Antigo Area Catholic Churches Newsletter — October 2021

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Sharing Prayer, Faith and Love with the Members of Our Military

s Catholics, we know the power of the Rosary, as the Blessed Mother comes to our aid and hears our prayers. We also know the men and women of our Armed Forces need prayers of protection and comfort. Thanks to a dedicated group here in our Antigo Area Catholic Churches, rosaries have been put in the hands of 30,000 members of the Armed Forces. Our Ranger Rosary group makes rosaries specifically for the Army. Cathy Levis started the group in 2009. She learned about the national Ranger Rosary program through her sister, Mary Knabel, who had heard about it at her church, St. John the Evangelist in Kohler, Wis. The ministry’s tagline is “Putting Rosaries in Our Forces Hands.” Since its 2003 founding in Annapolis, Md., the ministry has sent rosaries to more than 1 million members of the Thanks to a dedicated group here in our Antigo Area Armed Forces both here and abroad. Catholic Churches — the Ranger Rosary Ministry — Cathy and her husband, Rob, have a rosaries have been put in the hands of 30,000 members son who made his career in the Army — of the Armed Forces. this is one reason Cathy was interested in this program. The supplies are different colors based on the branch to which they are sent. All rosaries are made with parachute cord, plastic beads, and plastic crucifixes. The plastic makes them quieter so they are safer in a combat zone. “For some of them, this is the only connection that they have to the faith,” Cathy says. “This brings them closer to the Blessed Mother, as they are out there in danger and risking their lives.” The rosaries are also sent to chaplains of many faith traditions, not just those who are Catholic. There are currently eight women making the rosaries in our community. They continued on back cover


A Letter From Our Pastor

Fathers Must Lead Their Families in Prayer Dear Parishioners,


t was just before 7 on a Wednesday morning, and I was struggling to sing along with Fr. Dox. The words were the familiar Tantum Ergo, but the peppy, upbeat tune he had chosen was unfamiliar to me. As I returned the Blessed Sacrament to the tabernacle, a deep sense of gratitude filled my heart. I was grateful for Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, for the gift of Fr. Dox who has sacrificed a lot to be here, and for the grace of praying together as brother priests and fellow pilgrims. Wednesday mornings we pray a Holy Hour in the house chapel. We end with Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. This is the first time in three associates that we are making regular, scheduled time to pray together. It has made such a positive difference in our relationship. If praying together makes such a difference for a couple of brother priests, imagine what it could do for you and your significant other? My brothers, husbands, and fathers, you are the spiritual leaders of your household. You must lead your families in prayer. And you cannot lead your family to a place that you, yourself, are unwilling to go. I am probably busier than most folks, yet my daily schedule includes a full hour of prayer. I can survive about 1 ½ days without quality prayer before the wheels start to come off. I wouldn’t be where I am today (literally and figuratively) if it weren’t for daily prayer.

You’re not going to go run a marathon tomorrow unless you run every day. It took me many years to work up to a daily holy hour. Children should pray the Our Father when they get out of bed in the morning and a Hail Mary before bedtime. Adults and teens should mark out 15 minutes of quality prayer time each day. Make a designated “prayer corner” or “prayer chair,” a place set aside for prayer in your room or home. Say “Grace before Meals” — learn the “Grace after Meals.” Gather the family for bedtime prayer time. Add the Rosary when you’re driving or before bed, especially during this month of October. Perhaps your family could pray a decade a day for the dignity of all human life. Challenge yourself to add more time or try new things. Try Oriens for Advent this year. Ask a friend, or your spouse, to take a Holy Hour with you at the adoration chapel. God wants to bless you. Bow your head and let God shower grace upon you. We are never so tall as when we kneel. Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Joel Sember Pastor 3

BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT What is a Stewardship Renewal? This isn’t a parish fundraiser – far from it. Our annual Stewardship Renewal is an opportunity to re-prioritize the way we use God’s gifts in the Church. It is the time we write down how we plan to grow closer to Christ in the coming year with our commitments of time, talent, and treasure. Why should I fill out a commitment card? Your Commitment Card allows you to make commitments to prayer, parish ministries, and offertory giving, or what we at our Antigo Area Catholic Churches call “time, talent, and treasure.” There’s a two-fold reason to complete your card. First, it is an excellent opportunity to move forward spiritually and personally. Second, when you fill out a card, our parish is much better able to manage our many volunteers and make budgeting decisions. How many parish ministries are there? “Ministry” is a general term for any parish group, organization, or regular activity. There are dozens of ministries in our parish. You can sign up for new ministries, or re-commit yourself if you’re already involved. What if I sign up for a ministry, but later find I’m not very interested? You are not making a solemn promise to participate in a particular ministry when you mark it on your commitment card. If you find that the parish group is different than you thought, or simply that their meeting time doesn’t fit your schedule, you can change your mind. There are plenty of other ministries to consider. I’m hesitant to make a firm financial pledge. What if I lose my job? Your commitment card isn’t a legal contract. If your circumstances change, your gift will change. In Scripture, we are asked to “give according to our means.” So if you lose your job, you may be unable to give at the level you 4

pledged. Likewise, if you get a promotion, you may be able to give more. That is why, in our Antigo Area Catholic Churches, our standard of giving is based upon a percentage of income. What happens if I don’t fill out a commitment card? Returning a card is an important part of being an active member of our faith community. If for some reason you lose your card, we’ll send you a reminder letter with an extra commitment card. Please make every effort to return it!


Please bring your Commitment Card to Mass on Commitment Weekend, November 6-7. How will you use your time, talent, and treasure in our parish? Stewardship of Time Our definition of Stewardship of Time: Using my time on earth wisely; making time for personal prayer, family prayer, and quality time with friends and loved ones. The bottom line about prayer: Without prayer, we cannot thrive spiritually. As Catholic Christians, it is a necessity to spend time each day speaking to God. This includes reading Scripture and saying prayers such as the Our Father and Hail Mary, but even more importantly, it should include a heart-to-heart conversation with Jesus. He wants us to bring him all our fears, longings, needs, and desires. What kind of Time commitments should I make? Your commitment card lists several suggestions for how to spend time with God in prayer. Review your current prayer life and take a step forward. For instance, start having daily prayers with your children or spouse. Commit to praying the rosary on the way to work or reading scripture before bed each night.

O U RStewardship


Stewardship of Talent Our definition of Stewardship of Talent: Using my God-given abilities to strengthen the Church and help others, especially through parish ministries and activities. The bottom line about parish ministry: No Catholic Christian exists in a vacuum. Scripture makes it clear that we must function within the wider faith community, putting our gifts in the service of others. It’s not enough to go to Sunday Mass; we need to be involved in parish life and ministry. What kind of Talent commitments should I make? If you’re not involved in anything in our parish, now is the perfect opportunity to take a step forward. Check out our commitment card for a list of ministries. If you’re already involved, re-commit yourself to the important work you do. And if you feel God is calling you forward – sign up for something new! Stewardship of Treasure Our definition of Stewardship of Treasure: The wise and just management of my financial resources; giving a proportionate amount of my income to the parish. The bottom line about financial support: We need to take seriously the Biblical concept of the tithe, and start giving based on a percentage of income. It’s our responsibility to support the Church with our personal involvement and our financial support. What kind of Treasure commitments should I make? Our goal is to give five percent of income to the offertory. Grab a calculator and figure out your target gift based on your total household income. Then make a plan for increasing your gift incrementally to reach five percent. During our Stewardship Renewal, choose a weekly or monthly gift to the parish, and be faithful to it for the next year. 5

Stewardship of Talent Bring Your Gifts to the Spotlight! T

he word “talent” often conjures up images of stage performers in the spotlight, captivating awestruck audiences with their impeccable musical or acting skills. While these talented performers are certainly deserving of applause, the majority of the population sits hidden in the shadows, staring on in amazement while feeling overlooked — and perhaps wishing to possess such talents themselves. But even when we feel overlooked and untalented, God knows better. As Christians, we are all called to dig deep and trust that we are uniquely blessed with valuable talents and abilities, even if our talents aren’t so obvious or don’t garner applause and accolades. Along with “time” and “treasure,” “talent” is one of the “three Ts” of stewardship. Exploring our natural inclinations and preferences, especially when guided by the intricacies of our unique personalities, can unearth Godgiven talents. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit,” writes St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians. “There are different forms of service, but the same Lord.” Some people have the gift of working peacefully with children. Equipped with patience and gentleness, they are able to guide young souls to the Lord. Yet, others shudder at the thought of a classroom full of 5-year-olds, and instead

seek the quiet solace of behind-the-scenes tasks — cleaning the church, sewing altar cloths or stuffing envelopes. Our interests and abilities are varied, and our volunteer options are endless, as we are called to give our talents back to God in loving service. Examine your heart and prayerfully discern your gifts, then direct those gifts towards serving the people of God. H. Jackson Brown, Jr., author of Life’s Little Instruction Book, once said, “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it is going to be forwards, backwards, or sideways.” If our gifts of talent are not guided by the discipline of prayer, just like an octopus on roller skates, we will get nowhere fast! Yet, if we keep our eyes on the goal of heaven and serve the Lord with joyfulness, our efforts will produce a bountiful harvest. In the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully.” The next time you sit quietly in the shadows behind a glaring stage spotlight, rest assured that your talents are no less impressive in the eyes of God, and will always be “applauded” when directed to the service of His people.

Our interests and abilities are varied, and our volunteer options are endless, as we are called to give our talents back to God in loving service. Examine your heart and prayerfully discern your gifts, then direct those gifts towards serving the people of God.


Knights of Columbus Council 1002: Actively Growing in Service and Fellowship


he Knights of Columbus pancake breakfasts are returning Oct. 10, thanks to Knights of Columbus Council 1002 Msgr. Conrad Saille, one of the most active Councils in the area. The breakfasts will be held on the second Sunday of the month from 8-11:30 a.m. at Sts. Mary and Hyacinth Parish, and will continue through June. These breakfasts, along with other Council 1002 activities, help provide the important financial support given to our Antigo Area Catholic Churches and to our parish priests. The funds help with projects such as lawn care and snow removal, or any important projects that arise. Besides the fellowship the Knights enjoy, membership enables each man to not only deepen his own faith but also to help other fellow Knights in their faith journeys that encourage them to practice charity, unity, and fraternity, all within a place of evangelization. These tenets are put into action when Council members say the Rosary for a deceased Knight if the family requests it. “Being a member of the Knights of Columbus allows men of faith to support each other,” says Tom McGrath, District Deputy and past Grand Knight of Council 1002. “The Knights of Columbus has a really solid spiritual fellowship. A lot of men lack that connection with each other spiritually that the Knights offers.” The Council takes in members from St. John, Sts. Mary and Hyacinth, and St. Wenceslaus Parishes, as well as six other parishes in the area. There are currently about 180 members. During the summer, the Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month, in the lower basement meeting room of St. John Church. From October through May, the meetings are on the first and third Mondays at the same time and location. With a membership drive recently completed, the

Council is planning to begin a Family of the Month program this fall, under a state-wide Knights program. “The program is underway in other Councils,” Tom says. “It will have a committee to select a family from nominees who are involved in their Catholic faith in their parish. A team of Knights will interview the nominees and identify their Catholic beliefs and activities before the selection is made. There will be a spiritual exercise with their parish pastor and possibly a reception honoring them.” When the parking lot paving project at St. John was completed in mid-September, the Council organized an ice cream social to celebrate. There also was a “welcome back to church” Belgian waffle and pancake breakfast that invited parishioners and the community to celebrate lifted pandemic restrictions. The event was held at Vickie and the Vets Restaurant to allow for the crowd. “That was one of the Knights’ goals to support the parish,” Tom says. The Knights of Columbus are also moving to include their families in more activities, including attending the initiation ceremony. “There is no need for secrecy,” Tom says. “While there are beautiful rituals, they now include families. It is now a more family-oriented organization.” Any Catholic man at least 18 years of age who accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church, may join. During this year honoring Blessed Michael McGivney, founder of the order, the first year of online membership is free. Joining may be done online at with the promo code McGivney2020. Council dues may vary.

Anyone with questions about becoming a Knight may call Tom McGrath at 715-219-0214. 7

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

RANGER ROSARY MINISTRY meet at St. John’s on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. — some of the women also make them at home via supply kits that are put together. Most years, the group is far enough ahead that they can take a break from making rosaries in the summer. The group also carefully checks each rosary to make sure no beads were missed. Assistance is also needed in preparing the rosaries for shipping and ordering supplies. Cathy is looking for help from anyone who has a passion for supporting our military men and women. Fortunately, this ministry was able to continue its work during the COVID-19 pandemic of the past year and a half, as the rosaries can be made at home. Cathy says that one member of

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the group is 99 years old and appreciated being able to work on the rosaries through the pandemic. Fr. Joel Sember also blesses the rosaries before they are shipped. Recipients receive a card with directions on how to pray a Rosary. The Altar Society pays for most of the supplies, along with generous donations by parishioners. “I feel this is something I can do to support our military,” Cathy says. “I feel sad for the ones that are overseas and can’t contact family or anything. This is just one way we can show them that we care, and we are there for them.” Most years, the group gathers at a restaurant around Christmas to celebrate the year and enjoy time together.

If you would like to get involved in the Ranger Rosary Ministry or to learn more, please call the parish office at 715-623-2024. You can also give to the group in the collection by indicating it is for “Ranger Rosaries.” 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.