Category Archives: Father 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

November 19, 2017 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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November 19, 2017

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time


“For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;

but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”



Incense has been used in sacred worship since time immemorial, not only in Christian and Jewish worship, but in all kinds of Pagan worship as well.  So why is incense so common in worship, and what is it for?

Incense serves two main purposes: To be a sweet-smelling offering to God, and to be symbolic of our prayers ascending into heaven.  Just as the sweet smell of the incense is pleasing to us, so we pray that our sacrifice would be pleasing to God.  And as we offer our prayers to God on high, we see the incense rising from our altar to heaven.  We use incense, a physical, material thing, to show our love to God.  Of course, God doesn’t need incense—He doesn’t need to smell it or see it—but as human beings we use material things to express our spiritual devotion.

As we hear in the Psalms: “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).

The use of incense in Jewish worship began at Mount Sinai when God instructed Moses to build an altar on which to burn incense: “You shall make an altar to burn incense upon…. And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it… a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations” (Exodus 30:1,7,8).

In the Old Testament, God that a new sacrifice and offering would one day come, and as we hear the Lord speak through the Prophet Malachi: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering” (Malachi 1:11).  This prophecy is fulfilled in Christ and the sacrifice of Himself on the Cross, because it is the pure offering and perfect sacrifice.  Furthermore, this perfect sacrifice of Christ is made present once again on the altar every Mass.  This is why the Mass is also called the perfect sacrifice, for it is a renewal of the one sacrifice of Christ.  That is one reason why we use incense during the Mass, as it is symbolic of this prophecy from Malachi being fulfilled.

Additionally, incense is also mentioned in the book of Revelation.  We read: “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full if incense, which are the prayers of the saints….  And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4).

During the Mass, incense can be used to bless the altar, the crucifix, the book of the Gospels, the priest, the people, the bread and wine, and the Body and Blood of Christ.  All of these things are blessed with incense because they are set apart for God.  This is why not only the physical things used at Mass are incensed, but also the priest and people are incense, for through our baptism, we have all been set apart for God.

Thus, when you see incense at Mass, envision the prayers of your heart rising to the throne of God along with the smoke; and when you smell the incense, consider how pleasing the sacrifice of the Mass is to the Father in heaven!

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke


October 1, 2017 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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October 1, 2017

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time


“Amen I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.”

Our Lady of Fatima

One hundred years ago this year, Our Lady appeared to three young shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.  These apparitions have been approved by the Church as authentic, and we are encouraged to call upon the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima.

On October 13th, 1917, Mary appeared for the sixth and final time to all three children together.  Thousands of people came to Fatima in anticipation of the predicted apparition.  Shortly after noon, Our Lady appeared to the children.  Her message was similar to previous occasions, asking that we pray the Rosary every day and repent of our sins.

But what happened next was extraordinary.  All those present witnessed the “miracle of the sun”.  Our Lady made the sun burst through the cloudy sky and seem as a soft spinning disk of silver.  The children cried out: “Look at the sun!”  The 70,000 or so spectators looked up and beheld this phenomenon.  There are several eyewitness accounts that were published in newspapers following this event, including pro-government, anti-clerical newspapers.

The message of our Lady of Fatima is as important to us today as it was 100 years ago, for, it is a call to repentance, prayer, and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

As members of the church of Immaculate Conception, I want to encourage all parishioners to join me in praying a novena leading up to the anniversary of Our Lady’s apparition on October 13th.


Say this prayer every day for 9 consecutive days October 5-13.

Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with sincere love of this devotion.

By meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in your Rosary, may we gather the fruits contained therein and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, the Peace of Christ for the world, and this favor that I so earnestly seek of you in this novena… (here mention your request).

 I ask this of you, for the greater glory of God, for your own honor and for the good of all people. Amen

Then say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be (three times each)


I hope you will join me in calling upon the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima for your family, our parish, our nation, and our world.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

September 10, 2017 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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September 10, 2017

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Grandparent’s Day


“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”



Anointing of the Sick

Who can receive the anointing of the sick?  When should they receive this sacrament?  Is it only for the dying?  These are great questions that priests often get, so let’s talk about this important sacrament.

James 5:14-15 says: “Is anyone among you sick?  He should summon the priests of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.”

The rite for the anointing of the sick says that this sacrament is “for those Christians whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age.”  In other words, this sacrament is not only for those who are dying, but for all who are seriously sick.  This includes those facing a major surgery, those struggling with serious mental health issues, those experiencing severe chronic pain or health issues, even if they are non-life threatening.

Anointing of the sick is called a sacrament of healing.  This healing is primarily spiritual, though sometimes the Lord also allows for a physical healing.  This sacrament also is intended to show the support of the Church for those who are sick, and their unity with Jesus in his passion.

This sacrament also has the power of forgiving sins.  It is preferable for someone who will be anointed to go to confession beforehand if possible, since confession is the primary sacrament of forgiveness of sins.  However, even if someone is unconscious or unable to speak, anointing of the sick has the power of forgiveness of sins.

Additionally, as part of the anointing of the sick for the dying (which used to be called Extreme Unction), there is a special prayer called the Apostolic Pardon, by which the Church, in the name of Christ, releases the soul from all punishments in this life and in the life to come.  It is a very powerful prayer!

Finally, a sick person who recovers after being anointed should give special thanks to God, especially by participating in a Mass of thanksgiving.

If you know someone who is gravely ill please call me.  And don’t wait until the last minute!  Often times people will call the priest as a dying person is taking their last breath, however, anointing ought to be administered long before death is imminent.

When it doubt, call a priest.  We are available 24/7.  Just call the IC parish office.  Even after hours you can reach me in an emergency, just call the office and follow the prompts.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke




Our mailing address has changed.  After seeking the advice of the Trustees, Pastoral Council, and Finance Council, we decided to close our PO Box and begin receiving mail directly at the Parish Office.  This will save us a trip down to the post office every day, as well as a yearly rental fee.  Please begin using our parish office address for all mailings to the church.  (Mail will be forwarded to our new address for one year.) Please do not park in front of the mailbox during the week.

202 Alabama St SE, Lonsdale, MN 55046