Author Archives: DMiller

JANUARY 20th, 2019 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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JANUARY 20th, 2019

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Everyone serves the good wine first…but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Why I Left Planned Parenthood

I decided to add a bonus Lighthouse CD this month because of its relevance to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal throughout the entire United States.  This week’s CD is Why I Left Planned Parenthood by Abby Johnson.

Abby Johnson used to run a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas until she experienced a dramatic conversion on the understanding of human life in the womb.  She shares an insider’s perspective about the true motivations of the abortion industry, and her courageous journey away from it and towards life.

In this CD, Abby gives her personal testimony and also gives many helpful thoughts about why it is so important to be pro-life.  Her story is a testament to God’s grace and mercy, and the joy that comes from being an advocate for life.

If it would be easier for you to listen to this (or any other Lighthouse CD talk) as an MP3, rather than on CD, please talk to me.

There is also a new movie being made about Abby Johnson’s story, called Unplanned, which will be released in March of this year.  As it turns out, there is a very powerful story connected with the lead actress in the movie, Ashley Bratcher.

Ashley got the part to play Abby in the movie, and it wasn’t until she was on the set getting ready to film the movie when she talked to her mom about having the role.  Suddenly her mom began to cry and explained to Ashley that she herself was in an abortion clinic preparing to abort her (Ashley), when she decided she couldn’t go through with it.  And so, the actor playing Abby Johnson in this movie is herself only alive today because her mom left the abortion clinic and didn’t abort her.

(You can watch Ashley explain this powerful moment between she and her mom in an interview she did on Fox News.  Just do an online search for “Ashley Bratcher Fox interview”, and the video should pop up.)

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

 

January 6th, 2019 – The Epiphany of the Lord

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JANUARY 6th, 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord

“They opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

 

Blessings of Technology

Last weekend I wrote about the blessing of a home.  This weekend I’d like to focus again on blessings, and this time talk about blessing technology.

Technology is amazing in what it can do and how quickly it keeps advancing.  And with access to the internet, these devices help us find information quickly and stay connected with family and friends.  However, phones, tablets, and computers can also be used in ways that are gravely immoral by accessing pictures and videos that become occasions of “adultery of the heart”, as Jesus explained in Matthew 5:27-28.

I will be the first to say that technology is wonderful and a great benefit.  So, we do not need to reject technology, but we do need to take great care that it is used in a way that does not offend God, but rather glorifies Him.

For this reason, next weekend (January 12th & 13th), I will be offering a special blessing on all electronic devices.  I invite you to bring your phones, tablets, laptops, Kindles, iPods, etc., to Mass next weekend for a special technology blessing.  We will bless them as a way of dedicating them to God’s service and glory, and a reminder to have moral uprightness whenever we use these devices.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 23, 2018 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

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DECEMBER 23, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Advent

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”

Blessing of the Christmas Tree and Nativity Scene

Christmas trees are a lovely tradition and have great symbolism.  The evergreen tree is a symbol of life, since it keeps its green color year-round (even through Minnesota winters!).  The Christmas lights remind us of Christ, the light of the world.  Christmas trees used to be decorated with apples, in addition to other ornaments, to remind us of the original sin of Adam and Eve, and of the redemption of Christ which frees us from sin.  Christmas is an important time to remember our redemption, for it was out of God’s desire to redeem us that He sent his son Jesus to be born for us at Christmas.

I encourage you to keep your Christmas tree up for at least the 12 days of Christmas (through the feast of Epiphany), or even until February 2nd (the feast of the Presentation of the Lord) which is 40 days after Christmas and concludes the Christmas season.

The nativity scene is another wonderful thing to display for the Christmas season.  The nativity scene was made popular by St. Francis of Assisi and is an excellent visible reminder to us of the humble birth of our Savior.

Here are some blessings you can use in your own home to ask for God’s blessing upon your Christmas tree and nativity scene.

Christmas Tree Blessing

Leader: My brothers and sisters, amidst signs and wonders Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea: his birth brings joy to our hearts and enlightenment to our minds.  With this tree, decorated and adorned, may we welcome Christ among us; may its lights guide us to the perfect light.

Read: Titus 3:4-7

Leader: Let us ask God to send his blessing upon us and upon this sign of our faith in the Lord.

R/. Lord, give light to our hearts.

L: That this tree of lights may remind us of the tree of glory on which Christ accomplished our salvation; let us pray to the Lord.  R/.

L: That the joy of Christmas may always be in our homes, let us pray to the Lord.  R/.

L: That the peace of Christ may dwell in our hearts and in the world, let us pray to the Lord.  R/.

Leader: Lord our God, we praise you for the light of creation: the sun, the moon, and the stars of the night.  We praise you for the light of Israel: the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures.  We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son: he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace, who fills us with the wonder of your love.  Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree.  May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.  May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R/. Amen.

 

Nativity Scene Blessing

Read: Isaiah 7:10-15 and Luke 2:1-8

Leader: God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have made manifest your love: when our need for a Savior was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary.  To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy, and love.  Lord, bless all who look upon this manger; may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus, and raise our thoughts to him, who is God-with-us and Savior of all, and who lives and reigns forever and ever.  R/. Amen.

 

I wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas.  May Jesus Christ, who is the reason for the season, fill your hearts with great hope and joy this wonderful time of year!

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

DECEMBER 9, 2018 – Second Sunday of Advent

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DECEMBER 9, 2018

Second Sunday of Advent

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.”

Immaculate Conception Novena

(Pray the following prayers for 9 days in a row)

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.

I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests…  (Mention your intentions)

My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.

As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!

Hail Mary…

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

DECEMBER 2, 2018 – First Sunday of Advent

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DECEMBER 2, 2018

First Sunday of Advent

 “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

 

The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality

This month’s Lighthouse CD is The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality by Matthew Kelly.

This is a very inspiring talk about the basics of living the Catholic faith.  In this CD, Matthew explains seven of the “pillars” of our faith, and why they are so important.  This talk will help re-energize your spiritual life, and help you learn practical ways to incorporate the seven pillars into your everyday life.

If it would be easier for you to listen to this (or any other Lighthouse CD talk) as an MP3, rather than on CD, please talk to me.

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Other Advent thoughts…

Confessions will be available on the four Sundays of Advent between the 8am and 10am Masses (so approximately 9:10 – 9:50am).  I wanted to make it easy for people to be able to stay after Mass or come early to Mass and go to confession during this wonderful season of preparing for the coming of Christ.

We are also adding a few weekday evening Masses during Advent.  I encourage you to come as a family after work and school.  The dates of our evening Masses are:

Tuesday, December 4th – 6pm

Tuesday, December 11th – 6pm

Thursday, December 20th – 6pm

If you do not yet have an Advent calendar, I encourage you to grab one from the back of church.  These calendars have one short scripture verse for each day leading up to Christmas.  I especially encourage using these if you still have children at home.

Advent wreaths are another wonderful way to celebrate this season.  Lighting one candle each week leading up to Christmas helps us grow in anticipation for the coming of Christ, the Light of the World.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

NOVEMBER 25th, 2018 – Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

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NOVEMBER 25th, 2018

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

 

“For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”

Latin and the Liturgy (Part 2)

(Continued from article last week…)

 

The use of Latin in the liturgy has long been esteemed in the Church, and it shows the universality of the Church.

Additionally, it is common that people should worship in a sacred language.  This has been true about the Jews, who worship in Hebrew, although very few people speak Hebrew.  Even at the time of Jesus, everyone spoke Aramaic or Greek, yet Hebrew was used in worship.

Latin has the power to inspire us to mystery and beauty.  Consider the singing of the Ave Maria after Communion.  Most people don’t know the exact words (though they may know it is the Hail Mary), but they are inspired by the beauty of the song.  It has the power to lift our minds and hearts to God.  So too, when praying in Latin, we may not know every word we are saying, but we know the parts of the Mass, and know, for example, when we sing “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth” we are singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts”, because that’s the same time we sing that prayer every Sunday.  There is a certain sense of mystery and awe in using a sacred language.  Just as the Mass itself is set apart from the rest of our busy lives, so Latin is set apart and adds to the wonder and mystery of this great event.

In fact, St. Theresa of Avila, who prayed the breviary in Latin with her community, received a special grace to suddenly understand everything she was praying in Latin.  And she later commented that it did not in fact help her prayer, because she already was raising her mind and heart to God fully in her prayer of the breviary, even though it was in Latin and she didn’t understand everything she prayed.  Rather, her heart was encountering God in love and awe and mystery, not just in known words.

Latin helps form our identity as Catholics.  It reminds us that our faith is over 2000 years old, and that we stand in continuity with countless saints and martyrs that have worshiped together for thousands of years in one common language: Latin.  It reminds us that our faith is not isolated to one local area or one time period in history.  Down through the ages, our Roman Catholic faith has had a constant living tradition bound by one common language.  That’s pretty amazing when think about it.

The Church has a beautiful liturgical treasury.  We need to rediscover it, learn it, and embrace it.  As Pope Benedict XVI suggested, we should teach the faithful to “sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant” (Sacramentum Caritatis 62).

Hearing Latin during mass should give us strength and give us pride to be Catholic.  It should enliven us and help us remember that we have been “set apart” for God, to be holy.  And it should remind us of the faith we share with all our brothers and sisters in Christ around the entire world.

During the four weeks of Advent, which begin next weekend, we will be singing the Mass parts in Latin – The Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), Mysterium Fidei (Memorial Acclamation), and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).  We are already familiar with the tune because it is the same as the English version we are currently doing.  I look forward to this special addition to the liturgy for the season of Advent.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

NOVEMBER 18th, 2018 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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NOVEMBER 18th, 2018

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Latin and the Liturgy (Part 1)

A special change I am planning for Masses this Advent is to begin singing some of the Mass parts in Latin – The Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), Mysterium Fidei (Memorial Acclamation), and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).  We are already familiar with the tune because it is the same as the English version we are currently doing.  I realize some people are not comfortable with Latin and would prefer everything to be in English, but the tradition of including Latin in the Mass is still very much recommended by the Church, and add a special solemnity to the Mass.  My column this week and next is a reprinted article that I published last year about Latin and the Liturgy.

Many parishes in the Archdiocese and indeed around the country are rediscovering the many liturgical treasures of our faith.  One of these treasures is the use of Latin in the liturgy.  So, why is Latin making a comeback?  Isn’t that something we abandoned after Vatican II?  Actually no.  The idea that Latin was forbidden, or even discouraged during the Mass, is inaccurate.

Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Vatican II document on the liturgy which initiated the liturgical reforms that followed the Council, said: “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites…But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters” (SC 36).

The document goes on to add: “Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC 54).

Canon Law also reflects the desire for learning Latin, saying that all seminarians should learn Latin so that they can use it in pastoral ministry (cf. Canon 249).

Even more recently, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis, “I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant” (62).

Using the native language (eg. English) is very important for the readings and homily, where they are addressed to the people for their learning.  However, most of the Mass is not so much for us to learn, but rather for us to worship.  And Latin is the universal language of worship in the Roman Catholic Church.

However, now more than 50 years after the Second Vatican Council, most parishes have no use of Latin at all, and many priests, musicians, and liturgy coordinators are entirely opposed to its use.  So why does the Church still encourage Latin at Mass?

Latin is still the official and universal language of the Church.  The importance of this is not as easily seen on the local level, but it is very important on the global level.  I have been to Mass in many countries and in many languages, and the wonderful thing about being Catholic is that you always know what is happening at every Mass, even if you don’t understand what is being said.  But furthermore, the wonderful thing about Latin is that it can unite the faithful “from every nation, tribe, people and language” in participation in the same prayers of the Mass (Revelation 7:9).  It has made me very proud to be Catholic as I stand at Mass with the Holy Father in Rome, along with thousands of other people from around the world, and we can all pray the Mass together in our Church’s language of Latin.

This feeling of unity is also felt when we sing the O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo for Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in Latin.

(To be continued next week…)

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

NOVEMBER 11th, 2018 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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NOVEMBER 11th, 2018

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Veteran’s Day

 

“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.”

 

 

 

Veteran’s Day

I want to keep today’s column short and simply thank all the veterans who have served our country, especially any veterans in our parish.

I myself have several family members and friends who are serving or have served in the military. And am so grateful for their service by which we are protected and kept free.

Please say a prayer today for all veterans, and all those currently serving in our military.

From the bottom of my heart: Thank you to all our veterans.

#FreedomIsNotFree

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

 

NOVEMBER 4th, 2018 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

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NOVEMBER 4th, 2018

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

 

The Best Way to Live

This month’s Lighthouse CD is The Best Way to Live by Matthew Kelly.

How is the best way to live?  Is there a best way to live?  The great minds of every age have pondered this question.

No one wants to live a mediocre life with little to no meaning.  We all want to live a wonderful life, full of meaning.  The question is, are you living your best life?

In this CD, Matthew Kelly powerfully articulates how we can discover the best way to live.  He helps us reflect on how we make decisions in all areas of our lives, and how these decisions help us become the amazing person God created us to be.

In particular, there is one essential question that Matthew talks about that he learned to ask in his own life and is the most important question we can ask in order to find the best way to live.  You’ll have to listen to find out what that question is.

This talk was recorded at a gathering of confirmation candidates, but while Matthew Kelly addresses them specifically, the wisdom he gives is something we can all learn from.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

OCTOBER 28th, 2018 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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OCTOBER 28th, 2018

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

World Mission Sunday / Priesthood Sunday

“Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

 

 

Voting with a Catholic Conscience

Voting is a wonderful and important right we have.  There are many things that deserve the attention of our political leaders, but some things must be weighed with much more seriousness than others.

There are five “non-negotiables” we must consider when voting as Catholics.  They are: Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Homosexual “Marriage”.

As you can see, four of the non-negotiables have to do with life itself.  The right to life is the first and most fundamental of all human rights.  If life is not respected, from the womb to the tomb, then no other right matters.  This is why life issues must be at the very forefront of the Catholic voter’s conscience.  As Pope Benedict XVI said: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.”

But let’s bring this just a little bit closer to home.  Medical data reports show that there were 60 abortions by Rice County residents last year.  That’s three classrooms of children who were not born and will not fill our schools in the coming years.  The issue of abortion is not an abstract issue, it is a concrete reality that affects everyone.  And it is essential that we work hard to outlaw abortion in our world.

A few weeks ago, I received an advertisement in the mail for a candidate who promoted himself as having served his country in the military, and now is running for office to serve families.  This sounded really good, and just based on this advertising I would have supported him.  But I knew it was important to look further into additional issues, and when I went to his website, I found that he is pro-abortion and endorsed by Planned Parenthood!  That is a disqualifier.  If you do not support life, then nothing else you support matters.

We need to get past labels of Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.  We need to look at what each candidate actually stands for when we vote for them.  Many Catholics grew up voting for a particular political party, but that doesn’t mean that party still supports Catholic values.

Consider, by analogy, how someone might have bought a Ford or Chevy or Dodge pickup several years ago.  And back then they did their research and chose the best one.  Now several years later, they need a new pickup.  Many will simply go and buy the same brand pickup as they did before, assuming it must be as good as it was in the past.  But in reality, everything under the hood might have changed, and it may now be an inferior truck to other brands available.  I think this is also true with political parties.  It’s not the name-brand that matters; it is what’s under the hood that matters.  And when we vote, we need to ensure that what is “under the hood” is something we should be supporting as Catholics.  A political party is a good place to start when evaluating candidates, but we must do our homework to know where each individual stands on significant moral issues.

We have to take our civic duty very seriously as Catholics.  I encourage you all to be involved politically, first and foremost by voting, but also by talking with others about political issues, and even attending caucuses.  As is rightfully quoted often: “All that evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”  Let’s make sure we do something.  I look forward to the day when abortion is outlawed in our land, and other Christian values are upheld, because good people did something.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke