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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
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/

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
SrPat1

Our Fathers Plan

Today I want to deviate from my usual style and approach to this pastoral column. It’s a good day to do it too. I’ve read this weekends readings and found myself wondering what went through your mind as you read and/or heard them. The language is strong and very clear that we need to love one another and when our neighbors go astray we are to confront them, call them to change, and if we don’t we are held accountable! The readings aren’t warm and fuzzy and I have serious doubts that any of you, myself included, want to go right home and setup a confrontation.

If you feel confused, put-off, uncomfortable, or annoyed with these readings then I have a challenge for you but it’s not what you think. How well do you really KNOW and understand the bible? Most of us honestly have to admit we’d fail a test on Salvation History. We know bits and pieces but we’d be tripped up by that talking donkey in the Book of Numbers (22: 8) or Elijah’s taunting of the Prophets of Baal in 1 King 18. These are wonderful stories that even make us laugh. But what do they mean for us?

Consider this a personal invitation to come and participate in our new bible study, Our Father’s Plan, that begins either Monday night, September 15 or Wednesday morning, September 17. Classes usually meet every other week. Some months though, due to Christmas holidays, Mardi Gras, etc we only meet once. So don’t excuse yourself because you go south for a couple of months or you don’t want to be tied down every week. That’s not going to happen.

And what do you get in return for the 13 weeks of bible study? You get new insights into who God is. Just a couple of weeks ago we heard Jesus ask the question, But who do you say that I am?  Jesus is a rebel who came to set us free. He was a giant pebble in the shoes of the Pharisees and other religious leaders of his day. He didn’t follow the rules. He was healing on the Sabbath, associating with all the wrong people. If these kinds of thoughts aren’t part of your Jesus picture, you NEED bible study.

The same goes for God. Is your God a parent figure? Does your God adhere to a rigid reward and punishment system? Or is your God full of compassion and forgiveness except when it comes to someone who has seriously caused you or your family pain. Then your God once again becomes your avenger. Is this really the image of God presented in the bible? Are you sure?

Wow, wouldn’t you upon your death love to be excited about meeting God instead of trembling and wondering if you were even going to make it to heaven? I know I would love it if you anticipated meeting God face to face with great awe and wonder. Bible study can and does lead you down this path. Please accept this invitation so you can change your life if you want to. RSVP by calling 496-2160.

Sister Pat

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
Michael Muruilde

From the Deacon’s Desk

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

I am avoiding work. I don’t know how long I will be able to do it since I am at work and have scheduled appointments. Actually, the work I am avoiding is paperwork, specifically accounting. I am not an accountant, but I am the one who gets to do that part of the job since Karen is now working full time elsewhere and I foolishly said one time that I liked putting things in the computer! WRONG THING TO SAY! I am avoiding doing what I said I like to do. Actually, I blame it all on my computer programming class in college. When I went to college, computers had their own rooms, sometimes their own buildings. I had to learn a different language (FORTRAN) and punch a few hundred cards to get the computer to print my name. Thank God for the geniuses that made that easier!

I have to get the accounting done before Karen and I go to New York. This time we are flying as opposed to driving. It should be a great time visiting Mike, Megan and Tristan. (Oops, I forgot the dog, Cleo). Labor Day was always a mixed blessing when I was young. I was usually excited to get back to school, except for the ugly years of high school.  For us, school usually started on the Wednesday after Labor Day. The public schools went one day earlier. (Thank God for parochial schools!) It also meant the end of weekends at the lake. No, we didn’t have a cottage; we just packed up and went for the day. I also remember thinking that this holiday was for my dad; to celebrate labor and how the blue collar workers grew the country. Dad, as you might have guessed, was a proud member of the AFL-CIO. I grew up being told how the worker had really been the cornerstone of our prosperity and the part that the unions played in that process. It’s also good to remember the part that our Church played in the success of the worker all over the world. Pope Leo XIII affirmed in his encyclical “Rerum Novarum” the right of the worker to organize for their common good. He wisely knew that what was and is healthy for a country is that everyone gets to participate in the economic life of the country. Take some time this weekend to thank those around you for their hard work and dedication to the common good. It’s what makes our country still the beacon for those seeking a better way of life.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Peace & Blessings,

Deacon Mike

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
Nancy128x160

The Big Picture

This weekend we celebrate the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Labor Day, and the end of summer vacation for most school aged students. I hope the summer has been a relaxing time to recharge.

Last week’s readings spoke of Jesus giving the keys of the kingdom to Peter, changing his name from Simon to Peter, and entrusting him as head of the church. This week’s readings tell us about Jesus’ response to Peter when he does not want to consider that Jesus would have to suffer and die.

“Get behind me Satan,” sounds harsh, especially after last week’s affirmation, but Peter just didn’t see the Big Picture.

Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  (bold added)

I have a prayer from St Ignatius of Loyola near my desk:  “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”

Have I reached that state of abandonment and trust? No, that’s why I keep the prayer where I can see it.

We find purpose and different priorities when we follow Jesus. We spin our wheels less, worry less, and enjoy more authentic relationships. We basically find our life as it continues to evolve under His tender care. Do we have the Big Picture? Nope. But that is where trusting God comes in and where our faith communities can really help. They support,  encourage us and stand in solidarity with us, especially when trials come. Scripture tells us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

I believe this shared faith of ours is a wonderful tool to help us let go. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you know others are praying you through a rough stretch.  You are literally lifted up. Our fellow believers help us to hang on to the certainty that there is a Bigger Picture when we are struggling.  When we pray together and for one another, when we receive Eucharist for strength, and when we cheer each other on, this is building the Kingdom.

As we allow ourselves to share in each others’ stories, we allow the Holy Spirit to work among us.  Together we can trust in the Big Picture as seen from an aerial view, and rely on His amazing grace.

How have others helped you see the Bigger Picture?

Get connected and share your stories at

www.goodnews.quad-parish.org !

You can also “Like” us on Facebook & GoodNews Blog!

 

Nancy Lemerond

Quad-Parish Music Coordinator

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
Michael Muruilde

Deacon’s Desk 8/11/14

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

Two cute Fritz stories. Fritz came into the family room last Saturday and, after the hellos and hugs, said to me that he wanted to put up the Christmas train. Really??? However, being the dutiful Papa, I went into the closet & retrieved the train. You’ve probably seen these trains; they are big & go in a circle around the Christmas tree. We have two because Fritz tends to play with them like they are real toys and not decorations. We put it together & it just sat; like many ideas that seem good at the time, it evidently lost its luster.

The next is when Nana and Fritz dropped me off at St. Joe’s before the 4:30 Mass last Saturday. As we drove into the parking lot, he asked if this wasn’t the place that had the balloons and games (I added where Papa pumpkin bowls, to which he replied “Yeah”) I said yes it was. Even Fritz is getting revved up for the Fall Fest, or at least for the toys and candy at the kids’ games.

Sometimes, to balance the sadness of the moment (see my Pastoral Column) you have to pull out someone or something that puts the smile back on your face. Fritz, Freya, Tristan, Karen and Jesus (not always in that order) do that for me. What does it for you?

 

Peace & Blessings,  Deacon Mike

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard
Michael Muruilde

Field of Wheat and Weeds

Dear Quad Parishes Family:

You may have noticed that there was no Deacon’s Desk last weekend. I do take off from time to time, usually because I don’t have anything to comment on or just can’t come up with a subject. (If you read this last sentence carefully, you may have noticed that the two reasons I gave you are actually the same – just sayin’) This time though the reason was a bit different; I, like many of his fans, was shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams. I am a big fan of his body of work and, because I know depression from both the outside and the inside, I understood some of the pain he was experiencing. It’s hard to describe the blackness of that hole and the weight that it gives to every step one takes. Of course, not all people who have depression kill themselves physically, but there are many ways to die; only one requires that the body stop functioning. I am speaking of all sorts of addictive behaviors from alcohol, to gambling, to overeating; there are almost too many to list.

Ironically, one of his movies that I recently saw was “What Dreams May Come.”  It was about a doctor (Robin Williams) who is killed when he stops to offer assistance at a car accident. His wife is so overcome with grief that she kills herself. When he realizes this, he sets out to rescue her from hell. (You will not find this belief system in the Catechism). The truth is that there is no death that carries with it more pain than the suicide of a loved one. Fortunately, we have a merciful and loving God who understands our struggles and pain. In talking with a fellow deacon friend of mine, he related having told a parishioner who had just lost her son to suicide this story to help her cope with her terrible loss. He suggested that she reference the Gospel parable of the field of wheat and weeds. The field is her son’s soul. Her son had been a good person; kind, gentle and respectful of others; that was the wheat that filled his field. The weeds sown in the field by the evil one are the doubts, despair and missteps of his life. At the end, Jesus comes, separates the wheat from the weeds; gathering the wheat for food and burning the weeds. I don’t want to judge people, that’s God’s place. So, I enjoy the movies and pray for his soul to find peace.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto All Our Beloved Dead, Oh Lord!

Peace & Blessings,

Deacon Mike

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Standard