Mass Times and Locations
 

An Easter Search for the body

At our Easter retreat on April 24, we asked ourselves a couple questions. The first was, “who are you looking for?” In the opening verses of the Passion story, in all four Gospels, there are a lot of people looking for Jesus. Why are they searching for him, and who remained once He was taken as a prisoner?

As the Passion story unfolds, each Gospel provides us glimpses into the people who witnessed the events unfold. There were those who laughed, those who mourned, and those who tried to help. Jesus loved them all.

The second question comes to us with Easter morning: “Where’s the Body?” This is a question not just for that Easter morning following Jesus’ death, but for us today. Where can we find “the body of Christ?” In Luke’s Gospel, in the days following the resurrection, a couple apostles are walking on the road to Emmaus. A fellow traveler approaches them and the men walk and talk. They stop and share a meal. Only when they break bread together do the apostles recognize Jesus’ presence among them. Challenge yourself to consider where was The Body of Christ in this story? Perhaps the story of Emmaus is what our Christian life should look like: we walk along together, we experience what others have to say and we are open to their stories. WE break bread together. We have hope. We do these things and our hearts WILL burn with love, for others and for Jesus Christ.

Catholics Reading the Bible

This semester, the high school faith formation team has focused on opening scripture. It’s been a chaotic semester with all of the weather cancellations, but we have slowly been walking through the beauty that is unfolded in the Bible.

We spent two weeks in January reading about some of the people of the Bible and some of our favorite stories. We met people like Miriam (Ex 15:19), and Joseph (Gen 37) and became reacquainted with more familiar folks like Paul, Abraham, and David. Some of our more favorite stories were the story of Joseph and his brothers, the tale of Jonah trying to hide from God, and the story of the fiery furnace (Dan 3).

Throughout our scripture journey, we have focused on how the stories of the Old Testament lead us and point to the stories of Jesus. In February, we have taken a closer look at what’s known as Salvation History – the timeline that shows us how the events written about in the Old Testament build up to Jesus’ birth and ultimate resurrection. The HS Mentor team recommends the book “The Real Story” by Edward Sri and Curtis Martin if you’d like to learn more. Copies of this book are on our book cart in the gathering space.

Wednesday, November 14: The Church and politics

On this Wednesday, our subject was the Church and politics and it was as challenging of a discussion as you might imagine. In our discussion, we challenged each other to make voting decisions in races where the decision was not clear-cut: the mayoral candidate who was anti-abortion while also supporting the death penalty, the governor’s race where the environmentally-concerned, pro-life candidate had a marital affair and was running against a candidate with no strong opinions but was considered morally strong…the list goes on. Many of our participants thought it might be better to not vote. Yet, the Church teaches that “each, according to his position and role, participate in promoting the common good and that this obligation is inherent in our dignity as humans.” (CCC 1913)

 

We then attempted to frame some of these decisions by introducing Catholic Social Teaching . These topics include Social Justice, Marriage, Family, Economic Equality, and Global Solidarity. These are tough issues. They are confusing issues where the Catholic Church often stands apart from what we hear about and read about in the rest of our culture. Just because they are uncomfortable to consider does not mean that we shouldn’t discuss them. We may not always agree with what the Church teaches either. Our role as Catholics, especially if we disagree, is to learn more. Why does the Church encourage economic equality that seems counter to our democracy? What is the thinking behind the Church’s campaign for supporting traditional family structures? The CCC (2549) even tells us “it remains for the holy people to struggle,” yet God provides us with grace to carry on. Catholic social teaching allows that we can discuss individual positions critically and provide constructive arguments but encourages us to find the basis for our arguments in basic Catholic values.

 

As I consider politics and Catholic social teaching, am reminded that the Church also teaches us the 10 commandments. Thou Shall Not Lie seems to be the one commandment that trips me up. Not that I intentionally tell lies, but I have found myself bending the truth a bit when it saves me from trouble. The beauty of our Church teachings is that we are also taught that God always forgives. He always understands and takes us back in. It is often said that our Catholic faith is one that calls for constant conversion – conversion to Christ’s way. So when we lie, we seek reconciliation and forgiveness. When we wrestle with the Church’s social teachings, we do so in prayer and we seek reconciliation, forgiveness, and mercy again. It’s a process and we, the humans, are slow to learn. Christ gets that. He waits. He comes back and picks us up and shows us the teachings again and again. That is why it is important to discuss the church, politics, and what Catholic social teaching guide us toward. We can always learn, we can always proceed toward God, even when we don’t always agree.

Going to Mass: Wednesday Reflection, October 24 & November 7

Our Catholic Mass is called “the source and summit” of our faith. Faith Formation leaders work hard to center their lessons around the weekly liturgy in order to highlight its importance in our Christian lives. For example, all the the commissions (committees) at St. John are encouraged to begin their meetings by reflecting on the week’s upcoming Gospel. Our bulletin includes a reflection on the week’s Gospel written by Sue and often includes quotes or additional insights from published sources. This year, families with kids in our faith formation programs were given a resource so that they could read the Sunday scriptures at home. These resources “point us” to the mass each week.

The question for each of us, is how do we approach the weekly liturgy as “a source?” How is it a summit, a highlight for us each Sunday? These are likely not easy questions, but with practice and participation, they can be! Consider how rich our mass is…every action, prayer, even pause is considered. It can be enlightening, amazing, and surprising to dig into what the mass is really all about. One good way to start is to consider The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, where the entire mass is explained. Simply reflecting on each week’s liturgy is another way that you can become more in tune with the ebb and flow of our weekly liturgy.

We attend mass as a source for mercy (Introductory Rite), knowledge (Liturgy of the Word), nourishment (Liturgy of the Eucharist), and encouragement (Concluding Rite). Through the experience of the Mass, we dwell in Christ’s presence and catch a mere glimpse of the eternal life He invites us to – truly the summit of our life in Christ. How is the Sunday Liturgy your source and how is it your summit? How does it make a difference in the rest of your week?

A Note about Wednesday Night Faith Formation Parking

Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 Faith Formation year, Wednesday night dropping off and loading the students has taken place in the lower level.  Several things have been noted over the past weeks by parents and staff:

  1. Parking in the lower level and coming in to get your children has resulted in no waiting in line.  
  2. More importantly, parents are no longer backed-up to highway 1, creating a one-lane road.  The neighbors appreciate this a lot.
  3. Instead of having to leave home a lot earlier to get a place in line, you can park your vehicle, enter the lower level, collect your child or children, return to your vehicle and leave.  
  4. It is safer, and a relief for staff, to not have to worry that a child will run out in front of a moving vehicle.
  5. A volunteer (usually Judy) doesn’t have to stand outside with the children as all of them brave the elements, which often are not fun, especially when raining or snowing or just plain cold.  

As a result, on Wednesday nights, 4th-8th grade students will continue to be dropped off and picked up on the lower level.  Beginning this Wednesday, 4th – 8th grade students will go to the upper level education wing to sign in.  During November and December classes they will continue to use the stairs by the kitchen to get to the ed wing, due to Fr. Jack holding reconciliation in the hallway on the upper level.  As one parent said, the parking lot project is a blessing in disguise, helping us with a better faith formation pick-up process. For parents with small children in their car (Wednesday evening or Sunday morning) please contact me via email at lindastjohn@q.com so we can plan to assist getting your child or children safely to your vehicle.  

Please remember that as the parents you are required to enter the building and physically pick up your children, have an older child come in to get them or contact me to make plans to help get your child or children safely to your vehicle.  Thank you for your help.

Linda Hansmeier,

Director of Faith Formation

St. John the Baptist

lindastjohn@q.com

Cell: 319 540 1190

2019 Retreats for Incoming and Current High School Students

Learn about the many retreats open to high school students in 2019! There will be a table in the gathering space with additional information about NCYC 2019, Urban Plunge, Stuebenville, and Life On the Edge: Colorado. All of these opportunities are open to current 8th grade and high school students.

For additional information about these opportunities, check out the High School Ministry Page.

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?

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.

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