The Holy Father has designated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We commonly associate the word “vocations” with those called to the priesthood or religious life. I confess that I probably encourage that association by regularly praying at Mass for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. And I will continue to pray for that. But, that does not detract from the truth that all Christians have a vocation. We have a common vocation – that is, a call from God (from the Latin vocare: to call) – to holiness. But the common vocation to holiness that God calls us to must be lived out in a definite way. For priests it means a certain way of living, for consecrated men and women (the religious life) it means another, and for single people and married people it means living faithfully according to those states of life. For all, the common goal is holiness – that is, a life in communion with God. All too frequently we settle for so much less. We fall into the trap of thinking: “What’s the least I have to do to get into Heaven?” or, “What’s the most I can get away with, and still avoid Hell?” The example of Saint John Paul II has shaken us from this sort of spiritual lethargy. His life was a visible reminder of the sacrifice that is required from each authentic follower of Christ – and validation that the sacrifice is worth it. While affirming the truth that ALL of us are called to a life of holiness, the Church still demands a unique witness from her priests. Some people suggest that if we would ‘soften the sacrifice’ of the priesthood – by relaxing the rule of celibacy and ordaining married men – we would have many more priests. But that argument fails even on natural grounds. John Paul II understood that principle very well. He challenged young people to reject the selfishness of materialism and to follow Christ. And the young people loved him. To these same young people the Pope has entrusted the mission of the New Evangelization. What is that mission? To help each person follow Christ. To help each person be holy.
Please join me in continuing to pray for our bishops and civil leaders. There is a great deal of frustration among the general populace, and certainly among us Catholics. Good Shepherd Sunday is an especially fitting day to pray that God will fill our bishops and civil leaders with wisdom, prudence, and courage! May the Lord bless you all throughout the Easter Season!
If you are unable to attend our weekend "parking lot" Masses, you can livestream Mass at the following options:
Sunday Mass 9:30am (English) & 10:30am (Spanish) Daily Mass 8:00am (English) & 8:30am (Spanish)
Visit FORMED.org for more livestream options Televised Mass
Wisconsin Rapids (Public Access) Sunday 6am & 1pm Channel 985 & Channel 3
Throughout the Easter Season the Church continues to celebrate with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that was foretold in the Old Testament (which the Church presented in the Liturgy during Lent, and especially during the Sacred Triduum) is now fulfilled in Jesus. Today’s Gospel reminds us of this truth as it recalls the conversation that the Lord had with several disciples on the road to Emmaus. While walking with them, the Lord explained all that Moses and the prophets had said which referred to Him. (That is why it is important for us to know and understand the Scriptures – Old and New Testament. St. Jerome, the great scripture scholar who lived in the late 4th century, said that ignorance of Scripture was ignorance of Christ. Knowing the Scriptures better helps us know Christ better!) Though His identity was at first hidden from them, they recognized Him “in the breaking of bread”. They then remarked to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” This is exactly what the Church invites us to experience every Sunday at Mass. We listen to His Holy Word in the Sacred Scriptures, and we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist (the bread and wine now become His Body and Blood). Do your hearts burn within you when you come to Mass? Resolve in your heart now to reflect more deeply about Who it is that speaks to us in the Scriptures and Who it is that reveals Himself in the “breaking of bread”.
It has been a challenge for many people to adjust to the situation brought upon us by the coronavirus and the actions taken by the civil authorities. I have tried to respond in a way that will provide continued access to the Sacraments and the Mass, while also observing necessary safeguards to insure everyone’s safety. I have serious reservations about the civil restrictions to the free exercise of the Faith, which both our Constitution and the Natural Law affirm and protect. I will continue to look for ways to safely expand your access to the Mass and the Sacraments. If changes are made to our parish schedule & procedures I will post them on our parish website and Facebook page.
We publish in this weekly bulletin a report of our weekly offertory (and budget), as well as the Diocesan Annual Appeal. But I don’t usually say much (either at Mass or in the bulletin) about “giving more money”. But I would like to say how much I appreciate your generosity during this difficult time. Where many churches are experiencing a dramatic decline in financial support, we have not. Thank you!!
May God bless you!
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The Church celebrates Easter for fifty days (from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday inclusive), but observes the Octave of Easter (octave means eight), from Easter Sunday through Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, with particular solemnity. This always serves as a great contrast to the secular society which (as it does with Christmas) throws away all reminders of the Feast the following day. Make sure you continue to make the Easter Season a festive time of celebrating our Savior’s Resurrection. I look forward each year to the Sunday following Easter because of the beautiful Gospel account from St. John. The story of ‘Doubting Thomas’ is recorded for our benefit, so that his doubt – satisfied by the appearance of the Risen Lord – might be the means of strengthening our faith. Do you sometimes doubt certain doctrines of our Faith? Or do you even doubt, from time to time, the existence of God? Then you need to ask for the intercession of St. Thomas! His simple profession of faith, “My Lord and my God”, is one each one of us should utter often. This is especially true when we gaze upon the Lord in the Eucharist during Mass (when the Priest elevates the Host, and then the Chalice containing the Precious Blood, during the Eucharistic Prayer).
Today is also observed as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Sister Faustina Kowalska, to whom the Lord Jesus mystically appeared, was canonized 20 years ago on this Sunday by Pope John Paul II in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square in Rome – the first saint canonized in the New Millennium. And six years ago Pope Francis canonized John Paul II! This is a great day to reflect upon the mercy of God, which Saint Faustina and Saint John Paul II both fostered in their lives. Because we are still in “shut down” mode, we are not able to have any public special Divine Mercy devotions in any of our churches. I recommend that you and your family pray the Diving Mercy Chaplet today (Sunday) at 3pm in your own home.
May the Lord bless you and your family today and throughout this Holy Easter Season!!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller
The Saturday 4:30pm Mass and Sunday 8am and 10am Mass will be offered outside with the altar under the carport. The Faithful may remain in their vehicles parked in the church parking lot with their radios tuned in to 103.9FM to hear the Mass.
SS Peter and Paul Church will be open 7:00am - 7:00pm daily.
Fr. Schaller will offer daily Mass privately for the needs of the faithful and for the intentions already scheduled.
Fr. Schaller will hear Confessions...
Mon - Fri 7am-8am, 11am-1pm, 6pm-7pm
Saturday 7am-8am, 11am-1pm
Distribution of Holy Communion outside of Mass:
Mon - Fri 8:30am, 10:55am
The faithful are encouraged to arrive early to prepare and to allow for variance of time.
Please observe the required precautions: no more than 9 people in the church at a time and at least 6’ “social distancing” from other persons.
Jeremiah Denton (died 2014), former Senator from Alabama (1981-87), had served 31 years in the Navy, retiring as a Rear Admiral in 1977.
While flying a combat mission in Vietnam, he was shot down and captured. He spent nearly eight years as a POW (in the “Hanoi Hilton”), four of which were in solitary confinement. His Catholic Faith enabled him to persevere through great suffering and torture. On this Easter Day, I present for your meditation and encouragement this poem that he wrote while in solitary confinement.
The Great Sign
(a conversation after Jesus’ crucifixion, but before His resurrection, between three women: Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and Mary Magdalene)
1.His manger birth drew kings in awe, His smile the former blind men saw,
In Him divine and mortal merged,
Yet He’s the one the soldiers scourged.
2.He praised the humble and the meek.,
The grateful deaf mute heard Him speak, His face was love personified,
Yet He’s the one they crucified.
3.Now our tears with doubts combine, How could He die yet be divine?
We must dispel this faithless gloom, Let’s pray at dawn beside His tomb.
Dark clouds can hide the rising sun, And all seem lost, when all is won!
Do not be afraid! Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!
May God bless you!
The Holy Season of Lent culminates in the Church’s celebration of Holy Week. There is no more important observance in the Christian calendar than the celebration of the events of our salvation: the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the institution of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and the Eucharist at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday; the suffering and death of the Lord on Good Friday; and His glorious resurrection on Easter. Each year on Palm Sunday, the Church begins Holy Week by reading the Gospel account of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem and then reading the Passion story from one of the synoptic Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, or Luke). This year the Passion account is taken from the Gospel of Matthew. It is fitting that we get a “preview” of the events of Holy Week in the scripture readings on Palm Sunday. On Good Friday we will read the Passion story from the Gospel of St. John. (The Passion story is always taken from John on Good Friday.)
Typically, I would exhort all our parishioners to participate in the whole Sacred Triduum. But the coronavirus ‘shut down’ has put us in uncharted waters. I have been offering Mass the past two weekends at 4:30pm Saturday and at 10am on Sunday. My plan is to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7pm on Holy Thursday and the Passion Service at 12:30pm on Good Friday under the carport with the faithful participating from their cars in our church parking lot. The Easter Vigil at 8pm on April 11 must be celebrated within the church, but we will broadcast the audio for those who wish listen while parked in our lot. Easter Sunday Masses will be scheduled for 8am and 10am, again under the carport.
Since I am writing this on Friday, March 27 (in order to meet our bulletin printing deadline), and because we are in a very fluid situation, the schedule you are reading in this bulletin may have had to be altered. Please consult our parish website, parish Facebook page, or call the parish office for the updated schedule. What a Lent we have had! You are all in my prayers!!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller
Note about Distribution of Communion: The faithful are encouraged to arrive early to allow for preparation and variance of time and also to keep in mind current social distancing rules.