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Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

Young People’s Choir Shares Gift of Music as We Celebrate the Liturgy

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ave you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? How many times have you caught yourself walking out of Sunday Mass humming a tune that was part of the celebration of the liturgy? Most people can relate, and once it happens, there’s little you can do to get that melody out of your mind. That is the power of music. Here at Ascension, we know the impact music can have on our hearts and our prayer. For the dozens of parishioners involved in our music ministry — from cantors, to choir members, to instrumentalists — leading others in worship through song is a responsibility they take seriously. There is also one special group of The Young People’s Choir at Ascension gives our musically talented youth an opportunity to young musicians who have found a serve God and the parish. way to serve our parish. That group is our Young People’s Choir, and it is led by parishioners Jeanne Jankowski on piano, and Mary Bachmeier on guitar. “Music is a large part of the lives of many of our high school and college-age students,” says Julie Ternes, Director of Music and Liturgy.

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Inside October 2020

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Passionate for the Stewardship Way of Life

4/5 A Fond Farewell and “Thank You” to Deacon Tony and Sharon Finneman 6 A Look Back at Recent Parish Events 7 Rosary Devotions Now a Daily Practice Before Mass Drawing Closer to Christ Through the Blessed Mother


Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

Young People’s Choir continued from front cover “Being part of music ministry in their church allows them to use those talents in a way that will stay with them their entire lives." “As they sing the sacred music of the Church, they take those words into their hearts,” she adds. “Active participation in Mass will deepen their love for it, and consequently their love for God.” Our Young People’s Choir is designed to be an opportunity for our young parishioners — in seventh grade through college — an opportunity to share their gifts with the parish community, and grow closer to God themselves by using their voices in worship. This choir typically leads music at one Sunday Mass a month, as well as for Faith Formation Masses. Parishioner Jami Bachmeier, 15, is a student at Bismarck High School and has been involved in the Young People’s Choir for a number of years. She has found that her involvement has helped her to grow in her faith and understanding of the liturgy. “Singing at church has made me feel more connected to God and the church,” she says. “And, you also get more of an understanding of what is happening when you are up there singing.” Parishioner Bennett Vatnsdal, 16, has also

found that being in the choir has deepened his appreciation of Mass. “I like learning the new songs and singing,” he says. “[Being involved in the choir] makes me think more about what the liturgy means and how I can apply it to my life.” Jami and Bennett encourage other young people with musical talent to consider joining the Young People’s Choir. “If you enjoy singing and you go to church, why not just come and join us?” Jami says. “It is a great way to give back to the church and share your gift.” “I would encourage anyone to try it,” Bennett adds. “It is very rewarding to give back.” Julie truly appreciates how our Young People's Choir members give back to God and our parish by helping to enhance the worship experience for our parishioners. “Music has the ability to bring the Scripture readings and psalms alive, and help us remember them," Julie says. “We all recall portions of songs we sing in church, many times words taken directly from Scripture. These words not only enter our minds, but because of the melody that resonates in our hearts, they become part of our hearts, as well.”

“Music is a large part of the lives of many of our high school and college-age students. Being part of music ministry in their church allows them to use those talents in a way that will stay with them their entire lives.” — JULIE TERNES, DIRECTOR OF MUSIC AND LITURGY If you would like more information, or to learn how you can become a part of the Young People’s Choir, please contact Director of Music and Liturgy Julie Ternes at 701-223-3606 or jternes@ascensionbismarck.org. You can also chat with choir leaders Jeanne Jankowski and Mary Bachmeier following one of the Masses at which the Young People’s Choir is present.

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A Letter From Our Pastor

Passionate for the Stewardship

Dear Parishioners,

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ften when reading the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles in the New Testament, I recognize that the writers were genuinely passionate about having an opportunity to put into words an expression of the faith they have in Jesus Christ. I am inspired by the passion expressed by those who live what they believe. Having the courage and the enthusiasm to express their thoughts, and to embrace and cherish it as if it were the most important thing in the world, translates into a passion for Christ and a passion to be His disciple. I ask myself on a regular basis, do I have that same passion as Jesus’ disciples? I pray that I do. But if I don’t, I have to wonder why, and must reflect upon what is keeping me from being passionate about my faith. Without being genuinely passionate about our faith, can any of us genuinely embrace the stewardship way of life? The Food Network broadcasts a program called Chopped, which features professional chefs who are challenged to use designated ingredients to prepare a dish. Using the time they have been given, and the skills and talents they possess, they must compete against each other while attempting to impress a panel of judges. In

Way of Life

what they say and do, their passion for who they are and what they can do with all that has been given them is more than obvious. They demonstrate confidence, enthusiasm, creativity and a desire to use their talent. Even if they get eliminated, they know they have done their best — and will continue to do so, with an ongoing passion. Should we not have the same kind of passion for being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Stewardship is the best way to passionately express and live out our call to be a disciple of Christ. The New Testament is filled with passages that confirm the stewardship way of life. How passionate are we about being those faithful stewards using the gifts given to us by God, and using our precious time to use those gifts for the greater glory of God? How do we move from merely thinking that stewardship is something others do, to being passionate about it enough to live our lives as a committed disciple of Christ? It isn’t possible to be truly passionate about something continued on back cover

Stewardship is the best way to passionately express and live out our call to be a disciple of Christ... How passionate are we about being those faithful stewards using the gifts given to us by God, and using our precious time to use those gifts for the greater glory of God? How do we move from merely thinking that stewardship is something others do, to being passionate about it enough to live our lives as a committed disciple of Christ? 3


Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

A Fond Farewell and “Thank Y DEACO W

With gratitude for his 14 years of service as a deacon here at Ascension, we bid Deacon Tony Finneman and his wife, Sharon, a fond farewell.

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ith gratitude for his 14 years of service as a deacon here at Ascension, our parish bid Deacon Tony Finneman and his wife, Sharon, a fond farewell this summer as the couple moved to Fargo to be closer to their grandchildren. Already, we miss Sharon’s gifted voice in our choir and Deacon Tony’s heart for service and playful sense of humor! We are thankful for the path that brought Deacon Tony to a religious vocation in the Church, as it was that very path that brought him back to Ascension in 2005. Deacon Tony grew up in Montana, the second eldest of 10 children, with devoutly Catholic parents. He likes to say that his earliest claim to fame was his graduation at the top of his class at Yale. Of course, he will then quickly clarify that he is referring to the small country school by the name of Yale, located about a half-mile from his family’s ranch home — and he was the only kid in his class! During Deacon Tony’s grade school years, the children from rural areas were asked to attend two weeks of Catholic catechism each summer. In addition to these weeks of instruction, Deacon Tony had also begun serving Mass as soon as he was of age. By his eighth summer of catechism, one of the religious sisters asked him if he might have a call to the priesthood. “I actually gave [the priesthood] serious consideration — until I began high school and discovered girls!” Deacon Tony says. As always, God knew exactly what He was doing — as things turned out, Deacon Tony’s first vocation was marriage. He and Sharon have been married for 48 years. They have two daughters, Stacy and Nicole, and five grandchildren. The couple first came


You” to ON TONY AND SHARON FINNEMAN to Ascension Parish in 1986 and were active in parish life by joining the choir and serving as Eucharistic Ministers. In 1995, a move outside of our parish boundary took them to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. It was there that a call to the diaconate became clear. “Sharon and I had been active in the church during our entire marriage,” Deacon Tony says. “We often talked about the diaconate and how much more fulfilling our lives would be as a deacon couple. One Sunday, the headline in the church bulletin asked in bold words, ‘Have you ever considered becoming a deacon?’ I was struck, as if by lightning, and knew without a doubt that those questioning words were intended for me. That very afternoon, I made the phone call and started my journey to the clergy!” In 2005, during his third year of diaconate formation, Deacon Tony was asked to return to Ascension. He was ordained in 2006 and spent the next 14 years serving our parish with Sharon’s invaluable support. “Serving as a deacon, especially at Ascension Parish, has been extremely rewarding,” Deacon Tony says. “I have baptized little ones, prepared couples for marriage and witnessed their wedding vows. I have sat with the dying, presided over their funeral vigils and, in a few instances,

have presided over their funerals and burials. I have been allowed to preach during Mass and have been responsible for coordinating Baptism classes and the Baptisms which follow. I have also been given the responsibility for preparing couples for marriage.” In every way he served our parishioners, Deacon Tony felt that he was receiving more than he gave. He hopes to serve the Diocese of Fargo as a deacon following his move, but will always hold a special place in his heart for Ascension. “The grace and satisfaction that I received from serving the wonderful people of Ascension Parish were not only rewarding but also prepared me for the eternal,” he says. “In some respects, I often feel selfish, because of the spiritual benefits I receive [in serving]. I will always hold a fondness for the wonderful people of Ascension and the marvelous support and encouragement from Msgr. Jim Braaten. They have been so kind and supportive. Sharon and I will miss them.” Our farewell to the Finnemans is certainly a bittersweet one — we are thrilled for them to move closer to family even as we will dearly miss them. For the many years of love and service poured out here at Ascension, we thank Deacon Tony and Sharon! May God bless them on their new adventures.

I will always hold a fondness for the wonderful people of Ascension and the marvelous support and encouragement from Msgr. Jim Braaten. They have been so kind and supportive. Sharon and I will miss them. — DEACON TONY FINNEMAN

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Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

A Look Back at Recent Parish Events

The Ladies of Ascension conducted a thorough Fall cleaning of the church

Parish staff visited Sts. Peter & Paul in Strasburg, St. Mary's in Hague and the Prairie Bells: Grotto of the Holy Family in Linton Confirmation students volunteered to pull weeds around the church

Upcoming Parish Events

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Oct. 7 — Living Rosary during all Faith Formation sessions

Oct. 11 — OctoberFest, 4-6 p.m. (outside event, weather permitting)

Oct. 10 — Ascension hosts The Banquet at Trinity Lutheran

Oct. 18 — Ninth Grade Rite of Enrollment & Sponsor/Candidate Retreat, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Rosary Devotions Now a Daily Practice Before Mass Drawing Closer to Christ Through the Blessed Mother

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uring this time of COVID-19, a dedicated group of parishioners has continued to provide opportunities for prayer and devotion. These parishioners, consisting of Linda Charbonneau, Cathy Hruby, Mary Fornshell, Lil Krance and Bob Urlacher, have expanded their leading of the Rosary from three months of the year to daily, before the 8 a.m. Mass (Monday to Friday), asking for the Blessed Mother’s intercession on our behalf. Bob Urlacher is one of the five parishioners who take weekly turns leading Mass attendees in the Rosary. The Rosary begins at 7:35 a.m., and the leader states the prayer intention for that day. The group traditionally had been leading the Rosary in October and May to honor the Blessed Mother, and in November for the faithful departed. But as the COVID-19 pandemic affected our country and community, the prayers became a daily practice. The Rosary before Mass takes about 15 minutes to pray, giving each person about 10 minutes for personal prayer. The leaders follow the traditional recitation of the Mysteries, with the Joyful Mysteries said on Monday; the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday; the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday; the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday. Generally, there are between 15 to 20 persons who arrive early for the Rosary, each offering their time in the early morning as an act of stewardship for this special devotion. Bob recalls a quote from St. Padre Pio that made a tremendous impact on him. “St. Padre Pio stated, “the Rosary is a weapon against all evils of today’s world — all graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother,” Bob says. “That one really touched me. Praying the Rosary is the weapon to combat against the evils of today.” Pope Pius X also spoke of the importance of the Rosary.

Ascension Parish Rosary Leaders, consisting of Linda Charbonneau, Cathy Hruby, Mary Fornshell, Lil Krance and Bob Urlacher, take weekly turns leading those gathered before the 8 a.m. Mass in saying the Rosary. The group had been leading the Rosary in October and May to honor the Blessed Mother, and in November for the faithful departed, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prayers became a daily practice.

“Pope Pius X said the Rosary is the most beautiful and rich in graces of all prayers,” Bob says. “These quotes are the reasons I recite the Rosary every day. There are some days when you are tired and it would be easy to dismiss it. But, I cannot express the importance of taking a few minutes each day to pray to our Blessed Mother for her intercessions.” The Rosary is an important prayer for Catholics — although we understand we can pray directly to Jesus, Mary intercedes on our behalf. “As Jesus' Mother, praying the Rosary is another avenue of getting His help,” Bob says. “With all that is taking place in our world and lives today, now is the time to make praying the Holy Rosary a part of your everyday prayer life.”

Anyone who would like to join in praying the Rosary is welcome to arrive 30 minutes before Mass begins at 8 a.m. 7


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Passionate for the Stewardship Way of Life continued from page 3 unless we are genuinely convinced it is God’s will, and we know it and feel it in our hearts. Genuine passion begins in the heart. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are ignited to believe that the Word of God is calling each of us to express our love and devotion to Him — and we can do this by living out the stewardship life. Do you think we are up to that? Well, to do so is to be passionate about it. I pray and hope that we all become better and more passionate about being disciples of the Lord. I believe there is great potential for all of us. If we trust God enough to do what it takes

to be passionate about the stewardship way of life, our lives will become the truest expression of discipleship. While the world tries to convince us there are other things to be passionate about, our hearts should be telling us loud and clear that the stewardship way of life is the most important. It always has been, and it always will be. Sincerely yours in Christ, Msgr. Jim Braaten Pastor

LITURGY SCHEDULE

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.

Profile for Catholic Stewardship Consultants

Ascension Catholic Church Newsletter — October 2020  

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