Little Falls Catholic Community Newsletter — November 2021

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Little Falls

Catholic Community

Meet Diaconate candidate


Robert Walquist:

Seeking God’s Will Every Step of the Way

s Robert Walquist to show me how He wants me to surrendered his heart and serve the Church.” soul to the Catholic Church — Opening his heart generously his newfound spiritual mother to these promptings, Robert on earth — when he received his entered into diaconate First Sacraments, he also began formation in 2015 and has been to desire to give his entire life to working through the process her mission in a powerful way. ever since. Due to his full-time “I was not raised Catholic, work as a Major in the Army but became Catholic in 1998,” National Guard, he has had to he says. “From that point on, take a few breaks along the way, I became very interested in extending his formation timeline deacons and what they did. I a bit. He is currently working in Robert Walquist and his learned more about it and had Washington, D.C. wife, Colleen some friends who were deacons. “As an important part of the I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God diaconate program of the Diocese of St. Cloud, what He wanted to do with the desires I had. I we are asked to earn a Masters of Arts in always felt a push in the direction toward the Ministry degree at St. John’s University,” he diaconate, and the more I prayed, the more the says. “I have been steadily working on it and I push just became stronger and stronger. I just am close to being done.” kept praying for God’s direction, and asked Him Throughout his formation, Robert has been continued on back cover


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

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne: “The Woman Who Always Prays” On Nov. 18, we celebrate the feast day of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. During her long life of service, she confronted many hardships, and played an important role in bringing the Catholic faith to the new American frontier. Her endless devotion to prayer and lifelong desire to help those in need provides us with a beautiful example of stewardship and faith in the face of great adversity.


orn on Aug. 29, 1769 in Grenoble, France, to a prominent lawyer, the young Philippine was educated by tutors and her own mother, as well as by the Visitation nuns in Grenoble. By 1788, the 19-year-old Philippine had become completely devoted to the Catholic faith, and she joined the Convent of the Visitation — by some accounts, against her family’s wishes. However, by 1792, the convent was closed due to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution — an era that witnessed the outlawing of all religious organization in France. While no longer a member of a convent, Philippine remained fully active in providing service and ministering to those in need — even selflessly putting herself at great risk by helping to hide priests from the Revolutionaries. By the time the Reign of Terror ended and the Concordat between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII was signed in 1801, Philippine attempted to restart the convent, but without success. However, in 1804, she learned of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and with several of her companions, became a novice in the Society. By 1815, Philippine was elected secretary general of the Society, but had already expressed a strong desire to minister outside of France and Europe. Such an opportunity was presented just three years later, as Bishop William Dubourg requested missionaries at his large diocese in Louisiana. Philippine, along with a group of four companions, sailed to New Orleans in May 1818. By that September, Philippine and her companions had opened the first free school for girls located west of the Mississippi. While Philippine found great difficulty adjusting to an unfamiliar culture in what was still largely uncharted North American territory, she nevertheless 2

continued to oversee several struggling convents. And despite her uneasiness with the language and culture, Philippine worked to maintain a unified spirit within the Society as it spread throughout the new American territory. By the early 1840s, Philippine decided to join her companions in the Society at a reservation of the Potawatomi nation, in Sugar Creek, Kan. A major influence on this decision was Philippine’s disgust with the treatment of the native people on behalf of the American government. She felt that by serving the reservation, she could concentrate on ministry and prayer in a setting far removed from European influence. Unfortunately, Philippine’s health had already begun to fail, and at Sugar Creek she could do little more than continually pray in the reservation chapel. Nevertheless, her strong faith and spirit profoundly moved the Potawatomi people, and they affectionately referred to her as Kwahkahkanumad, or “the woman who always prays.” As her health continued to deteriorate, Philippine was soon recalled from Sugar Creek. She would spend the final 10 years of her life quietly working to spread the Catholic faith throughout North America. Philippine died on Nov. 18, 1852. Her companion, Anna du Rousier, was by her side at her death. Anna would carry the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into South America, assuring that Philippine’s faithful devotion to ministry and prayer would continue to inspire and influence long after her passing. In recognition of Philippine’s contributions to the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as well as to the spread of the Catholic faith in North America, she was beatified on May 12, 1940. And on July 3, 1988, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was canonized.

A Letter From Our Pastor

The Four Pillars of Parish Stewardship: Living the Mission that God Has Entrusted to Us My Dear Friends in Christ,


his past summer at each of our parishes, we needed to take care of some very significant repairs to our buildings and campuses. I want to thank all people who made this possible by sharing time, talent, and treasure. I want to now turn to the greater mission of our parishes and Tri-Parish community. Our mission as parishes is to introduce people to a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as communities of faith, we are called to be God’s sacramental presence in our community. This is a very tall order, and yet, God entrusts to us this mission of the Church. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that if a parish is truly doing what they are supposed to be doing, we must be about: worship, evangelization, and helping the poor. I think that our four pillars of Stewardship correspond very nicely to these priorities: The first pillar is hospitality. I believe that this should serve as the foundation for everything. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We need to let people know that we care about them and invite them to belong. The second pillar is prayer. This corresponds nicely with Pope Benedict’s “worship.” Prayer includes liturgical prayer such as the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and Liturgy of the Hours. But prayer also

includes our own personal prayer with devotions, Sacred Scripture, intercessory prayer, etc. Personal prayer is what prepares us for liturgical prayer. The third pillar is formation. This corresponds well with Pope Benedict’s “evangelization.” Evangelization for Benedict includes both reaching out to those who are the unchurched, or the “nones,” but also ongoing catechesis and conversion for intentional disciples. The fourth pillar is service. This pillar corresponds nicely with Pope Benedict’s “helping the poor.” The “poor” here can be broadened to anyone who is in great need of being reached during difficult times. The four pillars of Stewardship — hospitality, prayer, formation, and service — help us to live the mission that God has entrusted to us. We are to go and make disciples! This month, I will be asking our parish councils and staff to be reflecting with me on how we can better live our mission by better living the pillars of stewardship.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Ben Kociemba, Pastor


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

Holy Family Parishioner Profile:


Keith Silbernick in Kuwait

Keith Silbernick and his wife, Ann


ince Keith Silbernick was a child, Holy Family in Belle Prairie has been home, and the Catholic faith has always been an important part of his life. As a child, Keith attended Our Lady of the Angels Academy, which was the school associated with Holy Family. He spent his high school years and one year of college attending the Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minn. Keith was discerning the priesthood but was called to marriage after meeting his wife, Ann — but his vocational calling didn’t stop there. At 30 years old, Keith answered the call to serve our country in the Army National Guard. “I always wanted to be in the military,” Keith says. “It just took me a while to figure that out.” Not one to sit and watch others be involved, Keith also serves in many ministries at Holy Family. He is currently a lector, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, usher, trustee, and Chair of the annual Heritage Festival. Keith is proud of his time spent in the National Guard. A highlight of his time in service was from 2011 to 2012, when he was deployed to Camp Buehring in Kuwait. His commitment to the Catholic Church never wavered as he traveled overseas. Keith volunteered to help the Catholic priest on base to prepare for Mass and with anything else he needed — he even received training and a certification for those tasks. Keith retired from his full-time job, working for the National Guard at Camp Ripley, in 2019. “I guess I’m just a type-A personality,” Keith says. “I like to be involved. Maybe some of it is because of the seminary. I was trained to be a leader.” Since Eucharistic Adoration began in Little Falls, Keith and Ann have covered the 6 to 7 p.m. slot on Sunday nights. When Keith was in Kuwait, he would even wake up at an odd hour, due to the time change, so he was praying at the same time as Ann in Little Falls. Keith acknowledges that it hasn’t always been easy to attend weekend Mass when he’s been away for the military. In basic training, he had to march there and give up some of his time

Keith Silbernick:

Sharing Gifts and a Willingness to Serve when he could have been on break. Sometimes, he would be in the field training and Mass in a tent was the only option. But he always found a way to practice the faith. “I made it a priority,” he says. “Sometimes, I would even have people come to Mass with me, who weren’t really active in their faith, but they were searching.” As he stays busy with all the ministries, Keith wouldn’t have it any other way. He realizes not everyone likes to be involved. But, for him, he can’t sit back and watch

others do the work. Keith credits his mother and father for setting an example of service through their involvement in various ministries. His mother, Joan, still volunteers as much as she can. “The willingness to serve is a gift I have been given,” Keith says. “I want to share it.” Keith and Ann have two daughters, Lynn and Nancy, and four grandchildren. In his free time, Keith enjoys collecting Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys. He also loves to collect old trucks.

Keith Silbernick with a makeshift altar in Kuwait

Creating Faithful and Loving Advent Traditions


s the Christmas season approaches, it is easy to get swept up in the commercialism that tells us Christmas begins on Black Friday. Advent begins on Nov. 28, and Advent-centered traditions are a simple way to differentiate between the two seasons. Traditions can help us embrace what this season truly means and allow us to consider ways to enter into careful preparation for the birth of the Christ child with our families. While hanging stockings, consider hanging one for Jesus so family members can place “gifts” in the stocking for Him. These can be commitments made on a notecard offering to give up desserts during the week or promising to do one extra chore for another family member. Advent can be as much of a time for fasting and almsgiving as the season of Lent — after all, both seasons prepare our hearts for a great feast of the Church. Need more ideas? Create a manger bed for Jesus. For every good deed that a member of your family performs, place some straw in a small manger

displayed somewhere prominently in your home. By Christmas, there will be a fitting bed in which the Christ Child can be placed. If your parish participates in a gift outreach, make the shopping experience for that gift a family outing. By focusing on the person who will receive the gift, you will help make the act of shopping more meaningful. While there are many activities to help prepare our hearts for the Christmas celebration, nothing centers us more securely in this season of Advent than participating in the liturgy. Try to attend parish penance services or live nativities or take part in service opportunities organized by our parish ministries. Spend time with your children with the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration, reminding them that the Christ Who dwells there in the monstrance is the same Christ Who came to this world as a baby — for it will be there in the presence of Christ that we can truly sing, with hearts ready to receive Him, “Oh come let us adore Him, oh come let us adore Him.” 5

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

Teaching Our Children the True Meaning of Stewardship


hat is your response when someone compliments your child’s achievements in art, music or sports? Do you say “thank you” as a kind response, or do you thank God for granting your child the gifts necessary for success? As parents, we serve as the primary educators of our children. Teaching them from a young age that their talents — whether in soccer, chorus or painting — come not from us, but from God, is essential to teaching stewardship. God graciously grants each of us unique skills and abilities, and it is our job to use those gifts to glorify Him. As parents, aunts, uncles, or older siblings, we can guide children in our lives to recognize their Godgiven gifts. We can further encourage children to use God’s gifts to their full potential, and then thank Him for bestowing them. This teaches young Catholics how to be good stewards. Indeed, not utilizing our talents brings to mind the parable of the servant who buries the treasure his master gives him, instead of using it to create more treasure. God wants us to use our talents wisely and thankfully. Teaching children to utilize their talents to build God’s kingdom is only one step of the threefold stewardship message. How your children spend their time is also important. As we move through the hustle and bustle of our day — balancing school, chores and extracurricular activities — do we find time to spend with God? It often seems as if 24 hours is not long enough to fulfill our many daily tasks. So, how can we find the time to teach and demonstrate the importance of sharing our time with God? Simple time offerings include praying on the way to school, stopping by the church to pray for a friend in need, or thanking God for a good outcome on a test. Even learning about a saint over dinner and praying as a family before bedtime can be a valuable 6

time offering to the Lord. As parents, finding daily prayer time ourselves is also necessary, both for our roles as good stewards and as an example to our children. How wonderful for a child to witness their parent in quiet prayer devotion! The third tier of stewardship — treasure — is most frequently overlooked when educating our children. Birthday money from Grandma and allowance money doesn’t count — or does it? All gifts we receive are really from God, and the “first fruits” of those gifts should be generously returned to God — even if they come from Grandma. Starting as early as grade school, children can understand the concept of giving back to the all-giving God if we simply take the opportunity to teach it to them. Witnessing our weekly tithe is a great start, but encouraging them to give in their own children’s offertory envelope is also important. Knowing they are returning to God in thanksgiving will fill them with joy! Of the many lessons parents instill in their children, teaching them to be good stewards should be a top priority. Our goal as parents is to get our children to heaven to be with our creator, God. Teaching them to be good stewards is a great way to ensure entry.

The Money Counters Ministry: Ensuring Good Stewardship of Our Parish Treasure


e all have our own gifts that we can use to glorify our Lord. Some of us have more “outward” gifts to aid in the Mass, like a beautiful singing voice or a strong speaking voice. Others have talents that can provide essential help behind the scenes — and the Holy Family Money Counters ministry is a perfect example. As we all know, it takes the gift of treasure, large or small, to keep our parish operating. Therefore, it’s an important ministry to accurately count the offering. Three volunteers gather each week to count, organize and calculate the collections from all the Masses at Holy Family. There are five teams of counters and about 10 substitutes at Holy Family. Cheryl Hoskins, who has been counting the collection at Holy Family for about 15 years, leads this ministry with Mel Euteneuer, as part of the Finance Committee. “I am using my skills — I worked in healthcare finance,” Cheryl says. “This is something I feel good about. I enjoy doing it.” Cheryl admits she would not enjoy a ministry where she has to work in front of people, so the Money Counter Ministry is an ideal way for her to serve, as it takes place behind the scenes. An important quality for our counters, in addition to accuracy, is the ability to remain confidential about the collection. “We have such a dedicated group of members,” Cheryl says. “They dedicate their time to this ministry because they know this is important.” Cheryl has been a member at Holy Family for 41 years — she and her husband, Kevin,

(From left) Money counters Bob and Judi Johnson, and Bob Kempenich

make parish involvement a priority. Kevin recently completed his term on the Parish Council and now serves on the Stewardship Committee. Both previously served as catechists for religious education. Cheryl also teaches Children’s Liturgy of the Word. “There are so many people that give of their time and talents,” Cheryl says. “They are already involved in so many ministries, and when you ask them, they are always willing to help out. It’s so good to see such a faith-filled community.” She encourages everyone to get involved in a ministry — if we each give a little of our time, a lot will get done! “No matter what you feel your skills or talents are, there is a need,” she says. “You can get involved on the prayer line or a mission circle. You can help with a bake sale. There are so many functions to help with. You don’t have to be perfect — just step forward and get involved.”

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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

Meet Robert Walquist

continued from front cover

richly blessed in many ways. “Preparing to be a deacon helps you get to know yourself better and pushes the boundaries of your thinking about certain things,” he says. “It challenges you. It also allows you to meet some wonderful people and form incredible relationships.” Before moving to D.C., Robert and Colleen, his wife of 28 years, thoroughly enjoyed being an integral part of our parish family for 11 years. “This faith community has such wonderful God-loving people who are willing to give the shirts off of their own backs,” Robert says. “They are just such an amazing group of people. We enjoyed our time there and we look forward to coming back and serving the parish community again.” Looking forward to his diaconate ordination, Robert savors a few hopes, dreams, and desires. “Part of our formation is the ongoing discernment if God is calling us to be a deacon or not, right up until the time of ordination,” he

says. “So I cannot say for sure I will be ordained, but assuming I will, the work I hope to do for the Church is yet to be determined, and I plan to do whatever the priest I am working with would like me to do. However, for many years I enjoyed working in Religious Education and teaching prebaptismal classes to couples. I also have a lot of experience in administration, and am concerned about social justice issues as well.” Robert also offers his encouragement and advice to those who are considering a call to the diaconate. “I would advise them that, if they are feeling a call to the diaconate, not to simply dismiss it by thinking they are just too busy, or that God wouldn’t want them,” he says. “I would encourage them just to take a step forward to pray about it and investigate it. We need more fine men to fulfill these roles in the Church!” The Walquists have four daughters — Casey, Janey, Carla, and Julia — ranging in age from 20 to 27.