EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION
Serving the Mass and Our Parish Community Members in Need
or most of us, the past year and a half has had its share of ups and downs. For several months last spring, we could not attend Mass or receive the Eucharist. We learned the term “Spiritual Communion” and the accompanying prayer. Fortunately, many of us have returned to Mass since last year’s closures, hoping that we never have to go through that again. This separation from the Eucharist gave many of us a greater appreciation for receiving Christ’s Body and Blood at Communion. Our parishes have many volunteers who distribute the Eucharist at Mass and also bring Our Lord to those who can’t attend. As more places open up, the members are reaching out to more of the homebound. “We just really want to get the word out that we can bring the Eucharist to you if you can’t leave home,” says Mary Fuechtmann, who took
(From left) Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion leaders Bev Arndt (Our Lady of Lourdes), Mary Fuechtmann (Holy Family), and Kirstie Bingham (St. Mary's).
over the ministry of bringing the Eucharist to the homebound and local facilities. “We actually have more volunteers than people we deliver to.” continued on page 5
AU G U S T
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St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family
Work Continues at Our Churches
Take a look at some of the ongoing construction projects at two of our churches. Our Lady of Lourdes roof work begins (left), and parking lots at St. Mary's are being repaved. We thank our parishioners for helping to make these projects possible through their generous stewardship.
STEWARDSHIP: Taking Ownership in Our Parish
s Catholics and as stewards of God’s gifts, the Church is much more than a building in which we worship. The Church is the universal body of believers, the society that Christ established to help us grow in holiness, to bring us closer to Him through the giving of our gifts — our time, talent, and treasure — and to lead the world to the truth. Before Jesus ascended to the Father, He commissioned the disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20). That is the Church’s mission in the world today — to make disciples of all nations, to bring all men to Christ. Our parish plays a key part in that — we are local representatives of the universal Church. Together, as members of this parish family, we 2
work to carry out the Church’s mission on a local level. We worship the Lord at Mass, offering Him our praise and thanksgiving, and then we go forth on a mission to make disciples — to encourage our fellow parishioners in their lives of faith and to bring unbelievers into knowledge of the truth. As stewards and as members of this parish family, we are called to take ownership in our parish. It is our responsibility to make a conscious effort to be actively involved in the life of the parish, to build relationships with our fellow parishioners, and to celebrate the Mass together as often as possible — and most definitely every Sunday. By getting involved and living the stewardship way of life, our entire parish family can fulfill our mission to grow as disciples of Christ, and ultimately help fulfill the mission of the universal Church.
A Letter From Our Pastor
What Are You Going to Do With Your Life? My Dear Friends in Christ,
e are called to be the disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is our calling — stewardship is the way we are to live the life we have been given. I don’t think we believers would or should argue the point. It begins with our Baptism and our new life as members of the Church. There are no questions about it, even though we may not always remember that we have been called to discipleship — it is a lifelong process, and we are all works in progress. But please remember, we are God’s “works” that evolve moment by moment, day by day, and year after year. To get more specific, we need to not only understand that stewardship is the expression of discipleship, but it is also the way in which we are to live our life. It is not a program — it is a way of life. I suppose at least once in our lifetime, we have been asked, “What are you going to do with your life?” Usually, that will happen at graduation, and how many of us have followed the path we thought we would at that time in our life? Perhaps we replied with a certain profession that may have interested us at the time. But there is always more to our answer than the title of a profession, just as there is more to our lives than just breathing. How do we use the gifts God has given to us? How we do so will define the life we live for God and the Church. That is our call to discipleship. It is how we should understand stewardship. Many people ask me why I am so convinced that stewardship is a way of life. The simple answer I give is always the easy one and the most practical. My life as a faithful steward makes sense. The story of Christianity is filled with people like you and me who wonder and
desire how to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is what we are to do with our lives. Our attitude must be formed to spend the time and the talents we have, to do our part for God’s Church. When does that become our priority? When does it become our way of life? These are the questions any believer must ask themselves when we think about our relationship with God, His Church, and the people around us. But, throughout my time in life as a priest, stewardship as my way of life makes sense and is more than possible with what God has given me to work with. It is the same with each of us. I am grateful for what God has given me and thankful I can live my life as His disciple. I say that not just as a priest, but as a baptized member of His family. I am thankful my parents brought me to be baptized a Christian and begin a life that would lead me, like all of us, to be the disciple we are called to be. When we were baptized, no one asked us, “What are you going to do with your life?” If my parents and Godparents understood why we were all there, it should have been clear that we are all to be faithful stewards of all that God provides, beginning with the gift of life. That is why stewardship as a way of life is in my mind, heart, and soul. That, too, was a gift from God for which I am most grateful. This is my calling, and “this” is what I am going to do with the rest of my life. What will you do with yours? Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Ben Kociemba, Pastor 3
St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family
NATHAN KOSBAU :
Sharing Talents and Bridging
he love that Nathan Kosbau has for our parish runs deep, and the stories he has to share remind us of what it truly means to be Catholic. “I am a seventh-generation member of Holy Family Parish,” he says. “My great-grandfather helped to build our church building. He and others used an oxcart to travel to St. Cloud to pick up lumber to build our parish. The walls in our parish are made of field rock and in some places, they are three feet thick. It is amazing to think of the ingenuity that was needed to build our church. They didn’t have the modern conveniences that we have today.” Nathan has also been inspired by his mother’s dedication to our parish family and to the Catholic faith. “Throughout her adult life, my mom, Judi, has been very active in our parish, such as serving on the Liturgy Committee and the Funeral Committee, and doing volunteer work,” he says. “She set a firm foundation for me. She showed me that it is important to be involved in the Catholic community and not just talk about your faith, but also live it.” From a young age, Nathan began to follow the same Lord that his elders did and serve Him in remarkable ways, particularly through the gift of music.
“I absolutely loved music as a child,” he says. “I was involved in a children’s choir in the early 90s, and I have been playing the piano for the church since 1998. For the last 10 to 15 years, I have been in our Parish Choir, and for the last year and a half, I have been directing it. I also play piano for Mass. I even like to play for daily Masses even though they don’t typically have music there, just so I can help enhance the congregation’s experience of the Mass.”
It is so important to bring the liturgy to life through music. I really believe that people need to experience awe-inspiring moments and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit while they are in church. This helps them walk with Christ in their daily lives. Music can help them get more involved. Without music at Mass, it feels like empty prayer to me and it is I think it is hard for people to connect with God.
Over the years, Nathan Kosbau has found music to be a tremendous blessing and source of encouragement.
g the Faith from Generation to Generation Over the years, Nathan has found music to be a tremendous blessing and source of encouragement. “Music brings me closer to God,” Nathan says. “Someone told me once that it says in the Bible that music is the highest form of prayer, and I do believe that. When I play, I focus on bringing people into the Mass and bringing their hearts closer to God through the music.” Furthermore, he also believes that it awakens the soul to higher things and the sacred presence of Christ. “It is so important to bring the liturgy to life through music,” Nathan says. “I believe that people need to experience awe-inspiring moments and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit while they are in church. This helps them walk with Christ in their daily lives. Music can help them get more
involved. Without music at Mass, it feels like empty prayer to me and it is I think it is hard for people to connect with God.” He has also found that being a Catholic musician enables him to live out the stewardship vision in a way he sincerely enjoys. “It is my God-given talent and I am so thankful I have it,” he says. “I try to help out wherever I am needed. To give our time and talent to God — that is our mission in life!” For Nathan, one of the most wonderful aspects of belonging to Holy Family Parish is being part of such a longstanding, faithful community. “I like that we are a close-knit community in a small country church,” Nathan says. “It is so fun! A lot of our parishioners come from a close family farm background and there is a lot of history that goes with our parish.”
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion continued from front cover
Once a person is added to the list, they receive the Eucharist weekly, sometimes on Sundays, but it can be whatever day works best for the volunteer and recipient. The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion takes a little time to talk to the person. Anyone in hospice care should be sure to get added to the list. People may also call in for their Catholic neighbors and family, or, at the very least, tell them about this ministry. “We want to take some time to visit and pray with them if we can,” Mary says. “We don’t want to rush through it.” Having worked in the nursing field, Mary knows the importance of that visiting time, as it builds
community for our parishes and beyond. “Part of being healthy and happy is to connect with God,” Mary says. “Part of that can be found through church.” Mary also states that those with a faith background are usually happier, overall. “Spirituality is so key,” she says. “It’s one of the top items of people that have longevity and good longevity like they live to be over 100 years old.” There are a lot of volunteers who participate and assist with this ministry, which Mary finds very moving. If you are unable to attend Mass, please consider having someone bring Jesus to you!
If you would like to get on the list to receive the Eucharist at home, please call your parish office — Holy Family’s is 320-632-5720, St. Mary’s is 320-632-5640 and Our Lady of Lourdes’ is 320-632-8243. 5
St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family
LIVING ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL Forming a Conscience and Moral Code
s Christians, it is important that we recognize the difference between right and wrong — both morally and ethically. Sometimes, though, this line can become blurred. Many situations we encounter in our lives include variables that can leave us internally conflicted and unsure of how to move forward in accordance with God’s will. So, how do we work through these moral conundrums? One way is to develop a solid Christian conscience. A moral conscience exists in the heart of every individual. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking. Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed” (1777, 1778). Think of your conscience as the “angelic” version of yourself sitting on your shoulder, giving you sound advice. While everyone is blessed with a conscience, each individual has a responsibility to develop this conscience from the time they are young. Parents obviously play an important role in developing their children’s consciences. As the primary educators of their children on ethical issues and the Catholic faith, parents have a responsibility to teach virtue to their children and help them to
avoid fear, selfishness, and pride. As we grow older, we take on the lifelong challenge of continually forming our own consciences, and establishing a moral code that enables us to make the proper judgments. One valuable tool in forming a conscience is the practice of introspection. “It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience” (CCC 1779). In contemporary society, where there are so many distractions and routines, it is extremely important that we take the time to look inward and truly listen to what our inner voice is telling us. Another way to ensure we are developing a good moral code is by conforming to the mind of Christ. God the Father gave us Christ, physically present on this earth and recorded in Sacred Scripture, as the ultimate example of what to do and how to behave according to God’s will. In turn, when we act in loving imitation of Christ, we are certain to make practical judgments of conscience. The next time you are faced with a moral dilemma, take some quiet time to look inward, weigh the positive and negative outcomes, and listen to the voice of your conscience. Read the Gospels for examples of Christ’s teachings. By making this a regular practice, you will find that the voice of your conscience will come in louder and more clear than you may have initially expected.
The next time you are faced with a moral dilemma, take some quiet time to look inward, weigh the positive and negative outcomes, and listen to the voice of your conscience. Read the Gospels for examples of Christ’s teachings. By making this a regular practice, you will find that the voice of your conscience will come in louder and more clear than you may have initially expected. 6
SHARING TALENTS TO BRING OUR FAITH COMMUNITY CLOSER TO CHRIST
ot only does our Little Falls Catholic Community share the members of our Music Ministry among Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Mary’s, and Holy Family churches, but the ministry members themselves also share their time, talent, and treasure to help bring us closer to Christ during the Liturgy. There are small groups, cantors, and occasionally a choir to participate in. “We hope we can have seasonal choirs starting, now that we can sing together again,” says Judy Smith, who serves as Liturgy Coordinator at St. Mary’s and takes care of scheduling for Our Lady of Lourdes. “A lot of members move back and forth between churches, and share their talent with all three parishes in the tri-parish.” Any parishioner interested in music is welcome to join the ministry, especially if he or she has musical knowledge or experience. “We welcome anyone who wants to share his or her talents to give glory to God,” Judy says. Music Ministry members have found that as they are sharing their talent, they also are growing in their faith as they participate in Mass. “I think as musicians we’re more engaged in Mass,” Judy says. “The words of most songs are scriptural, and I think even with that, you’re constantly learning. You hear things differently and things click from the readings. Music ties it all together for us, the readings and the music.” There is no doubt that the Music Ministry members embrace stewardship. They offer us a prime example of stepping forward in support of our church. continued on back cover
(From left) Music Ministry members Darlene Brand, Greg Brand, Don Goligowski, Ron Miller, Deb Collis, Madelyn VanRisseghem, Clair VanRisseghem and (front) Maria Waytashek
Members of our Little Falls Catholic Community Music Ministry are looking forward to gathering in larger numbers. This group includes (from left) Gene Retka, Michael Retka, John Lauer, Alice Middendorf, Monique Sobania and Zachary Sobania.
St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family Parish Office: 208 West Broadway Little Falls, MN 56345 (320) 632-8243 www.littlefallscatholic.org
Music Ministry “One person said that it ties in — we are called to share our time, talent, and treasure, and doing it with music is just a natural way to do it,” Judy says. “That’s how we share our faith with others. I work with some amazing people who have taught me how important it is to pray first to know how I can use my Godgiven talent. We pray as a group together to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We pray to give our gifts back, focus on Him and not us. We’re not performing, we’re working to enhance the Liturgy.” The hope now as the calendar moves closer to Advent and Christmas is that the ministry will be able to come together as a larger choir. “That’s the hope that we’ll be able to do it,” Judy says. “A lot of people like to sing in the choir, and choirs are beautiful. They make
continued from page 7
Christmas and Easter even more special. “People in the Music Ministry love music and want to give back to God, the gifts we’ve been given,” she adds.
(From left) Music Ministry members Trish Tenold, Gail Geyer, Jacki Retka, Karl Smith, Bishop Donald J. Kettler, Becca Czech, Deacon Craig Korver and Judy Smith.
Interested in joining the Music Ministry either as a singer or musician? Please contact Judy Smith at 320-630-5320 and she will pass on the contact information to the appropriate music group leader.