Notes From Father Dan

October 15, 2017 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ, 

The topic of this year’s priests’ Fall Workshop (Oct. 1-5) was Reaching Catholic Millennials. Millennials, or the Millennial Generation, are those born between 1982 and approximately 2000, roughly 18-35 year olds.  The faith of these younger adults will also be the focus of a meeting of the world’s bishops in Rome in October 2018, called for by Pope Francis. The concern of both gatherings is how best to share the gospel and our Catholic faith with those who are both part of the Church today and the future of the Church. Studies find that only about 20% of Catholics in this age group participate in the life of the Church, with that number steadily declining. For those concerned with passing on the faith and the future of the Church the stark but simple issue is that at the end of the day, if you don’t have Millennials, you don’t have anyone to hand-off the church to. And the question to ask is what is our Church doing now to ensure it thrives for generations to come? Our Workshop presented information about the personal characteristics of Millennials, and ways we might more effectively share our Catholic faith and Parish life with them.            Fr. Dan 

Dear Friends in Christ:

Where’s Father Dan? Last week I was at a Beginning Experience Weekend at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora; this weekend I am in Missouri for the wedding of a friend whom I first met twenty five years ago, when he was six months old and I was the new pastor of his parish. As I’ve written before, Beginning Experience is a program for the divorced, widowed, and separated to help them deal with the  loss of their marriage. I’ve been involved with B.E. since 1981, and have found it to be a powerful help for those who participate. Though I’ve never been divorced, widowed, or separated, what I have learned and experienced about feelings, emotions, and grief through B.E. has been extremely important in my own life. There are members of our Parish who have been involved in B.E., and I invite anyone who might benefit from it to seriously consider getting involved. I would be more than happy to visit personally with anyone interested - for yourself or someone you know -  as well.  And, thank you to the anonymous donor of our new logo and directional signage in the entrance to St. Mary’s. Now I shouldn’t get lost so often when I come into the building!                                Fr. Dan 

Septemer17, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
Use your NOGns for the good of the Parish! In my last Bulletin piece about the work of the Pastoral Council, I spoke of how it seeks to identify the needs and gifts of the Parish, and how we can better respond to those needs within the Parish and beyond, and utilize our gifts to live better as the Missionary Disciples Jesus calls, forms, and sends us to be. As I’ve thought about it further, I’ve added “opportunities” to “needs” and “gifts” as what the Council is on the lookout for, giving us the clever little acronym NOG for Needs, Opportunities, and Gifts. So, in addition to repeating my invitation and request for any and all interested to consider service on the Pastoral Council, I would like to invite and request all in the Parish to use your NOGns, and share whatever you come up with with me, or any of the members of the Parish Staff or Pastoral Council. And speaking of Missionary Disciples, I want to extend a special word of thanks for all who will serve as Catechists here in the Parish this coming year, especially those who have signed on for the first time! Blessings to you all!      
                           Fr. Dan        
September3, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
I need help!  Will you help? I need help as your Pastor in identifying the gifts and needs of the Parish, the gifts God has given to all of you as members of the Parish (yes, ALL of you), and how your gifts can best serve the needs of others within the Parish, and beyond. Helping me in this way is the role of the Parish Pastoral Council. I invite and welcome any and all who might be interested in helping and serving the Parish on the Council to come for a meeting around 11:30AM on Sunday, September 17th to share your interest and ask any questions you might have about Council. September 17th is Catechetical Sunday, when we will commission our Catechists for the new R.E. year at the ten o’clock Mass. The meeting about the Council will take place after refreshments following that Mass. If you are interested in serving on the Council, but won’t be able to make the meeting on the 17th, please contact me or any of the present Council members directly. Their names and contact information are in the Bulletin. Thank you for considering serving in this way!  Please! Help!  H            Fr. Dan   
August 13 & 20, 2017 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ: 

Speaking of deacons… This past Thursday was the Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Lawrence was a deacon in Rome in the early third century, during the persecution of the Church by the Roman Empire. Little is known for sure about his life, other than that he had responsibility for the material goods of the Church and care of the poor, and that he was martyred for being a Christian. The best known story about Lawrence is that, when the Roman Prefect ordered him to turn over all the “treasures of the Church,” Lawrence gathered together a great number of the blind, lame, maimed, lepers, orphans and widows.  When the Prefect arrived, anticipating golden candlesticks and silver cups, Lawrence presented the people to him saying These are the treasures of the Church.” Of course the Prefect was infuriated, who then had Lawrence executed by famously roasting him on a gridiron. As noted, little is known for sure about Lawrence’s life. But his recognition of the value of the poor and outcast is the most important fact to know about him, what we honor and celebrate to this day. May we be blessed with an increase of that grace and holiness of St. Lawrence.              Fr. Dan 

July 26 & 23 , 2017 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

Father Chuong Cao, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist missionary, will be with us next weekend to talk about his Community’s work among the poor in Brazil and Nigeria. He is a native of Vietnam and currently the pastor of a parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Redemptorists (the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris – C.Ss.R in Latin) were founded in 1749 by St. Alphonsus Liguori to serve the neglected rural poor near Naples, Italy, and have since grown to serve the poor worldwide. They work along the Amazon River in Brazil where they suffer the heat, humidity and insects of the jungle. Most have contracted malaria and hepatitis, and some have even died and are buried along the river. Others have returned to the States sick or aged, but they continue to announce and minister the gospel to the poor and forgotten of Brazil. In Nigeria they serve both established parishes in crowded cities, and travel out to remote rural areas where native communities gather to worship. A Redemptorist in Nigeria may find his parish in an ever-growing circle of far-flung shacks where the richness of spirit far exceeds the simplicity of facilities. Unpaved back roads to such mission outposts are dangerous enough in working vehicles, but the missionaries’ old jeeps often break down, stranding them in places where they are vulnerable to ambush by thieves and gangs, but their courage and commitment are outstanding. Our donations to Father Chuong’s appeal will go directly to support the work of these missions. Cash and checks, written to St. Mary-Holy Cross Parish, can be placed in the envelopes provided in the pews and placed in the basket when it is passed after Communion that weekend, or it may be sent to the Office. The Parish will send one check to the Redemptorists for all our donations. Please welcome Father Chuong next weekend, and thank you for your generosity in response to his appeal. (While Father Chuong will be the celebrant and homilist at all masses next weekend, I will be away at a Regional Beginning Experience Conference in Grimes.) Fr. Dan       

 

June 18 & 25, 2017 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ: 

I will be here next weekend, June 24-25, but because this Bulletin will also be for the following week, I note now that I will not be here the weekend of July 1-2. Father Ed Hurley will be here for masses while I return to Los Angeles and the Arthur Janov Primal Center (www.primaltherapy.com). As I wrote when first in the Parish in October 2008, I’ve done personal work and training in Primal Therapy over several years since 2006. As I explained: Primal Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that seeks to bring to light the painful memories and feelings stored in one’s body from the earliest moments of life, to help one become conscious of the feelings and emotions that have been unconscious and hidden throughout life.  Its aim is to help us live fuller, freer lives by getting at and getting out all the stuff that usually gets “stuffed” because it’s painful, uncomfortable, and confusing. It does this by helping one feel and face fully the whole range of feelings and emotions that many often try to escape and avoid. I hold firmly to Jesus’ word that it’s God’s will that we know life and life to the full, peace, joy, truth and freedom in our lives. Primal Therapy helps me personally experience this will of God, and help others experience it as well. Please pray for me while I am away, as I will for you.               Fr. Dan

 

May 27/28, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
Be sure to take a trip to Holy Cross Cemetery this weekend to see the new Avenue of Flags!  Ninety eight flags in memory of service members and other loved ones were raised Friday evening, and will fly until Monday evening at 6 o’clock. As Lynn Schreurs has explained, he and his wife Chris admired other such flag arrays  in various communities when they travelled to Northwest Iowa for Memorial Day last year. Then, when donations were made to the Holy Cross Cemetery in memory of Lynn’s brother LaMont – an Air Force Veteran - after his death last Christmas, Lynn and Chris proposed the purchase of flags for the Cemetery, thinking there might be ten or so others interested in purchasing memorial flags for their loved ones.  As I noted, 98 flags now fly over Holy Cross Cemetery, 5 of which are service flags for the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. Thank you and congratulations to Lynn and Chris for their inspiration, effort, and success in bringing this project about, and to all who helped install and raise the flags. In addition to being invited to come view the flags, you are also invited to help retire and store them Monday evening!               Fr. Dan
May 14, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
May is Mary’s month. A bit of history… Though the exact origin of the observance of May devotions in honor of Mary is relatively unknown, a number of traditions link the month of May to Mary. One Spanish King wrote about the special honoring of Mary already in the 13th century. An historian of spirituality identifies the 17th century as when the custom of consecrating May to her by special observances began to spread. It is certain that this form of Marian devotion began in Italy, and in 1747 the Archbishop of Genoa recommended the May devotion as a devotion for the home, with specific prayers for them published in Rome in 1838. Another scholar of Catholic religious history notes that May devotions in their present form originated at Rome to counteract the “flowering of immorality” the return of spring stirred among students there. (Ah springtime!) May devotional practices spread from Rome to nearly every other Catholic Church in Europe, and by the 19th century the tradition of honoring Mary in month-long May devotions had spread around the Roman Catholic world, together with a month-long devotion to Jesus in June and the Rosary in October.                      Fr. Dan 

April 30, 2017 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ: 

I am happy to announce that Stacie Hergenreter has accepted the position of Director of Religious Education for the Parish, beginning next year, succeeding Tammi McClain and Sonya Staudt who have served in that capacity for the past 5 years. Stacie has been a volunteer catechist in our elementary  Religious Education program, and is very excited to continue the program as it has been developed, working with our youth to help them grow in their experience and understanding of our Catholic faith. Her two children, Alexis and Luke, are students in our R.E. program, so Stacie has a very personal interest and motivation in making the program the best it can be. In addition to ministering to our young people as a catechist, Stacie also serves as a cantor and song leader at Mass. A lifelong Catholic herself, Stacie and her family live in White Oak, and have lived in the area for 14 years. Her husband Joel works at John Deere, where Stacie also used to work. Some particular Hergenreter family interests are agriculture, showing horses, and swimming. I am grateful for Stacie’s enthusiastic interest in serving as our new R.E. Director!                           Fr. Dan 

April 16, 2017 Bulletin, Easter Sunday
Holy Week and Easter: Then and Now

Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus as an historical event from early First Century, three days after his execution on the Cross. The other Holy Week celebrations point to what happened leading up to that Resurrection. Our celebrations have their roots in events of long ago, but also speak of ongoing “facts of life” that we can experience today. Our present prayer doesn’t just seek to remind us of past events, but also to help us recognize and experience how Christ’s dying and rising continue in the here and now. We experience the Holy Week-Easter mystery of life, death, and resurrection in the personal experiences of our contemporary lives. For example, Jesus was enthusiastically welcomed into Jerusalem at the beginning of the week, but was killed there by week’s end. How many of us have experienced some sort of heart-breaking “reversal” in our own lives? As the old song goes: Riding high in April, shot down in May. That’s life! And how well we know the cost of caring for others, the self-giving it takes to nurture life, which is at the heart of the meaning of Jesus’ death on the Cross. Easter Sunday itself proclaims the “fact-of-life” that life wants to live and will find a way to do so no matter what, even when opposed and beaten down in seemingly insurmountable ways. The words of the scientist Ian Malcolm in the movie Jurassic Park captures this truth well: If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously. Life finds a way. As we celebrate this Easter Feast, may we all experience ever fuller, freer ways of living our gift of life.                 Fr. Dan
April 2, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:   
This coming Friday Bishop Pates will celebrate the Chrism Mass at St. Ambrose. This mass is celebrated annually at the Cathedral, and focuses on two main themes: blessing the sacramental oils to be used throughout the Diocese for the next year, and priests of the Diocese renewing our commitment to ministry in the Diocese. The oils to be blessed are: Oil of the Sick, used in the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick; Sacred Chrism used in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the dedication of a new church; and the Oil of Catechumens, used in the baptism of both infants and adults. Throughout the Bible the importance of oil in daily life is noted, in cooking, as fuel, and as a healing agent. In religious practice oil was also used to offer sacrifices, dedicate memorials to God, and consecrate both physical structures and people. The biblical symbolism of oil is rich, signifying sanctification, healing, strength, consecration and sacrifice. Against this background the early Church adopted oil for use in our sacramental rituals. Our parish oils are maintained in the small cabinets at the front of the churches, to the north of the altar at Holy Cross, and south of the altar at St. Marys.            Fr. Dan 
March 19, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

As you know, The Blessing Box food pantry opened in Elkhart on January 26th at the Christian Church. As you also know and generously support, we take up second collections monthly in support of 3 different local food pantries, 2 homeless shelters in Des Moines operated by Catholic Charities, and the needs of our own SMHC parishioners. Two collections are taken up annually for each of these causes. The Finance Council has discussed different ways we might add The Blessing Box to our parish support list, while maintaining support for the other services we help. What we think will work best is to redirect the two annual collections designated for parishioner support to support of The Blessing Box, and take up a special collection for our parishioner assistance fund when the need arises. While requests for help from that fund are received, they are not frequent, and there is a good balance in it at this time. The pantry is open on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 5:30-7:30pm, and by appointment by calling the Christian Church at 515-367-5125. Nonperishable food and cash donations are welcome, with checks payable to The Blessing Box and sent c/o Elkhart Christian Church, P.O. Box 97, Elkhart, IA  50073.  Tim Kautza serves as our parish contact person for the pantry. Thank you Tim! And thanks to all for your continued generosity to all our food pantry collections.               Fr. Dan 
March 5, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.  This quote from the civil rights activist James Baldwin speaks to me of Jesus’ journey into the desert as recounted in the gospel for this first Sunday of Lent.  After his baptism by John, but before he could begin his work of showing us the way out of the many temptations and traps that lead us away from the fullness and freedom of life God wills for us,  Jesus had to face them himself. As Baldwin learned from his struggle against racism and prejudice in the United States, there is much pain and brokenness in life that we can not change, it’s simply part of our human condition.  But there is also a lot that can be changed if we will do the hard work of facing and dealing with it head on, rather than avoiding it, after the example of Jesus doing contest with the Tempter in the desert.  During this season of Lent may we answer the call and challenge to face and change the things that keep us from experiencing the fullness and freedom of life God intends for us.        Fr. Dan
February 19, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
What would we do without the Knights?! A parishioner helping clean up after Chris Norton’s presentation last Monday asked/exclaimed this as a swarm of our Knights of Columbus quickly, efficiently, and generously put away the literally hundreds of chairs set up for the event, after having also set them all up after Mass on Sunday. He also referred to the Knights’ generous co-hosting with the Religious Ed. kids of the Pizza Party prior to the presentation. As many who attended Chris’ talk commented, both parishioners and guests, as well as Chris and his family, the evening was a great success, well organized and carried out. Chris himself particularly appreciated the opportunity to share his story and inspiration with so many, so thank you to all who participated in the evening and contributed to the blessing it was. And a special thank you to the Knights for your extra effort and generosity, both for this event, and for the many ways you serve the Parish, often behind the scenes. Time and again when parish events are being planned, the Knights are readily named as ones to help in one way or another. So, indeed,  What would we do without the Knights?!                    Fr. Dan
February 5, 2017 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
As announced and publicized recently, Chris Norton will be here Monday, February 13th to talk about his recovery from a spinal cord injury he suffered in a college football game in 2010. With the support of his family and Community, and the strength of his personal Christian faith, Chris continues to overcome the results of his injury, and has been called an “expert when it comes to resolving challenges and achieving goals.”  We are most fortunate to get on his speaking schedule. We initially requested that he come on a Wednesday, to speak during the regular Religious Education class time, but his full schedule couldn’t accommodate this. So, Religious Ed classes for that week have been moved to Monday, February 13th with all grades meeting together in the Parish Hall for his talk. The Religious Ed students are the primary audience we’ve asked Chris’ to address, but all are welcome to join them during their “adjusted” class time that evening. The Knights of Columbus are generously providing pizza for the evening, which will be served beginning at 6PM, before Chris’ talk at 6:30. Please let Barb know that you will be coming so adequate seating and food can be planned.         Fr. Dan 
Jan. 14/15 & 21/22, 2017 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

I want to offer a special word of thanks and appreciation to all who have contributed so generously to the second collections taken up since the end of September to meet our 2016 Annual Diocesan Appeal goal. When we began the collections our remaining unpledged balance on our Appeal goal was $9,495.99.  As of 1/9/2017 our balance is $948.35.  As I said, I offer a special word of thanks to all who have contributed to these collections (and all who will continue to do so until our balance is $0.00). I expect that much of what has been collected has come from a number of you who have donated again and again, week after week, in addition to whatever initial pledge and donation you made to the Appeal. It’s a well-known fact of Catholic Parish life that a minority of parishioners contribute the majority of the funds needed to run a Parish. So, again, I want to offer a special word of thanks and appreciation to all who contribute so generously to St. Mary-Holy Cross Parish, and at this time especially those who are “going the extra mile” to meet our 2016 Annual Diocesan Appeal goal.        

                 Fr. Dan 

December 25, 2016 and Janaury 1, 2017 bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ: 

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  I write this on the day when the light of the sun starts to shine longer and the darkness gets shorter (at least here in the Norther Hemisphere). And you read it on the day when we celebrate the coming of the Light of the Son into our world. Yet so much darkness, in so many forms large and small, near and far, still envelopes too much of the world and too many lives. So, we pray for that Light to increase ever more in the world and in our lives. But just as much work has been done by many in preparation of all the holiday gatherings and gifts, meals and parties that will be enjoyed in these days, we must also strive to understand and carry out the work needed, personally and in common, to grow in that Light and enable it to increase in us in fulfillment of the words from John’s Gospel quoted above.              Fr. Dan 

December 11, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

Having grown up Catholic (though some might question or challenge the claim that I’ve grown up at all!) and gone to Catholic grade school and high school, I have lots of “regular confessions” under my belt.  At least once a month from kindergarten through high school we marched to either church or chapel to “celebrate” the Sacrament of Penance, though most often there was not much of a spirit of celebration. So, I have a certain appreciation for those who aren’t all that moved to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation by exhortations that it’s something we “should do” as Catholics. As a priest I am regularly impressed by the sharing of those who experience a great deal of grace and blessing through confession, even non-Catholics! One of the better works I’ve read on the value of making a personal confession was by the Protestant minister Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline. Our Advent Penance Service is scheduled for next Sunday, December 18th at 2PM at St. Mary, with Fathers Steve Orr and Larry Hoffman here to help. All are invited to participate and “give it a try,” especially those who have not celebrated the Sacrament for some time, and may be reluctant or hesitant after a time away. If you’ve forgotten just how to go about it, don’t worry, we priests have it down pretty well and will help!                   Fr. Dan    
November 20 & 27, 2016 Buleltin
Dear Friends in Christ:
The end is near! The end is near!  Well, actually, the end is already here: the last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Year, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. But unlike the “Prophets of Doom” who have foretold the imminent coming of the end of time year after year for thousands of years, our observance of the end is not meant to scare the hell out of us in an attempt to get us ready for heaven. A Google search of the simple phrase The end is near! produced 518,000,000 results, many of which do indeed anxiously predict dire and dreadful events soon to come. Rather, the urgency expressed in our end-time prayer is only meant to awaken, urge, and encourage us to an ever greater openness to and experience of God’s great love for us, without delay, lest we miss out on even one bit of it! End time prophecies and forecasts do easily stir up fear and uneasiness, but as it says so clearly in 1 John 4:10: There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.                Fr. Dan
October 30, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

There are many ways our current presidential campaign is unprecedented. But we will not end up unpresidented!  Have we as Americans ever had such strong negative feelings and opinions about each candidate, and both candidates? I’ve never been a big ‘politico’ (though I always vote), I dare say we have never seen – and produced – such rancor. But while each candidate does indeed have plenty about them to enflame our feelings and fuel our furies, in the midst of both supremely silly folderol and deadly serious issues involved, this can be a good opportunity for us to look within ourselves to ask what it is within us that reacts so strongly to whichever candidate draws such a reaction from us? I’m reminded of the “three finger rule” that points out that when I point my finger critically at someone else, be they a presidential candidate, family member, co-worker, neighbor or friend, three other fingers point right back at me! How is what I dislike and criticize in another just as present and active in me?  To paraphrase Jesus’ own challenge about this kind of thing:  Why do you notice the splinter in your opposing candidate’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? (Luke 6:41).      Fr. Dan
October 8 & 9 and 15 & 16, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

I write from our Priests’ Study Workshop in Iowa City where we have been studying Pope Francis’ teaching document On the Care of Our Common Home published last year. Experts on the whole range of our Catholic Church’s extensive teaching and preaching on social issues (dating back to Pope Leo the 13th in 1891), and  Francis’ document in particular, have been our presenters throughout the week. The topic for our annual workshop is usually chosen based on the requests and recommendations of the priests ourselves, but this year Bishop Pates asked that we make this our focus because he personally considers it such an important topic.

I have felt right at home with all the material presented because of our recent consideration of Pope Francis’ document here in the Parish. I want to acknowledge Tim Kautza and other Friends of St. Francis here in the Parish for bringing the document, and the importance of our role and responsibility in caring for the environment, to our particular attention. Their familiarity with the topic, related resources, and expert recommendations on how to study and respond to it are exemplary! I thank Tim and all for their leadership in this important work.         Fr. Dan
September 11, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

Thank you to all who came over for the Open Houses and Blessing of the new rectory last weekend, and all who will do so this weekend! (All who came last weekend are most welcome to come again this weekend if you wish, there will be more fresh bread and muffins!) I greatly appreciate your participation, and am pleased that so many were able to see and admire for yourselves what I’ve been saying all along about what a lovely, well-designed, and well-constructed house it is. I want to especially thank and commend again those who served on the Rectory Committee to make it the great blessing it is – Karen Bellis, Jon Hand, Keith Muehlenthaler, † Ron Odgaard, Bob Reid, John Roberts, and Scott Turczynski. A few folks have offered their talents for the landscaping work yet to be done, thank you to them as well. Again, please let me or Barb know if you are interested in the design and execution of such work. I’ve already dug enough dirt and gathered up enough sticks and stones and uprooted roots to satisfy my appetite for yard work, so I will leave it to others to do the rest!            Fr. Dan

August 28, 2016 Bulletn
Dear Friends in Christ:

As noted last week, we’re finally ready for an open house at the new rectory, now close to two years after deciding and planning for it. (Rome wasn’t built in a day either!) I’m looking forward to all coming to take a look, and enjoying a housewarming bite or two of bread and muffins after the 5PM and 10AM masses the weekends of September 3-4 and 10-11. After living in it now for about 7 months, I can say it is indeed a great place to live, and a proud accomplishment of the Parish. Seeding the lawn will be the final work to be done (hopefully soon!) under Jim Campbell’s direction. He’s been great to work with all along, and I highly recommend him! As also noted last week, I will form a small group of interested and experienced folks to develop ideas and plans for any landscaping of the areas in front of and around the house. Please let me or Barb know if you would like to be part of such a group. Thank you once again to all who have contributed to the Parish and the Sharing God’s Gifts Campaign to enable the construction of the new rectory.             Fr. Dan
August 7 & 14, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

Next weekend Kim Mandelkow will be here to provide music for the 5pm Saturday and 10am Sunday Masses at St. Mary’s. Kim is the director of our Diocesan Office of Worship, and in addition to providing music for those two Masses, she will also offer a short presentation on Living the Eucharist. In its document on the Liturgy the Second Vatican Council emphasized the importance of our full, conscious, and active participation in the Liturgy. Reflecting on this, Kim will talk about how we can bring our whole self to our celebration of the Eucharist, and how Communion is not just something we receive at Mass, but a whole way of life we are invited to make our own.  

Wine and cheese will be offered on Saturday, and coffee and doughnuts on Sunday in connection with her presentations. She will speak for about 20 minutes, and allow time for discussion following. All are invited and encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn and share more about how we can experience and express the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our life in Christ as Catholics, more deeply in our lives.                   Fr. Dan 
July 10 & 17, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth God created mankind in his image. God blessed them and said: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over it all. And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. These words from the Book of Genesis, about how we are created in God’s own image and likeness, speak of the privilege and responsibility God shares with us as  co-operators in the work of creation. The terms “subdue” and “dominion” used here have sometimes been interpreted to mean we humans can use the resources of the Earth however we want to serve our own interests. But history has shown that this mentality has not always respected or cared for God’s good Creation very well. Pope Francis’ teaching letter of last year, On the Care of Our Common Home, addresses our responsibility and need to do a better job as stewards of the Earth, not just users of it. Some have charged the Pope with overstepping the bounds of his office by getting into areas of science, economics, and politics, and not just “sticking to religion.” But what is more religious that interpreting, reflecting on, and teaching about the very first chapter of the Bible?             Fr. Dan   
June 12 & 19, 2016 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:

I write this while on retreat at the Prairiewoods Ecospirituality and Retreat Center near Cedar Rapids. Prairiewoods (www.Prairiewoods.org) is run by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It seeks to help people “explore and nurture our relationships with God, self, others, and the Earth.” As such, it seems the perfect place for me to encourage you to read and consider carefully the information elsewhere in this Bulletin about our Parish celebration of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter of last year, Laudato Si, on our care for the environment and human ecology. We will give special attention to Pope Francis’ message about care for our common home of the Earth at all the Masses the weekend of July 9 &10. Following the Masses, those interested can gather to view a video and discuss other possibilities for further study and action on the Pope’s message. There has been much discussion and debate, both for and against, about the Pope’s teaching. I encourage all to participate in and contribute to that ongoing conversation, particularly at and after the Masses on July 9 & 10.           Fr. Dan
May 22, 2016 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

These days the Finance Council is in the process of preparing our parish budget for the upcoming fiscal year, 2016-2017. This involves reviewing our finances for the past year, and while our overall financial situation is quite sound, there are a couple of details of concern that stand out amid the many numbers.  One is that our average weekly collections have decreased over the past year, with collection amounts lower than last year for the past six straight months. This is related in part to the fact that the total number of parishioners who tithe regularly has decreased over the past year. Currently there are 384 households registered in the Parish, with 122 tithing regularly (31%). Last year at this time, with 367 registered households, there were 125 tithing regularly (34%). So, while there are more members in the Parish this year than last, there are fewer tithing regularly. Similarly, with the Annual Diocesan Appeal to date there are the same number of parishioners who have participated as last year, 101 pledges or donations, while the total number of our parishioners has increased. As I noted, our Parish’s overall financial situation is very sound, thanks to your tremendous generosity, both to the Parish itself and to the many other collections taken regularly for the needs beyond our parish boundaries. St. Mary-Holy Cross is indeed a very generous Parish, and I thank and commend you for this. If you can, please consider either becoming a tithing member, or if you already tithe regularly, a small increase of $5 per month would go a long way to meet our budget requirements. Also, during the summer vacation months please make every effort to maintain your regular offerings if you travel and are away from regular attendance here at the Parish. One simple way to do this is to use the ACH service, by which your donations are automatically made from your checking account on a monthly schedule. Sign up forms for this service are available on the counter at the entrance to the church, and from the Office. Again, thank you to all who so generously support the financial needs of both our local Parish and the wider Community and Church.                   Fr. Dan

May 8, 2016 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ,

At one of the sessions held in preparation for the Catholics Come Home program, the discussion considered ways to enhance the sense of community and connection among members of our Saint Mary-Holy Cross Parish. One idea was to put up a bulletin board in the Social Hall where information and announcements about informal get-togethers and activities among parishioners could be posted. Such events and activities could include things like meeting for coffee or a meal after Mass, going to a movie or for a walk, sharing a ride, or getting together for a book club, discussion group, bible study, support group, or whatever would help us get to know and connect with others in the Parish with common interests and needs, both to share those interests and needs, and to build up our relationships with one another.  Such a “Community Connections” bulletin board is now available in the Social Hall, to the right of the restrooms, next to the Knights of Columbus’ charter certificate. We’ll keep an eye on what is posted so things don’t get too crazy, cluttered, or old, but all are invited to prepare and post your own notes and notices, and we’ll see how it goes!  And thanks to those who came up with the idea; you know who you are!                             Fr. Dan
 

April 10, 2016 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

After the different Easter Masses I expressed thanks to all who helped prepare and celebrate the many extra Holy Week and Easter services. Deacon Terry expressed such thanks as well in his Bulletin message last Sunday. But at the end of the last Easter Mass I was asked by one of the Altar Servers Why don’t you also thank the Altar Servers along with everyone else? I stood convicted, he was absolutely right! I had overlooked the many boys and girls who generously and faithfully serve at the altar, helping us all to pray better and adding to the solemnity of the Liturgy.  So, I offer both my apology to all the Holy Week and Easter Altar Servers for failing to acknowledge your service, and my thanks to all our Altar Servers for the important ministry you perform at Mass. I also thank all the parents of our Servers for your essential role in letting your kids serve, and getting them to church so they can serve when scheduled. And, because your Server-kids may not be in the habit of reading the Bulletin, please be sure they take a look at this one! I also commend that one young Server for asking the question about why I hadn’t thanked the Servers along with everyone else!            Fr. Dan

March 27, 2016  Easter Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

The lead stories in the news this past Tuesday were the terrorist attacks in Belgium, and President Obama’s speech in Cuba. I was struck by the extreme contrast between the violent and tragic end of so many lives in Belgium, and the President’s positive, hopeful words about many new possibilities for the people of Cuba.  The fact that both stories led the news during Holy Week made it all the more poignant. With my lifetime of Catholic education, formation, and observance, I easily and readily thought of the two contrasting news stories in terms of the contrast between the Good Friday and Easter Sunday stories. But doing so seemed too easy, too ready. Even the power of these most central stories of our Faith seemed to falter before the real-life horror in Belgium and hopes of Cuba. Just how really connected to our day to day lives is our centuries old Faith? How do our Faith, church practice, and beliefs relate in concrete and practical ways to the real life experiences of people, both tragic and triumphant? One of Pope Francis’ frequent themes is the importance of Christians having a living, rather than merely theoretical, faith. In a recent homily at daily Mass he said We hear this mistake many times. Someone will say ‘I have a lot of faith! I believe everything, everything in the Bible and everything the Church teaches.’ But maybe the person who says this has a tepid, weak life. His faith is like a theory, but it is not alive in his life.  As I say, the news this Holy Week makes me wonder…             Fr. Dan

March 13, 2016 Palm Sunday Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

As this special season of Lent continues, and the highest and most solemn holy days of our Christian Faith draw closer, this week I would like to write again about… the new rectory! I really do just love living there, and have only a few more tiny touches to add before I’m fully settled and organized. Some have asked whether I feel at home there yet. Actually, I felt right at home the first night I slept there, and feel more and more so all the time. Two of my sisters visited over the weekend and were most impressed by its layout, design, and efficiency. A number of people have used the term “deserve” in connection with my living there, like, “you deserve to live in such a nice place.” I have thought a lot about that idea, and while I do appreciate the generous sentiment it expresses, personally I don’t think of it as a matter of “deserving,” but rather as a gift. I consider it a great gift to be able to live in such a great place, just as I said it was a gift to live in the old rectory, particularly after having seen so many homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles when I lived there. And not just the new rectory, but I see life itself and all that fills it as gift. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, What do you have that has not been given to you as a gift? (1Cor.4:7) So, I thank God and all of you here at St. Mary-Holy Cross Parish for the gift of the new rectory! We’re in the process of preparing the old house for removal, the timing of which will depend on the demolition company fitting us into their schedule. And I look forward to when we can have an open house so all can see and be impressed.        Fr. Dan

February 21 & 28, 2016 Bulletin

 Dear Friends in Christ:

Last weekend’s salvage walk-through of the old rectory was a great success! Twenty different parishioners made requests for a total of more than 40 different items, with over 20 “competing” requests for the same things. I was surprised
by some of the things requested, things I didn’t even think of as what folks might be interested in, while other things
I thought would be more sought after went un-named. The most coveted materials were, not surprisingly, the old wood doors, frames, and other trim.  A number of questions I never thought of were raised, such as whether there would be a second round of bidding, to give low bidders the chance to up their offers, and how equal competing bids would be handled. There were no equal competing bids, and to open up things up for further bidding would only make the already challenging work of sorting through and settling things more challenging than I am finding it to be! Some unclaimed things will now go to St. Vincent DePaul or Goodwill, while others will remain in place to meet their unmaker when the house is demolished. It may take me a bit more time than anticipated to figure out and notify who gets what, but I will let all claimants know as quickly as possible, so you can come get your goodies. Thanks to all who will give parts of the old home new homes!                  Fr. Dan                

February 7, 2016

Dear Friends in Christ:

Soon after I came to SMHC in 2008 I expressed my gratitude and appreciation for the housing provided me in the parish rectory. I had lived in Los Angeles before coming, where an estimated quarter of a million people are homeless, with up to 82,000 living on the streets each night. Every day I saw people who had set up makeshift living spaces on sidewalks, in parks, or wherever available space could be found. As I now move into your new rectory, my remembrance of all those street-dwellers is renewed, and my sense of gratitude and appreciation deepened. I am all moved in, though not fully arranged and organized, but already feeling fully in place and at home. And I love it! I am increasingly impressed by both the efficiency and elegance of the space, which feels soooo much more spacious, light, and lovely than the old house with its classic “rectory layout” of numerous rooms and doorways. I have only the highest regard for the work of the Rectory Committee who designed it, and the construction work of Jim Campbell who built it. All of you St. Mary-Holy Cross Parishioners are also to be commended and thanked for your generosity which has enabled the project to come to completion, though not yet completely, with demolition and ground grading still to be done. We will have an open house after that work is done and there is a real sidewalk to the house, not just the current boardwalk! Also, information is provided in this bulletin in regards to salvage of materials from the old rectory.

Again, thank you for your house-pitality!   Fr. Dan

January 31, 2016

Dear Friends in Christ:

The Key to Hospitality – In her Catholics Come Home story, shared at last week’s CCH preparation sessions, parishioner Lori McQuiston spoke of how, when she and her husband Rick first came back to Mass at Holy Cross after 20 years away, a big stranger came up and asked us who we were, introduced himself, struck up a conversation about common acquaintances in her family, and gave them a key to the church saying You are welcome any time! She shared further about the countless other SMHC parishioners who have been kind and welcoming to them in the years since, and their deep gratitude for it. In more ways than one that “big stranger” holds the Key to Hospitality we can all extend to others, both Catholics coming home in response to the CCH program during Lent, and the still-at-home-Catholics we pray with weekly (though I hope not weakly!) at Mass. That Key to Hospitality has a few simple steps: first, notice and approach others you don’t know to ask who they are, introduce yourself, find a topic of common interest and strike up a conversation about it, and share a simple word of welcome. The success of the CCH program, and indeed the reality of the “community” part of our Parish as a “Community of Faith” depends on all members of SMHC Parish turning the Key to Hospitality from just a nice idea, practiced only by that big stranger, into our common practice. Perhaps the Key to Hospitality’s four steps would be a good practice to take up during Lent…   

             Fr. Dan 

January 17, 2016 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

Next weekend, after the 5PM Mass on Saturday and the 10AM Mass on Sunday, we will have sessions to help us prepare for the Catholics Come Home outreach program that will take place throughout our Diocese during the season of Lent. The program will invite Catholics who have left the Church, for whatever reason, to come back to active participation in the Church. Research shows that only 24 percent of adult Catholics attend Mass on a weekly basis, and as many as 100,000 baptized Catholics leave the Church each year. Many of us know family members, friends, and co-workers who do not come to church. Multiple media spots will appear on television throughout to encourage all our inactive Catholic acquaintances to return to church life. Our sessions will explain how the Catholics Come Home program works, and how we as individuals and as a Parish can best prepare ourselves to receive and respond to any Catholics who want to come home to SMHC Parish. How can we be a home Catholics will want to come home to, and how can we help them do so? Please plan to attend one of the sessions to learn, and to share your ideas.                             Fr. Dan

January 3, 2016 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

As we arrive at the beginning of the New Year I think of how lucky we are as Catholics to have not just one, but three new year’s like opportunities to start over again, and again, and again, while most others in the world only have one! (Or maybe it’s because we need them more than others!) We not only have the beginning of the calendar year, January 1, but also the beginning of our new Liturgical Year each first Sunday of Advent, and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, which for many is a special time for starting over again in efforts to receive and respond to God’s many gifts of grace ever more fully, freely, and faithfully. And this Advent we also had yet another new year opportunity when our Year of Mercy began on December 8th.  Isaiah the Prophet speaks of the newness God is always bringing about where he says, Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Is.43:18-19).  My prayer for all of us is that we can all have more of that forward looking, grace-filled vision   this New Year, and always.                    Fr. Dan

December 13, 2015 Bulletin

 Dear Friends in Christ:

What is Pope Francis doing and why is he having a Holy Year of Mercy? What is it about, and what are we supposed to do during it? The roots of our present Holy Year are the Old Testament’s two-fold practice of celebrating and practicing God’s own mercy and forgiveness by setting slaves free, cancelling debts, returning land to its original owners, and welcoming home absent family members.  Those Jubilee Years happened every fifty years; our Catholic practice celebrates a Holy Year every twenty five years, and on special occasions. Pope Francis chose to open a special Holy Year this year to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council.  Francis says of Vatican II: the Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council the Church entered a new phase of her history as the Council Fathers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, saw a need to talk to the people of our time in a more accessible way. The walls which for too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down, and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way. Because the mercy of God is the very core and foundation of the Gospel message, not all the “rules and regulations and threats of hell” so often associated with religion, the Pope has chosen mercy as the focus of this Holy Year. Like the ancient Jewish times of Jubilee, our Jubilee of Mercy calls us both to contemplate and celebrate the boundless mercy of God who has first loved us and, as followers of Jesus, to put it into practice by sharing that love and mercy with others in all our words and actions.             Fr. Dan 

November 22 & 29, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ,

If you didn’t read Bishop Pates’ column in the October issue of the Catholic Mirror, I encourage and request that you do so. (If you don’t still have that issue, you can find it online at http://www.dmdiocese.org/the-catholic-mirror.cfm) He wrote of a recent diocesan Summit on Church Administration: Being Church, attended by several members of our Parish, including Deacon Terry and myself. The focus of the Summit was the role and responsibility of the laity for leadership and ministry in the Church, moving beyond our old catholic way of being Church that left the “work of the Church” in the hands of only priests and a few select others. But by our common Baptism in Christ all in the Church have the right and responsibility to know the gospel of Jesus, actively grow in relationship with him, share faith and serve the needs of the Church and the world. The specific forms of lay leadership the Summit dealt with were the Pastoral and Finance Councils, Religious Education Programs, and Parish Trustees. The article gives a good summary of our important Catholic teaching that “the Laity have an active part of their own in the life and activity of the Church. Through Baptism and Confirmation all are appointed to share in the saving mission of the Church by the Lord himself.”  Please, give it a look!  Thanks.
    Fr. Dan

November 1, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:
  
I am happy to welcome Nicole Cory as our Parish’s new Confirmation Program Coordinator. Nicole will head up the confirmation preparation process for our ninth and tenth graders, in cooperation with Melissa Kahler, our Parish Youth Minister. In recent years Melissa has had responsibility for the confirmation program, along with her other work in our youth ministry programs. But with the recent expansion of the confirmation preparation process called for by Bishop Pates this new position has been established, and will enjoy Nicole’s exclusive focus. Nicole has been a member of the Parish since 2012, and has assisted with the 7th-12th grades youth ministry programs for the past four years, and with last year’s confirmation prep. program. She brings with her an enthusiasm for sharing the Catholic Faith with our young people, and ideas for developing and improving the confirmation preparation program for them.   Welcome Nicole, and thank you for your service to the youth of our Parish.

I’m sure you have already found the Financial Report and Report Card insert for the fiscal year 2014-2015. This is a summary of the annual report prepared by, Peter Relyea, our parish Bookkeeper, and the Parish Finance Council for you as parishioners and the Diocese. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Peter and the members of the Finance Council for the competent and committed work they do year round to keep our parish finances well organized and on track. Thankfully, this is the only great debt we owe as a Parish at this time! And here great thanks also go to all of you as parishioners who so generously contribute to the financial and material needs of the Parish. As the Report and Report card show, we are in good financial condition, due to the continued generosity of so many. So, thank you indeed!                 Fr. Dan

October 11, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

“The New Evangelization” was the focus of our priests’ workshop this past week. The “Old Evangelization” was - and still is – concerned with presenting the gospel of Jesus to those who have never heard it, those outside the Church who do not know Jesus at all, the non-baptized. The New Evangelization is directed toward those who are “baptized non-believers,” that is, Catholics who have been baptized members of the Church, perhaps even for a long time, but for whom faith and church life are not vital or significant realities. It’s nothing new that for some regular churchgoers, going to church is more a matter of a weekend habit and routine than something that informs and affects their life all week long. What is new is how our Catholic Church leadership recognizes the need for “in house” efforts to introduce many Catholics to a more personal relationship with Jesus, something long more associated with Protestants than Catholics. However, while Church leadership recognizes the need for such efforts, it also recognizes that to be effective the New Evangelization needs to be done by all members of the Church, all the baptized, not just “professional ministers,” that is – all of you reading this, not just Deacon Terry and me!               Fr. Dan

September 27, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

Congratulations and thanks to all for such a wonderful Anniversary Party last week, celebrating 100 years of praise and thanksgiving offered to God by the Faithful assembled in the Church of St. Mary’s in Elkhart, Iowa! Thanks to all who celebrated at the Mass, and all who stayed on for the meal, music, and other activities. It was particularly delightful to
see so many of our young folks dancing and making a joyful noise before the Lord, just like King David did in his church way back in the Old Testament (2Sam.6:14)! Special thanks again to our Magister Ludi, Andrew Cory and all the Anniversary Committee members who did such a great job planning and preparing and cleaning up after the party, with particular recognition of Jacki Ausman’s extra efforts in getting the really cool picture-banner of the buildings old and new. Nicely done, Jacki! Particular notice also needs to go to all who submitted desserts for the dessert contest, with congratulations to #1 Jen Linderblood and all the other winners in it!  However, all of us who got to enjoy all the desserts were the real winners! I eagerly look forward to our 200 year anniversary!                     Fr. Dan

September 13, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

Our Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide group met for the second of our 12 sessions this past Thursday. Please keep us in your prayer throughout the remaining weeks of the program.  We have nine participants in the group, and could have one more join, if they do so this week, in time for the third session, after which registrations will be closed.  I have been involved in ministry to those who have suffered the loss of a marriage through divorce or separation since 1977, and am always touched deeply by the courage, humility, and generosity of those who come together in such groups to share the pain of their experience. The loss of a marriage in this way is one of the most painful experiences anyone ever endures, even when it is necessary for a spouse to leave a marriage for their health, well-being, or safety. I have also learned that there are many different “sides to the story” involved in the end of a marriage, and that things aren’t always (if ever!) clear cut or black and white regarding responsibility for the breakdown of a marriage relationship. As Pope Francis emphasizes so much, abundant mercy is needed alongside – or even more than – judgment!  Again, please keep our group in your prayer. Thank you.      

                    Fr. Dan  

August 30, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

This weekend we offer a special blessing to all who will serve as catechists in our new year of Religious Education classes! Classes begin this week for our elementary students, and along with a blessing we also extend our thanks and appreciation to all who volunteer as teachers and assistants in the RE program, as well as to Tammi McClain and Sonya Staudt, our most energetic and creative RE program co-directors. As the weekly classes begin again it’s good to remember that our parish-based program for the kids is in support of and service to their parents’ primary and more important role as the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith, as stated in the Rite of Baptism for children. As the saying goes, faith is caught much more than taught, so whatever can be taught in the RE classroom for one short hour a week depends on what is caught day in and day out at home. If it’s not happening there, it won’t happen here! Please make prayer for our RE students, their catechists and helpers, both at home and in the classrooms, a part of your daily prayer as this new year gets underway.  Fr. Dan

August 2 & 9, 2015 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ: 

   The Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide is a program that offers healing and help to people who have experienced the loss of their marriage through divorce. It involves 12 different 30 minute DVD programs on a range of topics of interest and concern to divorced Catholics, and discussion and support sessions following the videos, over the course of 12 weeks. We will offer this program here in the Parish beginning on Thursday, September 3rd, continuing weekly until November 19th. The sessions will be held in the St. Mary’s Social Hall from 7-8:30pm, and I will personally lead most of the meetings, but enlist others to lead if I need to be away a time or two throughout the course of the program. All are welcome to attend the first meeting or two to get a feel for whether you would like to take part in the program, but after those initial sessions participants will be asked to commit to participate in all remaining sessions, as they are able. Brochures are available in the vestibule, and you can contact me personally for further information. Information is also available at www.catholicsdivorce.com.  This will be advertised outside the Parish as well, so please feel free to invite family members and friends from elsewhere to participate.                     Fr. Dan    

July 5 & 12, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

  When Fr. Emmanuel was here to tell us about his missionary work in Egypt, we went to dinner in Ankeny after the Saturday evening Mass. As we were leaving the rectory he asked whether he should “take his papers” with him. I got an even goofier-than-usual look on my face as I asked “Huh? What do you mean? What papers?” “My identification papers, my passport…” he replied. My confusion continued a few more moments before I realized he lives in a country he could be required to produce his identification anywhere at any time, for any reason at all, or no apparent reason at all. He explained that in Egypt the law requires everyone, and not just foreigners, to have their papers with them at all times. As an act of control the police do indeed stop people simply for the purpose of seeing if they are carrying their papers. If they are not, they can be jailed. As we celebrate our country’s independence, let us be grateful for the freedom we have, and pray for our brothers and sisters throughout the world who do not enjoy peaceful and well-ordered lives like we do in these United States.           Fr. Dan  

June 7 & 14, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

     As you may have realized by now, I am away this weekend, and Fr. Frank Palmer is here to fill in. Thank you Father Palmer for being here and helping out in my absence! I am at a niece’s wedding in western Iowa for the weekend, and will continue on to the St. Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska for my annual retreat, returning next Saturday afternoon in time for confessions and Mass.
     Two weeks from now, on June 20-21, Fr. Emanuel Martelli, a priest of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, will be here to talk about his missionary work in Egypt, and make an appeal for our support of that work. He will preside and preach at all the Masses that weekend, and a second collection will be taken up. Please take a look at the insert in today’s Bulletin for more information about Fr. Martelli, his work, that of his religious order, and this appeal.          Fr. Dan

May 24, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:

Some priests who write for their bulletins like this often just repeat their week’s homily message. But, as I hope you’ve noticed, I’m not one of them. Until now. On this Feast of Pentecost, I think it bears repeating the all-important difference between the event of Pentecost, the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first followers of Jesus long ago and far away, and the ongoing reality of the life of that Holy Spirit within and among us here and now, every moment of our lives. Too often when we read or think about events in the life of Jesus, and indeed events throughout the whole Bible, we think of them just as amazing and miraculous events that happened long ago and far away. But what makes the Bible’s accounts of events sacred for us is that the life giving action and loving presence of God revealed in those events of long ago continues as a living reality for us today, if we but have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel it all. May we all receive that great gift of the Spirit this day of Pentecost, and all the days of our lives!             Fr. Dan 

May 10, 2015 Bulletin
Dear Friends in Christ:
   As we announced and discussed during and after Masses last weekend, work on the new rectory will begin soon, starting with the demolition of the garage. I want to extend a huge word of thanks to the members of the Rectory Committee who have done such good work getting the project to this point, following our all-parish meeting last September. They are Karen Bellis, Jon Hand, Keith Muehlenthaler, Ron Odgaard, Bob Reid, John Roberts, and Scott Turczynski. The need for a new rectory had been discussed again and again by different individuals and groups in the Parish for a couple of years, without any actual action taken. But once this qualified and committed group got to work last fall things started happening quickly! So, yes, thank you to them! Thanks also to all who reviewed and commented on the details of the plans after Masses last week. It was good to hear the interest and excitement of many about the plans. And thank you to all who have contributed to both the Faith to Finish and Sharing God’s Gifts Campaigns, funds from which will be used to pay for the rectory. St. Mary-Holy Cross is indeed a very generous community, financially and in many other ways!    Fr. Dan
April 26, 2015 Bulletin

Dear Friends in Christ:
     Congratulations to all our young parishioners who will celebrate their First Eucharist this Sunday afternoon at St. Mary’s! May it be for all a new and deeper experience of God’s love and care, and belonging to the community of the Church here in St. Mary-Holy Cross Parish.  And thank you to all who have helped prepare them for this special celebration, you parents and family members at home, and religious education catechists and helpers here at church.
     I am sorry I will not be able to participate in the Mass, because of my continued restrictions and limitations following shoulder surgery. As I noted last week, the procedure involved much more than I had anticipated and planned for. Fr. Steve Orr from Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church in Ankeny has generously agreed to celebrate the First Eucharist Mass, and I thank him for that.
     I also again thank Fr. Koch for his generous assistance! I meet with my ortho. doctor Monday, and hope to get his OK for a bit more use of my right hand, though I expect I will still be in the sling for some time to come. Thank you to all for your support and understanding.             Fr. Dan