October 29, 2017

Embracing the Social Media World: For a very long time communication of parish activities has relied on church bulletins.  Although this form of communication is still effective for the “church going Catholics” it is not the best form of evangelization in our current world.   As you can see on a weekly basis, Mass attendance fluctuates (and this isn’t a St. Maurice issue alone).  In light of this reality, our parish is forging ahead in the social media world with the hope of reaching more people with essential information and evangelization.  Our recent steps have included a presence on Twitter and Facebook and the introduction of the video display (shown at the Welcome Desk during weekend Masses and throughout the week on our webpage).  I invite you to follow the parish on the web and to use social media as a means to learn more about the faith, keep current with parish activities, and share your own joy of being Catholic.

I would also like to highlight what you and your family do at home to live the Catholic Faith. I remember, as I am sure many of you do as well, the “good old days” of walking into my grandparent’s house and immediately being met with the holy water font.  Do you have a home holy water font? A special prayer place? Do you celebrate November in a special way?  Do your children play Mass?  Are you willing to share pictures with the parish family and our social media family?  If so, please send me a picture that highlights your family’s celebration of being Catholic. Send the pictures to kmarlovits@saintmauriceparish.org.

FYI: As part of the Parish Pastoral Plan we have been upgrading our technology on the campus. Part of this includes updating our social media capabilities and general use of web-based resources. I have been asked if the parish would publish an online calendar. This is a project currently in the works. Right now the parish staff is in the process of mastering a parish google calendar; and once we reach mastery (or very close to it) we will be in position to publish that online.

October 22, 2017

As I continue with my vacation I offer you a modified article from CatholicLink English (twitter @catholiclink_en) written by Garrett Johnson. HUNGER FOR INFINITY – OCTOBER 13, 2017

From the moment that we were called into existence, we received a call to cross the desert of life. And  no one can make it without water. Thus, we can summarize our existence with two words: “I thirst.”

From the wailing of birth to the silence of death, we experience an overwhelming urge to satiate this thirst. Evidently, we not only thirst for water, but also for recognition, affection, for gestures of love: a motherly embrace, a paternal caress, a lover’s glance, a kiss of veneration, or simply a word of salutation. This thirst, this desire that defines us is healthy, good, and beautiful. The challenge is to discern what really satisfies our desire and what simply is meant to move us forward.

We come upon all sorts of “water fountains” (i.e. sources of affection, recognition, etc.). These are meant to give us strength, courage, sustenance for the journey. They become harmful, however, when we latch on to these temporary water supplies and abandon the journey forward. God never intended these “water fountains” to carry enough water to satiate our thirst. When we make them end points and place our faith and hope in them our lives begin to feel unfulfilled and hopeless.

This is what happens every time we forget that our thirst can never be completely satiated with the “bottles” or “fountains” of this world. Even beautiful and healthy relationships can become obstacles when we begin to burden others with expectations that only God can fulfill. There is really only one healthy option: follow the signs towards the source of all water fountains, those signs of conversion, spiritual growth, and purification that God places on our path.

Unfortunately, that trail ahead isn’t always so inviting and it seems easier to just stay where we are. This is when we start drinking sand and convince ourselves that it’s water. Every time we resort to false sources of affection and self-affirmation, we start drinking sand. This can include a wide range of things: gossip or insulting someone in order to feel better about oneself, filling one’s need for affection and affirmation in activities that misuse and abuse our sexual nature. Or every time we act simply to gain the approval from others: spending all of our energy for results so that others applaud us, lying in order to pander to another, dressing immodestly to attract attention, etc. Or all those medicines that we use to anesthetize the pain: alcohol, drugs, endless hours of video games or binge-watching series. The list goes on. They take the edge off for a brief while. But if you listen to your heart afterwards, it will be clear enough that you are drinking sand.  Our thirst is infinite; nothing other than the Living Water can quench it. We must seek for it (Him)! This is the life-or-death option that we must take every day. Every time we refuse to move on, we only become weaker. When Christ says that we must lose our lives to gain it, it is because we have to let go of the temporary sources of water in our life in order to receive the gift of his eternal gift of water. When speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus says: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

Those who persevere on the journey are promised an eternal source of living water that dwells within them. This water changes the fear of losing into the security of eternal receiving, the spirit of possession transforms into the spirit of grateful giving. This is the great lesson passed on to us by the saints: once they moved from temporary springs to THE Eternal water, they too became like springs of living water, pouring themselves out endlessly to fill the empty hearts of those weary travelers who passed by.

October 15, 2017

Potential 2018 Change in the DAILY Mass schedule: There are several situations that are currently making it seem like the best option moving forward in 2018 is to align our daily Mass schedule with our neighbors. Saint Maurice has been blessed in the past with having more than one priest assigned to it; however, that is no longer the case. I am the only priest assigned to this parish. Any other priest that celebrates Mass for us is “hired help” so to speak. Having two daily Masses, plus a monthly Mass at Centurion Commons and Juniper Village, is not ideal for a one priest parish. When we have a Funeral Mass this adds to the complexity. Recently, on back to back days, I celebrated the 7:00 AM Mass and Fr. Daniel celebrated the 9:00 AM so that I could go to the funeral home and conduct the Transfer Prayers before returning to the campus to celebrate the Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM. Had Fr. Daniel not been available on either of those days I would have needed to celebrate all three Masses and I would not have been able to leave the campus to minister to the families at the funeral home.

Fr. Daniel is a wonderful priest and tremendous asset to our parish, but he is a student sent here by his Bishop to earn a degree in theology and not serve as a diocesan priest. He will eventually complete his degree and go back home. It is unfair to him to treat him as the “assistant priest” of the parish (especially since he is in the country on a student, and not a work, visa). When you include that Fr. Daniel’s academic schedule changes his availability semester to semester you can see why the parish cannot, and should not, schedule Masses based upon his assumed presence here. He consistently steps up to assist our parish when asked and we need to offer prayers of thanksgiving for all he does for us. However, we cannot take his presence for granted or take advantage of him.

The parishes around us do have connections with priests who they lean on for assistance, but those relationships could change at any moment. The stark reality is that there is an increasing strain all across our diocese to find help in times of need. For this reason, the priests of our area and On Mission grouping are in the process of finalizing a plan of coordinated daily Mass schedules that will space the Masses across our area in a way that avoids overlap. This new schedule should allow for the priests to provide coverage for one another in times of need. This plan would reduce St. Maurice to one daily Mass. More than likely, beginning in January of 2018, the 7:00 AM Mass will move from St. Maurice to Good Shepherd Parish (Sacred Heart Church) and we will offer daily Mass at 9:00 AM Tuesday through Saturday.

Changes in the Mass schedule will be finalized before we open the 2018 Mass intention book. Please note that with On Mission implementation there will also be changes coming to the WEEKEND Mass schedule. However, at this time, those changes, and the date that they go into effect, are unknown. Furthermore, the diocese is going to be issuing a policy for scheduling Masses past September of 2018. As of the time we submitted our bulletin for publication that diocesan policy was not yet publicized.

October 8, 2017

I’ll be away for two weeks. Starting on Monday, I will begin a period of rest and recovery.  I will be away from the parish for twelve days. This is partly due to a previously scheduled vacation but mainly based on the advice of my doctor who wants me to take some time off as I continue to deal with my health issue. Fr. Daniel will be “the main man” covering while I am away, however, there will be other priests helping as well. The only change to the schedule will be that no confession will be held at the parish on October 14. If you would like to go to confession on October 14, our neighbors offer the sacrament at the following times: St. John Fisher 8:30 AM, Word of God 12:00 PM, St. Colman 12:00 PM to 12:45 PM, Good Shepherd 3:00 PM, and St. Jude the Apostle following the 4:00 PM Mass. Our normal confession times will resume on October 21.

Attention Readers: A reminder that on Sunday evening we are having an opportunity to gather. This event is simply for us to gather and pray together and then simply enjoy some social time together. It is a way for those of us who share in the ministry of reader to also share some time together. I am looking forward to this nice relaxing time to spend with each of you and show you the appreciation of the parish via prayer and refreshments. I’ll see you at 7:30 PM!

Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) is an age-appropriate Liturgy of the Word offered during our 10:00 AM Mass. No pre-registration is  necessary. All children (ages 3-8) are welcome and encouraged to attend. Just before the Liturgy of the Word begins for the assembly, these children are invited to go with the weekly leaders from the church to the Davin Room. During this special time, the volunteer teacher leads the children through prayers and readings that are simplified for children. The children learn about the same Scripture readings as the rest of the assembly. They are taught a simplified main message of the readings and are encouraged to share that message with their parents after Mass.  Volunteers are needed to teach the lessons each week, as well as to assist with the supervision of the children. If you would be interested in helping, please stop by the Welcome Desk to get contact information for the CLOW parish leader.

October 1, 2017

Prayer and Fellowship for our Readers: All parish readers are invited to an evening of prayer and fellowship. The evening, Sunday, October 8, will begin at 7:00 PM with Evening Prayer in the Chapel and then conclude with a social in the Davin Room (this will be the showcase of the Davin Room as a reception area!). All readers of the parish are invited to join us for this relaxing evening in which the parish can show our appreciation and we can enjoy time together. In order to properly prepare the reception, you are asked to RSVP either by signing up in the Robing Room or by e-mail to Joyce Gillooly at jgillooy@saintmauriceparish.org.

Sister Parish Update: Father Daniel, the Parish Pastoral Council, and I would like to thank everyone who continues to help us fulfill our parish pastoral plan of forging a strong bond with a sister parish. As of today, the balance in our Sister Parish account is an outstanding $6,810.99. Since sending Fr. Daniel home with $10,000 in August, we have since raised $2,678 from the Mum Sale and our two events at local restaurants raised $340.29 (Applebee’s) and $110.22 (Buffalo Wild Wings). Many of you have contributed directly to the Sister Parish program, as well. Keep an eye out on the thermostat in our narthex to see the progress – – it will soon be updated with these numbers. Also, keep an eye out for information on a forthcoming “raise-the-roof” big ticket event designed to get our Sister Parish the funds it needs (in a short period of time) to put a roof on before the rainy season arrives.

What if you missed the Blessing of the Pets? Traditionally, the blessing of pets is celebrated on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, or at a time near that date convenient for a parish celebration. Did you miss our blessing of pets on Saturday? Don’t fear, you can still bless your pet. The prayer of blessing which you can use to bless your pets at home can be picked up at the Welcome Desk. Don’t forget your holy water; extra containers are on the Holy Exchange table if needed. Blessed salt will also be available at the Welcome Desk if you want to add that to the holy water for the blessing.

Water Issue Update: As we began the process to solve the water problem impacting the space between the church structure and the school we removed one tree and dug up the area outside of the principal’s office. In doing so we uncovered the original stairs leading to the milk delivery door of the school. This door was covered over when the church building was constructed. We did expect to find the door but not the stairs. We also discovered that our French drain system is working and in good condition. That is good news; however, the drain was depositing water into the base of the stairs and had no way to escape other than by entering the building. After examining all our options, we have installed a collection basin and pump system to move the water away from the building and into the drain system. We are confident that this will be a permanent solution to the water problem that has been impacting both the church and school for the past several years.

Stephens Ministry Training: We were blessed to have eight people attend the informational session on Stephen Ministry this past weekend at Saint Bernard Parish. Those in attendance were moved to believe that this would be a very beneficial ministry to bring to our parish. Those who attended, as well as our ministerial staff, will meet soon to determine our next steps in this process. Basically, the next step is to identify and then train two leaders (these leaders are different than the Stephen Ministers themselves).