March 19, 2023 Bulletin

Dear Good People, 

   Today we celebrate Laetare Sunday.  Easter approaches as we continue with the Gospel of the man born blind.  Again, these gospels are meant to prepare us for Easter.  Let us continue to be attentive.  Here is a good mediation I found for this week's liturgy at: Fourth Sunday of Lent - March 19, 2023 - Liturgical Calendar | Catholic Culture

   Today is the halfway mark of the Sundays of Lent. This Sunday is known as Laetare Sunday for the first word of the Introit or Entrance Antiphon laetare (rejoice); it is a Sunday of joy. The celebrant has the option to wear rose-colored vestments. This is also the Second Scrutiny in preparation for the baptism of adults at the Easter Vigil.

    The Church’s liturgy, on this the Fourth Sunday of Lent, invites us to retrace one of the fundamental dynamics of our baptismal re-birth

through the Gospel account of the healing of the ‘man born blind’. It is the passage from the darkness of sin and error to the Light of God, who is the Risen Christ.

    The Solemnity of St. Joseph is usually celebrated on March 19, but has been transferred to March 20 since the liturgy of the Lenten Sundays take precedence.

    This Sunday has a place apart amongst the Sundays of Lent. As in Advent we had Gaudete Sunday, so in Lent we have a Sunday commonly called Laetare Sunday. Lent is half over, and Easter is enticingly near. This Sunday is our foretaste of Easter joy. Knowing the ebb and flow of intensity even in our best efforts, God deals with us tenderly in rhythms of consolation and desertion. So today, thoughts of freedom and joy come in the middle of Lent. But the joy does more than cushion our failing energies and needle our lagging spirits. It is a positive, meaningful joy, born of our fruitful life in Christ and of our sweet freedom as His purchased children. The Eucharistic banquet of heavenly Bread, foreshadowed by the multiplied loaves and fishes and become now the Bread of Life for the whole Christian world, adds to our Laetare joy the quiet gladness of every festive meal.           A.M.D.G. ~ Fr. Ross 

March 12, 2023 Bulletin

Dear Good People,

   We are moving quickly through the Holy Season of Lent.  These next three weeks we have three very important gospel passages.  These readings will help prepare us for Easter.  Please be attentive to these readings as there is great wisdom contained in them.  A good practice is to read the readings before you attend mass.  It is also good to read along during mass as well.  I think the more senses we engage the easier it is for us to keep our attention on what is going on. 

   Secondly I just want to take a moment to thank all of you for all the great work you do.  I have been very impressed to see so many people volunteer to do so much.  At smaller parishes we really need to rely on volunteers.  You all are integral in keeping things moving forward.  I just wanted to take a moment and recognize that.  Keep up the good work.

   Finally, I spoke last week about the Annual Diocesan Appeal.  I am grateful for your generosity.  One good method for your tithing that works for me is something I learned from my first pastor.  It is called the 5/4/1 model.  So if we look at our tithing we would tithe 5 % to our parish, 4 % to another worthy cause or causes, and 1 % to the diocese.  I think that is a good method.  Just something to consider.  Obviously I realize that not everyone is in a position to do this and the cost of things has really gone up.  I know there is much uncertainty around our personal finances.  Again, talking about money is something that none of us really likes to do.  This is simply a suggestion and a helpful idea.

   I wish all of the students, teachers, and staff (maybe not so much parents) a very happy Spring Break.  If you are going out of town make sure you find out where the nearest mass is; and prayers for a safe journey for those who are traveling.       A.M.D.G. ~ Fr. Ross 

March 5, 2023 Bulletin

Dear Good People, 

   We are moving right along on our Lenten journey.  The second Sunday of Lent we hear the account of the Transfiguration 40 days before Easter.  We pray that Christ will continue to transform our lives by His grace during this season.

   Secondly around this time each year we have our kickoff for the Annual Diocesan Appeal or the ADA.  Basically, the ADA is an assessment from the diocese that helps pay for the operating expenses of the diocese.  This would include half of my salary (so thank you!).  This also helps with seminarian expenses and things like that.  The ADA is an assessment like I mentioned before.  If we are unable to make our goal, we have to cover the remainder from our operating budget here at the parish.

   There may also be some confusion around the difference between the ADA and the Ignite Campaign.  The Ignite Campaign was a capital campaign meant to help specific areas such as Catholic schools and faith formation programs around the diocese.  This is an extraordinary campaign, while the ADA is the ordinary way that the diocese gets funds for its operating costs.  I hope this makes sense.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  

    Obviously, I do not really like talking about money, and I am sure you do not love hearing about it.  I would challenge us to be generous, especially in the time of our Lenten almsgiving.  May God bless our efforts abundantly.          A.M.D.G. ~ Fr. Ross 

February 26, 2023 Bulletin

Dear Good People,

   I hope this letter finds you well.  I apologize about last week as I had a bad cough.  I have not been sleeping well with it.  A good opportunity to offer something up!  I did test negative for Covid-19 so I just wanted to make sure I let you know that. With cold/flu/coronavirus season I have been mostly foregoing the sign of peace.  It is not something that you have to do liturgically. I also want to be sensitive with people who are immunocompromised.  It sort of feels out of place at a part of mass where we have just consecrated Eucharist and then we go and shake hands.  Again, just my personal deal.  Totally open to changing. I was surprised in Council Bluffs how many people felt strongly about bringing back the Precious Blood after I was kind of indifferent.  They let me know that!  So, if you have a strong opinion about the sign of peace just let me know.  We can for sure change that.  I hope that makes sense.  I in no way want to deprive you of anything, and you are totally free to offer the sign of peace even if I do not say anything.

   As the people of God we come to the 1st Sunday of Lent.  The 1st Sunday of Lent is the account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.  It is filled with allusions and parallels to the Old Testament, including the story of the people of Israel. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert in Exodus, for example, and Jesus spends 40 days in the desert. As the Israelites were tempted during the Exodus, so too is Jesus tempted.

   Each temptation offers insight into both God and the human condition. Jesus’ rejection of the temptations shows that he will not put God to the test. Grounding himself on the word and authority of Scripture, Jesus rebukes the devil, confident in God’s protection and faithfulness.

   As we start our journey through Lent, our Sunday readings call us to adopt the same confidence that Jesus had in the face of temptation: God’s word alone will suffice; God’s promise of protection can be trusted; God alone is God.            A.M.D.G. ~ Fr. Ross 

February 19, 2023 Bulletin

Dear Good People, 

   I hope this message finds you well as we begin our Lenten journey together beginning on Ash Wednesday, this upcoming Wednesday Feb. 22nd.  We will have mass at 7AM (I am aware of time and will try to get you to work in good shape), then that evening we will have mass at 6:30.  Both of these masses are at St. Mary. I hope you are able to attend one of those masses.  I love Lent.  I always find it a time to get serious about the most important things.  Pope Francis has some concrete suggestions for making this Lent meaningful: 


   2.  DO SOMETHING THAT HURTS                                     7.  FASTING

   3.  DON’T REMAIN INDIFFERENT                                      8.  ALMSGIVING

   4.  PRAY: MAKE OUR HEARTS LIKE YOURS!                   9.  HELP THE POOR  

   5.  TAKE PART IN THE SACRAMENTS                             10.  EVANGELIZE

Here is a link for more details about these 10 suggestions:

            A.M.D.G.    ~ Fr. Ross Parker 

February 12, 2023 Bulletin

Dear Good People,

   I hope this message finds you well.  I am so excited to be with all of you here at St. Mary/Holy Cross.  This is where my mother's side of the family is from (Bondurant) and my grandmother at almost 91 is a parishioner here along with my Uncle Jack Newell.  Just a little background on me.  I am from Indianola and I was ordained in 2013.  My first assignment was teaching 9th grade at St. Albert Catholic School while serving as the associate pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Council Bluffs.  I was then named Pastor of St. Joseph on the east side of Des Moines.  in 2017 I was named Vocation Director as well as Chaplain of the St. Thomas More Center and the Vicar of the Permanent Diaconate.  I will continue as Vocation Director while serving here.  During the last few years, I have served as Canonical Administrator of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Carlisle, and just recently back at Corpus Christi Parish.  I love being a priest and I would say I especially love celebrating the sacraments along with teaching and giving talks to young people.  I appreciate your patience as I try to juggle vocation work along with parish responsibilities, but I am sure we will work through any of those issues.  For now I plan on being at my office in Des Moines on Tuesday and Friday.  The number for me there is 515-237-5050.

   In terms of communication email usually works best.  You can sure call or text me on my cell phone. The problem with that is that I keep a hard calendar and an email helps me to keep track of things better.  You can call me either Fr. Ross or Fr. Parker I have no preference on that.  Some of my interests outside of ministry are exercise (you may see me out walking or running), reading, cooking, watching the Chiefs/Hawkeyes, and hanging out with my family.  Again, I am so honored to be with you.  It feels good to have some stability in my life.  I look forward to growing in virtue and holiness with all of you!            A.M.D.G. ~ Fr. Ross Parker