and the underlying values. Our goal is not simply to define St. Vincent’s based on values such as hospitality, community, acceptance, compassion and adult centered faith formation, but to also look at new values we need to embrace. One of the new values that surfaced was a culture of invitation. One group that is an example for us is the “Walking with Purpose Women’s Bible Study.”  Once a month they change their session and have a “connect coffee”, where people are encouraged to invite new members. The study that day is adapted to be welcoming for new people that have come. “Walking with Purpose” has a culture of invitation built into their structure. It goes beyond saying you are welcome, to saying you are invited and wanted.

 

So the Pastoral Council is seeking your feedback on two items. First, what are the 3 or 4 key values that currently define St. Vincent’s or should define St. Vincent’s in the future? Secondly, how can every group and ministry incorporate a culture of invitation into how they function? Please send your feedback to my email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I will forward your ideas to the Pastoral Council.

 

The Annual Fund is coming up in a couple of weeks. This Fund allows us to maintain our buildings. To adequately maintain a commercial building, it is recommended one spend at least 2% of the replacement value of the building each year. The current replacement value of our buildings is $8.4 million. So 2% would be $168,000 each year, which is close to what we receive from the Annual Fund. We try to make those dollars go farther by using some of our own labor and volunteers.

 

The Annual Fund this year needs to focus on some basic maintenance items such as replacing the south boiler; filing cracks, sealing and restriping the parking lot; exterior painting; replacing the movable wall between the Gathering and Social Space; and finally updating a number of smaller items inside the building with the help of volunteers. None of these projects is unusual based on the age of the building and the normal life cycle of parking lots, boilers, paint and movable walls.