Mass Times and Locations

Franciscan Missions to visit

Our parish will host Fr. Percival Tayem of Franciscan Missions, Waterford, WI, for mission coop appeals on Sunday, July 28. Please, take note of the dates and prepare to support the missionary endeavors of the Franciscans.

Baptismal Welcome

The faith community of St. John the  Baptist welcomes Brynn Kathleen, daughter  of Sean and Brooke who was baptized on Sunday July 7, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty. May Brynn Kathleen continue to grow in her faith life  surrounded by the Christian example of her family and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

Thank you for June Meals on Wheels

Thank you to Tom Apel, John and Thelma Rife, Dennis and Judy Modracek, Dale and Eileen Sargent, Bill and Leona Smith Faoro for their help delivering Meals on Wheels in June, and to John Pospisil for organizing!

New to our parish?

Are you new to the area or just have not had to time to come into the main office to register with us.  All it takes is a call to the parish main office (319-895-6246) and Loraine will be happy to get you registered.  A registrations form can be emailed or sent to your home.  Just drop Loraine an email at!

Baptismal Welcome – June 16

The faith community of St. John the Baptist welcomes Bradley Patrick, son of Jeremiah and Allison who was baptized on Sunday, June 16, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty.

May Bradley Patrick continue to grow in his faith life surrounded by the Christian example of his family and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

Home and Away School Supply Drive

The Social Justice Commission is collecting school supplies for local students and for students in Haiti. They will be sent to the Southeast Linn Community Center and to Notre Dames de Lourdes Parish in Haiti for distribution to students.

Collections will go until July 21st. Look for baskets in the gathering space.

For a list of needed supplies, click here.

Blood Drive Thank You!

Many thanks to all who participated in the June 27th Blood Drive that was held at St. John.

Your gift of donating blood will save a life.  It is so generous of you.  St. John will host another drive on August 29th.  If you did not have a chance to donate in June, please consider donating on August 29th.

Thank you to Terese Pisarik and Patty Lynch for organizing this Blood Drive. 

A Note from Fr. Jon Seda

Fr. Jon is the Chaplain at St. Stephens Catholic Student Center at UNI and is also the vocation director for the Archdiocese Seminarians. He visited our parish on June 23rd.

Fr. Jon sent us this note:

Thank you for your warm welcome to me in my recent visit to your parish. If you still want to help us out at St. Stephen the Witness, you can give online at I am deeply grateful for your help in our mission to serve our students at UNI.

– Fr. Jon Seda

St. Pius Summerfest

St. Pius X Church at 4949 Council St NE in Cedar Rapids, invites you to SummerFest being held July 12, 13, 14. Enjoy a variety of food, entertainment featuring live bands, adult beverage tent, carnival and kids games, Bingo, Marketplace, silent auction, raffle with top prize of $20,000, and more. You’ll find three days of summer fun at SummerFest!  More information at

Parish Election Results

Pastoral Council:

  • Denise Brannaman
  • Denny Dietrich
  • Tom Wieseler

Faith Formation:

  • Kelly Leeper
  • Allison Nissen

Congratulations to those who were elected. Thank you to everyone who put their name on the ballot!

Baptized in Christ

The faith community of St. John  welcomes Maverick Alison, son of Isaak and Valerie who was baptized on Sunday May 26, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty. May Maverick Alison continue to grow in his faith life surrounded by the Christian example of his family and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

2020 Archdiocesan Women’s Conference

Mark your calendars for the 2020 Archdiocesan Women’s Conference, Beauty in Christ: Fearless. Faithful. On Fire! Saturday, January 25, Doubletree by Hilton, Cedar Rapids. Dynamic speakers, Hallie Lord and Katie Prejean, with Archbishop Jackels presiding at Mass. Please contact your sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends to save-the-date!

Natural Family Planning

Scholarships will be available beginning July 1st to help offset the costs of training for individuals or couples in the Archdiocese to become Natural Family Planning instructors (of any Church-approved method). Those interested in pursuing training as an NFP instructor may contact Matt Selby at or (563) 556-2580, ext. 233 to learn more about training opportunities and applying for a scholarship for funding.

Visit the Archdiocesan NFP website: for a list of current NFP instructors in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, as well as other valuable information about NFP. If you would like copies of the “Top Ten Reasons to Use NFP” brochures or posters in either English or Spanish, please contact Matt Selby.

Updated parish email addresses

The parish staff is transitioning to the email system provided by the Archdiocese. Please email staff at these addresses:


Visit Jesus in Adoration this summer

St. John’s is open for Adoration on the first and third Wednesdays every month from 8-10 pm. During the summer months, as many people travel, we want to invite you to sign up for a time slot to make sure that we have two volunteers present at all times. Visit, where you will find a link to the Adoration Sign-up page. When you sign up, you will also receive an email reminder close to your assigned date.

Baptized into Our Faith

Congratulations to the parents and families of  Wyatt James and Ethan Joseph who were both baptized on the weekend of May 19, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty. May our faith community of St. John the Baptist provide Christian witness to Wyatt James and Ethan Joseph, and assist these two children to grow in their faith.

Totus Tuus: A summer camp for youth!

Totus Tuus means “totally yours” and was the motto of St. John Paul II. This summer mission program is brought to us by the Archdiocese. We will have a team of young adults visit our parish for programs the week starting July 7.

The team will host a day camp for 1st through 6th grade students Monday-Friday from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm. They will also host an evening program for 7th through 12 grade students from Sunday-Thursday starting at 7:00 pm each night.

For more information and a registration form, check out our Totus Tuus page at

Welcome to the Table, May 12

Audrey, daughter of Justin & Cara; Gabrielle, son of Kasey;
Claire, daughter of Jamie & Annalyn; Adalyn, daughter of Matt & Rachel;
Isaac, son of Keith & Janet; Tyler, son of Jeremy & Paul; Griffin, son of Tom & Kody

Tour the Holy Land

The Newman Catholic Student Center at The University of Iowa is sponsoring a 10-day tour of the Holy Land March 17-26, 2020.  Tour hosts will be Fr. Jeff Belger and Newman Center rep, April Rouner. The full tour itinerary can be viewed at  Cost is $4059 per person from Chicago (other departure cities available).  A charter bus will take travelers to/from O’Hare from Iowa City.   Price includes RT air, first class accommodations, most meals, professional tour director, sightseeing entrance fees, optional daily Mass and more.

Contact April Rouner at or 319-337-3106 Ext. 119 for more information or a registration brochure.

Welcome to the table – May 5, 2019

Brogen, son of Nick & Sarah; Lucas Allen, son of Robert & Bridget;
Daisy, daughter of Christopher & Mallory; Skyler, daughter of Rick & Katie;
Kenzi, daughter of Jesse & Ashley; and Alaina, daughter of Scott & Nicole

Specific Needs at SE Linn

As the month of May starts, the SE Linn Community Center is short on the following:

Kleenex, paper towel, shampoo & conditioners, deodorant, cleaning supplies, and hand soap.

Welcome to the table

On April 28, 2019, First Communion was celebrated by: Tanner, son of Roger & Katie; Kayla, daughter of Shannon & Tracy; Greyson, son of Jake & Niki; Kinley, daughter of Nick & Allison; Lana, daughter of Chad & Heather; Noah, son of Kyle & Nikki; and Eden, daughter Nathan & Meredith. Congratulations!

Social Justice Backpack Program

Collections will begin on May 5th for food and monetary donations for the Southeast Linn Community Center summer backpack program for kids in need. SE Linn specifically needs single-serve healthy food options such as fruit cups, granola bars, raisins, juice boxes, cereals, peanut butter, pasta (spaghetti/Mac-n-Cheese/ravioli, etc). Monetary donations will be used to purchase fresh fruit through the summer.

Volunteers will be at Garys and at Brothers after mass on May 5. Collections at church will continue through May 19. Checks may be made out to St. John’s.

Welcome into the Church!

Cynthia Marie Dake and Andrew Jon Torkelson made their profession of faith at the Easter Vigil on April 20. Welcome them into full communion of the Catholic Church!

Calling All Grandparents! 

Grandparent Pray and Play, Saturday morning, June 8th,Dyersville. Bring your grandchildren and join us for a delightful morning of praying and playing together at the beautiful Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, Dyersville! Registration to come.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

This federal legislation would require that any child born alive from a failed abortion must be treated medically as any other child born alive. Human Life Action has an action alert to encourage the House to consider the bill. The link to the action alert is:  Once you go to the action alert you can also sign up for updates and future alerts from Human Life Action.

Iowa Legislature considers Death Penalty

The Iowa Legislature is considering a bill that would reinstate the death penalty in Iowa. The newest revision of the Catholic Catechism states:  “the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.” (CCC #2267)” Please take a moment to share this action alert to Iowa State Senators opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty in Iowa:

Looking for couple married over 60 years

Do you know a couple married 60 to 80 plus years? Please nominate them in the Longest Married Couple search sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter. The longest married couple in each state will be recognized and a special recognition is given to the longest married couple in the nation.

Go to or call this special phone number 405-850-4274. Nominations must be received by midnight May 14, 2019.

Take Action: Asylum Seeker Rights

Please click here to contact the Department of Homeland Security and ask that the government rescind the Remain-in-Mexico policy and instead support asylum seekers.

“Under the Remain in Mexico policy, certain asylum seekers, including families, are sent back to Mexico to wait throughout the duration of their U.S. immigration court proceedings, which could take months in which people are living in dangerous and inadequate conditions.” 

Take Action: The Death Penalty

The Iowa Legislature is considering a bill that would reinstate the death penalty in Iowa. The newest revision of the Catholic Catechism states:  “the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.” (CCC #2267)” Please take a moment to share this action alert to Iowa State Senators opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty in Iowa:

Click here For more information on the Death Penalty from Iowa Bishops:

ICC Action Alert


The Office of Respect Life and Social Justice has a webpage dedicated to the various Catholic organizations with Political Action alerts. Sharing these resources allows parishioners to follow specific organizations like the Iowa Catholic Conference, Human Life Action, Justice for Immigrants, and others. All people of faith are encouraged to go to the organization sites and sign up to receive action alerts when a bill or policy is being addressed at the state or federal level. Links to the various organizations can be found at:

Welcome to our Faith!

Please welcome Kyle Stoner and Aaron Schwiebert into the community of St. John. 
Kyle and Aaron were received into the Roman Catholic faith on March 3, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty.

Baptism Blessings

The faith community of St. John the Baptist welcomes Oscar Jay , son of Andrew and Katherine who was baptized on February 24, 2019 by the Rev. John R. Flaherty.  May Oscar Jay continue to grow in his faith life surrounded by the Christian example of his family and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

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.

Birthright Thanks You

Dear St. John’s,

Thank you for the wonderful donations to Birthright of Cedar Rapids! We were very low on our baby items and your donations were a beautiful surprise. God Bless your congregation!

Deandra Chlystun, Co-Director

A letter from Sue Schettler, PLC

To the Holy People of St. John:

After a lot of prayer and thought, I have informed the Archbishop that I plan to retire June 30, 2019. I am giving you all a formal notice that my 36 years of work at St. John will come to an end this summer.

The decision to retire has been fueled by the fact that I want and need to spend the next few years with Bill. Some of you know that he has buried three brothers in the last couple years. He has a fourth brother currently in very serious health. I just woke up one day and said I don’t want to wait so long and regret that I didn’t retire sooner. So, there you have it!

I feel I have done what God called me to do as the PLC since 2002. I am at peace with my decision and confident that God is calling someone else to lead. The Archbishop is the one to appoint the next leader. That information will not be forthcoming for awhile.

I think St. John is one of the most vibrant and vital parishes in the Archdiocese. I thank you all for this vitality and vibrance as well as all that you have sacrificed and done for this parish. Bill and I plan to remain as members.

I remain yours in Christ,

Sue Schettler, PLC

Expressing Our Faith, Sunday Feb. 17

We talked about different ways that our faith is expressed and began with these three verses from scripture:

 “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another [in] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:19-20)

“love the Lord, your God, follow Him in all ways, keep his commandments, hold fast to Him, and serve him with your whole heart and your whole self.” (Josh 22:5)

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

It seems that each of these provides us with different ways that our faith in Jesus can be expressed. Yet, these are not the only way to live out one’s faith. Our Catholic tradition is rich with practices, sacraments and sacramentals, prayers, and the examples of all the saints! All of these can guide us as we live and learn our faith. The key words of this last sentence being that we “live and learn” our faith. Pope Francis tells us that living and growing in faith means being called to holiness. That might seems a bit daunting unless we consider what the Second Vatican Council has to say in guiding us: “Strengthened by such a great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition, are called by the Lord – each in his or her own way – to perfect holiness.” (Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium) Scripture guides us in the same way. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul reminds us that every person is given gifts of the spirit to their own benefit. The point of our call to live (express) our faith is that we do not grow complacent in our relationship with Jesus. As we bask in the nourishment of Christ himself at the end of each mass, we are jolted out of our seats when the priest announces, “Go in peace!” We are meant to leave the church, to take what we learned and express it. What does that mean to you? What gifts has God provided to you so that you can express your faith in a way that is true to the person He created in you? Is it time to seek new ways to express your faith?

Pictures from Haiti

On Sunday, February 24, Linda Hansmeier will share stories and photos from her recent trip to Haiti. The presentation will be given following mass in the Gathering Space and coffee will be available.

Baptized in faith

Calen James, son of Aaron and Lisa was baptized on January 20, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty.

Marleigh Grace, daughter of Michael and Katie was baptized on January 27, 2019 by Rev. John R. Flaherty.

May Calen James and Marleigh Grace continue to grow in their faith life surrounded by the Christian example of their family/friends and all the parishioners of St. John.

On BEing Catholic

This week, as part of our Confirmation preparation, we asked the question, what does it mean to BE Catholic? Our discussion began by “getting to know” people who are “famous” Catholics. Many of the people we talked about are people we read about in the news everyday. We also talked about saints, priests and bishops, and the folks around our parish. Which brings us to the idea that all Catholics are called to be saints, as in, “let’s all be a part of the communion of saints!” The Catholic Catechism states being Catholic even more simply when it says that God gives each of us unique talents and that our mission in life is to use those talents in ways that bring good to others or even, bring glory to God.

A few years ago, the Archdiocese asked us all what our reasons were for being Catholic. They came up with a Top 10 list that included the saints, Mary, sacraments, and The Eucharist among other things. Ours is a rich tradition with much to offer. The source and summit of our Catholic experience is the Eucharist which we can receive anytime we go to mass. The Eucharist is Jesus and it is communion with Him and each other: the heart of BEING Catholic.

As we prepare for the final leg of the journey of Catholic initiation, it’s good to consider what it means to be Catholic. Ask your parents, a grandparent, your sponsor. You may receive a different answer from every person. And that’s ok. Consider this though: how does each person’s point back to Jesus?

A note from Hallmark Care Center

Dear St. John’s,

It has been another year of the St. John parish going above and beyond doing a fabulous job in supporting our residents and tenants during the holiday.  We are grateful. The parish members makes it such a memorable time during the holiday, whether it’s the gifts provided or the cookies that the St. Anne’s Circle made for them, and also the nice gesture of visiting our residents. We also would like to thank all of St. John volunteers  for their dedication throughout the year. Again thank you from the bottom of our HEARTS!

Mary Kay Harris, Activity Assistant

Thank you from the Sisters of Mercy

The Sisters of Mercy, Cedar Rapids would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to all who gave to them through the Giving Tree this past Christmas.  We are so thankful that you think of the Sister’s of Mercy each year.  We continue to keep St. John parish in our daily prayers.  Many blessings and Happy New Year!

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?

Baptism Blessings

Congratulations to Lynk O’Connor and Dot Zulu, children of Travis and Ashley, who were baptized on Sunday, October 21, 2018 by Rev. John R. Flaherty. May our faith community our Christian witness to Lynk and Dot and to their parents in assisting them as they and their children grow in their faith.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.