March 1 is Ash Wednesday.
Holy Mass will be offered at the following times:
“An evangelizing community (parish) is supportive…and gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives…standing by people at every step of the way … concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants us to be fruitful.” -Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, n.24
As we celebrate CATHOLIC FAMILY SHARING APPEAL this Sunday, we are reminded of the many ministries in our Diocese which build up the Body of Christ and bear fruit in our Catholic faith: the education of seminarians – future priests of our Diocese; the outreach to families through programs that help form them in virtue, chastity and respect-life; the formation of our teens and adults through a myriad of faith-based experiences like discipleship camps; the providing of social outreach for the elderly and homebound (like the TV Mass, close to the heart of the Cathedral); the assistance given to military families in need; the funding provided for Newman Centers on university campuses that help keep our young adults grounded in the faith; the counseling and help for grieving families, pregnancy/adoption counseling; and the list goes on. These vital ministries can only be made possible through our generosity and support. As members of the Catholic Church, we are called upon to ensure the religious, ministerial and charitable efforts vital to Catholic people within our Diocese, or what we call the “Local Church.” It is a sign of our “Catholicity,” the universal dimension of what we profess, to share our gifts with the entire Catholic community.
Today in the Gospel Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters, for the illusionary one will always obscure the true one. Ultimately the choice of who is our master boils down to two, says Jesus: “God or mammon.” What is “mammon?” “Mammon” stands for “material wealth” or “possessions” or whatever tends to control our appetites and desires. Christ wants us to be freed from our attachment to mammon because it can rule our lives, even unconsciously. Perhaps no better example is Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” The character Gollum, who finds the One Ring is drawn to its mastery over man and nature. The desire to possess his “preciousssssss” is so powerful that he is willing to do anything to have it, even if it means damnation. His heart belongs to it. In reality, as we know, the pursuit of the One Ring does not bring wealth or happiness or power; it has just the opposite effect: it brings enslavement, misery and envy. Tolkien portrays Gollum’s downfall not only in his character, but through his evolutionary physical appearance as well. The more the Ring is his master, the more wretched and ugly a figure he makes.
There is one master alone who has the power to set us free from the enslavement of sin, fear, pride, and greed, and a host of other hurtful desires. That master is the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can save us from all that would keep us bound up in fear and anxiety. So let us be counted among those bearing fruit for the Kingdom by serving our master through the sharing of our goods!
During our 2009-2011 restoration project, a virtual tour was made to highlight the spectacular beauty and richness found inside our Cathedral.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW to see our Cathedral in hi-resolution – 360-degree views.
I lit a candle for my mother this summer at the cathedral in Sioux Falls. And then another for my father. And then another for my grandfather, although he died before I was born. And then another, …
With the school year beginning soon, I am reminded of one of my deficiencies as a student in high school. Band was the first period of the day. It began at 8:20 a.m. I enjoyed sleeping too much, so I was notorious for crossing the threshold just before the door closed on me. On many occasion I would slip in just as the bell rang. Mr. Schopp my band teacher would just shake his head and say, “One of these times you’re not going to make it Morgan”. Well, one of those times happened. As the bell went silent Mr. Schopp was at the door to meet me. “Upstairs to the Principal’s Office!” Let’s just say it didn’t go well with my mom and dad.
Jesus’ story about the door being shut to those who come too late suggests they had offended their host and deserved to be excluded. It was customary for teachers in Jesus’ time to close the door on tardy students and not allow them back for a whole week in order to teach them a lesson in discipline and faithfulness.
Christ told this story in response to the question: Who will make it to heaven? Many rabbis held that all Israel would be saved and gain entry into God’s kingdom, with the exception of blatant sinners who excluded themselves. After all, they were specifically chosen by God when he established a covenant relationship with Israel.
Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one’s membership as a people who have entered into a covenant relationship with God does not automatically mean entry into the everlasting kingdom of heaven. Second, Jesus asserts that many from the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations would enter God’s kingdom. God’s invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike.
This door is Christ himself, and, our desire to live by his commands. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved (Jn 10:9). God sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to open the way for us to have full access to the throne of God’s grace (favor and blessing) and mercy (pardon for our sins). Through Jesus’ victory on the cross he has freed us from slavery to sin and hurtful desires and addictions. He has made us sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom.
We are free now to choose which kingdom we will serve – the kingdom of truth and light ruled by God’s wisdom … or the kingdom of falsehood and darkness, those philosophies and ideas which are opposed to God and his laws which are so prevalent in our world today. The good news is that we do not struggle alone. God is with us and His grace is sufficient. As we strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel (Phil 1:27) Jesus assures us of complete victory.
Fr. James Morgan
It all begins with a small spark. A single match held in dirty fingers, placed to the dry paper. That single flame burns and grows and gradually becomes something more than itself. That single flame gains enough heat to melt steel and stone and to transform mud into something lasting, something beautiful.
Fire has always been part of my life. We had a woodstove in the house I grew up in. I would spend my summer vacations in the hills building brush piles that we would come back in the wintertime to burn. And in my years at USD studying art I spent most of my time building and using wood-fired kilns.
There was always something magical about the process. You would spend a great deal of time shaping the pots, decorating the pots and then put them in the kiln and spend another two days firing them before you could see the finished product. For me the firing process was my favorite part. The kiln was loaded and then a small fire was lit inside. Over the next 30 hours we would add wood a piece at a time until the heat inside grew from a single flickering flame to a 2500 degree inferno. In that heat everything was changed. Materials broke down and fused together, ash and clay combined to form glass. Mud and wood combined together with a lot of heat and even more work to create enduring pieces of beauty.
In the gospel this week Jesus says that He came to set the world on fire and He wished it was already blazing. God set the divine spark into the tinderbox of the world when He sent His only son to become man. This flame of divine love illuminates the world, it is the flame of divine truth. In the light of divine truth all other things fall into their place.
In this passage Jesus tells us that He came not to deliver peace but division. Jesus did not come into our world to spread some sort of false feeling of good will over the divisions that are present in our lives. Jesus came to bring the light of truth into the world and to give us the opportunity to bring all of our relationships into that light. If we cling close enough to the light of Christ we too will be caught up into that flame. In the presence of the purifying fire of Christ’s love all falsehoods and fractures will be broken apart. All of the imperfections in our lives and relationships will be burned up and purified so that we can be made new creations in Jesus Christ.
This process of purification is never easy, and sometimes it is painful but if we remain in the light of Christ, if we draw nearer to His purifying flame the Lord will do beautiful things in our lives.
Fr. Grant Lacey
The “dog days” of summer are upon us. And with them is the usual dry weather during the month of August. Let’s continue to pray for rain to satiate our lawns, gardens and fields.
While many are still enjoying what is left of summer vacation, it has been business as usual for the Cathedral staff, parish council and finance councils. The summer has been a busy one for us. We have been attempting to identify some goals for both the present and the future, and identifying strategies to accompany them. A few are essential to the success of Cathedral Parish I feel.
As our school building becomes aged and more decrepit, we will need to ensure adequate class room and meeting space for our religious education and formation programs. Perhaps a new education center with a multi-dimensional use will be the outcome. Regardless, we will need to put together a plan of sound financial planning – both in the areas of parish contributions for operations, and in the area of planned giving (estates and wills). If you haven’t thought about the Cathedral as a beneficiary in an insurance policy or as a part of your will, perhaps now is the time to check into the benefits it can provide for both you and the Cathedral Parish.
The big question that parish council has been grappling with is harnessing our greatest resource – people – in order to create and sustain the vibrancy of parish life. How do we get more people involved in parish ministries, social outreach and parish event volunteerism? In a couple of weeks we will be meeting to determine a ministry/ volunteerism check list, and then discussing the mechanism by which people can respond and sign up. Perhaps a ‘stewardship fair’ would bring families together to do more than just sign up, but share insights and ideas, and create the essential bond for a community approach to ensuring parish life vitality.
Additionally, this Fall we will host town hall meetings for parishioners at various times to accommodate different schedules in order to present the plans/drawings for the new monastery for the Perpetual Adoration Sisters. Perhaps you have already seen Bishop Swain’s statement in the July issue of the Bishop’s Bulletin regarding the new monastery. We want our parishioners to be informed since it will affect our campus landscape, and the future restoration of the original rectory. My hope is that it will renew our parish commitment to not only the Sister’s health and welfare, but also to their vital prayer ministry that aids our parish and diocese. The hope is that once again we will have public Perpetual Adoration in their new chapel.
An emphasis on the stewardship way of life today will ensure the vibrancy of the life of our parish for the future. And so, I invite you and encourage you, as rector, to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ by being a true steward of your time, talent and treasure. As Jesus tells us today:
Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.
Fr. James P. Morgan
A priest was killed in France last week. He was killed celebrating the Mass. He was killed performing the highest act of his faith. He was killed for the faith. His faith is what matters.
All else is chasing after the wind.
We are entrenched in a world of distraction, a world of vanities. Millions of people are spending their time chasing digital creatures through the real world. Advertisers keep us chasing after the next new thing; all of our pastimes and hobbies become formats for marketing. We are encouraged to get the next, to gather more and to build garages that are bigger than our homes because people have more cars than kids.
“You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”
In our Gospel this weekend Jesus calls all of us back to reality. He reminds us that no matter how many things we amass and how secure we find ourselves in our possessions, all of that will be stripped away from us in the end. When our life is demanded of us, will we be found wanting? When we can no longer hide behind our title or accomplishments or possessions, what will be revealed? We need to become rich in what matters to God.
St. Paul exhorts us to seek the things that are above. If we desire to live with Him someday, we need to always be seeking ways to serve Him. We need to be seeking ways to love Him, and we need to be seeking ways to bring others closer to Him. We grow in what matters to God when we “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” This is a lifelong process, but it has to begin somewhere. If we follow these instructions of St. Paul then nothing will stand between us and the Lord.
In the midst of the division and chaos and violence that we witness everyday the only sure source of peace is Christ. When we give ourselves to Him, we will have the wisdom to navigate all of the madness of this world. When we give ourselves to Him, we will have the strength that we need to endure all of the pain in this world. When we give ourselves to Jesus, He will show us the things that keep us from Him.
The Lord is always calling us into a deeper relationship with Him through His Church. In the midst of trials, in the midst of chaos, in the midst of the pain, He is calling us to a deeper faith. It is our faith in Jesus Christ that gives us the strength to endure all things. When everything else is stripped away all we have is our faith. And that is enough.
Fr. Grant Lacey
Take any U.S. currency and you will see the words “In God We Trust.” Our founding fathers chose this statement. More than 200 years later it is still printed on our money. Hopefully we will not abandon this tradition.
With extreme violence and conflict seemingly an everyday occurrence in our country, and around the world, we could easily be convinced that not many people still place their trust in God. As people of faith we know this is not true. In considering our first reading today from Genesis, I am reminded of Yogi Berra’s famous line that “it seems like déjà vu all over again.” The people of Sodom and Gomorrah had strayed so far from God that Abraham had to boldly intervene to negotiate their safety.
When we find ourselves getting discouraged or caught up in the emotions of the day we need to stop what we are doing, draw nearer to God as Abraham did, and give thanks that our God is a god of patience and love. God does not ignore or overlook evil but he continually offers every person the opportunity to experience His love and His mercy. We need only to place ourselves in front of a crucifix to be reminded of the depth of God’s love for us. Jesus offered himself up for all of us, not just those who live a life of continuous faithfulness. The sins of all people, for all time, were nailed to the cross with Christ in one sacrifice of love for all time. As Christians we pray that those who presently take matters into their own hands rather than trusting in God will experience a change of heart.
At his installation as Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said,
“The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.”
God is eternally patient with us. Let us be patient and trust that God will not abandon us to a world of chaos, hatred and destruction.
This week has been designated as National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. This may not seem as though it has anything to do with the rest of this bulletin letter but, in fact, it is very closely connected. Much of the trouble we are experiencing in this country, and around the world today is due to a lack of respect for other people. We so often forget that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. In 1968, Blessed Pope Paul VI issued the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. In that encyclical he predicted many of today’s problems would result through a proliferation of contraception. When we use or manipulate others we undermine their human dignity and our own as well. Although the encyclical is now almost 50 years old, it is still very relevant. Check it out.
May God bless all of us,
Deacon Bill Radio
Cathedral of Saint Joseph
521 N Duluth Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57104