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Parish Weekly Update 9/15/21

Dear Parish Family,

“A lie doesn’t become truth,

wrong doesn’t become right,

and evil doesn’t become good,

just because it’s accepted by a majority.”

           ~Booker T. Washington

GERMANFEST IS ALMOST UPON US!!!!!  Germanfest is ONE WEEK 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!!!  We still need many workers to make the fest a success!  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! 

YOUTH FESTIVAL WORKERS:  Our young people, 5th grade and up, are very valued workers, too!  There are special sign-up sheets for them on the small table near the main entrance to the church.  This is a great opportunity for our kiddos to contribute their time and talent to their parish and also to earn service hours if they need them!!

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 and return your ticket money!

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) before 10:30 a.m., 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!

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. 

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-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

First Reading:  Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.  

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 54:3-4, 5, 6, 8 

R. The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life. 

Second Reading:  James 3:16-4:3 

Beloved:
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. 
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. 

Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? 
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? 
You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. 
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 

Gospel:  Mark 9:30-37 

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.  He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.  Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” 

Homily 

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”   

Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”  Mark 9:30‑37 

Most of us are familiar with the movie Forest Gump.  Tom Hank’s portrays a good-natured simple man from rural Alabama, who manages to stumble into many of history’s major events.  Forest Gump is a character of uncomplicated love in an overwhelmingly complicated world.  He is a man of simple honesty and integrity in a complex society at war with itself.  Gump is a man who has lived through an America torn apart by war, assassination, racism, violence and drugs.  In his own life, he has known the pain of a broken family, he has suffered the indignities of prejudice because of his slowness, he has suffered through the deaths of those closest to him. 

But by the end of the movie, Gump is neither cynical, nor bitter, he is a source of healing and a model of faithfulness.  In his simplicity, Forest Gump’s only concern is to care for those whom he loves – his badly wounded lieutenant from Vietnam, and the troubled, beautiful Julie, the abused hometown girl he loves with doggish devotion throughout his life. 

As Forest Gump proclaims to Julie when he first proposes to her, “I know I am not a smart man, but I know how to love.” 

In today’s readings God warns us about the superficial worldly values which corrupt our spirit and close our hearts to each other.  Conventional wisdom is not God’s wisdom.  The first reading identifies those who try to wrestle all they can from the world, oppressing whoever gets in their way – they are called fools.  Naturally these people are bothered by just people and want to get rid of them, or at least get them out of their way.  The just make them look bad.  It’s hard to justify our own greed when its opposite is staring us in the face.  St. James likewise condemns false values pointing to the consequences of self-seeking ambition which leads to divisiveness and disharmony in the community.  As opposed to wisdom which comes from God and draws the community together in strength and compassion. 

But in the gospel, we see much more of our own world.  The disciples make real for us the struggle to believe.  The disciples were arguing about who was first among them.  Who was the most important.  Three of them had just witnessed the transfiguration and they assumed that the miracle must have been for their benefit.  So, they argued about who will be rewarded the most.  If we think life is a celebration of myself, God will not be able to speak through me.  It is only when we can step aside that we see the image of God.  God usually indicates his will for us through the simple events and the ordinary people and places in our daily lives.  When we learn to understand the Godly significance of our lives we then also learn how to better believe. 

Jesus had spent a lot of time with the disciples.  And the surest sign that they were slow to understand him is their obvious maneuvering for positions of power. The disciples did not get what Jesus was teaching them. Instead, they were arguing about who was the most important.  They didn’t yet understand that their first duty was not to self. Today’s gospel it is a story about failing to recognize the bigger picture.  Did God intend that the disciples inhabit positions of prominence from which to wield political influence, and earthly power and control over the lives of others?  We cannot possibly hear the voice of God unless we see the needs of others around us. 

The transforming power of the Eucharist changes simple bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  The transforming power of the Eucharist changes simple people into the power of God.  A power of love un-leashed on our world ready to suffer in love for and with one another.  On the outside, the Eucharist looks entirely worthless.  It is flimsy, pale, plain, and fragile. And yet, beneath those unimpressive appearances is God himself, Jesus the Christ, the creator and redeemer of the Eucharist. When God reigns in our hearts, we may look plain and fragile on the outside, but on the inside, we are filled with everlasting treasures. And just as through the centuries the Eucharist, whose appearance is so humble, has inspired some of the most magnificent achievements like: 

towering cathedrals, 

breathtaking works of art, 

exquisite music and literature, 

and heroic self-sacrifice, 

the same is true for when we allow God to rule our hearts from within, we become powerful forces of inspiration in the world.  Not because we are beautiful, eloquent, or talented in some kind of exterior way, but because we are full of God’s grace, a supernatural influence that works in hidden ways. 

Think for example of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  She was only a tiny, frail, humble Albanian nun, and yet Christ reigned fully in her heart, and she continues to inspire the world. 

Or think of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was a young, middle-class French girl who entered the convent at 15 years old and died before she was 25.  She lived such a hidden life, that when she died, her companions didn’t even know what to write in the convent diary. 

Such an uneventful life, from the outside, but gradually the richness of her interior, spiritual experience of God became known.  And now her autobiography has become one of the best-selling books of all times, in dozens of languages, and she has been named a Doctor of the Church. 

The child Jesus places among the twelve is not only a role model, but a reminder.  Jesus asks us to consider what our selfishness will do to this child.  By continuing to accept conventional wisdom which indulges our egoism we are perpetuating systems and societies of war, violence, racism, greed and fear. Jesus calls us to the simple faith of a child, to love God and one another with honesty and faithfulness.  The power of such simple faith is its ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication and personal agenda.  In embracing the simple kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness we can attain true greatness in the kingdom of God. 

To put another’s needs, hopes and dreams ahead of our own, to seek to bring forth and affirm the gifts of others for no other reason than the common good, to seek reconciliation no matter the cost is to be the Gospel “servant” in the spirit of Jesus.  

 In the service we give and respect we hand over to others, Jesus says, we welcome into our midst the very presence of God. Our empathy and care for the child and child‑like in our midst mirrors the love of God for us despite our own failings and fears. 

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 

In so many ways, children mirror for us adults a simple, authentic faith centered in compassion and generosity. One grandfather writes about his own discovery of such faith:   

“My grandson, a toddler on the go, and I, his grandfather with Parkinson’s, have a closeness around matters of motion. He knows that I can’t carry or lift him, so he climbs into my lap. It worries me that he might only think of me as ‘Papa on the couch.’    

“Yesterday, I got off the couch with difficulty. Before I knew it, my grandson came up behind me, placing his hands behind my knees. He helped me walk, using all of his 30 pounds to support me. I was in tears.  [“Everything.” Lawrence Zelnick. Psy.D.] 

Children possess an honesty and a generosity.  Jesus calls us to embrace the uncomplicated but genuine faith of a child: to love God and others without condition or expectation. “Child‑like faith” is never discouraged, never becomes cynical or jaded, never ceases to be amazed and grateful for the many ways God reveals his presence in our lives. Such faith is not complicated or compromised by ego or expectation; such faith is centered in the joy and happiness of the beloved. The power of such simple faith is its ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication and agenda in order to mirror the selflessness of Jesus.  We are called to take on the simple faith of a child: to love without condition or return, with honesty and faithfulness. For it is only in embracing such child‑like kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness that we can attain true greatness in the Kingdom of God. 

There was a nine-year-old that went into a restaurant and took a seat at the counter.  “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. 

“One dollar.” the waitress said 

The boy looked down and opened his hand.  He silently counted his coins and did some quick figuring in his head. 

“How much for just a dish of plain ice cream?” 

“Seventy-five cents,” the waitress replied, somewhat impatiently.

 Again he turns away, opens his hand, counts the coins and does some more quick mental number crunching.  “I’ll have a dish of plain ice cream,” he announces. 

“Flavor?” the waitress brusquely asks. 

“Um … chocolate, please” the boy says. 

The waitress brings the ice cream, takes the boy’s money and goes on to her next customer. 

A few minutes later she returns.  The dish is empty, the boy is gone.  But what she sees moves her deeply. 

There next to the empty dish, are two nickels, a dime and five pennies. The boy ordered the plain ice cream in order to have enough for her tip. 

God calls us to embrace the uncomplicated but generous faith of a child: to love God and others.  “Childlike faith is never discouraged, never becomes cynical or jaded, never ceases to be amazed and grateful for the many ways God makes himself known.  The power of such simple faith is the ability to overcome every rationalization, fear, complication and agenda in order to mirror the selflessness of Jesus.  Only in embracing the child-like kindness, compassion, generosity and forgiveness can we attain true greatness in the kingdom of God.