Friday, January 27, 2017

February 2017 Bulletin:
Midwinter Blues

Lead article from the February 2017 bulletin, online now.

It's nearly February, and we are in the middle of winter.  It's that time of year when the kids are driving us crazy.  There is constant sickness in the house.  It's dark all the time.  The holidays are over so if feels like there is nothing to look forward to.  The road conditions can turn a simple errand into a white-knuckle nightmare.  In our family this is also a heavy swimming season, so nothing makes you realize how miserable it is outside until you sit in a sweltering pool for three hours then walk directly into negative cold outside.  The midwinter blues are setting in hard.

So where is the positive in this whole situation?  For me its two things.  First of all, have you ever seen a Minnesotan on the first 50 degree day of the year?  Nothing makes us appreciate spring more than a rough winter.  The same goes for fall after a hot summer.  One of the greatest things about living here is fully experiencing all four seasons.

The second positive for me is that this general mood can only mean one thing:  Lent is almost here!  This is the time of year when all our bad habits we developed throughout the year come into fruition.  Whether it be a bad diet, drinking too much, cursing, not praying enough, or whatever your weaknesses are, I'm going to bet for most of us they are probably at their worse right now.  But Lent gives us an opportunity to hit the reset button.  I love Lent because I see it as a six-week challenge between me and God.  It gives me a reason to set goals for myself and stick to them.  It's a time when I can reconnect with myself and with my faith.  After Ash Wednesday, I cannot keep saying I will start tomorrow.  I encourage you to start examining yourself this month and prepare for Lent.  Don't wait until the last minute to come up with a resolution.  Put some thought into it and prepare yourself for the six-week challenge!

God Bless,
Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

January 2017 Bulletin:
The Value of Memories

Lead article from the January 2017 bulletin, online now!
This month our family drove down to Orlando for a week. Sandwiched in between 50-some hours of driving was a week filled with Disney World, swimming in the ocean, and maybe a few hours of actual vacation. We had been talking about taking this trip for years and knew that with our oldest leaving the house next year we needed to pull the trigger.
For those that have been there recently you know how expensive of a vacation this can be and it is really hard to justify spending that much money on a trip. We always think of the things we need (or think we need) and how that money could cover a remodel project we've been putting off too long or a down payment on a new vehicle or any number of other things on our list.
It's hard to quantify a trip because when you're home you don't have anything to show for it except some pictures and souvenirs. What we fail to quantify are the memories. When your kids are grown up and come home for Christmas you will probably not be talking about that basement remodel that's now ready to be refreshed or that rusty truck in the garage that is far from new. What you will talk about is that trip you took to Florida in 2016. You will talk about how miserable it was sitting in a van with 9 people hour after hour or the never-ending spectacle that is Disney.
As much as it seemed like a lot of work and stress for my wife and me, it's amazing how much the kids actually got out of it and so many things that they will never forget.  As 2016 winds down and you are spending the holidays with your family think about the memories you made this year and make a resolution to make some great ones next year.
God Bless, 
Grand Knight
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Open meeting with wine, beer, and cheese tasting -- bring your spouses!

Monday, November 21, 2016

December 2016 Bulletin:
Thanksgiving Reflections

Chaplain's column from the December 2016 bulletin, online now.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that recalls the Pilgrims who sailed from the old world to the new world on the Mayflower around 1620.  These devout Christians were Protestants seeking to live their faith as their consciences directed them, formed primarily by the Bible.

Too often in the old world of Europe, Catholic and Protestant kings and leaders alike would oppress those who chose not to believe the entirety of what their leaders believed.  Instead of entering into dialogue centered on the Natural Law, the Ten Commandments and Jesus Christ and his Beatitudes, these various factions began to fight and seek political hegemony.

This occurred in Catholic Europe before the Protestant Reformation of 1517, and at times “Catholic” emperors would imprison or exile Popes and Bishops.  Some people truly wanted to live the Christian life different from the prevailing culture, but instead of leaving their culture they became salt and light for their culture.

The most prominent figure is St. Francis of Assisi.  He found common ground with most people based on the Ten Commandments and the person of Jesus Christ, but he lived out the Beatitudes with a new dynamism.  His religious order attracted lay people to this spirituality and a Third Order for lay people continues today.  There are many other religious communities that have different charisms that have provided salt and light for our flagging Christian culture.

Another example of pluralism within Catholicism is the fact that there are over twenty different Catholic Rites.  We belong to the Latin Rite, but there are the Eastern Catholic Rites, including the Byzantine Rite, Coptic Rite and Marionite Rite.  Each Catholic Rite has the same essential beliefs, elements and rituals, but different ways of expressing them and governing them on a local level.  However, all of them are united to the Pope.

“E PLURIBUS UNUM” is minted on our money to remind we Americans that “from many, one” is a reality that we must live to flourish.  Also written on our money “IN GOD WE TRUST”, our National motto, to remind us from whom we came, and to whom we are ultimately accountable. 

Most everyone knows that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492, but many do not know that he was a devout Catholic and had the youngest ship hands pray the “Ave Maria” (Hail, Mary) every half hour since they were in charge of keeping time with the hour glass.

Hennepin County, MN; Marquette, MI; Joliet, Illinois; these names have memorialized Catholics like Fr. Hennepin who named the St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, and Fr. Marquette and fellow explorer Louis Joliet who explored the upper Mississippi River.

George Calvert, a convert to Catholicism, was the first Lord Baltimore who founded a new colony which he named “Maryland”, not after the reigning earthly queen, but after the Queen of Heaven.  His son, Cecil, the second Lord Baltimore established it and in 1649 the State passed Lord Baltimore’s famous Toleration Act, which guaranteed all colonists religious freedom.  There were moves by opponents to keep Catholics from political office, but the truth prevailed.  For this heritage, let us be vigilant and thankful to God.  God bless America and our Catholic Church.

Fr. Thomas McCabe