Category Archives: Prayer & Worship

9-23-2018- Welcome Deacon Michael Leiker

Our Tri-Parish Community has been asked by Sacred Heart Seminary in Milwaukee to assist Deacon Mike as he prepares for ordination to the priesthood next spring. He will be at our parishes on various weekends to preach the homily at the Masses. Afterward, a group of parishioners will offer feedback and suggestions to him. We welcome Deacon Mike to our communities and look forward to hearing him share the Word of God with us. Below is his introduction.

Deacon Michael (Mike) Leiker, is a Transitional Deacon for the Diocese of Salina (KS) studying at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. He is in his final year and will be ordained to the priesthood on June 1st. Michael is the youngest of seven (4 sisters and 2 brothers) with the next youngest 10 years older. Prior to joining the seminary, he completed his bachelors and master’s degrees in exercise science. He then taught for a year (2000-2001) at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Michael then moved to the University of South Dakota, where he completed a Doctorate in Adult and Higher Education and Administration, with emphasis in curriculum development and exercise science. During the years in Tennessee Michael started a small business (Ticker Timing) where he traveled the country timing and scoring track and field meets. In 2003, he joined another company (Flash Results), who works major events around country, including NCAA Championships, US Championships, and Olympic Trials. In 2006, he began working as a faculty member for Pittsburg State University (KS) and reduced the amount of track events he worked. In 2012, a colleague reintroduced Michael to the practice of the Catholic faith. In the spring of 2014 Michael applied for the seminary and began studies that fall.

Michael enjoys outdoor activities, sporting events, cooking and trying out new restaurants with friends. He also enjoys family get togethers when he is back home.

9-16-2018 – Message From Father Jim

Today the Church commemorates Catechetical Sunday. This is a day set aside to honor all those in our midst who are catechists or someone who teaches the faith. I want to salute all of the catechists who teach at St. Charles Grade School, St. Mary Grade School, and our Preschools, as well as our Tri-Parish Grade School Religious Education Programs. I am especially grateful to our Directors of Religious Education at our parishes, as well as to all those involved in the Family Life Religious Education Program. I would also like to express my appreciation to the teachers, staff and administration at Catholic Central High School. Also, I would like to acknowledge those who facilitate our R.C.I.A. programs, which prepare people to become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. All of these folks spend countless hours teaching our children and adults about the faith.

Unfortunately, sometimes we take these people for granted and just assume there will always be someone there to teach those who want to learn the faith whenever we need them. On behalf of all the parishioners of St. Joseph Parish, St. Charles Parish and St. Mary Parish, I want to say “THANK YOU” to our catechists and teachers for the time and devotion they give to our Church. May God continue to bless and reward them for sharing their faith, time and talent with our community.

9-9-2018 – Message From Father Jim

It is with a great sense of pride that I offer on behalf of our Tri-Parish Community our sincere congratulations and best wishes to Deacon Anton Nickolai and his family. Yesterday’s Ordination Mass was a beautiful celebration of God’s call to ministry in the Church. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work together with Deacon Anton and for his opportunity to enhance our parishes with his service as a deacon. In the very near future Deacon Anton will begin presiding at baptisms and wedding services as well as preaching on a regular basis at our Sunday liturgies. I want to also offer my appreciation to Mrs. Suzanne Nickolai and to their daughters for the sacrifices they have made to allow Deacon Anton to pursue his call to ministry. We pray that our Almighty Father may continue to bless and watch over Anton, his family and our parishes.

Congratulations Deacon Anton Nickolai!

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

8-19-2018 – Message from Father Jim

Today we get a very keen look at the kind of faith Jesus invites us to have when He says in today’s Gospel: “I am the Living Bread come down from Heaven… My flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks by blood live in me, and I live in him.” Each time we receive Holy Communion we have an opportunity to give witness to our faith in these words of Jesus. Hearing today’s Gospel might be a good time for us to reflect on our attitude toward the power of the Eucharist to transform our lives. We receive Holy Communion because we are supposed to be changed by it. The Eucharist is given to us to have an effect in our lives. The celebration of the Mass is the center of all our prayers in the Church. It is the most important thing we do as Christians. But do we always see it this way?

If our reception of Holy Communion seems to be lacking something, maybe it’s because we have allowed it to become routine in our lives. Maybe it’s because we have allowed it to become an event that we “attend” and don’t allow ourselves to become involved in or transformed by it. We can begin to answer these questions by thinking about how prayerful we are before and after receiving Communion. What goes through our mind and heart before and after receiving the Body of Christ? Do we speak to Jesus as a friend? Do we give Him thanks, ask His forgiveness, and talk to Him about our problems? Many people go through life without any knowledge of this incredible gift. An even greater tragedy is for people to know and understand this gift and not to appreciate it; people who have made receiving Holy Communion a lifeless routine. I always look forward to First Holy Communion Day at our parishes. It is so gratifying to see the excitement on the children’s faces and the joy they radiate realizing that for the first time they will receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. I always challenge those at these Masses to recapture the excitement and joy of the children.

Today we come to be fed at the Lord’s Table with this tremendous gift of the Eucharist. May our words and actions today reflect our appreciation for this tremendous gift.

God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert

Fiftieth Anniversary on the Papal Encyclical Humanae Vitae

Fiftieth Anniversary on the Papal Encyclical Humanae Vitae

The Heart of Marriage … “Self Gift”

Humanae Vitae (HV) is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI on July 25, 1968 to reaffirm the orthodox teaching of the Catholic Church on married love, responsible parenthood and the continued rejection of unnatural forms of birth control and abortion. It affirmed traditional Church moral teaching on the sanctity of life and the procreative and unitive nature of conjugal relations. Pope Paul VI prophesied in this encyclical about the consequences of dissenting from the Church’s teachings on martial love:

Infidelity and moral decline: He predicted that the widespread use of contraception would “lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”

Loss of respect for women: Paul VI argued that “the man” will lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium” and will come to “the point of considering her a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

Abuse of power: The Holy Father saw that the widespread use of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon…in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.”

Unlimited dominion: He warned that contraception would lead man to think he had unlimited dominion over his own body.

In summary, Pope Paul VI states that marital relations are much more than a union of two people. They constitute a union of the loving couple with a loving God, in which a new person can be created, and upon which God completes the creation by adding the soul. For this reason, Pope Paul VI says right in the first sentence of HV that the transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. This is a divine partnership that takes its origin from God, who is love.

(From the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis)

7-15-2018- Message from Father Jim

“A little bit of heaven!”

Last Sunday’s Mass in Echo Park was a very moving and memorable celebration. What a beautiful expression of our faith! It was wonderful to have hundreds of us gather to celebrate the Eucharist. The presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit was definitely apparent. The best description was shared with me by a woman when she said: “This was a little bit of heaven!”

I want to express my gratitude to the many folks who helped make this experience the great success it was. To the committee formed to plan the event, I am most grateful. To our choirs, musicians, Eucharistic ministers, greeters, ushers, readers, servers and to my brother priests – thank you! Also, to all of the folks who arrived very early to set-up the altar area, choir risers and the tremendous sound system – thank you!

Judging from all of the positive comments I’ve heard this experience was a renewal of faith for many. What more could one ask for?

God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert

5-6-2018- Message from Father Jim

May – Mary’s Month

1) The month of May has traditionally been a month to honor our Blessed Mother in a particular way. This is a perfect time to put a little extra effort into praying the rosary. This prayer is at the heart of our Catholic faith because it helps us meditate on the Joyful Mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries in the lives of Jesus and Mary. The rosary reminds us that Mary is closely associated as co-worker with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power. She loves and cares for us as Mother. I would encourage all of us to take the time this month to pray the rosary, perhaps daily, reflecting on these beautiful mysteries of our faith. Let us together ask the Blessed Mother to pray for our parishes as we face the future.
Our Lady, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!

2) Last weekend and this weekend we celebrate the reception of First Holy Communion at our parishes. This is a very special day for our boys and girls and their families. Please remember them in your prayers. Perhaps we could also think back to the day of our own First Holy Communion and offer a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the tremendous gift that the Holy Eucharist has been to us over the years.

3) This week Monday through Wednesday all of the priests in the Archdiocese will once again participate in the Annual Spring Assembly held in Elkhart Lake. These three days provide an opportunity for the priests to gather with Archbishop Listecki for meetings, prayer and socializing. Please keep Fr. Carlos and I, as well as our brother priests in your prayers asking the Holy Spirit to guide and inspire us during these days.

God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert

Message from John Ivan, NEW Music Director

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am overjoyed with excitement to humbly serve as Director of Music Ministries at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. St. Joseph’s is noticeably an influential spiritual community that fosters God’s grace with an “all are welcome”, friendly, loving, and Christ-centered mission. Music has the wondrous capacity to stimulate the emotions, unify the Body of Christ, be a source of spiritual renewal, and prepare our hearts and minds to hear the Word. It has the wondrous capacity to excite, console, cheer, tug at the heartstrings, and simply take our breath away! I am truly honored for the opportunity to serve God with such a fantastic church family and body of believers at St. Joseph’s!

I served as music director at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lake Geneva for 23 years. God stirred my heart early last year to focus on family after the birth of my daughter, Olivia. However, serving Him completes me thus I quickly felt an emptiness and found my way to you!

I received a Master’s of Music in Collaborative Piano from UW-Milwaukee in 2007. I sought this particular degree to fortify my passion to serve in music ministry. I am eager to share my gifts and immerse myself at St. Joseph’s. I fervently pray to get you involved in new and exciting ways and discover meaningful ways to nurture and advance the music ministry.

I am immeasurably blessed with a 22-month-old daughter, Olivia! Besides God and music, she is the passion in my life. In my spare time, I enjoy watching the Cubs, spending time outdoors in God’s beautiful country, exercising, studying the Word, and spending time with my family and friends. I grew up in Twin Lakes, lived in Kenosha for 14 years, then found my way back to the Burlington area in 2016.

In Him,
John Ivan

4-8-2018 – Message from Father Jim

I want to offer a very special word of thanks to all who made our Holy Week and Easter services very beautiful. I want to in particular thank our musicians and singers who prepared for these holy days by spending countless hours rehearsing. Thanks, also, to those who gave their time to help decorate and clean the church for these days. I am grateful for these folks as well, and for the effort given to provide a beautiful worship space. On behalf of all the parishioners of St. Joseph, St. Charles and St. Mary, I want these folks to know how much we truly appreciate the sharing of their time and talent with us.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday when we give thanks to our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for His abundant mercy and forgiveness He offers us through His holy sacrifice on the cross, we also ponder today’s Gospel depicting St. Thomas, the doubter. These days we must have a strong faith in order to give witness to others what a difference our faith does make in our lives. St. Thomas offers us a wonderful phrase that we, too, can repeat when we become aware of the Lord’s presence in our midst: “My Lord and my God”. I offer the following prayer for our meditation:

Dear St. Thomas,
you were once slow in believing that Christ had gloriously risen;
but later, because you had seen Him, you exclaimed:
“My Lord and my God!”
But your love for Him was always great and it led you to give up your life for Him.
Pray for us that we may grieve our sins which were the cause of Christ’s suffering.
Help us to spend ourselves in His service and so earn the title of “blessed”
which Jesus applied to those who would believe in Him without seeing Him.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

4-1-2018 – Message from Father Jim

The Lord is risen from tomb….Alleluia, Alleluia!

These past couple of months we have walked closely with our Lord Jesus through His temptations and fasting in the desert, through His suffering, passion and death, and now we are united with Him in the glory of His resurrection. I hope that this Lent of 2018 proved to be spiritually uplifting for all of our parishioners. As we now enter into the joy of the Easter Season, with heart and mind renewed may the same faith that allowed us to unite ourselves with Christ and one another during Lent, help us to celebrate the joy of the Lord’s resurrection with the confidence that we, too, will share in that gift one day.

I want to offer a very special word of thanks to all who made our Holy Week and
Easter services very beautiful. I want to in particular thank our musicians and singers who prepared for these holy days by spending countless hours rehearsing. Thanks, also, to those who gave their time to help decorate and clean the church for these days. I am grateful for these folks as well, and for the effort given to provide a beautiful worship space. On behalf of all the parishioners of St. Joseph, St. Charles and St. Mary, I want these folks to know how much we truly appreciate the sharing of their time and talent with us.

I also want to offer a word of CONGRATULATIONS to the young people of our parishes who were recently confirmed. It was a privilege to welcome Auxiliary Bishop Jeff Haines to our community. I pray that the gift of the Holy Spirit that these students received will continue to grow stronger each day of their lives giving them the strength to live out their faith and be good examples to those who will follow.

On behalf of Fr. Carlos and Fr. Gene, I want to wish all of you a very blessed and Happy Easter!
Father Jim Volkert