Happy Memorial of St. Nicholas today. The most well-known story of St. Nicholas is when a father was in desperate financial stress—so much so that he was tempted to sell his unmarried daughters into prostitution for lack of a dowry (a dowry is a payment of cash or gifts from the bride’s family to the bridegroom’s family upon an arranged marriage). Nicholas hears of the father’s plight and goes by the window at night to toss in a bag of gold. When the windows were locked, he drops the bag of gold down the chimney where it lands in a stocking hanging by the fireplace. Hence, we have the tradition of children putting out their shoes or stockings on the eve of December 6.
Please mark your calendars. Our diocese is going to have a Eucharistic Conference August 9–10, 2024. More details will come out soon. If you would like to attend the National Eucharistic Congress July 17–21, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana, tickets are available now at eucharisticcongress.org.
About a month ago, the Saint Pio Foundation asked if we would be willing to host a first-class relic of St. Padre Pio at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Beloit for one year. The relic will arrive and be presented for veneration when I bless the restored St. John’s Church on January 7, 2024, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
We are blessed to have some new staff onboard for two very important ministries. Scott and Clare Stramel are the new Ministry Coordinators for Respect Life Ministry, and Jake Schroeder is the new Ministry Coordinator for Young Adult Ministry. We are excited to have them all aboard and look forward seeing the things they will bring to their ministries.
Blessings on your Advent season! As we prepare for the coming of Christ some questions we should ask ourselves…How can we welcome Jesus more deeply into our hearts? What are we looking for? What satisfies our deepest longing?
Our own Fr. Gale Hammerschmidt is part of a four-person group inviting us to an online Advent Retreat that anyone can participate in. You can register for The Pray More Advent Retreat by visiting praymoreretreat.org.
Our diocesan family life office is encouraging families to join the 2nd Annual Advent Family Challenge by 1) Organize a Family Night—Pick one night weekly to make and share a meal. Then pick out something to do together, maybe watch something on Formed.org. 2) Pray the Novena for Families and Marriages together — The Novena starts on December 22nd and finishes on December 30th. We will send the prayers daily and a video of a guest family leading the prayer. 3) On the Feast of the Holy Family—Go to Mass together and ask the Holy Family to pray for your family. Each week there will be a video with a recipe and meal idea for you to cook together. The video for the first week of Advent can be found HERE.
We celebrate a couple of Marian feasts in December that fill our hearts with joy. December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and December 12 is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I am looking forward to celebrating the apparition of Our Lady at Guadalupe with our Hispanic families at the Cathedral on December 10th. All are welcome to attend!
We have 86 parishes in our diocese. The most common saint name for our Churches is St. Joseph with six. Four of them are named after the Immaculate Conception. Those churches are in Grinnell, Leoville, Minneapolis, and Solomon.
Recently I was at a family’s house for a Sunday lunch. One of the family members mentioned that the world-famous Taylor Swift performed at the Rooks County Fair back when she was just getting started at the age of 16. I think she is around 32 now, so that was 16 years ago. Now she comes to the Kansas area for other reasons! 🙂
In November, approximately 40 high school students representing our 5 Catholic High Schools recently participated in a Sportsmanship Retreat with guest speaker Chet Kuplen, CEO & Founder of Sports In Kansas. Chet primarily spoke with the students about good sportsmanship and Rule 52, but one talking point that surprised me was a concerning uptrend in gambling (some illegal) among high school and college students using mobile betting apps.
We had 714 participants from the Diocese of Salina at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, which I think was the second highest total for any diocese in the country behind only Indianapolis. I think everyone had a wonderful time overall through an encounter with Jesus! I am especially grateful to all the parents who had the long bus ride to and from Indy.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Here are some of the things that I am thankful for:
So, someone at St. John’s in Beloit asked me if I would help their iGiveCatholic cause by doing something if their school reached the level of $250,000. They asked me if I would jump out of a plane (nope) or jump into a lake in the dead of winter (nope). They even thought of seeing if I could ride in one of those fighter jets that you see before football games (no thank you). I told them I would walk. So, because they reached their goal I am walking from Glasgo to Beloit (17.6 miles) on Saturday, January 6. The more I think about it, maybe I should have chosen one of the other options for they are painful but short!
If I don’t see you in person, I pray that you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas. Jesus is Emmanuel (God with us) born in Bethlehem (House of Bread).
“A God who became so small could only be mercy and love.”
~St. Thérèse of Lisieux
“Arise, all ye nobles and peasants; Mary invites all, rich and poor, just and sinners, to enter the cave of Bethlehem, to adore and to kiss the feet of her new-born Son…Let us enter; let us not be afraid.”
~St. Alphonsus Liguori
“If we celebrate with such solemnity the birth of Jesus, it is to bear witness that every human being [is] somebody unique and unrepeatable…somebody thought of and chosen from eternity, some[one] called and identified by his own name. It is as it was with the first man, Adam. It is as it was with the new Adam, born of the Virgin Mary in the cave at Bethlehem: ‘You shall call his name Jesus.’”
~St. John Paul II
“The world might have expected the Son of God to be born—if He was to be born at all—in an inn. A stable would be the last place in the world where one would have looked for Him. Divinity is always where one least expects to find it.”
~Venerable Fulton Sheen
“My prayer for you is that when Christ comes to you in Christmas, He may find in you a warm home, warm love like that of a heartful of love, like that of a simple shepherd who was the first one chosen to see Christ.”
~St. Teresa of Calcutta