MAY 6, 2018 – 6th Sunday of Easter

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MAY 6, 2018

6th Sunday of Easter


“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”



to the following children who are receiving their

First Holy Communion

Today, Sunday, May 6, 2018 at the 10:00 AM Mass


Ilsa Denise Baker

Daughter of Bernie & Melissa Baker

James John Paul Deutsch

Son of Terry & Andrea Deutsch

Brayden Daniel DuPay

Son of Dan & Kim DuPay

Carson Isaac Flicek

Son of Joseph & Jamie Flicek

Cullen Michael Flynn

Son of Adam & Janel Flynn

Tyson Joseph Grant

Son of Jeffrey & Heather Grant

Oliver Russell Grogg

Son of Patrick & Sara Grogg

Carsten Robert Haala

Son of Brittany Haala

Elliiot Elizabeth Kling

Daughter of Heather & +Matthew Kling

Kinsley Grace Mach

Daughter of Joseph & Melissa Mach

 Grace Mary Malecha

Daughter of Kevin & Meghann Malecha

Kayla Marie Michel

Daughter of Norbert & Ashley Michel

Gianna Vita Rickert

Daughter of Joshua & Ashlee Rickert

Gabriel Allen Rynda

Son of Allen & Kimberly Rynda

Kendall Rae Schmoll

Daughter of Joseph & Rebecca Schmoll

Avery Rae Sirek

Daughter of Jacob & Wendy Sirek

Corrine Jane Skluzacek

Daughter of Ryan & Jennifer Skluzacek

Hunter Jeffrey Tuma

Son of Andrew & Jennifer Tuma

Welcome to the Table of the Lord


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Religionless Spirituality

 This month’s Lighthouse CD is Religionless Spirituality – Why we need the Church.

This is one of the best, and most important, Lighthouse CDs I have listened to yet.  Renowned Scripture scholar and author, Dr. Tim Gray, speaks directly to the question of “Why do we need the Church?  Can’t I just love Jesus without a church?

He offers incredible insights that make clear the role of the Church as an essential part of God’s plan for salvation.

This talk personally helped deepen my own understanding of the focus of Christ’s teachings, and his establishing the Church.

Not only does this CD increase our appreciation for the Church, but it will help you grow in your own ability to articulate why the Catholic Church is important, especially when talking with other Christians or fallen away Catholics.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

APRIL 29, 2018 – 5th Sunday of Easter

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APRIL 29, 2018

5th Sunday of Easter


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.”

Lighthouse CDs

I’m very excited to announce a new, wonderful opportunity to grow in our knowledge and love of the faith: Lighthouse CDs.

Lighthouse Catholic Media records talks given by the best priests and theologians in the Church today, and makes these talks available on CD for just $3 each.

The topics cover everything in the Catholic world: Sacraments, Devotions, Theology, Prayer, etc.

I can tell you personally that Lighthouse CDs have helped me grow immensely in my knowledge and love of the faith.

Going forward, Immaculate Conception will be buying one new CD each month and make it available in our Lighthouse Kiosk in the back of church.  I will highlight each month’s CD in the bulletin and at Mass, and explain why it is worth listening to and how it has impacted me personally.

Lighthouse CD’s are ideal for car rides, especially if you are commuting to or from work alone.  I have listened to literally hundreds of hours of these CDs during my own time in the car, and not only does it make the drive much more interesting, but it helps me grow in faith at the same time.

Our first Lighthouse CD actually came out on Easter when we gave out the CD “Who am I to Judge?”.  Next weekend, May 5 & 6, I will introduce our next CD.

Here are just a couple testimonies from the Lighthouse website:

These presentations have made the Mass come alive and left me with a hunger to learn more. What a blessing!” – Russ, Dayton, OH

I have found the presentations on the CDs so informative that we are now using them in our religious education classes. I heartily recommend your program and hope that your Faithraiser CDs get into many more parishes around the country.” – Fr. Pat, Chino Hills, CA

I hope this new initiative will help you and your family grow in knowledge and love of Christ and his Church.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

APRIL 15, 2018 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

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APRIL 15, 2018

3rd Sunday of Easter

“You are witnesses of these things.”


The Annunciation

This past Monday the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.  This feast is usually celebrated on March 25th, which is 9 months before December 25th, thus showing the natural connection between Jesus’ conception and his birth.  However, since this year March 25th was Palm Sunday, the Church transferred the Solemnity to the Monday after the Octave of Easter (i.e. this past Monday).

This Feast is actually a very important day, both as we celebrate the life of Jesus, and also for the significance it has in understanding the respect for life from the moment of conception.

Christmas is the feast that gets all the attention, and it certainly should be given great attention.  But it’s important to remember that Jesus didn’t become man at Christmas, he was just born at Christmas.  Christ became man at the Annunciation, when He was conceived in Mary’s womb.

There is a church in Nazareth which is built on the site where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God.  And on the altar in this church, there is a beautiful inscription which (translated from Latin) says: “The Word was made flesh here”.  I love this.  In other words, there are lots of places in the Holy Land that can claim that Jesus was there at some point in his life, but only this place in Nazareth can claim that God entered our world and became man right here.

This feast is also important because it should re-affirm our dedication to the protection of children in the womb.  The fact is, Jesus was a human being, he was a real, live person, and this was true from the moment of his conception.  So also this is true about every child from the moment of conception.

As Catholics we cannot be indifferent on the topic of abortion.  Just as it would be unthinkable to consider that Mary was free to “choose” something different about her pregnancy with Jesus, so too it is unthinkable that we not stand up for the right to life of every child who has been conceived.

Consider Mary’s pregnancy: It was “unplanned”; she was poor; she was young; she was not yet married to Joseph; and she wasn’t carrying Joseph’s child.  She had every modern-day excuse to not continue her pregnancy.  Yet, despite these excuses, we cannot imagine Mary aborting Jesus because it was “inconvenient” for her.  So too every child conceived is sacred and must be respected.  The realization of Jesus’ own conception nine months before his birth should make every Christian very pro-life.

I encourage you to join me in praying daily for the protection of life in our world—from conception until natural death.  And may Mary, the Immaculate Mother of Jesus, and our Mother, give us courage and strength to boldly stand up for life.

Additionally, I encourage all men to join me once a month for the Catholic Watchmen.  We begin these gatherings by praying the rosary for the unborn as we gather around the Memorial of the Unborn in the Mary’s Garden behind church.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke


April 1, 2018 – Easter Sunday

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APRIL 1, 2018

Easter Sunday



The Easter Candle and the Exsultet

The Church’s liturgical life is so beautiful and powerful to experience.  This is most noticeable during the Sacred Triduum—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil is the “greatest and most noble of all solemnities”.  This is true first and foremost because on this night we celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ our Lord.  Additionally, this Mass has much more liturgical symbolism than any other Mass.  I want to focus in this article on the Easter (or Paschal) Candle, and the Exsultet.

The Easter Vigil begins outside as we light the Easter Fire, and prepare the Easter Candle.  The Candle is marked with symbols of Christ as the priest says: “Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega.  All time belongs to him, and all the ages.  To him be glory and power through every age forever and ever.  Amen.  By his holy and glorious wounds, may Christ the Lord guard us and protect us.  Amen.

Once this is done, the Easter Candle is then lit from the fire and then carried in a triumphal procession into the dark church where it scatters the darkness with its light.

The Easter Candle is a symbol of Christ, who is the light of the world.  And just as Jesus brought the light of his redemption to a world that had fallen into darkness through sin, so we symbolize this wonderful mystery of our faith by the Easter Candle’s light scattering the darkness inside the church.

Additionally, each member of the Church holds a candle, which is then lit from the Easter Candle.  This small candle is a reminder of the candle we were given in baptism, and it reminds us that our faith and our hope of salvation come from Christ, who is our light.

Throughout the rest of the year, the Easter Candle will be lit for every baptism and funeral as a reminder to us that Jesus, who washes us clean in baptism, is our hope of resurrection after death.

Just after processing into the church with the Easter Candle, the priest (or a deacon or cantor) will sing the Exsultet.  This ancient hymn tells of the glory of Christ’s resurrection.  This song is so special that it is only sung once a year, during the Easter Vigil.

The songs name, “Exsultet”, comes from the first word of the song, “Exult”, as all in heaven and earth are invited to exult in “our God invisible, the almighty Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.  Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father, and, pouring out his own dear Blood, wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.”

The song goes on to proclaim how important this night is, for, “This is the night, when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld.”

It then speaks about the glory of Christ’s redemption from our sins, even going so far as to say: “O happy fault [of Adam] that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”  For in Christ, not only do we have the hope of redemption from sin, but we now have the hope of eternal glory as participants in Christ’s own glory with the Father!

May you and your family have a very happy and blessed Easter.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

Food for Kidz 2018 Packaging Event

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We are hosting a packaging event for Food for Kidz – this is our 5th year!


Thursday, April 26, 2018


The Crusader Civic Center in Lonsdale

What Time?

Two shifts:
4 – 5:30pm    &    5:30 – 7pm

No sign up needed!
Come when you can; leave when you need to!

We hope you are able to come! When you do, please bring your cash/check donation with you to cover the cost of food. If you are unable to come, please mail your tax-deductible donation to:

Food for Kidz
c/o Immaculate Conception Parish
116 Alabama St. SE
Lonsdale, MN  55046

Checks can be made payable to Food for Kidz

100% of the money raised is used to buy food!!

The mission of Food for Kidz is to package and distribute nutritious meals to hungry children and their families where crisis has struck and there is an immediate need. People like you, coming together with friends and family to package food, donate money and offer compassion MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Change has to start somewhere, and it’s often with the simplicity of a meal.

Please see the flyer for more details and pass on the word!

March 4, 2018 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

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March 4, 2018

3rd Sunday of Lent


“Destroy this temple

and in three days I will raise it up.”



I am away on an 11 day mission trip to Guatemala, and I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful reasons I am participating in this trip.

In case you’re not familiar, Guatemala is the country just south of Mexico.  And the village I am staying at on this trip is called San Lucas Toliman.

Over the last 3+ years I have come to love Guatemala very much.  I first traveled there in the summer of 2014 when I went to study Spanish.  I had just been assigned to the church of Divine Mercy in Faribault, and I needed to be able to celebrate Mass in Spanish, so I went to Guatemala for six weeks of Spanish study.  Since that first trip, I have returned to Guatemala multiple times for more Spanish study and to lead mission trips.

Over this time, I had the opportunity to make friends, participate in the culture of the region, and visit many places.  The culture of Guatemala is very rich and full of tradition.  Especially noticeable in the region of Guatemala where I visited is the beautiful and colorful clothing of the people.  The women especially take great pride in their hand-woven clothing, which can take up to six months to complete one item, but it is the most beautiful clothing when completed.

Another highlight of this area is the great beauty of the landscape.  Most of Guatemala, and especially the region I am in, is very mountainous, formed by volcanoes and earthquakes.  Most of the volcanoes are now dead, but they have left behind a picturesque landscape.  Of particular beauty is Lake Atitlan, which is surrounded by three inactive volcanoes.  San Lucas, where I am staying, is located right next to this beautiful lake and at the base of one of the volcanoes.

Another highlight of my previous time in Guatemala has been the opportunity to visit and celebrate Mass at many small villages.  The church I stayed at on previous trips has about 30 little villages that the priests serve.  Some of these villages are so remote that a priest is only able to visit them about once a month.  I had the great privilege of visiting several of these villages for Mass.

When I return, I will give a presentation and explain all of this in greater detail.  Thank you for your prayers!

The current trip I am on is with students from the Newman Center at Mankato State University.  You can follow our blog at:


You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke


February 18, 2018 – 1st Sunday of Lent

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February 18, 2018

1st Sunday of Lent


“The Kingdom of God is at hand.

Repent ans believe in the Gospel.”


Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

We have just entered the season of Lent—40 days of prayer and penance which help us to repent from sin and turn back to God.  And the Church gives us the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as important ways to enter into this Lenten season.

As human beings we are composed of a body and a soul.  Our body and our soul work so closely together that what we do physically effects us spiritually, and vice versa.  This is why, for example, when we pray we often kneel down, close our eyes, and fold our hands, because this physical posture aids our prayer by giving it attention and focus.  The most important part of our prayer is the spiritual raising of our mind and heart to God, but it is so much easier to do this when our body is also in a posture of prayer.

This is also why we practice fasting and abstinence, because the physical denial of our bodily desires, such as for food, aids us in spiritual growth and in denying sinful desires.

St. Paul says, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”.  We do this when we fast, for, we when we deny ourselves from eating food, the hunger our body experiences becomes a sacrifice for the Lord.

Additionally, fasting and abstinence make us grow in virtue by helping us learn self-denial and self-mastery.  For, when we deny ourselves from eating something, we master ourselves and our desire for food.  We show that we have control over our passions and desires.  Self-mastery is a very important virtue, for it helps us avoid sin in the future.  If we can say no to eating food when we are hungry, then we are more likely to be able to avoid sin when we are tempted.

One of the prayers during Lent acknowledges this purpose of fasting: For through bodily fasting you restrain our faults, raise up our minds, and bestow both virtue and its rewards.

Canon Law defines that Catholics from age 18 until age 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal.  Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal.  And abstinence from meat on Fridays must be observed by all Catholics from age 14 onwards.

Those who are pregnant, or nursing, or who are sick do not need to strictly follow the rules on fasting and abstinence.  Please ask me or another priest if you ever have any questions about this.

Almsgiving too is a very important spiritual practice for Lent.  Almsgiving embraces under the single name of mercy, not only financial giving, but many other works of charity as well, so that all the faithful, no matter their material wealth, are able to participate in almsgiving.  Thus, the rich, the poor, and those of average means, are able to play their part in almsgiving.  Those unequal in their capacity to give financially can be equal in the love within their hearts.

Consider the story of the Widow’s Mite, where she gave only two pennies, but Jesus said she gave more than all the others, because she gave what she could, whereas the others only gave from their surplus wealth.  Her almsgiving excelled the others because her love excelled the others.

The Church has great wisdom in teaching us to practice these important spiritual practices for Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke


February 11, 2018 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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February 11, 2018

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

World Marriage Day

World Day of the Sick


“I will do it.  Be made clean.”

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross consist of 14 moments of the life of Jesus during his passion and death.

Some people are able to make a pilgrimage at some point in their life to the Holy Land, and actually follow the path Jesus walked through his suffering and death.  In other words, they can make the Stations of the Cross in the actual place where they happened.  I’ve had this wonderful privilege, and it is very powerful to walk where Christ walked, and pray where Christ suffered and died.

Many, however, are never able to make this pilgrimage in person, and certainly not regularly.  For this reason, churches began creating 14 memorials to represent the locations where these events in Jesus’ life happened, and the faithful may walk along these memorials, or stations, in memory of walking along with Jesus.  Thus, when we pray the Stations of the Cross, we spiritually walk and pray with Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem.

We can pray the Stations of the Cross during any time of the year, but it is particularly appropriate for the season of Lent when we meditate more specifically on our sinfulness which led Christ to undergo his passion and death.  We are familiar with praying the Stations of the Cross at church as a community, but we can also meditate on the stations of the cross anytime during our prayer time.  You can easily lookup the Stations of the Cross online.

Catholics are familiar with the idea of “giving something up” for Lent.  Giving up things like chocolate are good for us because it helps us grow in virtue and offer this small penance to Jesus as a sacrifice.  I encourage not only “giving something up”, but also “doing something extra” for Jesus during Lent.  It could be praying more, saying the rosary, going to daily Mass once a week, etc.  For the last several years, I have made a commitment during Lent to do the Stations of the Cross every day.  It is powerful to meditate daily during Lent on Jesus’ suffering and death, and to think of how he did that for me.

Whether or not you also try to pray the stations of the cross daily, I do hope you attend the Stations of the Cross here at church on the Fridays of Lent.

During the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, we will have a time of Eucharistic Adoration.  I will expose the Eucharist, then proceed to do the Stations as usual, and then conclude with Benediction.  (We will do adoration during Stations every Friday during Lent except for the two Fridays when I will be absent, those Fridays the Stations will be prayed but there will not be Adoration.)

I’ll conclude with the prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori for the Stations of the Cross (which I love and pray daily in my own prayer time).  I love you Jesus my love.  I love you more than myself.  I repent with my whole heart from ever having offended you.  Never let me offend you again, grant that I may love you always, and then do with me as you will.

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