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Parish Weekly Update 9/8/21

Dear Parish Family,

“Broad-mindedness, when it means indifference to right and wrong, eventually ends in a hatred of what is right.”   ~Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

ADULT EDUCATION:  This Sunday, September 12, from 9:30 – 10:30 in the Parish Hall, we will begin our Fall Session of Adult Education with a study of Father Larry Richards’ series, “Knowing Jesus and His Church.”  Please join us as we continue to journey in our faith lives!!!  If you have any questions, call the Parish Office – 601-856-2054.

RCIA:  If you know an unbaptized adult, an adult baptized into another faith tradition, or an adult baptized Catholic who has not received the Sacrament of Confirmation, who is interested in learning more about the Catholic Church, please let us know so that we can invite them to join our RCIA sessions!  RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and this the process by which a person is initiated into the Catholic Church.  Classes will begin this Fall.  Call the church office, 601-856-2054, for more information. 

GERMANFEST!!!!!  Germanfest is TWO WEEKS from this Sunday, September 26 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  We are in high preparation mode right now – getting ready to welcome all our visitors with our St. Joseph hospitality!  Things you need to know:

SIGN-UP TO WORK THE DAY OF THE FESTIVAL continues this Sunday!!!  There will be an insert in the bulletin with the various booths and the duties for each.  Tables are set up in the hallway with sign-up sheets — We need EVERYONE to work at least one shift so choose your favorite spot and sign up!  Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis and if a sign-up sheet it full, please choose another spot to work.

KRAUT PACKING – The 2nd round of kraut packing will be TODAY beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Once again, no experience is needed – on-the-job training for this simple process is provided!  This is a great opportunity for service hours for students!!!

FOOD TICKETS:  We ask each family to purchase or sell 5 tickets ($7 each).  There will be a table outside the church after each Mass where you can pick up your tickets!! 

DESSERT BOOTH:  We ask each family to make 3 desserts.  Attendees LOVE our home-baked goodies!  If you are unable to bake, we request a donation of $40 to cover the costs for those who bake in mass quantity.  If you are willing to bake extra goodies, just let us know!!  Desserts (please leave them whole) should be brought to the Parish Hall on Saturday morning (9/25), so they can be cut, wrapped, and prepared to serve our guests.

CANNED GOODS:  We are famous for our home-canned goods which are sold at the Country Store!  If you are able to make jellies, jams, pickles, or any type of preserves, there are jars available in the library at the church for you to take home, fill up, and bring back for the Festival.

T-SHIRTS – are available after each Mass – $10 each!  Start wearing them now and advertise the Germanfest!

POSTERS are available in church as well.  Grab some and put them up at your place of employment and wherever you do business!

COVID RESURGENCE:  PLEASE – If you are running fever or feeling “under the weather” in any way, STAY HOME!  If we have learned nothing else over the last year, it should be to stay at home when we feel poorly to avoid spreading anything to others!

                While our Bishop has not issued a mask mandate, he is strongly encouraging everyone to wear masks at Masses until this spike passes.  We will not “require” masks and will not ask people to leave who choose not to wear them, but we should all remember that the common good of the community is always an important part of Catholic social teachings.  

                For those who are uncomfortable coming to Sunday Mass because of the number of people, the bishop still has a dispensation in place for you to fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending a weekday Mass.  Our weekday Mass is on Wednesday at 5:30. There are only about 30 people who regularly attend this Mass so it is very easy to socially distance yourself from others.

ALSO – PLEASE REMEMBER THAT WE ARE STILL UNDER A 3-FOOT DISTANCE MANDATE FROM OUR BISHOP!  IF YOU COME TO MASS A BIT LATE, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO SQUEEZE INTO THE DISTANCE OTHERS HAVE LEFT IN THEIR PEWS!  SOMEONE WILL BE HAPPY TO HELP FIND YOU A SEAT!!  If there is a certain place in church you would like to sit, please come early enough to grab that spot.  😊

Prayer in This Time of Pandemic

Let us pray,

Loving and faithful God, the coronavirus reminds us

That we have not power and we are dependent on you.

We place ourselves in your loving hands.

Please give eternal rest to all who have

Died from the virus

Please put your healing hand on those who are ill,

And give your protection to us in this time of fear and

Uncertainty.  Please, calm our fears and help us to

Trust you as our faithful God.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor,

Pray for us in this time of need.

~Archbishop Gregory Aymond

God bless,

Pam

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Isaiah 50:5-9 

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right?
Let that man confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong? 

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9 

R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
“O LORD, save my life!”
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

Second Reading:  James 2:14-18 

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also, faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 

Indeed, someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. 

Gospel:  Mark 8:27-35 

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the Chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.  He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” 

Homily 

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.   For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:27-35 

A rabbi tells the story of his great aunt Sussie who lived in Munich during World War II: One snowy evening, Sussie was riding the bus home. Suddenly, SS officers stopped the coach and began examining the identification papers of the passengers.  Jews without the required papers were taken off the bus and herded into a truck around the corner. Sussie watched from her seat in the rear as the soldiers systematically worked their way down the aisle.  She began to tremble, tears streaming down her face.  The man sitting next to her noticed her distress and asked what the matter was. “I don’t have the papers you have.  I am a Jew.  They’re going to take me.” Suddenly, the man exploded with disgust.  He began to curse and scream at her.  “You stupid

[woman]

!” he roared.  I can’t stand being near you!” The SS asked what all the yelling was about. “Damn her,” the man shouted angrily.  “My wife has forgotten her papers again!”  I’m so fed up.  She always does this!” 

The soldiers laughed and moved on. 

Sussie never saw the man again.  She never even knew his name. [Rabbi Shifra Penzia.] 

A stranger’s quick thinking saved a woman’s life. In that moment, something other than self-interest directs his actions; he places himself squarely against the corruption around him; he puts himself at risk for the sake of another. He mirrors the taking up of the cross that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel reading. In some of the hardest words he speaks in the Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples that real discipleship means to “crucify” our own needs and safety and comfort for that of others; to take on, with humility and gratitude, the demanding role of servant to those in need and distress; to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of others regardless of the cost to ourselves. 

Isaiah tells us he has been given a well-trained tongue.  And how does he use it?  Not to make a fortune, or to gain power for himself, but to rouse the weary.  How about us, what do we do with the talents we have?  You might ask how does someone go about rousing the weary.  Well maybe it is not making a negative critical comment or passing on some social media debate, or holding your tongue when you want to make a cutting remark.  Maybe it’s offering a smile or an encouraging word to someone, or even thanking them for what they do. Like to the clerk in the store or the garbage collectors.  It is not an orator’s skill. Rather it is an attitude.  The true hope-giver does not speak of defeat or of giving in to an unjust system.  No matter what they say “God is my help there is no one I should fear.”  Their faith gives them the power to convince others that they can change the world. 

But what about the question Jesus puts before us today.  “So, who do you say that I am?  Do you know me?  I think if Jesus were standing here asking us that question, many would look at the floor, maybe have an inquisitive look on our face, trying to fashion a good response, certainly there would be a cough or two and I think most of us, like the disciples, would wait for someone else to answer. 

So, think of the question from the opposite direction, from the answer that Peter gives.  You are the Christ, the Messiah.  In English that would be you are the Savior.  Some said John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets. So, who would we think of as a savior, who is it we think can help us out, or help turn a bad situation around?  Clearly, we would think of this person as someone important.  Sadly, our definitions of importance are very often formed by the standards of this world.  And very often they are connected with our definitions of power, wealth, and fame.  To be important is to be recognized in the world, to be a person of prestige, or influence.  In our society important people hold a central place.  We look to them to actually help us in our lives. 

But back to the question who would we say is our savior?  Guess that depends on what we think we need to be saved from or for.  Many today think they need no one, they can do it themselves.  So, think about who do I turn to when I need help, when I am in a pinch, a bind and don’t know what to do? 

Jesus offers us a different view of savior.  Guess we could also say he offers a different perspective on what we need to be saved from or for.  He begins to connect the one that Israel had waited for, the great Messiah, the Christ, the Savior – with suffering and death.  So, who can blame Peter for his protest?  Peter covers his ears and says I won’t hear of it.  That’s no way for a Messiah to talk.  You are headed for a great future.  But Jesus would hear none of it.  At this turning point in his ministry Jesus was again confronted with a voice that told him to choose the way of the world, to seek power, fame and wealth, rather than the Kingdom of God.   Just like when, after fasting for 40 days in the desert, he was tempted by the devil. 

And Jesus responds here the same way he did in the desert “Get away from me Satan and let me do God’s will.”  It should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  “You are judging not by God’s standards but man’s” 

Each of our readings today remind us that to follow God means to relinquish the self as the core of our existence, the center of our world.  James reminds us we must take action to ease each other’s sufferings.  Isaiah reminds us that a well-trained tongue earned by enduring life’s difficulties with grace is to be put to use to build up those around us. And Jesus calls us to recognize God’s kingdom in our midst hiding just behind the things we think are important in this world. 

Jesus calls us to take up our own crosses in the everyday joys and sorrows. To put aside our own self-importance, needs and dreams to bring dignity, comfort and hope to another, to work to bring forth and affirm the gifts of others, to seek reconciliation before all else is to be the “servant” who gains life by “losing” it for the sake of God’s kingdom.   

An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen. 

EXTRA 

A deadly plague was spreading throughout the northeast regions of China. Within four months, 60,000 people died. 

Sound familiar? Actually, the year was 1910. The Chinese government recruited one of the best trained physicians in Asia at the time, Dr. Wu Lien-Teh. Dr. Wu had studied infectious diseases in England. After performing a series of autopsies, he found a bacterium similar to the one that had caused the bubonic plague in the West. Dr. Wu realized immediately that this disease was not transmitted by rats or fleas but by infected droplets humans sneezed and coughed into the air. Dr. Wu designed a face covering based on ventilators from the Victorian era: padding layers of cotton and gauze, with strings so the users could secure it to their head. The mask was simple and inexpensive to produce. 

Dr. Wu had designed the modern face mask. 

Dr. Wu’s mask was met with skepticism. A French physician was particularly critical of Dr. Wu’s findings and refused to wear the mask – but the doctor soon was infected and died of the disease. His death shocked the Chinese into following Dr. Wu’s advice. 

Dr. Wu urged everyone, especially health care professionals and law enforcement, to wear the masks. Chinese authorities mandated that everyone mask and also followed Dr. Wu’s directions to enforce stringent lock downs and quarantining the sick. Four months after Dr. Wu began his work, the plague ended. 

Dr. Wu went on to establish a teaching hospital in epidemiology and public health. 

While masks became a political flashpoint in the United States and elsewhere during the Spanish flu pandemic in the 1920s, face masks became a symbol of national pride and modern health care in China that continues today. While this is the first time that most Americans are wearing masks (however begrudgingly), the people of China and Southeast Asia have covered their faces during outbreaks of meningitis, cholera and influenza for more than a century. 

For the Chinese, masking is viewed as a matter of social responsibility and care for one another. 

After a year and half, most of us have had enough of face masks – but perhaps we would think of them much differently if our national experience was like that of the Chinese. Today’s Gospel challenges us to think of things like face masks as “crosses” we take up in the spirit of Jesus to bring healing and peace to Good Friday brokenness. In some of the hardest words he speaks in the Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples that real discipleship calls us to “crucify” our own needs and comfort for the good of others; to take on, with humility and gratitude, the demanding role of servant to those in need and distress; to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of those we love regardless of the cost to ourselves. Only in “denying ourselves” in imitation of the servanthood of Christ do we experience the true depth of our faith; only in embracing his compassion and humility in our lives do we enable the Spirit of God to renew and transform our world in God’s life and love. 

The vocation of the “anvil.” 

Among the horrors of the Nazi regime during World War II was a plan to euthanize all mentally and physically challenged children and adults throughout Germany and its occupied territories. The Catholic bishop of Münster in the Rhineland would have none of it. Bishop Clemens August von Galen exhorted the people of the region to take into their homes or find hiding places in their barns for all the exceptional children and adults being cared for by Church-related schools and institutions – and then dared the government to try to find them. 

In a famous sermon preached in his cathedral on July 20, 1941, Bishop von Galen called Catholics to resistance. 

“At this moment we are the anvil rather than the hammer. Other men, strangers, renegades, are hammering us. … Ask the blacksmith and hear what he says. The object which is forged on the anvil receives its form not alone from the hammer but also from the anvil. The anvil cannot and need not strike back: it must only be firm, only be hard! However hard the hammer strikes, the anvil stands firmly and silently in place and will long continue to shape the objects forged upon it. If it is sufficiently tough and firm and hard, the anvil will last longer than the hammer. The anvil represents those who are unjustly imprisoned, those who are driven out and banished for no fault of their own.” 

Discipleship often calls us to be the “anvil”: to sacrifice our own safety and security to absorb the blows directed at the poor, the vulnerable, the powerless. In resisting injustice, in remaining constant in seeking what is right, our lives are “shaped” in the spirit of Jesus’ servanthood and “formed” in his Gospel of justice and mercy. To be an authentic disciple of Jesus we must put ourselves in the humble, demanding anvil-strong role of servant to others, to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of those we love regardless of the cost to ourselves.