Pastor's Corner

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.