Mass Times and Locations

Confirmation, Sunday, October 21: Encountering Jesus

Pope Benedict stated “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the result of an encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new, decisive direction.” In Acts, we read about the Ascension. Luke states that Jesus “presented himself alive to [the apostles]…during forty days [following his suffering].” That would be an amazing encounter with Jesus! Chances are, most of us will never experience that type of experience, yet Jesus DOES appear to us every day in a variety of ways. As Christians, our job is teaching ourselves to recognize these moments instead of “waiting” for His appearance in the sky (like in Acts 1:11). Perhaps Jesus really does have a hand in arranging your parents’ schedules so that they can attend a midweek concert/game/event where you are participating. Or, it is very possible that Christ himself sent that awkward kid in your class to the empty seat next to you at lunch. Growing in your faith takes practice just like learning to be a better athlete, student, musician, scientist, etc. One way to practice your faith is to “see” Jesus at work in your day. Give it a try! For the next few days, pick a time when you can stop and consider your day, maybe before you go to bed. Consider all the ways that God guided you in making decisions, connecting with others, providing for your well-being. Keep a journal or simply treat your thoughts as a prayer.

Haiti Fund

There are Haiti Fund envelopes available in the gathering space for anyone wishing to contribute to our sister parish there. Other than the Run for the Least 5K, we do not have specific fundraisers for Haiti. Donations are welcome anytime.

Wednesday, October 17: Being Intentional

As Catholics, we are invited to be partners with Jesus in continuing his mission in the Church; essentially, we are called to be his disciples. The challenge we have today is understanding what being a disciple looks like. According to The Catechism, “Jesus associates his disciples with his own life.” That seems like a pretty tall order! In our recent Sunday Gospels, we have heard how the followers of Jesus’ own time were instructed. Jesus expected that they follow the commandments, that they love God and others, and that they “gave their all” in following Christ. Our discussion over the last couple weeks has suggested that to be one of these disciples of Christ, we have to BEGIN to behave like one. This week, we discussed how we can start that walk by being intentional. How can we intentionally choose God, over all else, day in and day out? Consider all the ways, in an average day, that you can express an awareness of God: in all that he has given, in the faces and stories of the people with whom you interact, and in your own actions, words, and behaviors. Can you intentionally find God’s hand in these?

Archdiocese Financial Report

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Center has published a financial report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The report answers questions about income from parish taxes and shows how gifts to the archdiocese allow us to partner with others to continue the mission of Jesus in the ministries of the Church. Read the report online at DBQARCH Financial Report.

Thank you from the Haiti 5K Run Committee!

Thanks so much to everyone that made the RunForTheLeast 5k and Fun Run such a success despite the rain. From the runners and walkers, to the ones that cheered them on, to the pie makers (so many compliments about having homemade pies), the course monitors, the pre-registration and registration peoples, the packet pickup people, our singer of the National Anthem, and for Fr Jack’s blessing!

A BIG THANKS to all the sponsors that help make this all possible

Alive in Christ Retreat, November 3

“Alive in Christ – An Inclusive Retreat Day” for anyone wanting to deepen their faith in celebration with persons of diverse abilities is scheduled for Saturday, November 3rd at Saint Matthew’s Church in Cedar Rapids. This is an archdiocesan sponsored retreat for adults with disabilities. The day is filled with prayer, sharing, singing, activities, and social time. To request a registration form or for additional information, please contact Jim Betzner at or (563) 556-2580 ext. 286.

Confirmation Session 1, Sept. 30

Confirmation is a big deal. It is the completion of an initiation process that, for most of us, began when we were infants. In many ways, the sacrament is meant to give a young person a voice, a decision, a choice in committing to the Catholic (and other Christian) faith. Another way to look at Confirmation is that we were destined to be confirmed in Christ when we were baptized. God called us then – and when it comes to following God, we certainly have freewill in accepting or denying that call, but it is a call that we are born to answer. Before, during, and Confirmation, we might be confused, we might have doubts, we might even wonder what we believe. Nevertheless, we are invited to BE CONFIRMED so that we have the strength and grace to RESPOND to these emotions in a Christian way. When we were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we became part of the Catholic Christian family. Why not accept the gift of Confirmation so that we can receive the strength of the Holy Spirit in full? It’s a big deal – can you feel it?!


Since your baptism, what has led you to being confirmed? Parents, what gifts of the Holy Spirit have you recognized in your lifetime?

Baptism Congratulations

Joseph John was baptized was on  Sunday, September 23, 2018 by  Rev. John R Flaherty.  Joseph’s parents are Christopher and Kayleigh. May our faith community of St. John the Baptist provide Christian witness to Joseph John and assist his parents in helping Joseph John to grow in his faith.

Wednesday, Sept. 26: What Is God’s Will?

It is certainly God’s Will that we build amazing relationships. We got a start on that with a crazy introduction game where each of us wrote down a question to ask someone we would like to get to know. The collection of questions posed was interesting and also has us asking if we need to practice getting to know one another better? We discussed 4 facets of figuring out what God’s Will for us might be. ONE of those facets was recognizing the people who have shaped our lives. Have you ever ran into an acquaintance and ended up in a conversation with them that surprised you? Perhaps God placed this person in your life once just so they could return to have that conversation! Take time to get to know each other – that is something that delights our Lord. The other facets of understanding God’s Will are:  Taking a look at what brings us joy because joy is from the Lord; Reflecting on our skills, talents, and capabilities because God gives us the gifts we need to do His will here on earth, but sometimes, we have to uncover those gifts; and finally, when we examine this beautiful world that he created for us, what matters to us personally? God made us to care for one another and for our world. If we consider world events that stir our interest, we may find that God is calling us to make a difference in those places. Relationships, Joy, Gifts, and World Issues are four things to consider as we pray for God’s guidance in our life’s journey. We can get a start on these today and in our church by taking time to get acquainted. That might mean asking another teen about their Clash of Clan skills, but we challenge you to ask something else. You never know how a conversation can change your life.

Parking Lot Update: Upper Lot Closed

Work has begun on the upper parking lot. All upper-level entrances will be closed while the upper lot is under construction. Please park in the lower lot. If the lower lot is full and you park on the street, please be aware that you will need to walk to the lower lot to enter the church. Also, we have been asked not to park on Seventh St., the street that runs along the church; please use A or B Avenues.

Faith Formation pick-ups and drop-offs will take place through the lower level. We ask that parents come into the lower level to pickup their younger kids. Pick-up times are 10:45 am on Sunday mornings and 7:15 pm on Wednesday evenings. On Wednesdays, please be aware that new lights have not yet been installed in the lower lot.

Deliver Meals on Wheels in October

St. John Parish  is in charge of October’s “Meal’s on Wheels” food delivery for the homebound through SE Linn Community Center in Lisbon. If  you are able to help deliver meals contact John Pospisil @ 895-6525

Wednesday, Sept. 19: Discernment

“To discern truth, we need to discern everything that…promotes goodness…from whatever tends to divide…”

That’s a mighty strong statement made by Pope Francis on World Communications Day earlier this year! It seems simple: if something is right, it causes no harm. Yet, there are so many shades of gray in that thinking, and how does that apply when we are faced with life choices? Would attending the University of Michigan versus attending Ohio State cause harm? How to choose one over the other? In his YouTube video called Four Helpful Rules for Discernment, Father Mike Schmitz says to ask four questions. There are: 1. Is this a “good” option? 2. Is this option a reality for me? 3. Is the choice wise? and 4. Is this choice what I want to do?  These are still difficult questions to answer, which is where prayer comes in. Particularly with big decisions, if we allow ourselves time to ponder those questions – in prayer, meditation, journaling, or all of the these – we may eventually feel a “nudge” in one direction or another. The nudge is the Holy Spirit at work! But letting God “speak” to us in our decision-making takes some patience. We might have to spend some time alone with our thoughts. Pope Francis calls this “informed and mature reflection.” God has blessed most of us with wonderful choices to make in our lives. How do we acknowledge God’s role in presenting opportunities? Have you ever felt His “push” when weighing important life options? Do you feel as if you are living the life that God desires for you? How can you check in with God about His will for you?

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Wednesday Sept. 12

On Wednesday, Youth Leaders from several Cedar Rapids area parishes led what they hope to be the first monthly multi-parish Worship and Adoration event for teens. I would like to support this effort as much as I can but I also recognize that it might not be practical to get our teens from Lisbon-Mount Vernon into Cedar Rapids once a month. We are pretty well-established in a routine here and being at our own church is less of a time commitment on a school night versus heading into CR. And yet…I place high value on interacting with a broader Catholic Community than what we have here at home. Our local faith community is truly amazing – I have learned so much from our community through prayer and conversation. Nevertheless, I have also been surprised as I’ve experienced prayer and conversation that are outside my comfort zone. What a gift to learn that there are “others out there!”

The Adoration event follows a format that is similar to what we’ve experienced at NCYC. It provides some time for quiet reflection, but that is interspersed with song and prayer. The lead time of vocalists do a great job of setting a tone for reflection. The next time that we have a “non-scheduled” night here that coincides with a Worship Wednesday is January 9. I plan to reach out to organize a carpool again. Between now and then, if you think an evening of Worship would suit you better than a night of learning and discussion, I encourage you to check out the Youth Ministry calendar and attend a Worship Wednesday on your own. They are geared to teens, but all are welcome

Our Call to Share

The Our Call to Share Collection will be taken up in our parish on the weekend of September 22-23, 2018.  The combined collections for Fall include:  The Catholic University of America, The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry, Black and Indian Missions, Catholic Home Missions, and World Missions.  Each parishioner will receive a brochure and offertory envelope in the mail.  On the envelope you may designate how you would like to have your contribution distributed.  Please be generous and remember these important efforts of the mission of the Church in your prayers.

Baptism Congratulations

We welcome William Francis son of John and Stephanie who was baptized on Sunday, September 9, 2018 by the Rev. John Flaherty.  May the parishioners of St. John the Baptist provide Christian witness to William Francis and assist his parents to help him grow in his faith.

Wednesday, September 5: Evening Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office, is “the daily prayer of the Church.” There are 5 designated readings or prayer times, but my favorite has become Evening prayer, or Vespers, which occurs at 6:00 pm or before dark. I like evening prayer because it is something that is spelled out for me. I use the Laudate app on my phone and it includes all the prayers for the designated hour. However, I have also learned that evening prayer does not have to be so formal. There are many adaptations of evening prayer. For me, it’s the combination of prayer and scripture and then also knowing that Catholics all over the globe are praying at that same time. I imagine that it is a time of “super-sized” prayer where the intercessions of all the prayers are lifted up together. How fitting it is, then, that we take this time to pray for our students. during this hour, when our prayers join the prayers of our earthly communion of saints. Our students need our prayers; they are busy people holding all sorts of possibilities. Let’s pray that God is their guide in all they do.

Lumen Gentium (Nature of the Church) as We Read It Today

Last Wednesday, the High School mentor team met to kick off the school year. We chose this particular Vatican II document because it does a great job of defining a role for lay people in the Church. It calls each person to holiness as well. We thought it would be a great message to consider as we set about making plans for high school faith formation this school year. Little did we know that the news leading up to our small meeting would be dominated by issues of sexual abuse at the hand of clergy. Our discussion turned into a “how to respond” session. Our small group struggled with these current events, but we felt confident that the Lumen Gentium document will continue to provide guidance as to how our Church and its leaders can move forward in a way that honors Christ’s mission for us. Here’s a link to the document if you want to take a look at it, or stop by the Youth Office for a “plain text” version.

Welcome to our Parish!

Please welcome Aaron and Lisa Schwiebert and their two children to our parish family.  The Schwiebert family come to us from St. Mary’s, Williamsburg, IA.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) will be traveling to Haiti!

Next January 14-23, 2019, the Haitian Team will again be traveling to Haiti and besides providing teachers in-servicing, they will host VBS for the younger children.  The Haiti committee received $323 dollars from the St. John VBS collection to be used to help purchase supplies and materials.  On behalf of the Haitian committee, Thank You for your generous donations that will help take God’s Word to the children of the Durcabon area of Notre Dame de Lourdes.   We are forever grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Pray for the Legal Protection of Human Life

Message from Archbishop Jackels

Archbishop Jackels invites us to join others nationwide to pray every Friday through September 28th for the intention of the legal protection of human life.  Every Friday during that time period we are encouraged to pray one “Our Father”, one “Hail Mary”, and one “Glory Be” at a time of our convenience.

Marshalltown Relief through Catholic Charities

Father Jack spoke in his homily this past weekend about the request made by Archbishop Jackels  to collect funds the weekend of August 12th for the town of  Marshalltown which was hit severely three weeks ago by a tornado.

The Archbishop realizes that this is a bad time of year with getting kids ready for school and college but there is never a good time to ask for monetary donations. He asks that you find in your heart to give something.

You may place your donation in envelope marked “Marshalltown Relief” or loose check in the collection please write in the Memo “Marshalltown Relief.

If you write a check please make it out to St. John’s we in turn will write out one check out to Catholic Charities.

This collection will be taken up at Offertory Time.

Thank you and God bless.

Support for Divorced or Divorcing Catholics

If you are a Catholic who is experiencing divorce, Surviving Divorce is an opportunity that you might like to considerSurviving Divorce is facilitated, small –group Catholic conversation; an 11-week process of healing, hope, and support.

The sessions take place on Tuesday, September 4th – November 13th from 6:30  to 8: pm at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Hiawatha.  Contact Cate Biro for more information (  Childcare will be offered upon request: please contact Linda Sadler ( to learn more.

The Hallmark Care Center in Mount Vernon is looking for volunteers

Although we welcome new volunteers anytime at Hallmark Care Center, we have a specific need for one or more volunteers on Thursdays @ 8:15 am for manicures; The volunteer would remove polish and polish residents nails.

Below is a list of other activities we use volunteers for, if there is an interest in doing something other than manicures

  • Bingo – Mon/Wed @ 3 pm, Tue @ 6:30 pm, and later in the fall we will be starting bingo again on Sat @ 3 pm
  • Games/Cards @ 10 am any day of week except Sunday
  • Various Exercise (Music-N-Movement, Sittercise, Fittercise, Bowling, Bags, Frisbee Golf, etc. @ 11 am any day of week except Sunday)
  • Special Events
  • Arts & Crafts at various times throughout the month

Any other ideas you may have for volunteering would be considered also If you are interested in volunteering on an as needed basis instead of a regular schedule, that is fine also. Volunteers find it to be very rewarding to visit with our residents and they definitely brightens our residents days!  Please contact Mary Kay Harris, Activity Assistant or Stephanie Fangman, Social Services & Activity Director at Hallmark Care Center (319.895.8891) if you have an interest.

Thanks very much for considering!