Category Archives: Father Nick VanDenBroeke

August 18, 2019 – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time  

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August 18th, 2019

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”

Belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

A recent PEW study revealed that only 1/3 of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  This is tragic.  The Eucharist is one of the most significant beliefs for us as Catholics.  Indeed, it is the daily bread that Jesus gave to us to receive his life and his strength to follow him as his disciples.

The PEW study showed that 69% of all self-identified Catholics say that the bread and wine used at Mass are only bread and wine, they are only symbols of Jesus, but not really his body and blood.  The other 31% said that they believe that the Eucharist is really the body and blood of Jesus.

This teaching that the bread and wine are truly transformed into the body and blood of Jesus is called: Transubstantiation.  The Church’s teaching about the Eucharist and transubstantiation come from the words of Jesus himself:

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:55)

Furthermore, Jesus taught us how important it is for us to receive the Eucharist:

Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.’” (John 6:53-58)

Just a few days ago, the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops) posted the PEW survey result on their Facebook page, and then they invited people to share: “What are some ideas to solving this issue?

So, I thought it would be worth asking the same question to all of you.  What are some ideas you have to solving the issue of Catholics not believing that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist?

I honestly want your feedback.  This is such an important issue.  It’s not like, “Oh well, it’s ok if they don’t believe in the Eucharist as long as they are a ‘good person’.”  No.  As Jesus’ words indicate, the Eucharist is essential for us as his followers.

I invite you to email me, or talk to me in person with any thoughts you might have.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

July 7, 2019 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 7, 2019

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“…do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Help with Parish Projects

There are several projects I would like to accomplish here at the parish, and so I’m reaching out to ask for help.  If you would be able to assist with any of these, or for more information, please let me know.

  • Refinish church front doors (sand down, then re-stain and varnish wood doors).
  • Make front church doors fit better so they don’t stick (the humidity makes them bind and hard to open).
  • Drywall and paint door frames in parish office.
  • Install (and paint) new gutter downspouts on church and civic center.
  • Fix plaster wall and re-paint church sacristy sink room.
  • Paint walls near elevator in church.
  • Install new fan over stove in rectory kitchen.
  • Repair plaster wall in rectory.
  • Paint garage door.

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This month’s Lighthouse CD is Winning the Game for Christ by Mike Sweeney.

In honor of the great season the Minnesota Twins are having, I thought it would be good to have this month’s Lighthouse CD be about baseball.  The speaker is All-star baseball player Mike Sweeney.

In this CD, Mike speaks to 5000 young adults about his own experience of living his Catholic Faith from when he was a high school jock, through his time in Major League baseball.  With humor and humility, he shares the circumstances that led him to completely center his life on God, and how the Lord wants to personally be involved in your life, too.  Mike relates how pivotal choices led to his amazing ride with Christ.

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.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

FEBRUARY 24, 2019 – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

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FEBRUARY 24, 2019

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

“For the measure with which you measure will in turn be measured out to you.”

Catholic Services Appeal

Last year, the Catholic Services Appeal disbursed $8,372,773 to the many wonderful ministries in our Archdiocese.

The 2019 anticipated ministry payout amounts / “ministry goal amounts” are the following. Actual payout amounts will depend upon how many dollars are brought in through this year’s campaign:

Abria Pregnancy Resources: $50,000

American Indian Ministry: $200,000

ACCW: $25,585

Campus Ministry – Newman Center: $264,000

Campus Ministry – Saint Paul’s Outreach: $11,000

Catholic Charities: $700,000

Deaf Ministry: $39,733

Catholic Elementary School Support / Scholarships:

$1,703,125, (with every Catholic elementary school

within the Archdiocese receiving some funding.)

Office of Evangelization: $150,000

Catholic High School Scholarships: $800,000

Hospital Chaplains: $600,000

Latino Ministry: $350,000

Marriage, Family & Life: $256,000

Parishes (Rebates): $1,840,000

Prison Ministry: $32,000

Rachel’s Vineyard-Twin Cities: $26,875

St. Vincent de Paul Society: $50,000

The Seminaries of Saint Paul (SJV & SPS): $1,063,807

Venezuelan Mission: $110,000

Youth and Young Adult Ministry: $64,000

I am so proud to announce that last year our parish met and surpassed our goal of $11,018 for the first time in at least 6 years!  This means we will receive a rebate from the CSA for 25% of what our parish donated.  That means we should be receiving a check for almost $3,000!

Last year, we had a total of 114 donors from our parish, averaging a gift of $104 each.

This year, our goal is the same amount as last year, so $11,018.

Please join me in making a gift to the Catholic Services Appeal again this year.  Thank you for your support of these wonderful ministries in our local church.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

FEBRUARY 10, 2019 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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FEBRUARY 10, 2019

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.”

              Annual Retreat

I am away from the parish this weekend on my annual spiritual retreat.  Did you know that all priests are expected to take an annual retreat?  In fact, Canon Law says that priests are “bound to make time for spiritual retreats” (CIC 276 §2).

I have had the opportunity to go on many retreats throughout my life.  The very first one I can remember was when I was in middle school I went on a youth retreat.  I wasn’t necessarily interested in a retreat at that point in my life, but part of the deal was that one of the days of the retreat we got to go downhill skiing, so that convinced me to attend.

When I started high school, I learned about NET Ministries, and the wonderful retreats they put on for teens.  (NET retreats are a very similar style and format as the Quest Retreat we put on here at IC for our Confirmation candidates each year.)  My older brother had attended a NET retreat and came back with his faith set on fire.  I admired that, and wanted to experience it too.  And so, as a freshman in high school, I attended my first NET retreat.  That weekend ignited my faith in a powerful way and helped me start running toward the Lord with even greater speed than I had previously.  I encountered Jesus in a new and powerful way, especially in adoration, and met many people who became my friends through high school.  I began to love going on retreats and looked forward to the next one.

During my time in seminary, I was exposed to new retreat formats that I had not previously known: silent retreats and preached spiritual retreats.  A silent retreat is, as its name indicates, a retreat where there is usually no talking among the retreatants.  This silence allows us to concentrate especially on the voice of the Lord speaking in the quiet of our hearts.  A preached spiritual retreat is one where the retreat leader gives several daily reflections on Christ from the Gospels, and invites everyone to meditate on these stories during the day.

Although there are several different formats and styles of retreats, they all have the same goals: 1) to help us to step away from our busy lives, 2) to listen to the voice of Jesus speaking to our hearts, 3) to allow God to draw us closer to him through ongoing conversion and turning from sin, and 4) to help us make changes to our lives so that we can love God more and live for him better in our daily lives.

My hope is that eventually we will be able to offer retreats for our parish.  Parishes that have begun offering retreats for their parishioners often see a great spiritual revival in the community, and this makes sense if the goals listed above are achieved in the lives of many parishioners.

Until we are able to begin parish-wide retreats, if you would like to go on a retreat, here are some good places to look.  Please search for their websites, or feel free to ask me for more information on any of these.

  • Demontreville – Lake Elmo, MN
  • Christ the King Retreat Center – Buffalo, MN
  • Franciscan Retreats – Prior Lake, MN
  • Pacem in Terris – St. Francis, MN
  • World Wide Marriage Encounter

Finally, here are some additional suggestions:

  • Attend a retreat that has daily Mass, and opportunity for confession
  • Go with a friend (but don’t talk too much)
  • Don’t use your phone or computer at all if possible – unplug
  • Bring the bible and another spiritual book to read
  • Get extra sleep
  • Take a long walk
  • Pray a lot

You are in my daily prayers.

May 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

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

 

OCTOBER 7th, 2018 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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OCTOBER 7th, 2018

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father VanDenBroeke’s Installation

 “Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

 

Family, Faith, Football

This month’s Lighthouse CD is Family, Faith & Football by Philip Rivers.

You might think that an NFL athlete’s whole world revolves around football.  But for Philip Rivers, starting quarterback of the Los Angeles Chargers, it’s just one of the things that makes him who he is.  More important than his football accomplishments are his love for his family and his dedication to his faith.  In this inspiring talk, Rivers recounts lessons he’s learned on the football field and shares how faith impacts his football career and family life—keeping him focused on what matters most.

This talk will help inspire you to be a man or woman of faith as you raise your family centered on Christ.  It is a talk no football fan should miss.

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Last weekend, I preached about the need right now for us to pray and fast for an end to abortion.  With just four weeks until the election, I thought it would be helpful to print where the candidates stand on the issue of Life, which is the most important and fundamental of all rights.  Please see the inserts in today’s bulletin provided by MCCL.

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Today is also my installation as Pastor here at Immaculate Conception.

I’m grateful to Archbishop Hebda for assigning me as the spiritual father of this parish community.  I’m grateful to Fr. Michael Skluzacek for coming down to do my installation.  And I’m most grateful to all of you here at Immaculate Conception who have welcomed me and given me so much joy this last year.  I look forward to many more wonderful years here with you.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

 

February 4, 2018 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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February 4, 2018

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Let us go to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.

For this purpose I have come.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Catholic Services Appeal

The 2018 Catholic Services Appeal, conducted by the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation, will take place next weekend, February 10th & 11th, and I am asking for your support.  The Catholic Services Appeal is the way in which the Collective Ministries in this Archdiocese are funded.

Your gift to the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation is restricted for the benefit of the 18 Collective Ministries within our Archdiocese.  Some of these ministries include helping the homeless, the hungry, the imprisoned, students in financial need, seminarians, and many others.  These Designated Ministries cannot be funded on their own or by any one single parish but rather need support from all of us.

Last year’s (2017) Catholic Services Appeal hit our goal of $9.3 million.  It was an outstanding year and the CSA was able to pay all of the Designated Ministries in full.  For the 2018 CSA, the goal has been increased slightly to $9.8 million.  If we all join together and everyone pledges something, we can make this goal a reality.

Some of the Designated Ministries that are particularly close to my heart are the Seminaries, and the Archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family, and Life.  Our two seminaries—St. John Vianney College Seminary, and the Saint Paul Seminary—are two of the best in the country.  I was so blessed to be able to attend both seminaries, and am very supportive of them.  Additionally, the office of Marriage, Family, and Life provides several important programs or opportunities for our Archdiocese.  They put on an excellent monthly marriage seminar for couples preparing for marriage (which our engaged couples benefit from), and they also support many pro-life opportunities, including a Life Fund to help needy mothers, and sponsoring a trip to the March for Life in Washington DC.

You may have already received a CSA mailing at your home.  Feel free to mail that in, or you can fill out a giving envelope at Mass next weekend.

I wholeheartedly support this Appeal and will be making my personal pledge to it.  I am calling on you to join me in doing our part so that these important ministries in this Archdiocese can be fully funded.  Please be assured of my gratitude for your participation.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

January 28, 2018 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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January 28, 2018

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Catholic Schools Week Begins!

”Quiet!  Come out of him!”

 

 

Catholic Schools

The purpose of our Catholic School is to form saints and citizens in partnership with families.

Saints: Individuals who know and love Jesus and his Church.  Our goal in life is to get to heaven.  But we don’t get to heaven by accident, nor by just being a “good person”.  We get to heaven by God’s grace living in us and sanctifying us, in other words, by being a saint.

Good Citizens: Individuals who have virtue, can think critically, and seek truth. It is rare that modern education teaches the young morality and virtue.  However, without these, we have nothing to guide us and lead us in the right direction; rather, we are directed simply by our own passions and desires, and strive solely for what we think we want, rather than what God wants and what is best for the good of all society.  The development of virtue and critical thinking that teaches us how to seek the truth and find it is essential to being a good citizen.

In Partnership with Families: Education of children is essentially a partnership between the Church and the parents of the child.  Neither one nor the other alone can fulfill this responsibility.  The Church has always taught that

Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators”.  In addition, “in a special way, the duty of educating belongs to the Church, … [especially by] communicating the life of Christ to those who believe”.

This partnership between the parents and the Church is essential if the faith will be taught and strongly take root in the child’s life.

I believe Catholic Education is the best option for most families who truly want to pass on the faith to their children, because the Catholic School tirelessly works in partnership with the parents, re-enforcing the faith and the virtues that parents seek to teach.

Why I love Holy Cross:

  • Weekly Mass (in school)
  • Daily prayer (in school)
  • Learn about Jesus (in school)
  • Incorporate a Catholic worldview into every area of study, and teach our students how to integrate their faith into their daily lives, not separate them.

For these reasons, in addition to an excellent education in all subject matters, I personally encourage all parishioners of Immaculate Conception to consider sending your children to our wonderful school: Holy Cross.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke