12-10-2017 – Message from Father Jim

On this Second Sunday of Advent Isaiah presents to us in the First Reading a tender image of God’s love, care and protection for each one of us. Isaiah uses one image that is familiar to us, a Good Shepherd. He writes: “Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.” In these difficult times perhaps now more than ever we need to hang onto that image of God who watches over and protects us.

Many people in society continue to struggle – people without work, people without shelter, people without food or clothing. The St. Vincent de Paul Society and Love Inc. are busier than ever trying to assist those in need and at times struggles to keep up with the demand for help. With all of this going on, plus the continued violence and threats of terrorist activity in our world, we need the comfort and security of the Good Shepherd now more than ever. As we continue on the Advent road to the celebration of Christmas let us place our cares and concerns in the hands of our Lord and never stop dreaming of the perfect society that the Prophet Isaiah describes: a land where all will be whole and enjoy the fullness of health, a land where peace will reign and land of beauty and tranquility. This is the fullness of the kingdom that we long for and that we ponder these quiet days of Advent.

Please plan on attending the Advent Communal Reconciliation Service that will be held this Tuesday, December 12th beginning at 7:00 PM at St. Mary Church.  Following a brief Word Service, there will be the opportunity for individual confessions. This is an ideal way to prepare for the coming of the Lord into our lives in a new and deeper way this Christmas!

Peace to you all!
Fr. Jim Volkert

12-3-2017- Message From Father Jim

Today marks the beginning of the Advent season. I pray that this time will be a graced period for each of us as we prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas.

Perhaps some of you are asking yourselves what you might do as an “extra” for the Advent season. I would like to suggest weekday Mass. Masses are celebrated on Mondays and Fridays at 8:30 AM at St. Mary’s, at St. Charles Parish on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 AM, and at St. Joseph on Tuesdays at 8:30 AM. Starting your day with the celebration of the Eucharist and reception of Holy Communion may be just what you’re looking for. Also, I invite you to consider attending adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Good Shepherd Chapel at St. Mary’s Monday through Wednesday 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM. With the busy season swirling around us, spending some golden moments of silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament is priceless.

An Advent Communal Reconciliation Service will be held on Tuesday, December 12th beginning at 7:00 PM at St. Mary  Parish. This service provides a short prayer service and then an opportunity for the individual reception of the sacrament of reconciliation.

Realizing that the pace of every day life picks up at this time of the year it is my hope that all of us will take time to fittingly prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christmas by quietly reflecting on the meaning and gifts of the Advent Season.

May the grace and patience of Advent be with all of you!
Father Jim Volkert

11-26-2017- Message from Father Jim

Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

Today we celebrate the Solemnity Jesus Christ the King. In a day when political leaders are not always morally or ethically upstanding, as Christians, we take great pride in our celebration today of a King who is what He says He is. In Jesus Christ the King we have no false perceptions, no false images, no illusions – Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the King is of an eternal and universal Kingdom, a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace. Today we celebrate a King who became like us, in all things but sin, so that He could love us and serve us. “The Son of Man,” Jesus said, “did not come to be served, He came to serve and to give His life to redeem many people.” Jesus humbled Himself to share in our humanity. Jesus learned firsthand what it is like to rub elbows with the poor and the outcast. He knew and understood what it meant to be poor, to be treated badly, and to be rejected by those who He loved. Jesus died at the hands of His own subjects, but rose from the dead and now reigns as King of heaven and earth. This is the great mystery that we rejoice in today. We celebrate the fact that Jesus understands our situation in life. He became one of us, and experienced what we often experience. He did more; He suffered and on Good Friday He died for us. This is the type of King that Jesus is. We share in His victory over sin and death because of the Father’s great love for each one of us. If the King of the universe died for us, imperfect, flawed, sinful people, what should we do for Him in return? We should become His messengers to a needy world. We should become His loyal subjects and continue the work He began. We should make His Kingdom known and help it to flourish in every corner of the world. We should do what we can through prayer and good works to bring to the world His Kingdom of justice, His Kingdom of Love and His Kingdom of Peace.
To Jesus Christ, our Lord and King, be praise and glory now and forever!

God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert

11-19-2017-Message from Father Jim

1) This Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. As we pause to reflect on the many gifts that we have been given, it would be most appropriate to begin Thanksgiving Day with the celebration of the Mass. Please consider joining us for Mass at 8:00 AM at St. Charles Church in order that we can give thanks to God who makes all things possible. At this Mass a collection will be taken up to be shared with the local St. Vincent de Paul Society to help them continue the tremendous work they do to assist those who are truly in need.

It is my hope that this Thanksgiving Day we can say “Thank You” to those people who always seem to be around just when we need them. Those people who do so much for us and never seem to want anything in return. I hope that we can express our gratitude to those people who mean so much to us. Please allow me to offer a word of thanks to all of you for your love and dedication to St. Charles, St. Joseph and St. Mary Parishes. On this Thanksgiving holiday I find myself particularly grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of this faith community.

2) I want to offer a very special word of recognition to our high school students who are part of Life Teen. This year they raised over $21,000 for the Transitional Living Center, which is a local homeless shelter. This is an incredible achievement and definitely and expression of their putting the Gospel in action. I was privileged to celebrate Mass with those involved the evening they were going to spend outside sleeping in cardboard boxes. It was a beautiful experience and I was moved by our young people’s commitment to learning more about their Catholic faith and the power they have to witness to it. We can all be very proud of them!

3) Along with remembering our faithful departed in particular during the month of November let us also remember all of those service men and women who protect the right to freedom around the world. May the Lord graciously hear our prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Father Jim Volkert

Heart for Africa Ornaments to benefit Summer Mission Trips

The Mission groups will be selling Heart for Africa Ornaments made by the Khutsala Artisans of Swaziland.

Ornaments available are the Snowy Star, Red Bell, Multi-colored Tree, Purple Ornament, and Snowy White Angel.

Each ornament sells for $20.00

Khutsala Artisans is a HFA initiative designed to provide training and FAIR TRADE employment to local Swazi people.  They currently employ 100+ Swazi women and men, training them in the art of jewelry making, bead craft, pottery and woodworking.

In a country where the unemployment rate can reach 70% their desire is to provide HOPE and help the people of this nation break the cycle of poverty and provide for their families.  $12.00 of each ornament sold goes to the care and education of the orphaned and vulnerable children that HFA has rescued and now live at Project Canaan.

The profit from every 25 ornaments sold provides one orphan with food, shelter, care, education, and love for an entire month.

The remaining $8.00 of each ornament sold will help defray the cost of our Middle School and Adult Mission Trips scheduled for June 2018.

The ornaments make great gifts for teachers, secret santa gifts, friends and family!

Contact a Mission Trip participate or call Rita at 262-763-2050 to purchase today.

2018 Middle School Mission Trip


In Just5Days, you will make a real difference.
In Just5Days, you will experience your Catholic faith in new ways.
In Just5Days, you’ll make friends near and far. 

The Middle School Mission Trip will be traveling to Appleton WI from June 25th-29th for their annual mission trip.

During the week  they will have a chance to participate in one of the three types of service:

  • Hands to the Ground – may include yard work, planting, weeding, gardening, clean-up and small repairs.
  • Hands in Helpful Play – may include day camp, Vacation Bible Camp, daycare, helping at children’s and/or family centers, working with disabled children or at orphanages or children’s homes.
  • Hands in Outreach – may include cooking and serving meals in soup kitchens and shelters, working with food banks and clothing shops, visiting and helping those in retirement homes.

The cost of the trip is $400 which includes food, lodging, planned activities and transportation to and from Appleton.  We hope to raise a large portion of the cost through various fundraisers.

For more information download the information form here:  [2018-MS Mission Info] or contact Rita at 262-763-2050.

Please complete and submit registration form and $50 deposit by December 31, 2017. Download the registration form here: [2018-MS Mission App]  Make check payable to St. Joseph’s Church with JUST 5 DAYS in the memo.  Send form and payment to:

St. Joseph’s Church
Rita VanSchnyndel/MS Mission Trip
PO Box 60, Lyons, WI 53148

2018 Dominican Republic Adult Mission Trip

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love”
St. Teresa of Calcutta

2018 Dominican Republic Adult Mission Trip is scheduled for the week of June 2nd – June 9th, 2018.

Organized by Cross Catholic we will depart from O’Hare Airport and arrive in Santo Domingo with a transfer in Miami.

We will be either building a home for a family or working on safe water ways for the town.  This will depend on which is the greatest need at the time of our arrival.

Cost of the trip is $650 + Airfare $625 which is about $1300 per person.  The $650 includes transportation, lodging and meals once we arrive in the DR.  We will be doing fundraising to help offset some of the cost.  Our main goal of fundraising is to raise the funds for our project for this trip and possible future trips.

Registration forms are available by downloading here [2018-adult mission app]

And you must sign a waiver which can also be downloaded [2018-adult mission waiver]

A deposit of $150 by November 30 is required to hold your spot.

For more information download the letter from Rita dated August 23, 2017 [2018-adult mission info]


11-5-2017- Message From Father Jim

November – A month to remember our deceased loved ones

1) At this time of the year as we watch the leaves fall from the trees and the branches become more barren each day we are reminded that winter is not too far off. Many of the plants that were so beautiful during the summer months have now gone in for their winter’s nap. It is appropriate that we reflect on death and new life during the month of November because there are signs of it all around us.

What will happen when we die? Is death simply the end, like blowing out a candle? If there is life after death, what is it like? Questions such as these are on the minds of many people these days. This is nothing new. Jesus was asked many times during the course of His earthly life about the mystery of death and resurrection. In response He often used examples and stories to help His listeners understand. He used the example of a seed to explain that death is like a seed losing its outward shell in order to let what is inside grow. In the same way, we too must break out of our shells, (our bodies) in order to let what is inside (our souls) grow. In all of Jesus’ teaching this much is certain about life after death: it is not a prolonging or continuing of our present existence, but something totally new, and it is based not on wishful thinking but on the very nature of God Himself. Everything beyond this remains a mystery. The resurrection life lies so far outside our experience that it can be described only in symbols and images. Our task is to prepare for that great encounter and homecoming between God and us, not by worrying about the details but by living to the fullest extent each day.

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

2) Today we are kicking off our annual Stewardship renewal. I’m asking you to please consider how you might help our parishes/schools as a volunteer. It takes the commitment of many people to be able to offer the programs and outreach, and most importantly our beautiful worship opportunities. Please take the time to reflect on what you can offer to your parish and/or school and return the Time and Talent survey form to your parish office or in the weekend collection basket. We all have been blessed so greatly by Almighty God – “what return can we make for all the goodness He has shown to us?” The next three weekends we will be acknowledging and offer a blessing for all who volunteer in the different areas of parish and school life. Please pray for the success of our efforts.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

10-29-2017- Message from Father Jim

Time and Talent Commitment

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday it is appropriate that we call to mind the many people and things in our lives that we are grateful for. So many times we take people or things for granted and we do not stop to realize what life would be like without them. Hopefully, your parish is one of those things that you find yourself grateful for.

You will soon be receiving in the mail a Time and Talent Survey. In the past each parish had a separate commitment form that was used. For the first time the commitment form will apply to all three parishes. You will see all of the different areas that our parishes need volunteers. It is overwhelming how much happens here!

Please take the time to reflect on what you can offer to your parish and return the pledge form to the parish office or in the weekend collection basket. We all have been blessed so greatly by Almighty God – “what return can we make for all the goodness He has shown to us?” Please pray for the success of our efforts.

God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert