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

Helpful info for the Catholic College Student.

Affordable Colleges Online recently shared some information providing Resources & Scholarships for Catholic College Students.  Choosing a School, Finding a Faith Community & Getting Financial Aid

While some Catholic college students have chosen to attend one of the 250 degree-granting Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, plenty of non-Catholic students choose to attend these schools as well. With total enrollment of over 800,000 students, these institutions have a basis in Catholic beliefs, but they also deliver a high-quality education. Catholic students who don’t choose to attend a Catholic university can still find a wealth of community and campus support dedicated to practicing and even strengthening their faith at many of the non-Catholic colleges and universities around the country.

Learn more here: Affordabe Colleges Online College Resource Center

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

1-14-2018 – Message From Father Jim

“Religious Life”
Not too long ago I read an excellent article in a Catholic newspaper that spoke about the need for Religious Vocation promotion in the Church. Perhaps now more than ever we need to encourage the young people of our communities to explore the possibility of serving the Church as a sister, brother or priest. I realize the prospect of becoming a “religious” in the Church is not that appealing today to our young people.

As I look back on my own vocation, I realize that the seed for that vocation was planted at home. When I first thought of the priesthood as a way of life, my family was there to help and strengthen me as I pursued this goal I had set for myself. I could not have done it without my family! I would encourage parents and families to foster a spirit of encouragement for religious vocations at home.

I know many of our young people may shun the idea of this type of life style, but has the invitation ever been made to think about it? Not everyone has a vocation to religious life, and that is okay. However, I think it’s important that we at least bring up the subject. It would be a tragedy if a young person had questions about serving the Church as a priest or sister but forgot about it because no one ever asked them about it. If you know someone who might be thinking about a
religious vocation, today is the day to ask them about it!

Please include in your prayer intentions a petition that more young people will consider the call to a life as a priest, sister or brother.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

1-7-2018- Message From Father Jim

The Feast of Epiphany
1) Today’s feast of Epiphany is also known as the Feast of the Magi or the Feast of the Three Kings (or Three Wise Men). Who were these men? They were foreigners, traveling to a different land in their search for meaning, in their ultimate search for God. Despite their difference, they were welcome. Even Gentiles were welcome to take part in this great moment of time because the Christ Child was sent by God to be the Savior of the whole world. It was because of these three men that many others discovered God. Our bishops have designated this coming week (Jan. 7-13) as National Migration Week. In doing so, our bishops are asking us to reflect on how welcoming we are to the strangers or immigrants in our midst and how open we are to learning from their gifts and talents that they bring to our country. These three wise men were welcomed as brothers and children of God despite the fact that they were strangers to that land.

These three men that we celebrate today are people just like you and I. They are our fellow travelers on the road of life. We continue their legacy of searching and discovering. We have many things that we can learn from each other. We all have something to contribute in our ultimate search for the meaning of life, for the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst. Today’s Feast of Epiphany shows us in the midst of our own searching and questioning that the Three Kings also searched for and discovered Jesus Christ, the meaning and author of life. Today’s feast also shows us that Jesus Christ became human in order to be the Savior of everyone, that one day He would open His arms on the cross to embrace all, that He was the Savior not only of the Jewish people but of all of God’s people. This is certainly a cause for us to rejoice!

2) All three of our churches look beautiful this Christmas! I want to express a word of gratitude to all those who helped decorate St. Joseph, St. Charles and St. Mary churches for the season. I sincerely appreciate the time that was given to help create such beautiful worship spaces. I would also like to recognize all those who worked so hard to make our Christmas liturgies so beautiful. To all of the liturgical ministers, to our choirs and musicians and to all who lent a hand in any way to make our celebrations of Christmas so beautiful, I offer a sincere word of gratitude.

Finally, on behalf of Fr. Carlos and Fr. Gene, I want to offer a sincere word of thanks for the many cards, Christmas treats and gifts that you shared with us this Christmas holiday. We sincerely appreciate your generosity and your kindness!  Wishing you the peace and joy of the New Year,
Fr. Jim Volkert

12-24-2017- Message from Father Jim

Fourth Sunday of Advent
I know some people who are already tired of Christmas. For weeks we have been hearing Christmas carols: on the radio, in shopping centers, in the supermarkets and even over the telephone when we’re put on hold and Christmas decorations have been up since Halloween. We all know the reason for this commercialization of Christmas. It is “good for business”. Many retailers make a good part of their year’s profit in these final weeks of the year. We may say that we dislike the commercialization of Christmas, however, are we aware that it has a Christian origin? Do you know why we give gifts at Christmas? We give gifts to one another at Christmas because it is the time when God gave us the greatest gift of all: His Son.

Even though today is Christmas Eve it is first and foremost the Fourth Sunday of Advent. This morning the Church asks us to reflect on Readings that are very much Advent in character. The central figure in today’s Gospel is our Blessed Mother Mary. We hear that the Angel Gabriel appears to her to tell her that she was chosen by God to become the other of the Savior of the world. As Gabriel explains God’s plan to her regarding the birth of Jesus, Mary listens quietly. Then after some reflection she simply says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Many times during the course of our lives we have asked others to pray for us especially when we are in difficult circumstances, facing some crisis or suffering an illness. Priests receive this request all the time. How fitting it is then to ask, as we Catholics constantly do, the intercession of the saints who are now with God in Heaven. In particular, we can ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother in the more difficult times of life. She never gave up when things may not have been that clear to her and she may not have fully comprehended the events that were unfolding. She is a woman who believed that God could accomplish the impossible. What better preparation could we make for Christmas on this final Advent Sunday than to imitate the trust and fidelity of our Blessed Mother Mary.

Merry Christmas!
Fr. 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

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

A Quick Journey Through the Bible – Fall Bible Study

A Quick Journey Through the Bible

This Bible study looks at the “big picture” of Scripture, the story of salvation from Genesis to the Acts of the Apostles.
Learn how 14 basic books of the Bible fit together to tell the story of God’s relationship with His people.

You are welcome to attend this session even if you have done this Bible study before.

The quick journey includes eight sessions of about 90 minutes each, including a presentation followed by discussion and sharing.

Cost is just $15, which includes workbook and materials. (make checks payable to St. Joseph)
We will meet weekly in the Parish Center. Choose your sessions:

Tuesdays, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. on September 12, 19, 26 and October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Thursdays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. on September 14, 21, 28 and October 5, 12, 19, 26
(plus one additional session on a date to be mutually decided upon)

To register for this Bible study, please download and complete the form below and mail it with payment to:
Lenora Seitz, 7020 Clover Court, Burlington, WI 53105
or put it in an envelope with Lenora’s name on it and place it in the collection basket at Mass.

Please Register no later than Sunday, September 3rd so we can ensure all materials will be available to you on the first day!
Questions? Call Lenora at 262-716-0009

Download Registration Form here: Quick Journey Registration Form