“Advent Words”

Prepare the Way.  Active Waiting.  Joyful Anticipation.  Prayerful Expectation.  Come, Lord, Jesus.  Hope.  Darkness to Light.  Wonder and Awe.  Emmanuel:  God With Us.

These are some of the “Advent Words” that we hear during December each year.  It’s hard for me to believe that this is already the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  I hope that your    Advent Journey this year has been growth-filled and grace-filled for you.  As we look back on the past three weeks, have we met the challenge Fr. Don gave us on the First Sunday of Advent?    He reminded us to Prepare Positively, to Plan Purposefully, and to Participate Powerfully in the possibilities that God provides if we humbly enter into the Great Advent Journey.  Did we?  It’s not too late – there’s still time.

In today’s First Reading God tells David through Nathan, “I have been with you wherever you went…”  He speaks these words to us, too.  He is always with us, even when we are not aware of his presence. That’s the beauty of   Jesus’ coming to dwell among us.  God is so great that the whole world cannot contain him.  Yet he says to each one of us, “N., I want to live with you; I want to live in your heart.”  Emmanuel – God-with-us.  Jesus didn’t come as a tourist to visit just for a little while.  Instead, he left the gift of his presence in the Eucharist and sent his Spirit of Love to dwell among us.  In today’s Gospel the angel assured Mary that the Lord was with her.  Her trust in God’s word and promises allowed Divinity to enter into our humanity.  Could anything be more intimate?  Have we nourished a deep and personal relationship with Jesus during our Advent journey?  The Lord IS with us.  What a gift God has given us in the Incarnation.  As Christmas draws near, just a few days away, let us follow Mary’s example and let Jesus find a home in our hearts.  As we spend a little time in prayer each day, may we become more consciously aware of God’s presence within us in everything that we do.  May we recognize the Emmanuel experience – not in the past, or even in the future, but this very day.

Pope Francis has designated the coming year as the Year of the Consecrated Life, as Sr. Toni explained in last week’s pastoral column.  Each member of my religious community, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, has committed herself to pray for at least one parish in the Green Bay    Diocese during this year.  Every parish is included in    someone’s prayer.  On one of the bulletin boards in each of our churches there is a poster showing who is praying for us in the Quad Parishes.  That is our gift to the Diocese and to you during this special year.  Thank you for your      friendship and support and love for so many years.

I believe that the wonder of Christmas is that the God who dwelt among us on earth 2000 years ago now dwells within us.  May his love and presence fill you to overflowing and bring you the most joyous Christmas you have ever known.  A BLESSED CHRISTMAS to you all!

- – –  Sister Anne Marie

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Michael Muruilde

Decacon’s Desk

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

I hope that all of you and your families had a great holiday and, for you hunters, a successful hunt. Of course, family gathered at my son’s again. I’m sure it was fun, but since the bulletin deadline is 11/21, I am taking it on faith.

Tristan taught me, or pointed out something about time and focus and value. I don’t know about you, but when I was a young parent and it was time to rock or feed the baby, I was usually mentally somewhere else. Typically I was thinking of the next thing that needed to be done. At I was rocking Tristan for his nap, I realized that I was totally relaxed and completely focused on my task. There was a peace and sense of calm at that moment as I thought “this is what people talk about when they describe centering!” This is the beauty of paying attention to the moment.

Interestingly enough, that thought was further reinforced by my reading of Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscovering.Catholicism”, Kelly talks about the complaints that are frequently heard about the Mass; it’s boring, too long,the  music is old fashioned, etc. I agree with his observation that the real problem may be that people are not paying real attention. The reason I say that goes back to the first few Masses I assisted at after ordination. I was so awestruck I could barely remember what came next. I was standing in the presence of my God-literally!  Thankfully Fr. Don had given me the key to staying focused on my duties. Not only did my presence in the Divine Presence put me in awe, but the beauty of the words/prayers shocked me. Like most people mentioned by Kelly, I just had listened to the words waiting to get to the Our Father. My friends, if you want to grow your relationship with God, listen to ALL of the words we say, sing or hear. I can guarantee it will set the pace of your Advent and enrich your spiritual journey.

Peace & Blessings,

Deacon Mike

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Nancy128x160

Music at the Quad-Parishes

What a wonderful time we had! We just enjoyed another great evening of song at our annual St. Cecilia Sing held at St. Joseph on Thursday night. What’s coming up next for music at the Quad? 

In our coming Season of Advent, we will be simplifying our music. Our theme for Advent will be “Rejoice in the Journey”.  Our hymn choices will reflect the time of preparation for remembering the First Coming of the Son of God, and our looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. We will use the Mass of Resurrection. There will not be a Gloria for our weekend Masses and we will save our Prelude Music for the Christmas Season. At our last Music Meeting, our musicians selected Common Communion Songs based on the readings we will be using at all of our parishes through Advent. You will be hearing: “Maranatha”, “Christ Circle Round Us”, “Beyond the Moon and Stars” and “Servant Song”. 

During the Christmas Season the music will be larger with Preludes, Gloria’s and a return of the Revised  Mass of Creation. 

The next Mass setting we will be learning is already somewhat familiar to you. During the Lenten Season, we will be using the Revised Heritage Mass. Our congregations have sung the original Heritage Mass in past years, and the revisions to the Mass are easy to incorporate. 

Looking ahead at the summer months, we will learn a lovely Chant Gloria by John Lee. This Gloria was used at the Priest/Deacon Ordination last May. 

We will be using a few more contemporary pieces of music at our parishes from Spirit and Song. That is a division of Oregon Catholic Press, the company that brings us our Breaking Bread hymnals in the pews. We hope you will enjoy the variety. 

It is wonderful to hear the congregation sing with gusto at our weekend Liturgies.  Never worry if your voice is “Good Enough”. God gave you your voice, give it back to Him in praise! I can’t help but think it makes God smile! 

If you have suggestions for the Music Ministry, please let us know by getting connected and sharing your thoughts at www.goodnews.quad-parish.org or on our Facebook Page!

 

Nancy Lemerond, Music Coordinator

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Michael Muruilde

Deacon Desk

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

LEAVES, LEAVES, LEAVES and more LEAVES. What a colorful, if not short-lived facet of this time of year. The sights and the sounds of this season are unique. The colors of the leaves; brilliant gold, red and even a few purple, unless, like us, you have oak trees, then you have acorns and brown leaves. The acorns sound like someone is throwing stones on your roof. There are the sounds as well; children stomping and scuffing through the fallen leaves; the crunch under their feet. I even smelled burning leaves (I think a neighbor burned some in his fire pit.) The problem with leaves though is a universal problem for most things of beauty and uniqueness; there is a downside to them. It’s called raking. Even if you have a monster leaf blower, there’s no way to lessen the reality of rakes, blowers and old sheets to carry the fallen beauties.  Even Fritz decided that raking wasn’t going to be as much fun in his 4 year old life as watching “Scooby Doo”.

How fitting that the leaves fall as the Church draws near to the end of the liturgical year. Soon we will be finishing the Gospel of Matthew; celebrating Christ the King and going through the reflection time of Advent, which begins another Church year. This Saturday we not only change our clocks but we celebrate what we, as Christ’s followers, are all called to strive toward; sainthood. We are called to work towards holiness; notice I did not say perfection! All Saints Day and All Souls Day is our opportunity to celebrate the sainthood of our beloved deceased and our eventual union with them. We get the chance to remember their lives, the impact that they had on us and to ask for their intercessions as we continue the work of the Gospel; to love God and to love others as He has loved us.

So, as you rake, or blow your leaves, talk to God about the wonders of His gifts to us; thank Him for those who have gone before us and joyfully contemplate the beautiful colors which He bestows on us every Fall.

Peace & Blessings,

Deacon Mike

 

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Everts Rev resized

REJOICING IN OUR MISSION – GROWING IN FAITH

We have just finished our Annual Meetings at each of our parishes.  During this past fiscal year each of our parishes as individuals and together have continued to carry the Good News and fulfill our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.  It is an exciting time as we seek to live intentional lives of faith and call others to share in our journey.

At Annunciation we have worked with Providence Academy and now rent our second floor to them.  This outside source of income will go a long way to help balance our budget and pay off our parish debt.

At St. Joseph we have been proactive in developing outside sources of income and look forward to working with GRACE in developing a Classical School to be housed at St. Joseph.

At St. Jude we have finished phase one of our renovations and have begun our campaign to raise funds for phase two and hope to begin inside church renovations in June of 2015.

At St. Patrick we have begun our journey of sharing our church with the Latin Rite & this partnership is a wonderful opportunity for each community to support each other in their missions as Catholic Faith Communities.

Together we are working on purchasing a new building to house our pantry and Love Life programs.

The four communities continue to work together in powerful ways to offer spiritual and outreach opportunities to enable us all to grow in faith & live our call as Intentional Disciples.  It is truly wonderful to behold the journey of faith and the powerful life giving presence of the spirit at work at Annunciation, St. Joseph, St. Jude and St. Patrick.

 

Peace and Joy,

Fr. Don

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Michael Muruilde

Deacon’s Desk

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

 

I am slowly beginning to reflect on the days and years of my career. After reading an article in The Deacon Digest, a bi-monthly publication aimed at deacons and their ministry with articles by deacons, I began to think about how my office was arranged. I have always wanted my office to be an inviting place, a place where people would feel comfortable immediately. You may not believe this, but most people are in varying stages of anxiety when they first come to see a counselor. They often wonder if they are being judged and struggle with the fact that they are about to tell a perfect stranger about an issue or issues that they haven’t shared with anyone. Like many therapists and others who work with people, I am honored by their willingness to bring me into their lives. The first few minutes are crucial to the beginning of this working relationship. I must put my best foot forward to gain this connection. I am careful about the lighting; it is soft and comes from lamps, not overheads. The furniture is comfortable and I begin by offering coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lemonade or water. I sit after they sit and start with the question, “what can I do for you?”

 The author of the Deacon Digest article was talking about hospitality as the first step in evangelization. Imagine yourself at church — coming through the door you see an unfamiliar face, or a face you haven’t seen in a while. How do you put your best foot forward? Remember, you are the first person they encounter at the door. Do you look away? Do you smile and nod? Do you say hello? Do you say good to see you? Remember, you are the first contact they have with the Gospel as it is lived in our actions and by our family of believers. Just as sometimes the smallest act can turn someone away from the church (who needs more negativity or marginalization than is already in our daily life?), the smallest smile or sign of welcome can invite a hesitant person into our family of believers. Do you want to fill up the church? Act like you are happy to see them; like you are filled with the JOY of the Gospel message! Our Gospel is a message of JOY and WELCOME. If we all were to claim that Gospel and live that Truth, our churches would be full of people. Imagine how it would be if I acted like my new patient was interfering in my day. Imagine how it would feel if you acted with coolness toward the stranger. Imagine how it would feel if you acted with welcome to all. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:13)

 

Peace and Blessings,  Deacon Mike

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frrayn

Signs

Dear Quad Parish Family,

When you see the “golden arches” you think about McDonalds. When you’re driving and you see a red octagon, even without words, you know it means you’re supposed to stop. Finally, when you hear about the stars and stripes, you think of something more – our country, our freedom, our opportunity. These signs bring a greater reality to mind.

As you know, we as Catholics celebrate seven sacraments. Perhaps the most commonly coined definition of a sacrament is “a visible sign of an invisible grace.” In other words, each of the sacraments use words,  signs and symbols to engage our five human senses about the reality that is taking place – namely that we are receiving God’s grace which guides us on our journey back to Him.

The Mass is overflowing with such words, signs and symbols which draw us closer to our Savior. The flame of the candles lets off both warmth and light, reminding us of Christ who is our Light in the darkness, who alone can bring us from sin and death into grace and eternal life. The incense rises up, reminding us not only of our prayers rising up to heaven, but also calling us to raise our eyes and hearts toward heaven. As we dip our finger in the Holy Water, we are reminded of our Baptism, by which our original sin was washed away, and we entered a life of grace in Christ.

Even the gestures we make reflect the reality in which we partake. We stand when we read the Gospel, because remember the Word is not something, but someone. We encounter Jesus – the Word who became flesh, in a very special way through the Gospel, and the Holy Spirit facilitates this encounter. Then the climax of the Mass, the receiving of our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist – for this we fall on our knees in worship of our Lord. We allow him to enter our hearts – He who desires to be as near to us as nourishment is to our bones.

Dear friends, let us always seek to know why we do what we do as Catholics – so that the Mass and the Sacraments may become even more life giving for us all, nourishing us on our pilgrim journey through this life, and onward toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

May God bless you all,

Fr. Ryan

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Michael Muruilde

From the Deacon’s Desk

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

September!!?? What happened to June, July, and August?  Today on the local news I saw that the station was beginning its “color watch” for the changing of the leaves, AND that the leaves were already turning in Fond du Lac County!  I should be happy for the change in the temperatures though since we went to New York to visit our son and his family, bringing them the hottest week of their summer.  It was a great time to have a pool, so I sat in   Tristan’s little pool – not a pretty picture.  This time, though, we were able to take care of Tristan when mommy and daddy went to work.  The simple joys are truly the best.  So, now the children and adults are back in school, and the rhythm of life moves on.

So it is with the end of my practice and closing of my office.  I don’t feel any regret about that, but I will miss the people that I have worked with over the last 39 years.   People are the best part of the type of work I do.  Funny, they are also the best part of being your Deacon.  Old things get replaced by new things, but people can’t be replaced.  They are like the snowflakes, each one individual and unique.  I hope that God will give me the opportunity to always share people’s lives:  their joys, sadness, triumphs, and tragedies.  When we turn to each other in love and fellowship, there is no boredom.  People are part of the great message spread by Jesus:  “Love others as I have loved you.”  “They will know you are my disciples by the love you have for each other.”  “Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for others.”  We are so precious to Him that He spared nothing, including Himself, that we might be with Him in heaven.  Happy changing of the seasons!

Peace & Blessings,  Deacon Mike

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Capture

The Year (or Two) of Prayer

If you have been following recent developments in the Compass or the diocesan website, you will have read about our diocese’s efforts to make the New Evangelization part and parcel of our Catholic journey in northeast Wisconsin.  Bishop Ricken’s recent letter “Disciples on the Way” grows out of the planning work we have done for the past three years that was unveiled in Bishop Ricken’s 2011 pastoral letter:  Parishes: Called to be Holy, Fully Engaged, Fully Alive”.  You’ve also heard from Fr. Don about how we are implementing New Evangelization into practices in our four parishes.  And you’ve heard about it from our various staff members here in this very column.

After reading and listening to all of us, you will know that all these efforts start with a deep grounding in prayer.  And if you read last week’s bulletin insert, you will know that our diocese is emphasizing helping parishes to help our people grow more deeply into our spiritual lives.   For the next two years, we are looking to provide opportunities for you to pray more and to pray more deeply.

How are we going to do this at our four parishes?  With the help of the members of the Worship Commission, and a lot of help from volunteers, we are going to “overhaul” some of the prayer experiences that we have offered over the years.  If you think of prayer as what you do to deepen your relationship with God, then our hope is that with some divine inspiration our communal prayer will help you to come know Jesus as more Friend and Brother as well as Lord & Savior.

In the first part of this year, we will be looking at three prayer offerings.  We will be looking at our annual Memorial Service which we hold at each of the parishes on or around the Feast of All Souls;  the “O Antiphon” prayer service the week before Christmas; and a new offering during Advent–a Holy Hour of prayer and adoration as part of our Thursday Confessions at Annunciation.  After Christmas, we will be focusing on some of our Lenten prayer experiences.  We will look at revitalizing Stations of the Cross, doing a single Tenebrae Service, and again offering Holy Hours as part of Thursday Confessions.

While members of the Worship Commission will be taking the lead, we will very much need additional volunteers to make this all happen.  Our liturgical work here at the four parishes has always depended on the efforts of more than just a small group.  This time is no different!  As you think (and pray!) about what we are hoping to accomplish, I hope you will consider bringing your time and talent to help deepen the prayer life of your fellow parishioners (not to mention your own!).  One of these prayer experiences may be near and dear to your heart.  If so, please contact me so you can become part of this very special journey.

Remember, those who volunteer for liturgical ministry pray twice.  (I think St. Augustine said something like that!)

–Pat Dennison

For more information on Bishop Ricken’s vision please visit http://www.gbdioc.org/

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Michael Muruilde

Decacon’s Desk

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

Karen and I hope that you all enjoyed the Labor Day holiday. We had the opportunity to go to New York to visit our son and his family (actually, it was our grandson, but don’t tell Mike and Megan). We also had the opportunity to baby sit him as there were a few days when they both worked and the regular sitter had the days off. There just can’t be more fun than that for Karen and me. Tristan is a happy kid who can entertain himself and pull you into his games at the same time.

One of the reasons I started out with this joyful news is due to the fact that I am reading Matthew Kelly’s book Rediscover Catholicism. I’m not through with it yet, so I can’t tell you all of the tools he suggests to become a  faith filled Catholic Christian. One point he makes very clear though, a Catholic is a person of joy. They do not seek joy in things, but in their    relationship with Jesus. They do not seek joy in false fronts to make sure that everyone knows how “holy” they are; they seek it in the truth that comes from being an authentically holy and virtuous person. They want to be an authentic person, so filled with the love of the Gospel and God that they do not worry about the challenges of living a fully Christian life, they just do it a day at a time. They are connected to this world, but value the connection to God, their family/vocation and their faith most of all. I am finding some great thinking in the book.

So, kick back, enjoy the day you have, climb whatever mountain that presents itself and above all things, let every action, thought and feeling be a prayer to God.

 

Peace and Blessings,

Your proudly Catholic Deacon

Deacon Mike

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