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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

2017-06-18-Message from Father Jim

Cardinal John Henry Neumann once said, “Many an excellent father is tempted to forget that the best offering he can make his children is the gift of himself.” Those words ring so true for us today as we honor our FATHERS. Because it can be so easy to take people for granted, I think it’s a great tradition that our country has of setting aside a day each year when we stop and think about how much our fathers mean to us. Sometimes we don’t always express our appreciation for the many “unseen” things our fathers do. Fathers have a special way of demonstrating and sharing their love and support, their carefulness and gentleness, their energies and enthusiasm. Let today be the day we tell our Fathers how much they mean to us. Let us thank them for the way in which they touch our lives. And most especially, may the Lord continue to bless them and give them many good years filled with good health, much happiness and wonderful memories that we will cherish for years to come.

Today we also thank God for all of our deceased Fathers. May we show our love and appreciation for the gift of Fatherhood they shared with us. May they enjoy their great reward in heaven for helping us become the people we are today.

Happy Father’s Day!

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

03-19-2017 – Message From Father Jim

Reflections on the Third Sunday of Lent

In today’s Gospel passage about the woman at the well Jesus demonstrates His compassion and understanding in dealing with a person who struggles with sin. Because of this encounter with Jesus the Samaritan woman’s life was changed forever. I think it is important for us to note what the Samaritan woman did after her encounter with Jesus at the well. The Gospel says, “The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, ‘Come see a man who told me everything I have done.’” The Gospel adds that the people left the town and went to meet Jesus. With a great deal of excitement and a newfound faith in her heart the woman spreads the good news about Jesus Christ.

This is a tremendous example for us to follow. We, too, should go and spread the word about our life in Jesus Christ the way the Samaritan woman did. We, too, should share with others what a difference our faith in Jesus Christ makes in our lives. We, too, should go off and share the Good News of Jesus with others. How can we do this? Last year’s Official Catholic Directory lists the population of Roman Catholics in the United States at 70 million people. If the statistics are correct roughly 15 million of these folks are inactive. In an average sized parish (about 1200 families) that translates into about 400 registered families who are not practicing their faith. These numbers are important for us to reflect on. Again, if the statistics are correct, two-thirds of all Catholics who eventually return to the Church do so because a friend or relative invited them to return.

Here is where our evangelization work lies. I’m sure we all know inactive Catholics who, through our Lenten sacrifices, examples and loving invitation, might find their way back to the Church again. All it takes is our desire to share the gift of our faith with others. This Lent we could do no better than to reach out to someone who may not yet know the joy and satisfaction of living a life of faith in the Roman Catholic Church.

May the grace and peace of the holy season be with all of you!
Fr. Jim Volkert

02-05-2017 – 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

2017-01-15- Message from Father Jim

How do we know God’s will?

Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what God is asking of us. Wouldn’t it be so much easier for God to simply give us a blueprint at the beginning of our lives and say, “Here is what I want you to do with your life?” If God had done that to each of us, it certainly would eliminate the guess work we do from time to time.

The fact of the matter is, however, that God does not give us a simple blueprint to follow. Instead He makes His will for us known in a variety of ways. At times these ways are difficult to discover. Discerning God’s will for us must involve prayer and patience. Attempting to understand which path we are being asked to walk down may be frustrating. This is why God invites us to take time out of our day to spend quietly with Him. It is during these encounters with God that He gently reveals His will for us. It is important to be silent at times in conversations with God instead of us doing all of the asking, or demanding.

Also, let us never underestimate the power of God working through other people. Sometimes it is through these folks that God reveals His will to us. One person’s advice or comment may in fact be the answer or direction we have been searching for and asking God to show us.
I offer this prayer as a help to all of us as we continue to ask each day: “How do we know God’s will?”

Most Holy Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
our first beginning and our last end,
you have made us in accord with your own likeness.
Grant that all the thought of our minds, all the words of our tongues,
all the affections of our hearts, and all the actions of our being may always
be conformed to your holy will.
Help us Lord to know and understand your most holy will for each of us.
Amen.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert