Category Archives: Father Nicholas VanDenBroeke

September 22nd, 2019 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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September 22nd, 2019

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

 

The Baptistry (Part 1)

I’ve been blessed to be able to do a few baptisms lately, and so, with baptism on my mind, I thought it may be helpful to write up something to explain the significance of the Baptistry.

As its name suggests, the baptistry is the location where baptisms traditionally take place (here at IC, it is the small room located just off to the side of the church entrance, across the narthex from the church library).  “The baptistry or the area where the baptismal font is located should be reserved for the sacrament of baptism and should be worthy to serve as the place where Christians are reborn in water and the Holy Spirit” (Rite of Baptism).

The location of the baptistry is highly symbolic.  Traditionally, the baptistry is located in an area separated from the main part of the church—either in a separate room near the entrance of the church (as our baptistry is), or in a side chapel.  To understand the reason for this separation, we need to understand the effects of baptism.

The Catechism teaches: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.  Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission” (CCC 1213).

As this explains, it is through baptism that we become members of Christ and his Church.  This is the reason that the baptistry is traditionally separated from the church, to show that until we are baptized, we are not yet inside the Church.  It is only through baptism that we are incorporated into the Church.

This symbolism continues to unfold as the Rite of Baptism continues.  The Rite instructs that after the individual has been baptized, he or she goes in procession from the baptismal font and into the church to stand before the altar, where they have the privilege of calling upon God for the first time as Our Father.

This is very beautiful symbolism, showing that it is through baptism that we are incorporated into the Church and adopted as a son or daughter of God.  Thus, we have the privilege of calling upon God as our own Father together with the Christian community.

The baptistry door is also traditionally kept locked.  This too is symbolic.  In the book of Genesis, as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, they were expelled from paradise, and an angel was stationed at the entrance of the Garden to prevent anyone from entering in the future.  However, Jesus came to open the way to heaven for us once again.

As Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), and “I am the gate for the sheep…Whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:7-9), and “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (John 3:5).  He then commanded his disciples to go forth and baptize all nations.

In other words, Jesus indicates that it is only through him that we have access to heaven, and this access is given to us through the sacrament of baptism.  Furthermore, Christ has entrusted the sacraments to his Church.  Thus, the door at the entrance to the baptistry is symbolic of the fact that the Church has been entrusted with opening the gates to eternal life for us.  Of course, anyone who asks to enter through baptism is welcomed.  Nevertheless, these gates are a symbolic reminder to us that it is through Jesus Christ and his Church, not through our own merits, that we enter the gates of heaven.  We come to Christ through his Church requesting entrance into heaven, and the Church gladly opens the gates of paradise for us.

To be continued…

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

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September 1st, 2019

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Anniversary of the Dedication of Our Church

Seventy-eight years ago, this weekend, our current church building was dedicated.  As many of you know, the current church is actually the second Immaculate Conception church building.  The first church was completed in 1904 and was located on the West side of our property (across the parking lot from where the current church stands).  Construction on the current church building began in 1940, it was completed a year later, and the church was dedicated on September 1st, 1941.

The dedication of a church is actually a very important event.  And the anniversary of the dedication is to be remembered and celebrated.  Here are some quotes from the Rite of the Dedication of a Church.

Since sacred edifices, that is, churches, are permanently set aside for the celebration of the divine mysteries, it is right for them to receive a dedication to God. 

The day on which a church is dedicated is kept as a solemnity in that church.

The rite for the dedication of a church and an altar is rightly considered among the most solemn liturgical services. A church is the place where the Christian community is gath­ered to hear the word of God, to offer intercession and praise to him, and above all to celebrate the holy mysteries, and it is the place where the holy sacrament of the Eucharist is kept.  Thus, it stands as a special kind of image of the Church itself, which is God’s temple built from living stones.

The structure [of the church] built of stone will be a visible sign of the living Church.

The celebration of the Eucharist is inseparably bound up with the rite of dedication of a church.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the most important and the one necessary rite for the dedication of a church….  For the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice achieves the end for which the church was built and the altar erected…  Furthermore, the Eucharist, which sanctifies the hearts of those who receive it, in a sense consecrates the altar and the place of celebration, as the ancient Fathers of the Church often assert: “This altar should be an object of awe: by nature it is stone, but it is made holy when it receives the body of Christ.”

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First Friday Masses

I am also happy to announce that I’ve decided to try offering a 5:30pm evening Mass on First Fridays of the month.  I’ve been wanting to offer an evening Mass for working families to be able to attend, so, beginning next week, I will have Mass on Friday, September 6th at the usual 8am time, and also at the new 5:30pm time.

(Unfortunately, the following month I will be gone over the first Friday (October 4th), so there will be no Masses that day.  And then November 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation, so Mass will be at 7pm that night.  Then, finally, December 6th I’ll plan to have another Friday Mass at 5:30pm.)

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

August 25, 2019 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 25th, 2019

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

“For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Pope Pius X and Frequent Communion

In my article last week, I noted a problem of many Catholics not believing that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  I invited you all to consider this question and share your thoughts with me: What are some ideas you have to solving the issue of Catholics not believing that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist?

I decided to write a few more words about Holy Communion for today’s column because of a recent saint’s feast day.  This past Wednesday (August 21st) was the memorial of Pope Saint Pius X.  He reigned as pope from 1903 to 1914.  One of his greatest legacies is his encouragement for the faithful to receive the Eucharist more frequently, even daily.

He wrote: “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”

Pope Pius X lowered the age for First Communion from the early teens to the age of discretion (about 7), as is our custom still today.  Regarding this decision he wrote: “Children have need of Him that they may be formed in habits of virtue; youth have need of Him that they may obtain mastery over their passions; maidens have need of Him that they may preserve their innocence untarnished; all men and women have need of Him that they may advance in virtue and carry out faithfully the duties of their state in life; there are none who can afford to neglect this great source of spiritual strength, none who can do without Him.”

Like Pope Pius X, I very much encourage frequent reception of Holy Communion.  I encourage everyone to not only attend Sunday Mass, but even to try to attend daily Mass if you are able.  What a great gift we have in the Eucharist, which is truly our “bread from heaven”.

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Update on the New Cemetery Sign

A few weeks ago, we made the announcement that we are looking into buying a new sign for Calvary Cemetery.  The estimated cost of the sign (including fabricating, shipping, and mounting) is $8,000.

To date, we have raised $600 in donations, and have another $4,500 pledged, for a total of $5,100.  This leaves us $2,900 short.

I encourage you to consider making a gift in memory of a loved one who is buried in the cemetery to help fund this project.  Checks may be dropped off at the parish office, or place in the collection (please put in an envelope and write “For cemetery sign”.  Thank you!

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Update on Front Steps Project

We have been talking for some time about replacing the church’s front steps.  Well the day has nearly arrived!  Construction will begin soon.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

August 11th, 2019 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 11th, 2019

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This Thursday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This feast day commemorates when Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul.

There is a close parallel between the Ascension of Jesus and the Assumption of Mary.  The two are different insofar as Jesus ascended into heaven by his own divine power, whereas, Mary was assumed into heaven by Jesus, her Son.  However, it is most fitting that since Mary was so closely united to Jesus on earth, that she should now be so closely united to Jesus in heaven.  Mary is the “first fruits” of Christ’s redeeming work—both at the beginning of her life in her Immaculate Conception, and at the end of her life in her Assumption.

Here are some beautiful quotes about Mary’s Assumption that I wanted to share:

As soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Die she must, and die she did, as her divine Son died, for he was man; but various reasons have approved themselves to holy writers, why, although her body was for a while separated from her soul, and consigned to the tomb, yet it did not remain there, but was speedily united to her soul again, and raised by our Lord to a new and eternal life of heavenly glory. … And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this—that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to his own Mother. … Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by his Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.” – Blessed John Henry Newman

The Mother of Jesus in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come.  Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.” – Lumen Gentium (From the Second Vatican Council)

The bodily glorification of the Virgin is an anticipation of the glorification that is the destiny of all the other elect.” – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Finally, in honor of Our Lady, and also in honor of IC’s Czech heritage, I would like our community to learn to sing the Zdravas Maria.  Some of you have told me how many years ago everyone learned this song in school.  We have been singing the Ave Maria (in Latin) after Mass for some time now, and it will be beautiful to begin learning the Zdravas Maria.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

August 4, 2019 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 4th, 2019

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves

but are not rich in what matters to God.”

 

W E L C O M E

Our Immaculate Conception Parish

 welcomes all visitors to our Parish Bazaar.

   We hope you have an enjoyable time!

 

~Faith

  ~Family

    ~Friends

 ~Food

~Fun

 

I hope you all have a wonderful Parish Bazaar today!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make today possible.  The gift of your time and donations to our parish is deeply appreciated.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

 

July 28, 2019 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 28, 2019

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Lighthouse CDs on Hot Topics

Considering the topics of my homilies last week and this weekend, I wanted to offer some additional resources on these “hot topics”.

The Catholic Church’s positions on homosexuality and contraception are extremely counter-cultural, and it can be very difficult to stand up for the truth when talking with others about these topics.

I have found the following CD’s to be extremely helpful.  They teach the truth with great clarity, and have greatly helped me learn how to articulate what we believe.

How to talk about Same Sex Marriage – by Trent Horn

Catholic Apologist Trent Horn carefully considers same-sex marriage and provides an in-depth discussion that addresses the misconceptions held by many in our society today. This examination of what marriage really is, and what it is not, provides a truly gracious and persuasive response to the debate surrounding this important topic.

Called to Love – by Jason Evert

When it comes to same-sex attractions, is the Church really telling some people not to love? If you experience homosexual attractions or have a loved one who does, you might struggle to accept or explain the Church’s teachings on LGBT issues. In this presentation, you’ll discover how all people can find freedom and love within the Church.

Contraception Why Not (Cracking the Myths) – by Janet Smith

This talk is a groundbreaking exposé on the effects of the pill on modern society. Janet Smith presents a God-centered view of sexuality that can bring married couples a joy that they could have never imagined. Backed by statistics and armed with decades of research, Prof. Smith shows the crippling effect of the contraceptive culture on our relationship with God, our romantic relationships and marriages, the culture at large and our physical and mental health.

Green Sex – by Jason Evert

First comes loves, then comes marriage … then what? If sex is natural, why are we so eager to make it artificial? In this presentation, Jason Evert presents the case for Natural Family Planning as he unveils the beauty of God’s plan for sexuality. Jason has spoken about chastity to more than one million people around the world and is the author or more than a dozen books.

Prove it God – by Patty Schneier

As a lifelong Catholic, wife, and mother of three, Patty Schneier struggled with the Church’s teaching on contraception – as many men and women do today. Her discovery of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” revealed to her the fullness of God’s plan for sex and marriage, and led to a dramatic renewal of her marriage and her faith. Patty now speaks around the country about the challenges she faced on her amazing journey.

I have received permission to distribute of a few of these talks, so they are available on the Church’s website under the Homilies link.  For the others, you’ll have to get the CD.  If you don’t have a CD player, or would like them as an MP3, talk to me.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

 

 

July 21, 2019 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 21, 2019

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

 

New Sign for Cemetery

I’m happy to announce that we are planning to buy a new sign for our cemetery, Calvary Cemetery.  This sign will have the cemetery name, the map of the burial plots and names, and also additional information about the cemetery.

The old display case we had with the cemetery map was made of wood, and has been deteriorating over the years.  It badly needed to be replaced.  We decided that a more permanent sign, made of aluminum and plexiglass would be a good long-term investment, as well as look very nice.

The new sign will cost approximately $8,000.  We have already begun collecting donations, and have raised about $2,000.

To complete this project, we (the Cemetery Committee) are reaching out not only to our parishioners, but also to any family or friends who have someone buried in our cemetery, and inviting you to consider making a donation toward the purchase of the new sign.

If we collect more than is needed to purchase the sign, additional donations will be used exclusively for cemetery maintenance.

We have a very beautiful cemetery that I am very proud of, and I am excited at this opportunity to purchase a new sign that will last for a very long time.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

July 14, 2019 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 14, 2019

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Go and do likewise.”

Landscaping at Church and Rectory

I wanted to update the community on some landscaping and tree work that has been happening at the parish.

Church – The dirt piles on the East side of the church will remain there until next spring as we wait for the ground to settle.  All of that dirt was dug out from that area, so most of it should settle back in over the next year, especially after next winter’s freeze and thaw.

Rectory – You may have noticed some changes around the rectory and parish office.  We’ve trimmed trees, removed bushes, placed sod, and seeded grass.  Eventually we also plan to clean up the rock bed in front of the rectory.  I’m so grateful to everyone who has given a hand with all this work.

And finally, the big news!  Many of you are already aware, but in case you haven’t heard, we lost one of our huge trees by the parish office entrance in one of the storms we had a few weeks ago.  I give humble thanks to God that it didn’t land on the building.  As it turns out, the tree was completely hollow, and just needed a little wind to blow it down.  When it fell, it took down another tree next to it, and half of a second tree (which we will be cutting down soon due to this damage).  I’m very grateful to the Knights of Columbus who showed up shortly after the storm and had the tree cut up and hauled away within a few hours.

Since we have lost these three trees, I would like to replace them.  I am interested in planting three Sugar Maple trees in their place.  I love Sugar Maples because of their beautiful orange leaves in the fall.  If anyone would like to buy one of these trees in memory of someone, please let me know.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

 

June 16, 2016 – Most Holy Trinity – Father’s Day

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June 16, 2019

The Most Holy Trinity

Father’s Day 

“Everything that the Father has is mine;”

 

Trinity Sunday and Father’s Day CD’s

 

This week I want to share two new wonderful CD’s with you.

 

First, in honor of it being Trinity Sunday, I want to highlight the CD Abba or Allah by Dr. Scott Hahn.

In this informative talk, Dr. Scott Hahn explores some of the most important beliefs that distinguish Christianity from Islam.  He explains that while both religions trace themselves back to Abraham, the differences, including our understanding of God as Father, are not insignificant.  With charity, balance, and candor, Dr. Hahn shows us how Islam presents the most formidable challenge to Christianity in the Third millennium.

The thing that really stood out to me when I listened to this CD was how much we take for granted the fact that God is a Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We simply believe that as Christians, but perhaps we don’t think much about it.  However, no other religion in the history of the world has considered God in this way.  By comparing Christianity to Islam, Dr. Scott Hahn helps us understand and appreciate why we believe in one God but as a trinity of persons.

 

The second CD I want to highlight this weekend, in honor of Father’s Day, is Pure Fatherhood by Devin Schadt.

This CD is a wonderful inspiration for men to step up and be the wonderful fathers they were created to be.  Devin Schadt explains how dads are the link between children and their Heavenly Father.  He gives many great examples from the life of St. Joseph to help human fathers understand their mission from God the Father.

Devin Schadt is a very inspirational speaker who brings together great insights, deep faith, and humor to explain the topic of fatherhood.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men of Immaculate Conception!

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

June 9, 2019 – Pentecost Sunday

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June 9, 2019

Pentecost Sunday

 

“Receive the Holy Spirit.

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,

and those whose sins you retain are retained.”

 

Mass Intentions

Every Mass can be offered for a particular intention (or intentions).  This is simply referred to as a “Mass intention”, or “offering a Mass up for a person or intention”.  A Mass is generally offered for a person, but can also be offered for another specific intention as well.

In order to understand the value of Mass intentions, we need to first understand the great importance of the Mass itself.  The one, perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ was his passion and death on the cross as he offered himself with perfect love and obedience to the Father.  The Mass is the perpetual memorial of that sacrifice.  This is why the sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest prayer, because it is our participation in the perfect sacrifice and prayer of Jesus.  In other words, the Mass has the same value as Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

(I very much encourage you to read a book called The Weight of a Mass, which is a very inspiring book, based on a true story, about the importance of the Mass.  It is a children’s book, but has a powerful message for all of us.)

During the Mass we are invited to spiritually unite ourselves to Jesus by lifting up our hearts to the Lord.  Additionally, we can “offer” the Mass for someone, which means we ask Jesus to give special graces that flow from his crucifixion to that particular person.

There is infinite grace that Jesus gives to us through his death on the cross, and thus Mass has this same infinite value.  In every Mass, the grace of Christ continues to be poured out upon us and upon those for who we offer the Mass.

Masses can be said for the living and the deceased.  Masses for the dead are noted in the bulletin by a + next to the name.  It is especially important for us to offer Masses for those who have died, for the repose of their soul.  In fact, whenever a priest of our Archdiocese dies, all the other priests are asked to offer three Masses for the repose of his soul.  Similarly, I very much encourage you to have Masses said for loved ones who have died.  I recommend three Masses shortly after their death, and then a Mass every year near their birthday or date of death.

To request a Mass intention, call or visit the parish office.  It is also requested to give a stipend of $7 for a Mass intention.  While a stipend is not mandatory, it is recommended as a way of supporting the church.

Sometimes people will say something like “this is my Mass” when the Mass is offered for their intention, however, this is not a proper way to talk about the Mass.  The Mass is never “ours”.  It is Christ’s sacrifice, offered through the Church by the hands of the priest, for the sake a particular intention.

Finally, I have decided to make some changes regarding requesting Mass intentions.  Going forward, an individual will only be allowed to request a maximum of 12 Mass intentions per year.  I apologize to those who desire to request more Masses than this, however, since we have such a limited number of Masses at IC each year, and over 400 families, I want to make sure everyone will have the opportunity to request Masses.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke