Category Archives: Words from our priest

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August 13, 2017

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

 

How to Pray In Quiet

This past Sunday I preached about how important it is to learn to listen to Jesus, just as God the Father said on the mountain of Transfiguration: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

God doesn’t first command us to do great things for him, but first to simply listen to him.  Like the story of Mary and Martha.  Martha is doing very good and important things by serving, but Mary has chosen the better part—to simply sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him.

This same message is in the readings this Sunday as well.  In the first reading, we hear of how Elijah hears the voice of God, not in loud and obvious ways, but in a “tiny whispering sound.”  And in the Gospel, Jesus himself “went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”

Sitting in silence with God is one of the most difficult things for Americans to do because there is almost no silence in our world anymore.  But it is so important that we turn off the TV, turn off the radio or music, get away by ourselves, and just spend time with God listening to him.

One of the best ways to listen to God is to spend time prayerfully reading the scriptures.  And as you slowly read, ask yourself this question: “What is God trying to say to me in this passage?”  And especially pay attention to any words or ideas that catch our attention.

Often times when we do this, we will have one of two reactions:

1) “I don’t get it.”  Or, “I’m not hearing God saying anything to me in this.”  If that is the case, then talk to the Lord about it.  Say, “Lord, I don’t understand this, or I don’t know what you are saying to me.  Please speak to me.”

Or, perhaps we do hear God speaking to us:

2) “This is amazing!”  “I understand how God is asking me to seek him more in my own life.”

If this is our response, then we should thank him for speaking to us and ask him to continue to speak.

And in this way a conversation with God begins, as we ask him to speak to us, we try to listen, and then we talk to him about what we are hearing or not hearing.  Thus, no matter what, we are now having a conversation with God and seeking to listen to him.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

Tuesday, August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION

August 14       Monday  Vigil Masses

6:30 PM          St. Mary’s – LeCenter

7:00 PM          Most Holy Trinity – Veseli

7:00 PM          St. Nicholas – New Market

7:30 PM          Immaculate Conception – Lonsdale 

August 15       Tuesday Holy Day Masses

8:00 AM          Immaculate Conception – Lonsdale

8:00 AM          St. Nicholas – New Market

8:30 AM          St. Patrick – Shieldsville

9:00 AM          Most Holy Trinity – Veseli

9:00 AM          St. Mary’s – LeCenter

6:30 PM          Most Holy Redeemer – Montgomery

7:00 PM          St. Nicholas – New Market

7:30 PM           Immaculate Conception – Lonsdale

JULY 16, 2017 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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JULY 16, 2017

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

“But  the seed sewn on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it…”

 

 

 

Making a “Holy Hour”

One of the most significant things I have done in my life is taking time every day to spend with Jesus in prayer.  Growing up, my family prayed together most nights before bed, and as I grew older, I began to take time by myself to pray, to have my own personal time with Jesus.

When I entered seminary 13 years ago, we were all required to make a “holy hour”.  A holy hour is, as it sounds, an hour of prayer, but more specifically, it is prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  This daily routine of prayer has transformed my life more than perhaps anything else, because it is an opportunity not only to talk to God, but more importantly, to listen to him, and to love him.  I have kept up my dedication to a daily holy hour almost every day for the past 13 years, and intend to continue for the rest of my life.

I want to encourage all of you to not only pray every day as a family and individually, but also to stop into the church for prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist when you are able.

This past week, I began exposing the Blessed Sacrament in adoration in the church before daily Mass.  So from 7am (actually I usually open the church by 6:45am) until Mass at 8am, Tuesday thru Friday, I invite you to stop in to adore Our Lord in the Eucharist.

I also encourage you to attend daily Mass if you are able, but even if you are not, please try to make time at least once a week to make a visit to the church, perhaps for just a couple of minutes on your way to work in the mornings.

There is a story about a man from Saint John Vianney’s parish in Ars, France, and how he used to just sit in the back of the church and look at the tabernacle.  He never seemed to be doing anything.  So one day St. John Vianney approached the man and asked him what he did or what he said as he sat there in the church.  The man simply replied, “I look at him and he looks at me”.

That man knew and loved the Lord deeply, and he would come into the church just to spend time with Jesus.  I want to invite all of you to come to the church to just spend time with Jesus.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

 

May 14th, 2017 – 5th Sunday of Easter – Mother’s Day

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May 14th, 2017

5th Sunday of Easter

Mother’s Day

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

 

A Prayer for Mothers

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

We thank You for our mothers to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.

You have given to woman the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for selfless love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children.

Watch over every mother who is with child, strengthen her faith in Your fatherly care and love for her and for her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.

To mothers You have given the great privilege and responsibility of being a child’s first teacher and spiritual guide. Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the example of Mary, Elizabeth, and other holy women who follow Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.

Assist all “spiritual mothers”, those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others — of every age and state in life. Grant that they may know the joy of fulfilling this motherly calling of women, whether in teaching, nursing, religious life, or in other work which recognizes and fosters the true dignity of every human being created in Your image and likeness.

We beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and fatherly love for all your children.

We ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May they ever follow the example of Mary, mother of Our Lord, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love. May all mothers receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come.

We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Happy Mother’s Day. May God bless you, as you have blessed us!

January 1, 2017 – Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God

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January 1, 2017

Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God

New Year’s Day

 

 “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

 

 

An Act of Consecration for the United States

Most Holy Trinity,

we put the United States of America

in to the hands of Mary Immaculate

in order that she many present the country to you.

Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land

and for the freedom which has been its heritage.

Through the intercession of Mary,

have mercy on the Catholic Church in America.

Grant us peace.

Have mercy on our President-elect

and on all the officers of our government.

Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor.

Protect the family life of the nation.

Guard the innocence of our children.

Grant the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother,

have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners—on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother,

Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you

and give ourselves to you.

Protect us from every harm.

Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the Will of your Divine Son,

we may live and die pleasing to God.

Amen.

Mary cradles the world. As the leadership of our country changes hands, it is reassuring to know that this woman who gave birth to Jesus continues to intercede for the very people her Son came to save.

Through Mary, the Holy Mother of God, the New Year begins. Her life is bent toward love, and a simple request to take hold of Jesus, her Son, whose life was given over for us all.

 

December 25, 2016 – The Nativity of the Lord

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December 25, 2016

The Nativity of the Lord

 

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

 A Christmas Pledge, Prayer, and Promise

 You are the greatest gift of Christmas. As we move forward into the holiday season and prepare our hearts for Christmas and a New Year, I ask all of as parishioners of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church to consider in our 2017 New Year’s resolutions -how we can share the gift of our time, talent, and treasure in building up the life of our community. The greatest gift we can open this Christmas is our hearts and minds to know and live the grace of Jesus Christ each day of our life.  What a difference this would make in our world, our community, and in our life. The Lord is with us now!

All of us as parishioners of Immaculate Catholic Church are the greatest blessing and resource we have as a parish community. Each person has something to offer. Together as a parish we draw our strength, wisdom, and vision from the Lord and from each other as a faith community. The Holy Spirit empowers us to use our gifts for the good of all.

Let us all pledge ourselves in the New Year of 2017 to share what we have, to grow in the faith that gives us strength, the hope that lets us struggle for a better future, and a love that calls us to be of service to all. We believe that God is present with us as we endeavor to love as faithful disciples of Jesus.

You are the blessing of Christmas.

Together we have prayed,

Emmanuel – God is with us.                        

We have come to know that the Lord is here among us now.

 

Each one of you is such an important Gift of Christmas to our parish, and I want you to always remember that.

 May the blessing of Christmas be with you throughout this New Year of 2017!

 

Make it a blessed and Holy Christmas and a great New Year,

Fr. Dennis Thompson

December 18, 2016 – 4th Sunday of Advent

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December 18, 2016

4th Sunday of Advent

 

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.”

 

Lectio Divina for the Fourth Week of Advent

 We begin our prayer: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Come quickly, we pray, Lord Jesus, and do not delay, that those who trust in your compassion may find solace and relief in your coming. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Reading (Lectio)

Read the following Scripture two or three times.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce

her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. Matthew 1:18-24

 

Meditation (Meditatio)

After the reading, take some time to reflect in silence on one or more of the following questions:

  • What word or words in this passage caught your attention?
  • What in this passage comforted you?
  • What in this passage challenged you?


Contemplation (Contemplatio)

Read the scripture passage again, followed by this reflection:

How does this passage connect with the experience of your daily life?

Do not be afraid.

What fears and anxieties keep me from living my call to be a disciple? How can I help others live their calls without fear?

God is with us.

How am I aware of God’s presence in my daily life?

How do I make God present to others?

He did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.

How do I discern God’s plan for my life?

What steps can I take to help me follow the Lord more closely?

 

Prayer (Oratio)

Read the scripture passage one more time. Bring to the Lord the praise, petition, or thanksgiving that the Word inspires in you.

Recite the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

Closing Prayer: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. Zephaniah 3:16b-18

 

December 4, 2016 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

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December 4, 2016

2nd Sunday of Advent

 

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

 

Lectio Divina for the 2nd Week of Advent

We begin our prayer: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Almighty God, who command us to prepare the way for Christ the Lord, grant in your kindness, we pray, that no infirmity may weary us as we long for the comforting presence of our heavenly physician. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Reading (Lectio)

Read the following Scripture two or three times.

Matthew 3:1-12 John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Meditation (Meditatio)

After the reading, take some time to reflect in silence on one or more of the following questions:

  • What word or words in this passage caught your attention?
  • What in this passage comforted you?
  • What in this passage challenged you?

Contemplation (Contemplatio)

Read the scripture passage again, followed by this reflection:

How does this passage connect with the experience of your daily life?

         Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

For what sins do I need to repent?

How can I avoid the people, places, and things that lead me to sin?

Prepare the way of the Lord, / make straight his paths.

What can I do to make the Lord more present in my family, workplace,

parish, or neighborhood?

How can I help draw others to an encounter with Christ?

Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.

How do I show God that I love him above all things?

What one thing will I do this week to live more fully my call to be a

disciple?

Prayer (Oratio)

Read the scripture passage one more time. Bring to the Lord the praise, petition, or thanksgiving that the Word inspires in you. Recite the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

Closing Prayer: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. (Isaiah 40:10-11)

 

November 27, 2016 – 1st Sunday of Advent

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 November 27, 2016

1st Sunday of Advent

“Be watchful! Be alert!  You do not know when the time will come.”

 

*Lectio Divina for the First Week of Advent

We begin our prayer: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Stir up your power, we pray, O Lord, and come, that with you to protect us, we may find rescue from the pressing dangers of our sins, and with you to set us free, we may be found worthy of salvation. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

 

Reading (Lectio)

Read the following Scripture two or three times:

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24:37-44

 

Meditation (Meditatio)

After the reading, take some time to reflect in silence on one or more of the following questions:

• What word or words in this passage caught your attention?

• What in this passage comforted you?

• What in this passage challenged you?

 

 

Contemplation (Contemplatio)

Read the scripture passage again, followed by this reflection:

How does this passage connect with the experience of your daily life?

How do my daily activities reflect my call to Christian discipleship?

Do I follow Christ willingly and wholeheartedly?

What aspects of my life allow me to be lulled into indifference?

What steps can I take this week to be more attentive to the needs of     others and more faithful to God’s call?

How am I preparing for the coming of the Lord?

 

 

Prayer (Oratio)

Read the scripture passage one more time. Bring to the Lord the praise, petition, or thanksgiving that the Word inspires in you. After all have had a chance to make their prayer, all recite the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

Closing Prayer: On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” (Isaiah 25:9)

 

 

*Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.

Traditionally, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 20, 2016 – Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

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 November 20, 2016

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

 

Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

 

Jesus Is the Face of the Father’s Mercy

“Jesus Christ,” Pope Francis writes, “is the face of the Father’s mercy…” Merciful like the Father, therefore, is the ‘motto’ of this Holy Year. In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives his entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return. He comes to our aid whenever we call upon him… Day after day, touched by his compassion, we also can become compassionate towards others (Misericordiae Vultus, #1, 14).

This weekend, the Year of Mercy will come to an end and the doors opened in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome will close. “The Jubilee year will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace. We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future. How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!” (Misericordiae Vultus, #5).

The scarred Christ is our saving King. It is difficult for us to understand the self-emptying love that we witness in Jesus Christ. The tough and powerful save themselves. Kings save themselves. It is a different mindset to see one pouring himself out for “another.” It is difficult irony to watch someone so filled with love that he will not fight back nor tease his way out of a rough spot.

Last year, the world was warmed by the little boy in the yellow striped shirt who wandered up where Pope Francis was speaking to tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Without fanfare the child hugged the pontiff and refused to be cajoled away. The Pope patted the boy’s head by his side as he continued to deliver his talk on family life. Many sighed at the endearing scene, perhaps because the one whom we have given power to showed himself to embrace a child, the powerless one. One with power does not grovel to the little ones, one with power saves himself from embarrassment, and one with power is guarded by those who give him power. Francis modeled something different. So did Jesus. Jesus loved children, the outcast, the marginal, the widow, and the orphan. He bothered to talk to them and touch them. It is what caused Jesus so much trouble in the end. The culture could not tolerate such love. It is why he went to the cross. It is how he saves, not himself, but us. It is why today we call him “King.”

-Liturgical Reflection by Mary K. Matestic, MTS

November 6, 2016 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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November 6, 2016

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Vocation Awareness Sunday

Collection For The Archdiocese For The Military Services

 

“It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him;”

 

 

“Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.” —Pope Francis

 

Prayer Before an Election

Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our country ,and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.

We ask for eyes that are free from blindness, so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse, violence, deceit and poverty.

We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn & abandoned, men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.

We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.

We pray for discernment, so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Prayer of the Archdiocese for the Military Services

Almighty God and Father,

look with love upon our men and women in uniform

and protect them in their time of need.

Give them health and stability and allow them to

return to their loved ones whole and unshaken.

Be with their families and sustain them in these uncertain times.

Grant strength and peace of mind to the Veterans

who have given their best for the country they love.

Support them in infirmity and in the fragility of old age.

Teach us to remember their sacrifices and to express our gratitude.

Manifest your tender care to those in the Military Academies

who prepare for future service

and to those who serve our Nation far from home.

Teach us to remember the sacrifices of those

whose efforts contribute to ensuring our way of life.

Bless and multiply the priests who minister

to the faithful of the Archdiocese for the Military Services.

Reward their generosity and keep them faithful.

Hear us as we present our prayers to You through Christ our Lord.

-Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Prayer For Vocations

God, our source creation and love,

You invite each of us to serve You through the life which is Your gift.

May your grace encourage men and women to holiness through

service to the church as Priests, Sisters, Brothers, and Lay Ministers.

Make me an instrument to encourage others to give of themselves

and challenge me to do the same. Amen