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A p r i l /M ay 2010

CHRIST THE KING C atholic Chur ch

Inside This Issue 2 Adopt-a-Garden Brings Color, Beauty to Parish Campus 3 Pentecost and Stewardship Tongues of Fire Should Put Hands to Work 4 Blown Away by the Beauty of Catholicism Seminarian Jason Signalness

A Letter From Our Pastor

Easter

6 Second Annual Vacation Bible School

The Ultimate Victory

7 Preaching the Gospel Via New Technologies

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

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ecause Easter Sunday comes early in the month this year, we spend almost all of April rejoicing in Jesus’ victory over death. His Resurrection is the source of our hope for eternal life in heaven. If we were to seek one characteristic word for the Easter Season, that word would be “Alleluia,” which fills the liturgy during this period. Notice how many Easter hymns contain the word “Alleluia.” It comes to us from the Hebrew word “Hallelujah” meaning, “Praise the LORD.” It is a word of pure praise used in the Jewish liturgy and found at the beginning and end of many of the Psalms. It was even heard by St. John during his visions of heaven recorded in the Book of Revelation (see chapter 19 for examples). In fact, the essence of Alleluia ought to be at the center of our Christian lives. What do I mean by “Alleluia living,” if I may call it that? I guess I’d best summarize my thoughts by saying it means incorporating Christ’s victory over sin and death into the core of our own lives. Knowing that Jesus Christ died on the cross and then rose again from the dead should not be some abstract idea that has no relevance to our own life. The faith that the Resurrection is true is the basis of Christianity. continued on back cover


Christ the King

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Adopt-a-Garden Brings Color, Beauty to Parish Campus

f all the allusions to stewardship in the Bible, perhaps the most effective is God’s gift of nature to humankind. In Genesis, God the Father instructs Adam and Eve to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth. See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food” ( 1:28-29). Continuing the tradition of Adam and Eve, there is a small group of Christ the King parishioners who exercise “dominion” over the gardens on our parish campus. These “green thumbs” volunteer their time to be stewards of our parish’s many plant beds. Through the Adopt-aGarden ministry, they are blessing our faith community in beautiful and sustainable ways. Parishioner Jane Porter has been serving with Adopt-a-Garden for the past three years. She and her family maintain a few plant beds on the grounds, planting various annuals and perennials that bring bright spots of color to the parish campus. “My ‘go-to’ annuals are hearty plants,” says Jane. “I like petunias, marigolds, snapdragons and daisies. For perennials, I like black-eyed susans, lilies and echinaceas.” Jane, who has enjoyed gardening since childhood, thrives on digging in the dirt and planting young plants that will thrive and grow all season long. She estimates that each parishioner or family who maintains a bed spends between one or two hours per week throughout the summer, which is the primary growing season. “I enjoy all phases of maintaining the beds,” says Jane. “I like the planning, working in the soil, picking out the flowers to plant, and then planting and taking care of them.”

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Parishioner Carrie Borchers also participates in Adopt-a-Garden. She contributed to the ministry for the first time last summer with her 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, and husband, Scott. “Olivia decided to participate in Adopt-a-Garden for her Girl Scout Bronze Award,” says Carrie. The Borchers’ bed includes a variety of colorful plants – most of which were donated – including dusty miller, marigold, petunias, columbine, bleeding heart and daisies. “Olivia was amazed at the transformation of the garden,” says Carrie. “Seeing the beautiful butterflies and bees, and seeing what nature has to offer – she experienced God through His creation.” The Borchers’ and Jane’s efforts, as well as those of the other parishioners who contribute to Adopt-aGarden, haven’t gone unnoticed. Since the ministry’s establishment, parishioners often comment on the beautiful and colorful landscape. Jane also values the opportunity to give back to the parish in a meaningful way. She feels a sense of responsibility with regard to our parish’s landscape. She views her service as a way to continue the development of our parish’s grounds. “I do it in respect for the people who started the work,” says Jane. “We maintain the gardens that other parishioners began.” Jane says that working in the earth also has its spiritual rewards. There’s plenty of time for thinking, praying and reflecting, as well as opportunities to recognize the beauty and wonder present in God’s handiwork. “God gave us these plants, and they are gorgeous,” she says. “This is a way to serve God and the Church.” Additional parishioners are encouraged to step forward and “adopt” their own plant beds. For more information on how you can get involved, contact the parish office at 701-663-8842.


April/May 2010

Pentecost and Stewardship

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Tongues of Fire Should Put Hands to Work

asketball sportscasters often describe a player who seemingly can’t miss a basket as being “on fire.” Sometimes we say a person is “fired up” when he or she shows passion about some topic or situation. And rambunctious toddlers often earn the title “fireball.” Though it’s difficult to show any real etymological proof, it’s easy to imagine that phrases like these take their origins from the biblical account of Pentecost. According to the book of Acts, Pentecost (literally, “50 days”) was the day when tongues of fire descended upon Mary and the apostles, rendering them so confident and excited about Jesus that they wanted to tell the whole world about Him. It was the day they got “fired up” about the Gospel – and what better than a flame to symbolize this new burst of energy! Pentecost has become so important in the eyes of Christians that it is known as the birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit – though active even in Old Testament times – suddenly blazed into action with an unprecedented sign of power. It was on that day, in the upper room, when the apostles’ fainthearted assembly (Greek ecclesia) was transformed into Ecclesia, the Church. Within hours, maybe minutes, the apostles discovered that their little band was responsible for the most ambitious marketing

campaign the world has ever seen: Tell everyone about Jesus, ASAP. How did they know this was the plan? If it wasn’t made clear by the sudden dissipation of their fearfulness, it was immediately confirmed by the fact that the onlookers in the streets heard the apostles in their own languages. This remarkable detail, scholars believe, is a testament that the Church is both universal and missionary. That is, the Church is for everyone, but it’s up to current members to spread the message. Consider for a moment if the apostles had not responded by spilling into the streets to tell passersby about Jesus. What if they had brushed off the gift of the Spirit like an errant firefly? Or, an equally frightening alternative, what if they ran about haphazardly telling everyone about Jesus, without rallying around Peter, “who stood up with the Eleven” and proclaimed “in a loud voice” one single Gospel message to the crowds? These scenarios should give us pause. To receive a gift, but not use it – or to use it, but with little judgment – changes the whole world. It’s that dramatic. We, too, should listen to St. Peter when he says, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pt. 4:10). If the Holy Spirit was able to light a fire under the apostles, it can happen to us, too!

Pentecost, which takes place May 23 this year, has become so important in the eyes of Christians that it is known as the birthday of the Church. 3


Christ the King

Blown Away by the B

Seminarian Ja

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hen seminarian Jason Signalness is ordained to the priesthood next year, it will have been just six years since he received the Sacrament of Confirmation. A decade ago, Jason would never have considered entering the seminary, let alone serve the Church as an ordained minister. But this is exactly the future he faces – a future filled with promise, fulfillment and God’s presence. Jason, who was baptized and received the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in the Catholic Church, attended a Lutheran church for much of his childhood. “I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church; I learned a lot there,” Jason remembers fondly. After high school, he attended the University of North Dakota to study computer science. Like many young college students, he drifted from the faith of his childhood and explored his newfound freedom. In 2001, he graduated from college and moved to Bismarck to work with Basin Electric Power Cooperative. For five years, Jason worked as a Unix Systems Administrator for Basin, a job he thoroughly enjoyed and one that provided him with a comfortable life. “I bought a condo in Bismarck, I got a car and a motorcycle,” says Jason. “It was good, but something was missing. I could buy anything I wanted, but I wasn’t very happy.” Although it had been years since Jason regularly attended worship services, a desire to understand his life’s purpose and to find a connection with a 4

faith community began to well up in him. He started attending various Lutheran churches in Bismarck, searching for a community where he could find some answers and a sense of belonging. “I enjoyed the Lutheran worship services, but didn’t find people my own age with whom I could connect,” he says. “I now know that was because God wasn’t leading me there. At the low point of it all, I gave up. I didn’t even know if God existed.” Before completely giving up, however, Jason sent emails to two individuals he thought might be able to help him: a Catholic friend and his second cousin, Fr. Ken Phillips. “I wanted to know the answers to some basic questions, such as ‘How do I know God exists?’” says Jason. “Their answers made me realize I wasn’t as educated as I thought I was.” Fr. Phillips offered to meet with Jason, one-on-one, and teach him about the Faith. In just a few short months Jason’s view of God was radically different. “I was blown away at the beauty of Catholicism!” he says. “Father asked me if I wanted to be confirmed, so I thought about it and decided that I did. I wanted to be a full member of the Catholic Church.” After Confirmation, Jason started attending various Catholic events in Bismarck. That’s when God really started nudging him toward the seminary. “A few people I knew, including Fr. Phillips, suggested that I attend the seminary,” he says. “I thought about it and prayed about it for maybe a year.”


April/May 2010

Beauty of Catholicism

ason Signalness Around the same time, Jason attended a Jason’s experience at seminary has been lifepilgrimage to Rome with a group of students from changing. He has learned multitudes about our Faith the University of Mary. Fr. Thomas Richter, Vocations and about the priesthood. He’s eager to return to Director for the Diocese of Bismarck, was leading the North Dakota and enter into active ministry. Of all the pilgrimage. During the trip, Jason fervently prayed lessons he’s learned at Kenrick-Glennon, Jason says for direction from God regarding his vocation. On the three things have impacted him the most. last day of the pilgrimage he stopped by St. Peter’s “The whole place is structured around prayer Basilica to pray, as he did each morning while in – growing in prayer and the opportunity to build Rome. a relationship with “It was so peaceful God, which will be my and wonderful,” he primary relationship says. “I made the for the rest of my life,” decision to try the he says. “Education seminary.” – it’s stressful and the He communicated work-load is heavy, his desire to Fr. Richter, but it is beautiful. who helped him apply. Lastly, brotherhood – It wasn’t long after the seminarians form returning to Bismarck lifelong friendships.” that Jason placed a “for Jason encourages sale” sign in front of all young people to his condo. In 2006, he pray about their own enrolled at Kenrickvocations. Glennon Seminary in St. “Don’t be afraid to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, where Jason currently lives and studies. Louis. be open to the calling,” Jason will be he says. “It doesn’t hurt ordained a transitional deacon for the diocese on June to give seminary or the religious life a try. If you think 27 at Christ the King Church. This milestone represents it’s a possibility, attend daily Mass and set aside time his transformation from a lay person to a member of the for prayer. In time, God will guide you where He wants clergy. He looks forward to taking this step in faith. you to be. And if you’re not called, the experience is still “I’m looking forward to answering God’s call in valuable. Seminary is all about discernment of one’s my life,” he says. “I’ve been studying for this for years calling. They don’t lock the doors once you enter!” – and I’ve enjoyed learning – but I’m looking forward Jason is thankful for everyone who has to sharing what I’ve learned with God’s people.” encouraged him and helped him on the path to As a deacon, Jason will be assigned to serve a seminary, especially the parishioners of Christ the parish in the St. Louis area during his last year of King. Whenever he visits North Dakota, he considers seminary studies. Each weekend he will stay at this our parish his “home.” If you are interested in parish, preach at the Masses, baptize infants and getting to know Jason a little better, check out his practice other elements of his new vocation. “Seminarian Blog” on Christ the King’s website, “They are easing us into full-time ministry,” he www.christthekingmandan.org, under the “Parish” says. heading in the main menu. 5


Christ the King

Second Annual Vacation Bible School

Cool Kingdom Party

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or most kids, summer equals freedom. For parents, however, the first days of June signify weeks of uninterrupted rowdiness, laziness and academic malaise. Parents who are searching for a fun – and educational – summer outlet for their children need to look no further than Christ the King Parish. From June 21-24, the Religious Education program will host Vacation Bible School in the Parish Life Center. Children ages 4-12 are invited to participate as students, while older children and adults can contribute as volunteers. Classes are in session from 6:30-8:30 p.m., where students will learn about the Faith in fun and exciting ways. Similar to last year’s Vacation Bible School, our parish will follow a program from Cat.Chat, a Catholic faith formation firm that specializes in children’s audio programs. Cat.Chat performed three concerts at our parish a few years ago, and the group is also scheduled to perform at our Diocesan Centennial Celebration this summer. This year’s Vacation Bible School program will be “Cool Kingdom Party: Mary Leads Me Closer to Jesus.” The program is designed to teach children about Mary’s role in the Catholic Faith and “the importance of making Jesus king of our lives,” according to the Cat.Chat Web site, www.catchat.ca. During each of the program’s evening sessions, students will discuss a daily theme (such as “Mary said ‘Yes’ to God and so became the Mother of Jesus. Mary is also our mother: our Heavenly Mother!”), a daily virtue (such as “obedience”), and a daily saint (such as St. Dominic Savio). Children will explore these themes, virtues and saints as they rotate through a series of

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stations, including a faith station, music station, craft station, snack station and prayer station. Hands-down, the best aspect of Cat.Chat is the music. The songs discuss important Catholic principles and stories. For example, I Believe discusses the Nicene Creed, and I Wanna Say Yes refers to Mary’s “Yes” to God. Throughout the week, students will learn a number of Cat.Chat songs and dances, and then perform them in front of their families on the last evening of Vacation Bible School. “Children should attend Vacation Bible School because they will learn more about our Catholic Faith in a fun and entertaining way,” says Janet Helbing, co-director of Religious Education. “It’s different from school or Religious Education, where they just learn the facts.” Although this will only be Christ the King’s second Vacation Bible School, parish families are catching on quickly. Last year’s program was very well-received, and Janet expects a good turnout for this year’s program as well. One of the more popular elements of last year’s program was a special quilt that was created from artwork the children made at the beginning of Vacation Bible School and stitched together by parishioner Delores Morris. At the end of the week, the quilt was given to one lucky student. Janet hopes to create another quilt during this summer’s program. Parents, be sure to sign up your child(ren) for “Cool Kingdom Party” soon! Registration forms may be picked up at the entry of the church or online at www.christthekingmandan.org. Parishioners are also needed to volunteer in different capacities during Vacation Bible School. Contact Janet at 701-663-0812 or Andee Helbing at 701-391-5923 for more information.


April/May 2010

Preaching the Gospel Via New Technologies

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or an institution steeped in history and age-old traditions, the Church’s new message on technology may seem surprising. Nevertheless, Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging priests around the world to use new technology to promote the message and ministry of Christ. “Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationships across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word,” said his Holiness in a message released Jan. 23. The Pope’s message, which was a precursor to this year’s World Communications Day, illustrates the importance of communicating the Word of God in increasingly relevant and far-reaching ways. Although Jesus preached and healed the people of Israel thousands of years ago, His message is just as applicable today as it was for the first Christians. Using modern methods of communication to transmit this message will increase the influence of Christ’s teachings and allow a broader range of individuals to receive His Word. “’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,’” said Pope Benedict XVI, quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? Responding adequately to this challenge amid today’s cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies.” The Pope goes on to remind priests of their place in the midst of these new technological advances: “Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to

discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord.” Priests who respond to the Holy Father’s urgings will likely be found preaching from the pulpit as well as social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and perhaps, internet forums and chat rooms. In the near future, priests are likely to be found carrying an iPad in addition to the Bible they carry in their briefcase. The Pope’s words also apply to our mission as disciples and stewards of God’s Word. At its core, stewardship refers to the wise and just management of anything that is placed under our care. For example, God gave us the Earth to cultivate and use for our own enrichment. The same can be said about new technologies. To use them for the purpose of communicating the message of Jesus is not only an option, but our responsibility. And just as the Earth can be abused, so can technology. In his message, the Pope gives this warning: “Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a ‘soul’ to the fabric of communications that makes up the ‘Web.’” Rather than lament the growing number of people who no longer acknowledge the existence and saving power of God, let’s do something about it. Young people, especially, must be met at their level. By using modern technology to communicate the Gospel, more and more people are bound to come to know the joys of a life centered on Christ. 7


Christ the King 505 10th Avenue NW Mandan, ND 58554-2599 christthekingmandan.org 701.663.8842

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Easter: The Ultimate Victory Perhaps for most of us death is not very real, or at least not something we think about often. Christianity recognizes that death is real and that it is the final result of sin. Death is hostile to us – St. Paul even states, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26). Jesus, however, has won the victory over death by His resurrection. By virtue of our baptism, we share in this victory of Jesus Christ; thus, even though we will all die one day, we believe that our body will also rise from the dead and be reunited with our soul at the end of time, nevermore to be separated. St. Paul explained it in this way: “For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor 15:22-23). This hope for the resurrection of our body at the end of time and eternal life in heaven is at the heart

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of “Alleluia living.” It engenders a joy that radiates through all of life, even when we experience pain and suffering, financial turmoil, or personal sorrow. This Easter Season, let’s live out Jesus’ reassurance, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33). We can be joyful because we don’t need to fear; and, with that promise of ultimate security, we then dare to share the time, talent and treasure God has entrusted to us and to use them in His service. The Lord is risen, Alleluia! Sincerely,

Fr. Kenneth Phillips

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