Category Archives: Message from Fr. Jim

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.
Amen.

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

03-24-2018 – Message from Father Jim

Reflections on Palm Sunday

Today we recall the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. His arrival is accompanied by the excitement of the pilgrims who have come to celebrate the Passover shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Yet we know that it won’t be long before that excitement fades. Already now among the crowd, some Pharisees ask Jesus to tell the people to be quiet, to stop the shouts of praise. Jesus simply replies: “If they were to keep silence, I tell you the very stones would cry out”.

These past weeks of Lent we had the opportunity to renew and strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ. Hopefully the excitement with which we welcomed Jesus into our hearts as we began the journey on Ash Wednesday has not faded. During this time we have united our hearts and minds to His as we made attempts to renew ourselves in body, mind and spirit. We have confronted the sins and temptations that we struggle with and hopefully have made a clear resolution to at least begin to change.

Now, our journey leads us to Holy Week. Again, we must not let the excitement fade. Today, as we cry out “Hosanna to the Son of David”, we are invited to go up to Jerusalem with Jesus to unite ourselves with Him. Jesus’ journey took Him from the exuberance of His entrance into Jerusalem to the suffering and passion that was waiting for Him on Mount Calvary. Jesus accepted the human limitations that were placed on Him. The Second Reading at today’s Mass from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians reminds us that we must have the same attitude of Christ. As we reflect on the Passion, on Jesus’ suffering and death, we are invited to have the same attitude of Christ, the attitude that allowed Him to accept weakness, suffering and defeat. We are invited to become poor, to accept the inner poverty of our own human condition. Jesus emptied Himself. As we journey with Him, let us empty ourselves for it is only when we are empty can God fill us with His loving presence.

I want to extend a special invitation to all parishioners to continue your journey with Jesus Christ by participating in the Holy Week Services. As Christians, the events that we commemorate these next few days tell the story of our faith and give meaning and life to what it is we profess to be true. Please make these days a priority by joining our community of a faith for the continuation of the journey.

May the grace and peace of Christ be with you this Holy Week!
Father Jim Volkert

** Please consider attending Palm Sunday Vespers this afternoon at 4:00 PM. at St. Mary Church. This is a perfect, peaceful way to enter into the solemnity of Holy Week. Join us!

2-18-2018 – Message from Father Jim

Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent

“Come back to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12) This is God’s personal call to each member of the Church. God speaks in the first person: “Come back to me with all you heart.” This is His message every Lent and this is why Lent is such a powerful season. It is in this season more than any other that God speaks to us. He calls. He enters personally into people’s lives. He knocks at people’s hearts. God wants us for Himself. His love for us is very intimate for He knows each of us in the depths of our being. He knows that people cannot be satisfied unless they return and are converted to God alone. How can we return to God and be converted to Him alone? Conversion begins by taking a good look inside of ourselves and placing ourselves in God’s presence. Then our hearts and minds can begin to awaken. Conversion cannot happen in the midst of distraction. Hopefully, God’s holy presence and love, which calls us to come back to Him with all our heart, is the climate of Lent from Ash Wednesday up until the Sacred Triduum – which are the three great feasts of Holy Week: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil.

This holy season can also serve as a wonderful opportunity for us to evangelize. I’m sure we all know someone who is not quite as active in his or her faith as he or she could be. Now would be a perfect time for us to invite them to come back to the Church. It doesn’t matter what one’s past has been because we can always begin anew. It is important for us to remind those who feel alienated from the Church of this.

May the grace and peace of the Season of Lent be with all of you!

God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert

2-11-2018 – Message From Father Jim

“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”
Lent 2018

1) This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we begin our Lenten journey with a mark of ashes on our foreheads and this challenge: Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Perhaps this year our season of Lent will give us an opportunity to work on uniting ourselves with our Lord Jesus and one another. It is my hope that we can all make this our sincere desire as we journey these forty days together. The Catholic Church asks each member of the faithful to preserve the penitential character and purpose of Lent. For this reason:

a) Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and each Friday of Lent;

b) Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, in addition to abstaining from meat, should fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Hence, on those days they should eat only one full meal. Smaller quantities of food may be taken at two other meals but no food should be consumed at other times during those two days. The obligation of fasting ceases with the celebration of one’s 59th birthday.

I would also encourage you to take part in the different opportunities for prayer that are offered in our community. Morning Mass is a wonderful way to start the day expressing our desire to walk closely with the Lord during this season. Masses are celebrated on Mondays and Fridays at St. Mary, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at St. Charles and on Tuesdays at St. Joseph. All weekday Masses begin at 8:30 AM. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held daily Monday through Wednesday in the chapel at St. Mary Parish. Stations of the Cross are prayed on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM at St. Mary and on Fridays at 6:00 PM at St. Charles. The Sacrament of Reconciliation also provides a renewal of faith and extraordinary sense of strength during this season. Confessions are heard on the 1st Saturday of the month at St. Joseph at 4:00 PM, 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month at St. Charles at 4:30 PM on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month at 3:30 PM at St. Mary. There will also be two Communal Reconciliation Services available: Saturday, March 17th at 10:00 AM at St. Charles and Wednesday, March 21st beginning at 7:00 PM at St. Joseph Church. Whatever form of prayer and penance we decide to do this Lent, I hope that we will open our hearts to Jesus’ presence in our midst and unite ourselves to Him and one another even more closely.

2) The Archdiocese has now begun the 2018 Catholic Stewardship Appeal. This past week you should have received a letter from Archbishop Listecki asking for your support to help reach this year’s goal of $7,700,000. Our parishes have a good tradition of being very generous to this most worthy appeal and I am truly grateful to all of you for this. The work and outreach of the Archdiocese continues primarily through the support of the Catholic Stewardship Appeal. Our parishes have benefited greatly in the past from the people and resources available to us through the Central Offices of the Archdiocese. Please be generous as we support the on going mission of the Church, the work of God, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

As we begin our Lenten journey I pray that we may all be strengthened and renewed by His love and care for each one of us. A blessed and grace-filled Lent to all of you!

Father Jim Volkert

02-04-2018- Message from Father Jim

1) I want to offer a word of gratitude to all who participated in last week’s Catholic School’s Week activities. We can all be very proud of our Catholic schools and the efforts that are made to carry out the teaching ministry of the Church. Please continue to support our schools by spreading the news about the good things that are happening here. For all of these blessings, we give thanks!

2) Some people describe the month of February as a difficult month. I have even heard some refer to this month as a “curse”. The holidays are over and the sting of winter is a daily reminder. The “blah” sunless days sometimes have a negative effect on us and on our attitudes. In addition to this, there seems to be an unusually high number of people who are getting bit by the flu bug or suffering from nasty winter colds. The constant changing of world events also can cause friction and tension among families and friends. It seems that we have to ask the Lord for an extra dose of patience and understanding these days. Although there is not much we can do about the weather, and only limited things we can do in terms of any illness at this time, there is a lot we can do to help us stay positive and hopeful that the warmth of the spring season is just around the corner.
God bless you always!

Father Jim Volkert

1-28-2018 – Message from Father Jim

Today is the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. The entire week is one for celebrating the gifts and contributions that Catholic education brings to our community. We are fortunate to have a K-12 Catholic School opportunity for our families. I would like to take this opportunity to offer a word of acknowledgement and gratitude to all of the administration, faculty and staff of our schools who have made a commitment to carrying out a central mission of the Church, educating our young people. To our principals Mrs. Mary MacDonald, Mrs. Loretta Jackson and to Mrs. Bonnie Scholz at Catholic Central goes our sincere appreciation for their leadership. I also want to salute all of our teachers who share so selflessly their time and talents with our students and the support staff at our schools who ensure that all runs smoothly. We are fortunate to have such dedicated people at our schools and we thank God for them.

Finally, I want to offer a word of thanks to all of the parents of our students. Our Catholic schools would not exist without your sincere devotion and commitment. It is incredible to see the many volunteers offering their time in a variety of ways, all for the same purpose: the good of the schools. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to send your children to a Catholic school. May the Lord richly bless and reward you for sharing a most precious gift with your children.

Among the many activities scheduled for this week is a Mass on Wednesday that will be celebrated in thanksgiving for Catholic education at 9:45 AM in the gym at St. Mary’s. Students from all of our schools as well as from St. Joseph Grade School in Big Bend will participate. Please join us in our celebration!

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

1-21-2018 – Message From Father Jim

Tomorrow, Monday, January 22nd is the 45th anniversary of the decision in the Roe vs. Wade case by the Supreme Court, which made abortion legal in our country. In these forty-five years, millions of society’s weakest and most defenseless members’ lives have been destroyed. I think it is important to ask ourselves as Catholics if we do all we can to help eliminate the climate that makes abortion attractive to some women who find themselves pregnant. For example, unmarried mothers need our sympathy, our support and our love. When we withhold this we contribute to the climate that makes abortion possible, and common.

To be Pro-Life people we have to make sure that the child is raised and supported properly. A child can die of neglect or malnutrition after two months of birth just as easily today as a child can be taken from the womb through an abortion. As Pro-Life people we must protect that sanctity of life both in the womb and outside of the womb. This is the type of respect for life that we are called on to demonstrate in our communities, a respect for that most precious gift that our Lord shares so freely with us.

Lord, our God,
You have called us to defend life in all its forms
from the unborn to the elderly in our society.
May we always have the strength and the courage
to speak out against those things that
degrade life in any way.
May we always uphold the fundamental dignity
and equality of every human being.
Amen.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert