Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h
Deacon Doyle Schulz
A Life of Dedicated Service
ooking back, Deacon Doyle Schulz sees that God was speaking to his heart about the diaconate ever since he was a child. In fact, God spoke to him through others, even though they weren’t exactly on the mark. “As deacons, we are often asked what brought us to the decision to dedicate our lives to the service of others,” Deacon Schulz says. “When I was a student at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Moorhead, Minn., we had a pastor who would put the names of the boys he thought could become priests in the tabernacle, and he put mine. Well, he was a little off, but I believe God did call me to the diaconate in the end.” Deacon Doyle Schulz lives out his call to ministry as a faithful husband, Over time, God’s will was made father and grandfather. He and his clearer to Doyle, and His omniscient wife, Pat, have three children and eight designs became very evident. grandchildren. “We are all called in different ways,” Deacon Schulz says. “For me, it was when I was working with the Highway Patrol and was always being asked to lead the prayers. A friend of mine on the patrol, named Don Pulaski, knew I was searching for something to do when I retired, and he suggested that I look at the diaconate. With Fr. Ed Wehner as
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Inside August 2020
Understanding God’s Gift of Time
4-5 Leading the Little Ones: An Inside Look at Our Faith Formation Program Volunteers 6 Gearing Up for Our Annual Stewardship Renewal 7 Meet Parishioner Joyce Ulmer A Rewarding Life of Dedicated Stewardship
Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h
Deacon Doyle Schulz
continued from front cover
my spiritual director, I was soon accepted into the program.” Now as a deacon, he is truly grateful for the opportunities he has to serve our parish family. “My responsibility is to serve the people of the parish in whatever capacity they need me to,” he says. “Deacons have been charged with the responsibility of proclaiming the Word, assisting at the altar and doing works of charity.” Deacon Schulz fulfills this charge in a wide variety of ways, such as assisting Msgr. Braaten during Mass and other liturgies; proclaiming the Gospel; preaching a homily; offering Baptisms; helping couples prepare for marriage; coordinating our altar servers; leading the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults process; conducting marriages outside of Mass; and helping with funerals, vigils and burials. Deacon Schulz embraces his calling to the diaconate by bringing Christ’s presence in the Blessed Eucharist to those most in need of it. “While I am not assigned home visitation, I do visit some parishioners with whom I have developed a personal relationship,” he says. “Once a week I visit and distribute Communion to the patients at St. Alexius Hospital. It is a
great joy to be able to bring the Eucharist to those people who are unable to attend regular Mass. It is a huge suffering for them not to receive Jesus and brings tears to my eyes to see the gratitude some of them have, not only for the Eucharist, but also because someone cares for them enough to bring it to them.” He also loves to share the gift of God’s mercy with those most in need. “I used to serve as the full-time chaplain at the state penitentiary,” he says. “While I was there, I developed a love for that ministry. I continue to visit the men who are incarcerated and provide liturgies for them. Many of the men have made terrible mistakes and are trying to get their lives together. They need our prayers and support, as it is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy to visit those in prison.” Last but most certainly not least, Deacon Schulz lives out his call to ministry as a faithful husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife, Pat, have three children and eight grandchildren. “I thank God each day for His guidance, and especially for my family,” he says. “My wife, Pat, is the angel God sent to get me back on track when I was wandering away. My children are grown with families of their own and they all continue to practice their Catholic faith.”
“Once a week I visit and distribute Communion to the patients at St. Alexius Hospital. It is a great joy to be able to bring the Eucharist to those people who are unable to attend regular Mass. It is a huge suffering for them not to receive Jesus and brings tears to my eyes to see the gratitude some of them have, not only for the Eucharist, but also because someone cares for them enough to bring it to them.” — Deacon Doyle Schulz
A Letter from our Pastor
Understanding God’s Gift of Time Dear Parishioners,
s August dawns upon us, I’m shocked by the simple reality that the summer season is just about over! Yes, some of us are trying to squeeze in those last few minutes of being outdoors as part of our "staycation." But for the most part, we’ve started to transition back into the swing of our routines. How has this happened? Wasn’t it just yesterday that the sun decided to show its beautiful face again? I once heard from a psychologist that time seems to pass more quickly as we get older because we’re experiencing fewer “firsts.” When we’re continually experiencing new things, time tends to stand still while we’re living them. After we’ve repeated those events numerous times, they don’t faze us much anymore — and before we know it, months have passed, seasons have changed, and it’s time to start the annual cycle again. Yet, we should not allow our time to be something that simply evades our grasp, trickling through our fingers. After all, time itself — every moment on this earth — is a gift from God. We each have 24 hours today and seven days this
week to use however we please. At this point in time, we have the opportunity to reflect on how we chose to use our time these last few months. Did we set aside time to pray? Have we allowed for time to serve others? Did we devote time each day to serve God? When we assess the use of our time, we must make a spiritual examination — “Have I been a good steward of the time given to me?” Maybe now is a good time to make some changes in our lives and get more involved. There is no better time than right now to seek out ways to serve God, our parish, and those around us. This is what it means to be a good steward! As the days and weeks of August give way to the routine and activity of fall, remember to keep God in your hearts, in your minds, and on your tongue as we continue our stewardship journey as a parish family. Please pray for me as I pray for you. Sincerely yours in Christ, Msgr. Jim Braaten Pastor
Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h
Leading the Little On
t’s been said that there’s no better way to learn than to teach. And while it can be easy to see teachers as the “experts,” in many cases, both the student and the educator journey together, each learning along the way. For those who serve our parish as Faith Formation catechists, this is their story — learning and growing closer to God, as they walk alongside the children of our parish. Parishioner Noreen Peliska is a parent who responded to the call for catechists last year, working with seventh-graders in our Faith Formation program. “It was a wonderful experience,” Noreen says. “It was a joy to share my faith in that way. I love children and to have the opportunity to bring the faith to them — in whatever way I can — that’s a joy for me.” This year, catechists and assistant catechists are needed to serve in our weekly Faith Formation program, beginning with our new kindergarten program, through ninth grade. The classes meet weekly, on Wednesday evenings, during the school year. “I think that anyone with a heart for the faith and
a heart for children would be a great catechist,” says Jessica Mattson, former Director of Faith Formation. “It’s not necessarily someone who has professional experience teaching — although that’s wonderful. I find that a good catechist is someone who enjoys teaching — someone who loves their faith so much that they want to share it with the next generation.” Those wishing to serve as catechists must go through Safe Environment training, as well as participate in a catechist workshop and retreat, designed to empower them and give them all the resources they need to be successful in the classroom. Jessica hopes that parents of children in our program will give special consideration to serving in this way. “I think that’s an incredibly beautiful witness for their children to see, as well as an opportunity for them to grow in their faith and be able to share that at home,” Jessica says. “And it’s joyful and awe-inspiring to see those gears moving in a child’s brain.” In addition to those who serve our Faith Formation program as catechists and assistant catechists, volunteers are needed to serve as hall
From catechists and assistants, to hall monitors and Faith Formation event volunteers, there are many different ways to contribute to our Faith Formation program.
AN INSIDE LOOK AT OUR FAITH FORMATION PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS
monitors during classes, as well as Faith Formation event volunteers, to help with special events such as our grill-outs, feast day celebrations, family movie nights, and more. Noreen encourages parishioners who may be feeling a tug at their hearts to consider serving the parish and sharing their faith in our Faith Formation program. “Do not be afraid,” Noreen says. “Prayerfully consider it and if it keeps mulling over in your brain and doesn’t go away, it’s probably the Lord speaking to you. Go with it and don’t be afraid.” “Pray about it and if you’re feeling that tug, I think God is speaking to you and you should act on that tug,” Jessica says. “I think a lot of people let the fear of ‘What if I can’t answer all the questions?’ or ‘What if I find the material difficult or boring?’ stop them. There’s a lot of ‘what ifs’ but you won’t know unless you try, and most people who’ve tried it really love it.”
Our adult volunteers serve the children in our Faith Formation program in a variety of ways.
If you would like more information, or to become involved in our parish as a volunteer with our Faith Formation program, please contact our Faith Formation Office at 701-258-5692.
Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h
Gearing Up for Our Annual Stewardship Renewal
How do I use my Commitment Card? Your commitment card allows you to make commitments to prayer, parish ministries, and offertory giving. It is designed to be used by the whole family. Time Section: Except for the ill and homebound, everyone should be able to check “Come to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.” Try to check at least a few other items. Daily prayer should be a priority for every person trying to grow closer to God. Talent Section: You can either sign up for new ministries or re-commit to your current ministries. Be sure to write your first name next to the ministry! This is especially important if the card is being used by more than one person. Treasure Section: Clearly print how much money you plan to give each week or month to our parish. Try to take a step toward giving five percent of your income to Ascension. Is your prayer life in need of a tune-up? Honestly ask yourself, “How much time do I spend in prayer each week?” The answer is probably a bit embarrassing. Everyone wants to spend more time in prayer, but there’s just never enough time to do everything we want to do. Good intentions are just that: intentions. This year, as you’re discerning how you will offer your time to God, resolve to follow through with your commitments. Consider each moment you spend in prayer as nourishment for your soul. The spiritual health of our parish is only as strong as the sum of its parts (individual parishioners). Is your level of parish involvement in need of a boost? We give our talents back to God when we get involved in ministries at Ascension. And, with a host of ministries to choose from, there’s something for everyone. This year, as you’re discerning how you will offer your talents to God, considering signing up for a ministry that may benefit you, especially those during the Mass, as well as a Bible study, prayer group, or retreat. Or, contribute to an outreach ministry where your good deeds not only help others in the community, but also give you feelings of satisfaction and thankfulness. 6
Commitment Weekend is Aug. 22-23. Don’t forget to bring your Commitment Card to Mass! Do you give a percentage of your income to the offertory? It may be hard to see offertory giving as a way to “help yourself,” but when we approach the subject from a spiritual viewpoint, it can lead to individual spiritual growth and an increase in faith. Even the most savvy business person worries about his or her personal finances from time to time. Adding a weekly offertory check to the list of monthly bills may seem crazy but, ultimately, sacrificial giving forces us to cut unnecessary spending, create a budget and have faith that God will help us make it through the month. All of these are good things for each of us, individually. After faithfully giving to the offertory for a few months, many Catholics find that it’s not only possible to give a weekly offering, but that the fruits of their gift far outweigh the expense.
Stewardship Every parish family receives a special “Stewardship Package” in the mail that further explains our parish’s vision of stewardship. It includes a booklet that describes every ministry in the parish, as well as your commitment card.
Through the Saints
Ascension Catholic Church 2020 Stewardship Renewal
Meet Parishioner Joyce Ulmer
A Rewarding Life of Dedicated Stewardship
e never know just what moments in life might make a lasting impression on our spiritual growth and the way we view our faith. For parishioner Joyce Ulmer, participating in a "Passion Play" many years ago remains a powerful memory that continues to inspire her to pursue an intentional discipleship to this day. “In my hometown of Glen Ullin, the pastor had a Passion Play every year,” Joyce recalls. “When I was in high school, I was a part of the play. I didn’t have a speaking part, but I carried the water when the Lord washed the apostles’ feet and I was in the crowd waving palms. That Passion is still in my mind, especially when we read it at Lent. It has really stuck with me.” With her strong Catholic upbringing and positive early experiences in the Church, Joyce has always maintained a vibrant faith life. When she and her husband, Jim, moved to this area in 1983, they joined Ascension and became active here. Joyce has long been a member of the Ladies of Ascension, Catholic Daughters and our Environment Committee, and helps with funeral luncheons and Meals on Wheels. Together, she and Jim have helped with Ascension’s Spring Dinner for several years. Jim joined the Catholic Church before he and Joyce married in 1964. The couple raised their three children in the Church and sent them to Catholic schools. Fifty-six years and 11 grandchildren later, Joyce is grateful for the gift of a shared faith in her life with Jim. “It’s worth every minute of it,” she says. “Jim and I go to Mass all the time. We used to go weekdays as often as we could. We do everything together since we’ve retired. It’s just like we’re together at the hip — when you see one of us, you see the other!” When she is not with Jim, Joyce can often be found serving alongside her fellow parishioners.
Parishioner Joyce Ulmer
She finds joy in the fellowship that comes with parish involvement. “I enjoy the mingling when you’re helping,” Joyce says. “When you’re doing funeral luncheons or decorating, you’re with friends. We’re all people of God, and we try to help each other whenever we can. We’re always there for each other, so I think that helps.” For Joyce, the rewards of stewardship are many. Whether it is the comforting peace she finds in the empty sanctuary as she cleans the votive candles or the bright smile on the face of someone receiving a Meals on Wheels delivery, she always feels blessed by serving. At the beginning and end of each day, Joyce expresses her profound gratitude for all God has given her. continued on back cover
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Permit #164 Bismarck, ND
Church of the Ascension 1905 S 3rd St. | Bismarck, ND 58504-7118 701-223-3606 | www.ascensionbismarck.org
Parishioner Joyce Ulmer “I thank God every day for what I have,” she says. “I don’t always say something in particular, but often I say, ‘Thank you for everything You have given me.’ I try to do it each night before I fall asleep. And there is one prayer I say every morning — ‘Good morning, dear God, I offer to You my thoughts, words, and actions and all that I do.’” Here at Ascension, we are blessed to have so many parishioners who, like Joyce, seek to live an intentional and active discipleship each and every day!
Address Service Requested
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Jim and Joyce Ulmer with their children and grandchildren
Saturday, 5:00 p.m. | Sunday, 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. | Holy Days: 8:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m.
Stewardship is the grateful response of a Christian disciple who recognizes and receives God’s gifts and shares these gifts in love of God and neighbor.