Antigo Area Catholic Churches Newsletter — January 2022

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January 2022



arried couples in the Antigo Area Catholic Churches who want to build stronger, faith-filled marriages will have the opportunity to take part in the first Diocesan Marriage Enrichment Retreat, slated for Feb. 25-27 at the Green Lake Conference Center. Deacon Andy Bures and his wife, Stephanie Bures, will be leading the retreat with Elisa Tremblay, Director of the Diocese of Green Bay Office of Marriage, Family Life, and Pro-Life Ministries. The mission of helping married couples build stronger marriages has been a focus for Deacon Andy and Stephanie for a number of years. They first began working with a Marriage Encounter Group in the ‘90s, and have modified that Deacon Andy and Stephanie Bures approach to develop a Marriage Enrichment group in Antigo that began last spring. The group has been hosted at the Bures home, and it is hoped that those taking part in the group can take the mentoring given by Deacon Andy and Stephanie, and then step out and form other groups with those they know in the community. While some of those taking part in the Marriage Enrichment group have been married for a number of years, several young couples also attended the Marriage Preparation sessions. During these sessions, Deacon Andy and Stephanie meet with couples preparing for marriage who have taken the online FOCCUS inventory that gauges a couple’s expectations of marriage. “We are trained to meet with them and we go over each category with their continued on back cover

H O S P IThe TACornerstone L I T Y :of Stewardship T

he dictionary defines “hospitality” as “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” A Christian worldview can refer to hospitality as “Christian kindness.” We see the effects of hospitality – or the lack thereof – time and time again throughout the Bible. Christ speaks of hospitality in Matthew’s Gospel when He says, “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35). The Old Testament told of the Israelites, as they wandered the desert for 40 years in search of hospitable environs. Even the Holy Family spent ample time searching for shelter before the birth of Our Lord. It is safe to say that hospitality is, and most likely has always been, of great importance to people everywhere. Modern hotels and hostels often use the image of a pineapple to advertise their special brand of hospitality. There is no doubt that in ancient times, the distant lights of an inn or tavern struck a chord of hope within weary travelers’ hearts. Indeed, hospitality’s meaning has not diminished at all over the years, decades, and millennia. Christians view the presence of hospitality as meaning the difference between calling others “guests” and “strangers.” Guests are welcomed with open arms and warm smiles, but strangers aren’t. Guests feel the genuine


love present in a hearty welcome, but strangers don’t. Guests often return for second or third visits, while strangers don’t. As a parish, do we find ourselves surrounded by guests, or burdened by strangers? Hospitality is, in many respects, a mindset. The same person may be treated as a guest at the church just down the road, but as a stranger here. Matthew’s Gospel tells of Christ as He reveals a profound truth about hospitality: “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.” That is, “I used to be a stranger, but you fixed that when you welcomed me.” It’s a classic example of before-and-after. All it took was a change of heart. Stewardship holds hospitality as an immensely important concept. Remember the “Three Ts” of stewardship – Time, Talent, and Treasure? Well, there are also “Four Ps,” the Four Pillars of Stewardship – Hospitality, Prayer, Formation, and Service. Hospitality is mentioned first. Why? If not for hospitality, none of the other pillars will ever take hold. Hospitality is the cornerstone of stewardship because it opens the door to a person’s heart and allows them to receive joy, grace, and love. Hospitality must become second nature if stewardship is to truly take hold within a parish. So, when a stranger visits our parish, welcome them as a guest. Perhaps one day, they’ll pay us a second visit.

A Letter From Our Pastor

Start 2022 with a Clean Spiritual Slate Dear Parish Family,


any of us were taught in school that the month of January gets its name from Janus, the ancient Roman god of doors and gates. His image was always carved or painted with two faces, one looking forward and the other backward. This reflected, of course, that you can go either out a door or in through one. From this very specific function, his role was generalized to include all beginnings and new endeavors. Because of Janus’ place in the Roman pantheon, it seemed natural to the Romans to name the first month of the civil year after him. (The Church year began back with the First Sunday of Advent, you’ll remember.) And although we no longer worship the pagan gods of the ancient Romans, the name has stuck down the centuries. Perhaps it is appropriate, as we continue the habit of looking in both directions. As we look ahead to the coming year, we also look back upon 2021. Newspapers and TV programs take a look back at the year that was (“the 10 best, or worst, movies of…” and such). They evaluate how it compares to other past years and make predictions for the coming year. My personal favorite is always “the 10 worst predictions” for the year just ending. Many of you made predictions for your future in the form of a stewardship pledge. You prayerfully discerned and committed yourself to new or continued prayer, service to others, and a sharing of your financial gifts in 2022. I want to encourage you to follow through on your commitments. I hope that whether you continue in old ministries or try something new, you can serve with a heart renewed by Christmas joy. I don’t make a habit of sitting down and trying to predict the future. I don’t generally make resolutions either, but I made one a couple years ago that I’ve managed to keep: the gratitude jar. Every Saturday for the past 52 weeks, I made a note of one thing I was most grateful for in the previous week. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I dump out the jar and go through

my blessings. It’s amazing to see them come alive again. I am reminded of how many blessings God has given me, and no matter the trials or heartaches, my blessings far exceed my burdens. I want to encourage you to try the habit of the gratitude jar in 2022. As we look forward to the New Year, we know that God is already there to meet us. Maybe this will be the year that prayer and faith really click. Perhaps we will overcome a bad habit, start a new habit, or a new adventure. Hopefully, we will draw closer to God and closer to one another. With God at the center, Jesus walking with us, Mary guiding us, and blessings following after, it’s going to be a great year! Cheers to the year of Our Lord Anno Domini MMXX! Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Joel Sember Pastor


CATHOLIC SCHOOLS Celebrating the

Students at Ski Brule in 2021.


atholic education is something to be celebrated. Yet, it seems we never have enough opportunities to celebrate the good in life. After the interruptions of the past year due to the pandemic, it’s now even more important to celebrate. From Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, our teachers, faculty, and students will have the chance to celebrate All Saints Catholic School during National Catholic Schools Week (CSW). “We are proud of all that takes place at All Saints Catholic School each and every year,” says Paul Galuska, Administrator. “All Saints, as well as Catholic schools across the United States, can successfully provide students an excellent education, while at the same time strengthening their relationship with God and preparing them to be future leaders of the Catholic community. Catholic Schools Week gives us a chance to humbly celebrate those successes.” Catholic Schools Week is a busy time at All Saints. Mr. Galuska especially looks forward to a more normal year as many alterations were made to last year’s celebration, due to the pandemic. Last year, students could not gather in large groups, so many of the activities were held in individual classrooms. The week kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 30 with a book fair in the library. On Monday, students pray the Chaplet of Divine


Mercy and enjoy ice cream. Wednesday features a religion bee for students in third to eighth grades, as well as a Catholic Schools Week favorite — Family Night, which includes a book fair, spaghetti dinner, learning fair, and some type of entertainment. It’s a fun way for All Saints families to come celebrate the school with their children. On Thursday, the students get to enjoy a day of fun at Ski Brule or Silver Birch. Then, Friday is pajama day with book time, movies in the afternoon, and a Living Rosary. There are several other fun activities and various dress-up days thrown in the mix throughout the week. Outside of the celebrations of Catholic Schools Week, there is plenty to celebrate throughout the entire year at All Saints. Catholic schools offer students a solid education with the Catholic faith interwoven into everything. Students learn that they can lean on their faith in both good times and bad. Prayer, adoration, and Mass are a regular part of the school week. Each student receives a technology device to aid in learning. “All Saints is truly committed to its Catholic identity,” Mr. Galuska says. “Our staff members make a conscious effort to carry out the core values of Catholic identity, respect, leadership, knowledge, and achievement daily.” Mr. Galuska has been with our community for a long time, starting his career as a second and third-grade teacher at St. Mary Catholic School in Antigo. He moved his way up and took over as administrator in 2011. This school year marks his 26th year in Catholic education. He, just like all the students, faculty, and staff, looks forward to another fun year of celebrating Catholic Schools Week. The week includes all kinds of ways to help the students grow spiritually, intellectually, and socially. “This week always serves as a wonderful way for our students, staff members, families, and parishioners to come together as a community in celebration of Catholic education in the Antigo area,” he says. “It also provides us the opportunity to thank not only our parishioners for their continued support but also our families for choosing All Saints Catholic School for their children.”

: WEEK Many Blessings and Gifts of Catholic Education Mr. Galuska also wants to celebrate the variety of extra activities the school offers, including service projects; athletics, in partnership with the Unified School District of Antigo; the Accelerated Reader program; Religious Bee; field trips; religious retreats; school assemblies and dances; community education programs; Battle of the Books; Afterschool Spanish; Science Olympiad; Astronomy Club; Game Club and the Kind Individuals Doing Service Club. We wish a happy Catholic Schools Week to everyone at All Saints Catholic School!

Students enjoyed a Disney dress-up day in 2021.

“This week always serves as a wonderful way for our students, staff members, families, and parishioners to come together as a community in celebration of Catholic education in the Antigo area. It also provides us the opportunity to thank not only our parishioners for their continued support, but also our families for choosing All Saints Catholic School for their children.” — PAUL GALUSKA

Students enjoyed a fun afternoon for Catholic Schools Week in 2021.

If you would like to learn more about Catholic Schools Week activities at All Saints Catholic School, please contact the school office at 715-623-4385.


Understanding the Role of



ost Catholics are familiar with the idea of sacraments in the Church, of which there are seven. Sacraments are the foundation of the spiritual life for an individual and the Church. Sacraments are sources of grace — God’s very presence in our lives and unmerited favor from God. They are signs of God’s love, and these signs make present what they signify. Although a person benefits — receives the gift of grace — from the sacraments regardless of whether he or she is well disposed to them, one must cooperate with what the Spirit is doing in the sacrament to receive its full benefit. Sacramentals are different. These are also sacred signs that can build holiness, but they do not work on their own. One must be aware and fully conscious of the sacred action. Sacramentals sanctify us to get the most benefit from the Sacraments (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1667). Sacramentals are given to us to make holy certain actions in life and life’s circumstances. There are many such sacred signs that are reminders to us of God. The sign of the cross is perhaps one of the most fundamental of these signs, and for Catholics, this invocation is done at the start of every sacred action and prayer. Holy water is a sacramental, as it reminds us of our Baptism. By dipping our fingers into holy water and making the sign of the cross, we are combining two foundational symbols of the Christian life and the Paschal Mystery — the passion, dying and rising of Christ — and bringing them to life in us. The exchange of peace in the Mass — and at other Catholic rites — is another example of a sacramental. By making some kind of meaningful sign of peace, we are giving the peace of Christ to another person. The chalice and other sacred vessels at Mass also are sacramentals, as they remind us of what they are to contain — the very Body and Blood of Christ. It might be helpful to organize the types of sacramentals into categories, as author Michael Pennock lists in This Is Our Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults: “Actions (blessings; genuflections; the sign of the cross; bowing one’s head at the name of Jesus; church processions); Objects (candles; holy water; statues and icons; holy


in Our Faith

pictures; blessed ashes; palms; rosaries; relics; incense; vestments; scapulars; church buildings; crosses; religious medals); Places (the Holy Land; Rome; Fatima; Lourdes; the National Shrine in Washington, D.C.; and other places of pilgrimage; chapels, retreat centers, and even Catholic cemeteries); Prayers (short prayers we say throughout the day; grace before and after meals; prayers at rising and going to bed; praying the rosary, praying a host of other traditional Catholic prayers and devotions); Sacred Time (liturgy; holy days; feasts of saints; your saint’s name day; special days of prayer; fasting and abstinence; retreats, etc.)” (This Is Our Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, 176-177). “Sacramentals…prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it” (CCC 1670). In a word, sacramentals, through the prayer of the Church, bring us to holiness in Christ. All devotions of piety, including sacramentals, should point us toward the liturgy of the Church, a connection to a local parish community, and to the Eucharist (CCC 1675). The Church, through Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, has given us these sacred signs to lead us in holiness, and to better recognize an authentic Christian life. How many sacramentals can you recognize in your life? Probably more than you think.

Prayer Shawl Ministry: Sharing God’s Love, One Stitch at a Time


t’s hard to imagine anything more comforting than wrapping up in a warm shawl or blanket, knowing that the person who lovingly made it by hand was praying for you with each stitch. This is the simple gift of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, which has given away over 600 shawls and blankets since 2007. Barb Borkovec got the idea for the ministry from a friend. At first, she decided to make a prayer shawl herself, but soon she wondered if other ladies at the parish might be interested. Ten women came to that first meeting in 2007. Since then, the Prayer Shawl Ministry has been meeting once a month. Although each member knits or crochets their shawls and blankets at home, the meetings are a chance for the ladies to pray together, share patterns, and see one another’s handiwork. Barb also attaches a ribbon and prayer card to each shawl. The shawls are then blessed by one of the priests. Many of the shawls and blankets go to people who are struggling in some way — they are often ill or homebound. The Prayer Shawl Ministry relies on the entire parish to get shawls to people who need them and there are no limitations on who can receive a shawl — recipients don’t have to be a parishioner and they don’t have to be Catholic. Shawls have been sent all over the country. Barb recalls a powerful example of how God has worked through the Prayer Shawl Ministry. A parishioner had an elderly woman on her mail route whose husband had recently passed away. She had been wondering how she could help when she learned about the Prayer Shawl Ministry at church. So, she took a shawl and left it at the woman’s mailbox. The next week, the woman met the mail carrier at her mailbox and told her that the shawl had in fact been left on her birthday. In addition, Barb has kept two journals and countless thank-you notes documenting the work of the ministry. “When I read the thank-you notes, I think, ‘Wow, this is why we’re doing this,’” she says. “It’s so rewarding.”

(From left) Rosie Marx, Dorothy Guenther, Jeanne Pagel, Georgeanna Bunnell, Barb Borkovec and Cecelia Ramer

The work of the Prayer Shawl Ministry encompasses more than serving those who receive the shawls. Although the work is done at home, the meetings are a wonderful opportunity for those who can go. The ladies love to teach knitting and crocheting to anyone who would like to come to a meeting and learn. “When we do meet, it’s good social time,” Barb says. The parish office always has a supply of shawls and blankets ready to go. Parishioners who know someone in need are welcome to stop by and take a shawl for them. The Prayer Shawl Ministry meets at St. Wenceslaus, but parishioners from St. John and Sts. Mary and Hyacinth are welcome to join.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry welcomes donations of yarn. If you would like to learn more, or to join the ministry, please contact Barb Borkovec at 715-216-2067 or


Saint John the Evangelist 415 6th Ave. Antigo, WI 54409 (715) 623-2024 Saints Mary & Hyacinth 819 3rd Ave. Antigo, WI 54409 (715) 623-4938 Saint Wenceslaus N5340 Church Rd. Deerbrook, WI 54424 (715) 627-2126

The Marriage Enrichment Retreat responses to make sure communication is happening and they know what they are getting into and each other’s thinking,” Deacon Andy says. “The session is called ‘FOCCUS — Facilitate Open, Couple, Communication, Understanding and Study.’ These topics are the same ones we have to deal with in marriage, and we can use these topics for discussion starters for our group of married couples.” The Marriage Enrichment group that Deacon Andy and Stephanie have established is intended to build and

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strengthen existing marriages. “I made it very clear when I brought the group together that it is not a ‘marriage-in-trouble group,’” Deacon Andy says. “It is not ‘AA for marriage.’ It is to build and strengthen the marriage you have and if you have trouble, there are programs for that, such as Retrouvaille. The goals are to strengthen marriage before you have trouble, and mentor couples, and build a commitment to the marriage. You want to make it work. You have fun and camaraderie and support for each other.”

If you would like more information on attending the Marriage Enrichment Retreat, be sure to watch upcoming Sunday bulletins.

MASS & CONFESSION TIMES SAINT JOHN: Masses: Monday, 8:15 a.m., Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8:15 a.m., Thursday, 8:15 a.m., Saturday, 6 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. Confession: Tuesday, 5:30-6:15 p.m. & Sunday, 8-8:45 a.m. SAINTS MARY & HYACINTH: Masses: Wednesday, 7:15 a.m., Thursday, 7:15 a.m., Friday, 7:15 a.m., Saturday, 4 p.m., Sunday, 7 a.m. Confession: Saturday, 3-3:45 p.m. SAINT WENCESLAUS: Masses: Tuesday, 8 a.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. Confession: Sunday, 10-10:45 a.m.