Mass Times and Locations
 

Faith Formation News

Take Away Hunger on October 9: Take Away Hunger will once again take place at St. John from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.  This year’s presenter will be Joe Mischka, from Cedar Rapids, who will speak about agriculture in Haiti.  A seasoned Haitian traveler, Joe works and visits with the Haitian local farmers in the Notre Dame de Lourdes area to learn more about their agriculture and what their needs are.  The evening is divided up into three-twenty-minute segments, 1. Joe Mischka, 2. Packaging in the lower level, or 3. Join some of the grades as they learn new facts in the education wing about Haiti and agriculture/Catholic Social Teaching.   Regardless of when you arrive you will have an opportunity to listen to Joe, help package or go to class.  Feel free to spend as much time as you want in any session.

RCIA will begin soon. If you, or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Catholic, or want to learn more about the Catholic faith, contact Fr. Andrew at 319-895-6246 or Linda at 319-540-1190.

Family Sacramental Interviews will begin this week for First Reconciliation and First Communion. This year we have 23 children who will be preparing to receive First Sacraments.  Please hold these children and their families in prayer as their parents teach their child/children about receiving the sacraments and how they live the sacrament in their everyday lives.

Wednesday, Sept. 25

To those just beginning their high school career, decision-making looks very different when compared to those in the latter half of their high school years. That doesn’t mean that God shouldn’t be part of their decision-making process. We laughed over the story about one student who chose to respond to a coach’s challenge in a “different way” than what was expected. It seemed like a good idea to take a shortcut and it was a fun shortcut…until the coach told them to go back and do it again, the way he expected. It was one of those “it seemed like a good idea at the time…” stories. But, is it really necessary or practical to stop and pray in the moment to ask God if it’s ok to take a shortcut, or respond to someone with a quick lie, or to go against a rule? Many parents would say yes; yes it is necessary. But, even parents would admit that they themselves do not always say a prayer when making “little” decisions.

St. Ignatius provides us with a few guides to help us learn to “become deeply aware of God’s presence even in the midst of a busy life.” The Ignatian Daily Examen gives us a chance to reflect on our day with God. Daily practice of the examen, over time, can help us to be more mindful of God, which, over time, can help us to consider God in those “little” decisions. Consequences are something we teach our children at a young age. Every decision has consequences. If every decision we make is based on God’s desire for us, the collective consequence of our decisions should bring us closer to God. Or, that’s the idea anyway. It’s a lot to consider, but we have St. Ignatius as a guide and we have prayer to support us.

Wednesday, Sept. 18: Jr-Sr Night

As we opened this year’s conversation with juniors and seniors, we used the word, “discernment.” Webster’s gives us this definition: 1: the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure : skill in discerning 0r 2: an act of perceiving or discerning something. It is a word that our Archbishop uses and that Pope Francis has written about. They are probably aware that the root word for discernment in Greek is “diakrisis,” meaning to select, assess, or believe. In the New Testament, authors used the word “diakrino” which means “to distinguish between people.” We challenged our youth to consider this last definition in their world today. As they begin to make some of life’s bigger decisions, how will they call on their faith, on God, to help them choose between the persons they could become, to believe who they are called to be.

We took time to share our decision-making stories and admitted that our choices aren’t always guided by our call from Christ, that taking time to bring our faith into the “pro’s and con’s” list can be hard, but when we relied on faith, we were more content with how things unfolded. Which is precisely what St. Ignatius has to teach us. The once extremely vain soldier learned that if he thought about how he would impress people in his future life, he felt empty; but if he thought about modeling his life after the saints, he felt peace. His reflections led to a conversion and St. Ignatius spent years writing about discernment. He left us with a few templates to guide in “finding a way of proceeding” with Christ. One of these is the Daily Examen which can help us be more present to God. ( https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/)

Big decisions can be challenging. But perhaps more important are all the little decisions we make every day. St. Ignatius’ encouragement to be present to God is a way to help us keep those little decisions on track with God’s desire for us. At the World Communications Day in 2018, Pope Francis reminded us why true discernment is so important:

“To discern truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose. An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another or to discredit a person in the eyes of others, however correct it may seem, it is not truth. The truth can be recognized from the fruits it bears: it promotes informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue. Untruth results in quarrels, division, and resignation.”

It seems that what Pope Francis has said is valid whether we are speaking to ourselves or to others. He and the great St. Ignatius are coaching us to work at discerning truth in all we do and say.

Welcome!

When Fr. Andy talked about having an opening session for parents for Faith Formation, I thought about asking for a pass on behalf of high school parents. You’ve been a parent of a kid in faith formation for awhile now, and your high school student is taking a bit more responsibility in getting to church on Wednesdays, so why worry about an official opening? But then I reflected on his idea and found myself singing the children’s song that says “the more we get together, together…the happier we’ll be.” I had always thought about that song meaning you have to invite everyone – more friends=more happiness. Yet, in my afternoon wondering that day, I recognized that it could also mean more, as in “often”!

I realized that Father was opening a door as one more chance for us to gather. And, it wasn’t just for parents because we also planned a welcoming sort of activity for our youth. Our time together was short, but we also shared in the Eucharist, which brings us together in the most Catholic of ways. And, despite that short time, we had the chance to connect. The high school students were left with a somewhat impossible task to complete a “passport” of impossible questions, but by all reports, the activity helped everyone interact. Aubrey shared that everyone was “able to introduce [themselves] to new freshmen and made them feel welcome in high school faith formation.” Paige shared that she loved seeing how eager everyone was to fill out the “impossible question passport.”

What I learned is that even though high school parents are, well, HIGH SCHOOL parents, every chance we have to get together is a chance to connect. And, when we get the chance to connect at Church, we are connecting through Jesus Christ himself. We have the chance to share his love, the more we get together….

Bible Study begins Oct. 6

“Wisdom is seeing with God’s eyes.” – Pope Francis

Scripture and the Tradition of the Catholic Church provide an abundance of wisdom, though it can often be challenging to apply it to our lives. To help you learn to gather and live with greater wisdom, St. John’s will begin Wisdom: God’s Vision for Life on Sunday, October 6 at 6:30 p.m.   We will meet for eight sessions (1 ½ hours each) ending on November 24.  You will not only benefit personally from being part of this study; you will also help us to grow in fellowship as a parish as we grow closer to Christ together. 

Wisdom invites you to experience the transforming power of taking time to apply God’s wisdom to your own life. You will learn to see with his vision. You will experience the peace of knowing God cares for you, and you will see how God—and only God—can show you a path through any circumstance. Participants of Wisdom will receive a journal and will meet every week to view an engaging video presentation followed by a time of lively group discussion and fellowship. The eight 30-minute videos, presented by Jeff Cavins, will guide you through a variety of themes drawn from the wisdom literature of Scripture. Jeff will explain Scripture’s wisdom on decision-making, finances, relationships, peace of mind, and speaking to one another and will look at the beauty of wisdom gained through age and at how Christ himself is the embodiment and fulfillment of all wisdom.

For more information, you can go to AscensionPress.com for a video preview or you can contact Natalie Klostermann at 319-551-7650.  There will also be a sign-up sheet in the gathering space. Cost is $20 for a journal/workbook, which will need to be ordered by September 23.  

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