USHER MINISTRY: Fostering Hospitality and Building Community in Our Parish
Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God, with our own unique talents that can be put to use to glorify the Lord and serve His church. We all need to take the time to pray and ask the Lord the words of, “Servant Song,” a church hymn — “What do you want of me, Lord?” We must ensure everyone who enters the doors at St. Mary’s feels welcome. The Usher Ministry is one way to make that happen.
Craig Maus has been an usher for seven years — most of those at the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass. The ushers keep themselves busy before and after Mass. They help with greeting, seating and ensuring things are set up for Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Sometimes, they help find a family to take up the gifts. They also do the collection and set up seats for people who want to sit in the gathering space. Ushers are also there to show guests to the restroom and deal with other issues that may arise. It’s convenient that, as an usher,
MASS TIMES: Saturday: 5:00 p.m. (English)
DAILY MASS: Monday: 6:30 p.m. Friday: 8:30 a.m.
VER AL DORSO PARA ESPAÑOL
Church of Saint Mary
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. (English ) & 12:30 p.m. (Spanish)
755 Kraft Drive SE Melrose, MN 56352 (320) 256-4207 www.oneinfaith.org/stmarys
Examining Our New Year’s Resolutions Through the Lens of Stewardship
Every January, we all step forward into the New Year with new ideas, goals and resolutions. But after the initial sparkle of the New Year has faded, it can be easy to forget our once-fervent resolutions. However, we might find that it’s a bit easier to keep our New Year’s resolutions if we look a bit beyond our physical selves. By also involving our spiritual lives, as well as the lives of others, we can add a lot more meaning to our resolutions.
As renowned Catholic author Matthew Kelly says, “We’re all trying to be better versions of ourselves,” and that’s basically what any resolution is about. Stewardship is essentially the same thing — if we embrace living a stewardship way of life, we become better versions of ourselves. We can use our time and talent to make improvements in our lives, in the lives of others, and in the life of the parish. It all comes down to one basic point — if we acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God, then we are supposed to be good stewards of those gifts, use them for the benefit of others, and return our talents tenfold to the Lord.
One idea to help incorporate stewardship into your New Year’s resolutions is to make two distinct resolutions each year — one at the beginning of the liturgical year, and one at the beginning of the calendar year.
We can think of the first Sunday of Advent as the Church New Year, and we can make our own spiritual resolutions at this special time each year. Then, for the
new calendar year, we can make resolutions for our health and well-being. In both cases, we can commit to these promises much in the same way we make our commitments during our annual Stewardship Renewal. We can make these resolutions, write them down, and share them with someone. Once you’ve written it down and shared it, you are now holding yourself accountable.
We are both physical and spiritual beings. Taking care of the physical side of things is a good start, but if we ignore the spiritual side, what kind of progress are we truly making? Even if you already regularly pray, you can add five more minutes to your prayer time each day to take a step forward in your faith. Even if you read the Bible once a week, you can take a spiritual leap and make it twice a week. One way to make a good resolution is to consider joining or increasing your involvement in one of the parish’s prayer, faith formation or outreach ministries.
Making resolutions requires us to truly reflect on the areas in our lives that we’d like to improve, while also ensuring that our priorities are in order. Remember, there is no need to take a giant leap all at once. So, as we begin a new calendar year, remember that even the smallest steps forward in faith can go a long, long way as you continuously renew your relationship with Christ.
It all comes down to one basic point — if we acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God, then we are supposed to be good stewards of those gifts, use them for the benefit of others, and return our talents tenfold to the Lord.
A New Year,
New Challenges, New Opportunities
It is a new year, and it is my prayer for all of you — and for me, as well — that we can take new steps on our faith journeys and seek new ways to live out discipleship and stewardship.
Pope Francis once commented on his perspective of our modern approach to life. He said, “Certainly, possessions, money, and power can give a momentary thrill, the illusion of being happy, but they end up possessing us and making us always want more, never satisfied. I have learned that the most important thing is to put on Christ in your life, place your trust in Him, and you will never be disappointed.”
The pope has been called “the world’s parish priest.” As we pray for one another in this New Year, may we all ask the Lord to help us appreciate Pope Francis’ approach to life, his simple way of seeing things, and his very basic way of appreciating things. I would hope that we see this year as a time for opportunity, a time to deepen our relationship to Christ, and for that matter to one another.
If we wish to change our lives and the lives of others, there are two easy ways to do it. We are blessed with many opportunities in this parish to pray, but as much as we need to take advantage of those, we also need to develop a strong personal prayer life. Recall the young Samuel, who was not quite sure what to do with his life,
or what direction to go. When he finally settled on that one important prayer, “Speak, Lord, for I am listening,” Samuel gave us the hint as to what we need to do. Prayer is a two-way street, and part of that is taking the time to listen to God.
The second important way is to exude joy. Christ certainly called us to do that. Pope Francis has had much to say about joy, as well. The Holy Father says, “Joy cannot be held at heel; it must be let go. Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks — walks on the path of life, that walks with Jesus… proclaiming joy, lengthens and widens that path.” We must seek that joy and then we need to share it. That is truly our call. Joy translates quite easily into “love your neighbor.”
Yes, there may be challenges ahead in 2023, but we must focus on the opportunities, and then exert the effort to benefit from those opportunities. Happy New Year!In Christ, Fr. Marvin Enneking Pastor
The National Eucharistic Revival
Deepening Our Relationship with Christ
It’s no coincidence that the central tenet of our Catholic faith is also the most difficult to accept. From the moment Christ taught in the Gospel of John that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you,” his followers began to walk away. Today is no different, as the Pew Research Center found that only 31 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Christians of all denominations generally agree that a personal relationship with Christ is crucial. As Catholics, how can this relationship grow if we deny that Christ is physically present with us in the Eucharist? How can this relationship deepen if the Body and Blood of Christ is received without belief in His presence?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has listened and looked at the hurt that exists in our world among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. If Christ is the
balm for the wounds that have been created in individuals, families, and societies, then the Catholic Church has a gift that must be shared. With this mission in mind, they now offer us a plan for a National Eucharistic Revival that reaches parishes, dioceses and the Church as a whole in the hope that by renewing our own faith, we will be ready to share it with others in desperate need of Christ’s healing.
What does it mean for us to experience this revival? It’s more than a renewal of faith, or simply accepting Church teaching — it is a real and personal encounter with the love of Christ, waiting for us in the Eucharist. The Church gives us many ways to encounter and share this love. Eucharistic Adoration is an opportunity to cultivate one’s relationship with Christ in the Eucharist through quiet prayer and presence. Eucharistic Processions — which many churches held when the Eucharistic Revival began on the Feast of Corpus Christi this last June — are a public
way to show reverence and belief in the healing power of the Eucharist.
The National Eucharistic Revival will span three years. The first year is focusing on how each diocese can promote love for our Eucharistic Lord. The second year will bring this closer to home as our parishes will evaluate how to deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist. The third year will bring us to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress and the National Year of Mission, when we will be prepared after our own renewal to bring the love of Christ to our families, neighbors and communities.
The vision for the National Eucharistic Revival is long-term. Beginning with our own hearts, Christ’s love has the power to bring deep and lasting healing to our world. The Catholic Church holds the unique gift of Christ’s Eucharistic Presence, but this gift is for everyone. Please join us as we deepen our faith and relationship with Christ individually and as a parish.
For more information and resources to grow in your faith, please visit www.eucharisticrevival.org.
TUESDAY MORNING SPIRITUALITY GROUP
A Place for Parishioners to Engage in Prayer, Discussion and Fellowship
Gathering together in fellowship is a great way to learn more about our rich Catholic faith and its teachings. It also provides an opportunity for growth as a community.
Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., a group of adults from our parish gathers for prayer, discussion, spiritual readings, and fellowship. The Tuesday Morning Spirituality Group opens with a prayer, then discusses a topic of the members’ choosing. Group members usually also read a few pages together aloud during their time together, then discuss what has been read.
“We strive to have a high level of respect for other viewpoints,” says member Jane Salzl. “Listening is
encouraged, just as speaking is encouraged.”
The discussion sometimes leads off in various directions, providing group members with the chance to share their thoughts on whatever the topic of discussion might be.
“Frequently, the discussion turns to some aspect of our parish life and the possibility of action steps,” says member Bernie Brixius. “Everyone in our parish is invited to attend.”
The participants generally have been involved in various Adult Faith Formation activities and groups throughout the years — some have even been involved for decades. These weekly gatherings are a way for
Tuesday Morning Spirituality Group
them to continue their spiritual formation.
“It’s about priorities,” Jane says. “If God, religion is important to you, Adult Faith Formation provides a path to deepen relationships with God and other likeminded people.”
There are around eight to 15 people involved in a given meeting. Many of the group members say the group would welcome new members with open arms — interested parishioners are invited and encouraged to consider joining their weekly fellowship.
“We would really like to see additional participation,” Bernie says. “Fellowship is important to us. Being seen as a valued person is important to us.”
Lisa Brixius is the main contact member for the Tuesday Morning Spirituality Group and has been involved with Faith Formation for over 40 years. She attends each week and says she “enjoys it immensely.”
“Faith Formation is important because I feel I keep
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learning more about my faith,” Lisa says. “I enjoy the great sharing we do.”
Ivanna Meyer has been a member of St. Mary’s for over 50 years. She appreciates being involved with the group as she says it fits her needs during this particular season of her life.
“It’s a safe space where it’s not just about church as an institution, but church as a people and carrying out His message to all,” she says.
Pat Tomasek has also been a parishioner for several decades, joining St. Mary’s in the 1970s, partaking in different roles over 42 years of membership. For Pat, being a member of the Tuesday Morning Spirituality Group means embracing a valuable opportunity for growth and learning.
“I want to continually grow in my faith experiences,” Pat says. “I want to challenge myself in my thinking and my actions. I want to form ‘families’ of like thinkers.”
All are welcome to attend the Tuesday Morning Spirituality Group — there is no need to register, simply show up in the parish Conference Room on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. There is no requirement to come every week — people attend when they are able. If you have questions, contact Lisa Brixius at 320-290-9613.
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you can sit with your family until needed for the collection.
Craig got involved after the church fire when Mass was being held in the school gymnasium. There was more of a need for people to help out, and Craig and his wife, Amanda, felt a pull to serve. Craig found he enjoyed ushering and the fellowship with the other ushers.
“We are taught to serve others through our faith and being an usher is just one way to do that,” Craig says. “Our family values revolve around serving others when we can.”
For Craig and Amanda, being involved runs in the family. Craig’s dad works at a grocery store and his mom is a retired nurse. Craig is
a police officer and volunteer firefighter, and Amanda is a kindergarten teacher at Sacred Heart School in Freeport. Amanda also teaches Children’s Liturgy of the Word at St. Mary’s with the couple’s two daughters.
Craig would invite others to get involved as an usher. It’s simple in that you can give of your time during Mass. If ushering isn’t for you, consider getting involved in another ministry.
“The people are the church,” he
says. “Without the help of parish members, daily and weekly things just can’t get done.”
Craig and Amanda hope they are setting a good example for their daughters through their parish involvement.
“My hope is our daughters continue to see the value and the need to serve others throughout their lives and carry that into their way of living, and be active in the future with the church and other groups,” Craig says.
If you would like to get involved as an usher, please call the St. Mary’s office at 320-256-4207.