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.

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

10-15-2017 – Message from Father Jim

You’re invited to join in a Tri-Parish Healing Mass

         “Are there any who are sick among you?  Let them send for the priests of the Church, 
and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

There has been some confusion over the years in regards to what many would call the “last Sacrament of the Church”.  It was very common at the moment of death to call for the priest to administer the Last Rites of the Church.  It was at this time that the priest would offer the dying Catholic a last opportunity for absolution, anointing and Viaticum (Holy Communion).  It wasn’t until the Second Vatican Council that this Sacrament was expanded into the understanding we have today.  It is part of our human nature that from time to time we are all in need of healing.  This healing may be in the form of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual healing.  Although it is still important to offer the Anointing of the Sick  to those who are dying, it is also important to offer this Sacrament to those who may not be facing death but nonetheless are still struggling with illness or the frailties of advanced age.  These illnesses may be physical, emotional or spiritual.

Our parishes will offer a Healing Mass on Sunday, October 29th – 1:30 P.M. at St. Joseph Parish Center (this will accommodate those for whom getting in the church is difficult).   This Mass will fulfill your Sunday obligation.  As Catholics we believe that healing occurs during all Masses.  God wants to heal us and will heal though the powerful gift given to us by the Holy Spirit.  This is one of God’s gifts to his Church.  During a Healing Mass we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts in order that a healing may take place.  In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, special prayers will be offered for those in need of any type of healing.

There will be an informal reception with refreshments served immediately following Mass.

For more information, please call Mary Ann Johnson (262) 812-7547

10-8-2017 – Message from Steve Weller

From Your Seminarian

Thank you for welcoming me to your parish community in these past weeks. I look forward to serving and learning from you these next years. Since I am new here, I thought I would share about myself. I grew up in Wittenberg, WI which is a little town between Green Bay and Wausau. My parents raised me and my three brothers in a loving home. I attended the public high school in town, and it was in my high school years that I first thought of priesthood. God drew me to seminary with a strong desire, and I applied for seminary for the Diocese of La Crosse in my senior year.

Seminary usually takes about eight years before ordination: four for philosophy in college and four for theology at a graduate level. The seminary accepted my application in my senior year, and that year I started at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, MN. In May of this year I graduated from there with degrees in Philosophy and Classical Languages. I continue to sense God’s call to the priesthood and now continue that pursuit in theology school at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, WI. The seminary is helping cultivate me into a holy and loving priest. I am learning pastoral wisdom from Fr. Jim and the parish, learning theology at school, and growing deeper in prayer at the seminary. After ordination, I will serve in the Diocese of La Crosse.

I enjoy reading and running. I love to dance, though most people would not expect it: mostly pop n lock. After teaching several classes and giving talks in seminars, I have grown to love teaching the Faith. Again, thank you for welcoming me, and I look forward to getting to know you and your community.

Steven Weller

10/1/2017 – Message from Father Jim

October – Mary’s Month

1) October (along with the month of May) has traditionally been a month to honor our Blessed Mother in a special way. This coming Saturday, October 7th, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This prayer is at the heart of our Catholic faith because it helps us meditate on the Joyful Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries, 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 like to suggest that we make an extra effort this month to pray the rosary reflecting on these beautiful mysteries of our faith. Praying the rosary every day is a wonderful chance not only to meditate on these mysteries but also brings some peaceful moments during the course of a busy day.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

2) Today is also Respect Life Sunday. Each year our country’s bishops ask us to set a Sunday aside to address the issues regarding our respect for life. This is done to remind us of the many forms of violence in our society that are a threat to life: disrespect for the lives and rights of elderly people, the poor, prisoners – and especially the violence of this year that will destroy the lives of a million and a half of society’s weakest and most defenseless members: the unborn. It is important for us not to forget those who have no choice or voice when it comes to their life. Today is an appropriate day for us to reflect on what it is we are doing as Catholics to promote a greater respect for life.

As Pro-Life people we must protect that sanctity of life both in the womb and outside of the womb. A Pro-Life stance has to be a stance that protects the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb. 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!
Fr. Jim Volkert

9-23-2017 – Message From Father Jim

Welcome Brother Bernard Aberion

Our Tri-Parish Community has been asked by Sacred Heart Seminary in Milwaukee to assist Br. Bernard 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 Brother Bernard to our communities and look forward to hearing him share the Word of God with us. Below is his introduction.

I am Bro. Bernard Aberion, SMP…. a Filipino and a perpetually professed brother of a religious contemplative community based at Missouri…Society of Our Mother of Peace. It was founded by an American Carmelite priest in 1967 and currently we have houses in USA, Philippines, and Nigeria. We are a community of priests, brothers, sisters and lay members whose charism is focused on contemplative prayer and evangelization. I joined this community in 2012 after more than three decades of professional and business life. I am currently studying for the priesthood at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Hales Corners, Wisconsin. I was ordained to the transitional diaconate last May 20, 2017 by Bishop Edward Rice of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Gerardieu. This is my last year of theological studies under the late vocation program of said seminary. My deacon practicum assignment with the parish of St. Mary’s Immaculate Concepcion, St. Joseph and St Charles parishes at Burlington, Wisconsin will be most beneficial to my formation for the priestly ministry.

9-17-2017- 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 Grade School Religious Education Programs at St. Charles, St. Joseph and St. Mary. I am especially grateful to our Directors of Religious Education at our parishes, as well as to all those involved in the new 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.

7-23-2017- Message From Father Jim

“The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness.”

These words from our Second Reading at today’s Mass from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans perhaps take on a deeper meaning for us having gone through some hard times. The flooding and aftermath have tested us in ways that perhaps we have not been tested for awhile. The devastation that our communities endured is a reminder to us that in many ways we are still vulnerable people. All of the advances in technology and the sciences cannot spare us from natural disasters. Although our parishes had some damage we were blessed compared to others. The worst damage was at St. Joseph where the Parish Center basement had quite a bit of water in it.

It is at times like these that we turn to God for strength, direction and peace. We also turn to our community: our parishes and our brothers and sisters in the larger community. It is here that we also receive strength and support. I am very heartened by the way our communities came together in many different ways to offer assistance to those in need. The offers to make and serve meals, share available electricity, clean basements and other affected areas, share homes and kitchens, as well as willingness to help out in any way possible demonstrated the generosity and compassion of our communities. Clearly, the teaching of Jesus was evident: What you do for the least one of mine, you do for me.

Tomorrow (July 24) is the 40th Anniversary of the tragic fire at St. Mary’s. For those of you who were living here at that time I’m sure it is a day you remember well. This was another time when our community rallied during a horrific event. From this awful event also came God’s assured blessings and strength.

At times one is tempted to begin to lose hope. Yet, St. Paul reminds us in today’s Reading that both in good times and in difficult times we should never lose hope. Rather, we should be assured of the presence of the Spirit to inspire and guide us. During those times when we feel overwhelmed by the events that take place all around us we are challenged to have hope in the Lord’s presence in our lives, hope in His promise to never leave us alone. We also get a sense of hope in the way that many good people have responded to the cries of those in need.

Like it or not, we encounter difficult times during the course of our lives. We must not lose hope! Rather, we should be inspired and strengthened by the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives and in doing so become a source of hope for those around us.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert