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Little Falls

Catholic Community

PARISHIONER

AARON GINDELE

Brings the Faith to Fatherhood and Family

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f there’s one thing that being a father brings to Aaron Gindele of Holy Family Parish, it’s the joy — the joy of being a father to his six children, the joy of bringing them to Christ, and the joy of his children helping him to be more childlike in his love of Christ. Aaron and his wife, Nicolette, have five daughters and one son. Their ages range from 17 to 4. “We have the whole gamut right now in ages,” Aaron says. In reflecting on his role as a father as the celebration of Father’s Day approaches, Aaron says being a father affects every aspect of life. “It’s your drive each day when you wake up,” he says. “You’re making sure your family is cared for and free time is around that. It brings a lot of joy to life because of it. It helps to keep you in line and your priorities straight. It’s not ‘mine’ anymore. There are family priorities, and the decisions I

Aaron Gindele and family

make are what’s best for my family, my wife, and my kids. Everything is driven around that.” Aaron has found that fatherhood helps him to grow closer to Christ because of the influence of his children. continued on back cover

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St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family

SERVICE The Fourth Pillar of Parish Stewardship

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SERVICE

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hroughout Sacred Scripture, there are numerous references to service. There is the parable of the vigilant and faithful servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, “ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks” (Lk 12:35-40). There is the story of the good Samaritan who was moved with compassion to help the victim of a violent robbery (Lk 10:25-37). And there are several examples of Christ serving those around Him — feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, and even turning water into wine at a wedding banquet. Why is service a running theme throughout the Gospels? Because service is at the root of living in imitation of Christ. Christ served others throughout His life on Earth, and His death on the cross was the ultimate act of service to mankind. And when we serve others, we are not only following in Christ’s footsteps, we are also serving Christ Himself: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). As a stewardship parish, service must be at the heart of everything we do. The parish community is the bastion of service within the Catholic Church, as we serve one another and are also served by our brothers and sisters in Christ. As the Diocese of Wichita’s document, The Pillars of Parish Stewardship, states, “Like a blood family, the parish family stands ready and eager collectively to wrap their arms around their brothers and sisters when they suffer in trial and/or celebrate special events in their lives.” It is good to recognize the parish community as a place where service is appreciated and can be utilized for the good of the Church. However, it is not enough for us to simply serve other members of our parish family. As disciples of Christ, it is our obligation to serve people in need everywhere they exist — in our families, our greater community, our country, and throughout the world. This can be a challenging concept, as it is often much more comfortable and convenient to serve those who are close to us than it is to reach out to “outsiders.” But, as The Pillars of Parish Stewardship eloquently points out, “Failure to have this understanding leads to a selfish parochialism, which is life draining to a parish stewardship way of life.” Think of ways that you can serve others around you, both within our parish family and in the greater community. Our many parish ministries offer a great place to begin offering your time and talents, but the opportunities for service don’t end there. There are many civic and nonprofit organizations that do an immense amount to serve others across the globe and are always looking for volunteers. Once you serve, you will find that you will reap numerous rewards in return, much like the faithful servants who doubled the talents their master had entrusted to them: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy” (Mt 25:21).


A Letter From Our Pastor

Redefining Love

Through the Sacred Heart of Jesus

My Dear Friends in Christ,

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ne of the great feasts of the Christian year will occur in June, but it is often overlooked. It doesn’t fall on a Sunday, and it isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation. I am referring to the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which will be on June 11 this year. This wonderful feast provides a great way to begin the summer. However, despite widespread devotion and many parish dedications to the Sacred Heart, many Catholics have only a vague idea of what it’s all about. So, let me try to briefly fill in the picture. Often, when we think of the heart, we think of it as the seat of our emotions and feelings. The heart is often contrasted with the mind, as though our God-given reason were somehow evil or, at best, second-rate. But feelings come and go — we can’t really depend on our emotions to be reliable, steady guides. However, when classical theology refers to the heart, it is considering an aspect of human life that goes beyond our feelings. It includes our will, where we make decisions. The heart can be considered the center of our personhood. In explaining Christian teaching about human nature, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God” (368). It is common to mistakenly label love as an emotion. Love often includes feelings, but true love is more than that. Real love is a settled attitude that wants the best for the person being loved. That’s why the Church’s teaching usually uses the term “charity” — to distinguish the Christian virtue from the more superficial popular concept of love. The Catechism tells us, “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. Jesus makes charity

the new commandment. By loving his own ‘to the end,’ he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive” (CCC, 1822-1823). This sort of love, this charity — demonstrated by Jesus Christ and commanded to His followers — is no lightweight passing emotion. Feelings alone do not bring one to offer oneself to an agonizing death for the sake of someone else. No, that sort of sacrifice can only come from a considered and deliberate decision. Although we sometimes forget that fact, Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine. So, His human heart was involved in His sacrifice on the Cross. Thus, simply put, devotion to the Sacred Heart reminds us of the basic fact that God loves us. It was a costly love, the ultimate act of charity, to give His life on our behalf. We know the kind of love Jesus has for us. What kind of loving response are you going to make? How will that affect your use of your time, talent, and treasure? Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Ben Kociemba, Pastor

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St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family

Stewardship:

DR AW ING C LO S E R

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ello, brothers and sisters in Christ — my name is Job Yorek. My wife, Julie, and I, along with our daughter, Emma, are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Church. A few years ago, I was asked to help with the Religious Education program. I said “yes” and I am glad I did. I have also helped with other activities within our church and plan on continuing to do so. As a child, I served as an altar boy. All of my life I have observed my entire extended family participate and help with church activities, duties, and celebrations throughout the years. “BIG WHOOP” you might think, right? Well, I was asked for my opinion about what stewardship means to me. After looking up the definition for the word “stewardship,” I found that “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care” best described stewardship for me. So now with that definition in mind, how can we share with our church our respective talents and gifts held under that stewardship? What do you think of when you hear the word “church”? Do you think of our beautiful physical brickand-mortar church? Or do you think of our

spiritual one, the church into which we were all baptized, with Jesus as the head and all of us as the body? Well, I like to think of those two definitions of “church” as synonymous with one another, just as being stewards of our gifts and talents is synonymous with us being stewards of our church. A couple years back, when I was asked to help with the Religious Education for our grade school students, I reluctantly said “yes,” even though I’m more of the silent type. I can honestly say that helping with the Religious Education program has been very rewarding and educational. I still don’t know all the correct answers, but I am really enjoying the journey, the beautiful facets, and the “ah-ha” and inspiring moments of learning and growing in our faith along the way. Participating in stewardship activities is a fun, sometimes serious, and fulfilling way for us to show God our appreciation for the gifts we’ve been given. Stewardship is a way to thank Him for the wonderful gifts and talents that He has so uniquely given to each and every one of us. Can there be a more beautiful way to honor our God and foster and grow our gifts

How, what, where, and when will you step up? Why wouldn’t you dare to think about stepping out of your comfort zone for our church? Maybe you don’t quite realize what you have to offer our church. I believe that God has given each and every one of us a talent, whether or not you are aware of it yet. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and say “yes” to using your God-given talents for His honor, His church, our church, whether it be through your time, talent or treasure.

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TO C H R I ST AND OUR C HUR C H By JOB YOREK that we have been given? “Give and you shall receive. Knock and the door will be opened.” Where would our church be, the church to which we all ascribe, had it not been for all those who have gone before us paving the way? And how about the ones among us now, who also generously give of their time, support, labor, sweat, and tears for our church? I applaud and appreciate all of you, past and present. When you find yourself standing face to face with God, which we all know will happen one day, what will your response be if God asks you, “What have you done with your talents that you have received?” Are you going to be the one explaining that you hid them under a bushel basket for safekeeping? Or are you going to hear, “Job well done; you have made a return of twice as expected, seven times, or 70 times seven times as expected with the talents you received”? So now, in conclusion, I ask you — how, what, where, and when will you step up? Why wouldn’t you dare to think about stepping out of your comfort zone for our church? Maybe you don’t quite realize what you have to offer our church. I believe that God has given each and every one of us a talent, whether or not you are aware of it yet. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and say “yes” to using your God-given talents for His honor, His church, our church, whether it be through your time, talent or treasure. The risk is so minute compared to the infinite reward that awaits us in our next unworldly life. What a wonderful way for us to help draw ourselves and others closer to God, our church, our Catholic community, and Jesus Christ Himself. 5


St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family

THE CHURCH, A UNIVERSAL FAMILY The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

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n June 29, Catholics celebrate the feast of two of our Lord’s principal Apostles, foundational human cornerstones of the Church of Rome. The first missal reading of this feast day tells us of the miraculous deliverance of Peter from prison. This illustrates the concrete fact that despite persecutions, Christ and His chosen followers will be triumphant in this world, and in the world to come. The second is of Paul summarizing his own “pouring out” of his life as a libation. The way in which he poured it out is overwhelmingly significant — he gave his life as a missionary to gather all nations into God’s unified Kingdom. The Holy Gospel recounts Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah. After this confession, the “keys to the Kingdom” were conferred onto him. These “keys” became the fundamental building block supporting the ordained priesthood and episcopal government of the Church. In his homily on June 29, 2005, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shared: “The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is at the same time a grateful memorial of the great witnesses of Jesus Christ and a solemn confession for the Church — one, holy, catholic and apostolic. It is first and foremost a feast of catholicity.” The celebration of our catholicity is a celebration of our unity in Christ. This unity endures unto the end, as our 6

strength and fortress in the face of evil and the trials of earthly life. Sts. Peter and Paul remind us that our faith is founded on something much higher than ourselves, on an entity which raises horizons beyond our human frailties and imaginings. Our holy faith is founded upon the rock, Jesus Christ. Pope Emeritus Benedict described further: “When Peter and Paul came to Rome, the Lord

on the Cross who had uttered the first line of that Psalm was risen; God’s victory now had to be proclaimed to all the nations...” Let us embrace all of the graces which these beloved saints have won for us. Let us imitate their example, and so follow Christ with unwavering resolution. As did the Blessed Virgin, let us persevere in serving the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church in all that we say and do.


Highlights of Our 2021 STEWARDSHIP RENEWAL

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ur faith community recently conducted its 2021 Stewardship Renewal. The Stewardship Renewal gave our parish community the opportunity to discern how we are using our gifts of time, talent, and treasure in service to the parish and in return to God. This month, we are happy to share with you some of the highlights of the 2021 Stewardship Renewal.

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St. Mary’s • Our Lady Of Lourdes • Holy Family Parish Office: 208 West Broadway Little Falls, MN 56345 (320) 632-8243 www.littlefallscatholic.org

AARON GINDELE

continued from front cover

“I’m always reminded — always — that Jesus is teaching me to be more childlike and my children are reminders of that,” Aaron says. “Being able to witness their innocence and love for each other, their openness to learning — those facts remind me of how I need to be the one more childlike, myself. It keeps you motivated and awake in a spiritual sense. There is no growing wearing with your faith life. I have children who desire to be brought closer to Christ.” Seeing their wish to grow in faith helps Aaron grow himself and to be attentive to his spiritual life. Not only do his children help to build his spiritual life, but they also serve as an inspiration for living in stewardship. “There are a lot of ways to be stewards with the three aspects of time, talent, and treasure,” Aaron says. “When you refocus how you’re spending resources in areas, I take a lot of cues from my kids. Only recently, my son asked about going down the road with me and picking up trash. This is meaningful and allows me to act on doing

things, which is all stewardship of time. And with treasure, I can see them give each week to the offertory. This reinforces the importance of setting an example and living it. It’s contagious, you practice it and see it in my kids.” By having six children ranging in age from teens to preschool, Aaron has enjoyed witnessing their experiences as they receive the sacraments. “In a way, you get to relive what they experience,” he says. “It brings a lot of joy to see them receive the sacraments and grow in their life with Christ.” The Gindeles’ plans for Father’s Day will probably be low-key, with no set plans as yet. But no matter whether they go to a ball game or spend time boating, Aaron will be enjoying himself as “Dad.” “It’s hard to imagine life any other way,” he says. “Before I was a father, I always longed for the day. I don’t regret a minute of it. Even given the most difficult of times, I find it easy to take a lot of joy.”

Profile for Catholic Stewardship Consultants

Little Falls Catholic Community Newsletter — June 2021  

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