Category Archives: Father Nick VanDenBroeke

 October 20th, 2019 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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 October 20th, 2019

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

World Mission Sunday 

“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Archdiocesan Synod

As you may have heard in The Catholic Spirit newspaper, Archbishop Hebda has convoked an Archdiocesan Synod to assist him in shepherding this local church.  In the June 6th Catholic Spirit article on the Synod, Archbishop Hebda wrote that he hopes the Synod process will help us to “draw on the gifts that have been bestowed in such abundance on the faithful of this archdiocese to discern and establish clear pastoral priorities in a way that will both promote greater unity and lead us to a more vigorous proclamation of Jesus’ good news.”

The Synod is a two-year process and will involve every parish in the Archdiocese.  The first year (2019/2020) will have 20 Prayer & Listening events throughout the Archdiocese where the faithful will be invited to attend one event to share what is on their heart and in their prayer regarding pastoral priorities for this Archdiocese.  The second year (2020/2021) will involve a consultation process at the Parish, Deanery and Archdiocesan levels on topics that arise from the first year.

I want to invite everyone from our parish to attend one of the Prayer & Listening events. While there are a total of 20 of these events scattered around the Archdiocese, there will be three of them especially nearby:

  • Tuesday, October 29th, 6-9pm – Divine Mercy in Faribault
  • Thursday, November 7th, 6-9pm – St. Wenceslaus in New Prague
  • Friday, November 15th, 6-9pm – All Saints in Lakeville

Archbishop Hebda is planning to personally attend each of these Prayer & Listening sessions.  At each of these sessions, participants will gather together to pray, discuss, and give feedback on what is working well now in their parish and this Archdiocese, and what are the challenges and opportunities as we move forward together.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to hear from the Archbishop, listen to feedback from other Catholics around the Archdiocese, and offer your own feedback on the strengths and weaknesses in our parishes and in our Archdiocese.

In addition to attending a Prayer & Listening session, here are some additional ways the Archbishop is asking all Catholics of the Archdiocese to participate in the synod:

  • Please pray for the Synod and our Archdiocese!
  • In Year 2 of the Synod (Fall 2020), everyone will be invited to join a parish small group.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

 

October 6th, 2019 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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October 6th, 2019

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“If you have faith the size of this mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

​ The Baptistry (Part 2)

Continued from September 22…

In addition to the baptismal font, there are several other important objects kept in the baptistry.  Most importantly are the Paschal Candle, the baptismal candle, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of chrism.

The Paschal candle, also called the Easter candle, is symbolic of Christ—the light of the world.  This candle itself has great symbolism.  A new Paschal candle is lit each year at the Easter Vigil.  It is lit outside the church from the Easter fire, and is then processed into the church as the priest or deacon calls out “the light of Christ”.  As the candle enters the church, all the lights are off, and so this candle alone gives light to the building.  This is symbolic of Jesus Christ coming to our world darkened by sin and enlightening it by his grace and his promise of resurrection from the dead.

The baptismal candle is lit during the Rite of Baptism from the Paschal candle and given to the parents and godparents as a symbol of faith in Jesus Christ being given to the individual who is baptized.  As the Rite of Baptism says: “Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly.  This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ.  He is to walk always as a child of the light.  May he keep the flame of faith alive in his heart.  When the Lord comes, may he go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.

During the Easter Vigil, after the Paschal candle enters the church, all those present in the church hold candles and light them from the Paschal candle.  These candles are a reminder of the candle they were given at their baptism, and the faith we now have in Christ.

There are two oils used during baptism.  The first is the oil of catechumens.  This oil is put on the chest of the individual and is symbolic of God’s strength being given to the person.  The second oil is the oil of chrism.  Chrism is a very special oil which is used for consecrating people and objects.  In this case, as the Rite of Baptism says, the individual who has been baptized is consecrated with the “chrism of salvation.  As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life”.

Of course, the most significant part of baptism is the water.  We use water every day for two things: for washing and for life.  In other words, we need to drink water to live, and we need water to be clean.  Very beautifully, the sacraments are physical rituals that bring about a spiritual effect.  So, when I pour water over a child’s head for baptism, while I am not trying to give them physical life or physically clean them, I am rather giving them spiritual life and spiritual cleansing.  In other words, the sacrament of baptism brings about in the soul the effects that water brings about naturally in us physically.

As a conclusion, it is important to remember that baptism must always be understood as connected with faith.  As St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household”.  Then “at once”, the passage continues, “he and all his household were baptized”.  Faith and baptism go hand in hand.  Just as faith would be incomplete without seeking baptism, so too baptism without a living faith would be empty.  As the Catechism says, “Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth”, and “faith must grow after Baptism”.

May our faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit continue to grow, and may the name of Jesus Christ be proclaimed to the ends of the earth for the salvation of all!

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

September 8th, 2019 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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September 8th, 2019

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Grandparents’ Day

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

 

Church Library

Did you know that we have a wonderful library in our church?

It is located in the church narthex, as you come in the main doors of the church it is to the left.

We have a great selection of books covering: theology, saints, and growing in faith.  We also have several movies available.

Just last week someone donated a few excellent books for the library, they include:

  • Why We’re Catholic – by Trent Horn
  • Where is That in the Bible – Patrick Madrid
  • He Leadeth Me – Walter Ciszek
  • A Heart on Fire, Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – James Kubicki
  • Death on a Friday Afternoon – Richard John Neuhaus
  • Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor – Allen Hunt

And these are just some of the new books, not to mention the dozens of great books that were already in the library.

Please sign out the books or movies you borrow so we can keep track of which items are in or out.

Unfortunately, it seems that reading is becoming less and less common in our world as we tend to watch everything on our tv’s or phones.  However, books are very important for several reasons.  1) They allow us to study and think at our own pace.  2) They can include much more information than a show on tv or a YouTube video.  3) Our minds process information differently through books than through digital media, and there are studies that show that we retain information from books better than through digital media.

For all of these reasons, and simply because we have so much good content in our library, I encourage everyone to make use of it being here.  I believe that if every Catholic read one spiritual book each year it would help set our hearts on fire even more with love for God.  I encourage you to check out the library and choose a book today.  The library is here for you!  Please make use of it!

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. 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.

—————-

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