Saturday, September 1, 2018

September 2018 Bulletin: Stewardship

Lead article from the September 2018 bulletin, online now.

It's great to go on vacation and escape the everyday stresses and routines once and a while. It gives you valuable insight on how others live as well as that which you temporarily left behind. Of course one thing we can't vacation from is our Catholic faith. Our home parishes of Albertville and St. Michael have a long and rich history. We have been parishioners for only 15 years but it seems like we've been here all our lives.

We were recently on vacation in St. Augustine, Florida, where we attended Masses in the very first and oldest parish on the North American continent. It was established September 8th, 1565, by Spanish Catholic Priests. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine was not unlike our own. The homilies were very good, and Father Willis spoke eloquent about the problems facing his 458-year-old parish. They needed more readers, extraordinary ministers, servers, ushers, more folks for their music ministry and such. It occurred to me that these were some of the same needs at our own parishes here at Albertville and St. Michael. 

I believe words hold great power when used correctly. I tend to be very literal. The word stewardship is a perfect word to attach to any parish in general and ours in particular. I think its great that we now "officially" belong to stewardship parishes. The definition of the word itself when applied for our purposes would surely be to leave in our care as stewards and protect something that is truly precious. Something that deserves and needs care and protection. Insomuch as our faith needs a strong and well-cared-for church and parish in order to thrive. This charge is not just for priests, deacons and administrators (they of course are immensely important), but for the parishioners themselves. 

Parishioners will be there for the long road. No matter what trials befall the Church, a strong stewardship flock can save any Church from any trial. Many of our prayers have been answered here in our home parishes. We are somewhat insulated from the disturbing developments within the larger Catholic Church. We have been blessed with wonderfully faithful and good priests, deacons, church staff and volunteers. I believe the best way to ensure the continued strength of our parishes is to embrace the word stewardship. Each and every one of us hold the key as true stewards to this great and strong parish. 

I will, God willing, go on many more vacations in my life and visit many churches. I also believe that I will always look forward to coming back to my home parish where I will hope to continue my role as a steward.

God bless,

Gary Frandsen
Grand Knight

August 2018 Bulletin: Dryer Sheets and the Pro-Life Battle

Lead article from the August 2018 bulletin, online now.

I remember well the time in my life when I discovered the dryer sheet. I believe these important little wonders are underappreciated. My clothes would sometimes linger in the machine much too long after the last cycle had spun. The result of this was a slight mildew/rot-like smell that would remain even after they were sent to the dryer. I had no idea these little gems existed until one day I extracted a small box of them from our mailbox. They were sent to me free from the manufacturer. How did they know that I would always pass through the laundry aisle indifferent to any of the products there. 

I then began to receive breakfast cereals, snack products, laundry detergent products and more. It was like mailbox magic. I would grab them and quickly look around as if I was getting away with something, then scurry home to try them. These free gifts were delightful.

Flash forward many years....The other day I came upon another freebee in my mailbox. It was a certificate for birth control pills without a prescription. (See above.)The offer was disguised as a pill study and open to all ages. It would also include a special deal to compensate participants for their time. 

Wow! We've come a long, long way since free dryer sheets and Coco Puffs. As a Catholic pro-life advocate, I suddenly felt that the pro-life movement had taken a major hit. As if a World War II "Missouri" class battleship had just emptied nine 16-inch shells from its massive gun turret directly into the home of the pro-life base. 

 How can you fight this? Free birth control pills and free cash as a reward for preventing life. What's next? Free morning-after pills? Abortion vouchers? Who on earth knows? 

The certificate that found its way into my mailbox was offered to any age participant. The picture on the certificate showed a healthy and eager group of young girls grinning happily. I am pretty sure most reading this are engaged in the pro-life struggle. If not, this sheet of paper that may or may not have arrived in your mailbox hopefully will have given you a nudge to join the battle. 

God bless,

Gary Frandsen
Grand Knight