Pastor's page

Third Sunday of Easter

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Come to Eucharistic Adoration every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and bring your entire family!

My Friends,

Throughout the Easter Season, our parish is glorying in the gift of the Eucharistic Lord.  Every Wednesday and Thursday from 8am to 9pm and every Friday from 8am through 8am Saturday morning we have the great blessing and privilege of being able to come and adore the Lord.  Please be sure to come and stop by, even if for a few minutes, to offer a prayer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  In addition, this Sunday night (April 30) at 7:30pm we will offer a Spirit-filled Eucharistic Adoration which is sure to appeal to our youth and young at heart.  Please be sure to come and bring your entire family!

Recently I had the opportunity to sit with brother priests and to share how God is working in my life.  I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful family of faith.  These past four years have presented an amazing opportunity to grow as a disciple of Christ and as a Catholic priest.  As I shared during our Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night, it has been a special grace to serve with such an amazing team of priests, deacons, religious, lay staff, and faithful volunteers.  You inspire me and challenge me to grow in so many ways.  Hopefully, you have seen the difference you have made in my life.  Thank you and I pray that in some small way, I have been a help to you as well!

Looking ahead in the month, we will be celebrating First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Baccalaureates, Graduations, Mothers’ Day and our own Father Bob Romaine’s 25th Anniversary to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ!  How incredibly exciting!  As you read the bulletin, please mark your calendars and join us in celebrating these important milestones in our journey of faith.  God is so good to us!

May God bless you and your families!

Growing together as disciples of Christ!

Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor

 

 

 

Divine Mercy Sunday

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Friends,

Our celebraion of the Easter mystery continues as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.  Requested in 1931 by our Lord in a private revelation to Saint Sister M. Faustina Kowalska, the Feast of Divine Mercy is not only a day designated for the worship of God’s mercy, but also a day of grace for all people.  Jesus promised, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, especially for poor sinners.  On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open.  I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fountain of My mercy.  The soul that will go to Confession, and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.  On that day, all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened” (Diary, 699).  “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life (Holy Communion) on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (Diary, 300). 

To that end, St John Paul II granted a plenary indulgence to all those who 1) in a church this day, 2) pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or a prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”) or perform an act of mercy, 3) go to Confession, 4) receive Holy Communion, 5) pray for the Holy Father’s intentions (Our Father, Hail Mary, Creed), and 6) renounce any attachment to sin, including venial sin.  The Chaplet of Mercy is found in this bulletin. (page 10)

You are cordially invited to attend today’s celebration of Divine Mercy at 3pm in the Family Center.  (Remember, you are welcome to receive Communion twice in one day.)  To help you prepare, there will be a few priests available for confessions from 2-2:50pm.  I also encourage you to join one of our Cenacles of Divine Mercy (see page 7 of this bulletin for more information).  It is a wonderful way to be “immersed in the ocean of God’s mercy!”

On another note, on Wednesday night, April 26 at 7pm in the Family Center, I will be sharing about my recent mission to Kingston, Jamaica and my service with the Missionaries of the Poor, helping the poorest of the poor.  I would like to invite you to join me for another mission January 23-28, 2018.  There is a very limited number of spaces available so if you are interested, please come to the meeting on Wednesday night.  This mission is one more example of how our parish family is living the message of Divine Mercy.

Growing together as disciples of Christ!

Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor

 

Easter Sunday of the Lord's Resurecction

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Alleluia!!  He is Risen!! Alleluia!!

Happy Easter!

Welcome! Whether you are a first-time guest or a parishioner for many years, we warmly welcome you to this celebration of Easter joy and we thank you for choosing St. Paul Catholic Church as your spiritual home.  Your presence is an eloquent sign of your love for the Lord, gratitude for the many blessings received, and your desire to grow ever deeper in faith.  May God bless you!

This past year has been very troubling for many of us.  Many feel angry, frustrated, disillusioned, and discouraged by what is happening in the world, our country, and even in our own homes.  Easter reminds us that Jesus Christ was victorious over sin and death.  He is the antidote to prejudice and violence.  He is the Light of the World and Hope of the Nations.  When all seems lost and hopeless, Jesus reminds us that goodness and truth will triumph.  Our task is simply to have faith, to trust in Him and to be merciful to others as He is merciful.

Easier said than done, right?  That is why we have Church.  Church is not an institution.  It is a family of people like you and I ... imperfect, broken, sinners ... one and all.   Although we are all fallen, we are also willing to pick ourselves up and to try our best to help one another, especially those most forsaken.  Church is a family where all are welcome, and I mean ALL.  It is a place where people care for the poorest, most vulnerable, most oppressed, most marginalized.  In our parish, we are blessed with over 80 ministries which strive to make the difference in the world through worship, faith development and sharing, community building, and reaching out to helping those most in need.  I encourage you to get involved and if we are missing a ministry you are passionate about, please help us form one!  We care!

Next weekend is Divine Mercy Sunday when our Lord promised to St. Faustina that the floodgates of His mercy would be opened to all who seek it.  He asks only that we ask for His mercy, be merciful to others, and completely trust in His mercy.  This week, we will offer the Novena at 3pm, the hour of mercy, in our beautiful Santo Niño Shrine.  The Novena will culminate next Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, with confessions at 2pm in the Family Center and Mass at 3pm followed by the chaplet before the Eucharistic Lord.  Please be sure to come.  For more information, please visit www.stpaulchurch.com or download our parish app.

 believe, with all my heart, that this Easter, our Lord is inviting you to grow in faith.  If you aren’t already doing so, pray every day, fully participate in Mass at least every weekend, and faithfully and regularly meditate on God’s Word.  Become involved in our parish.  If there is anything we can do to help you, please let me know.

On behalf of Fr. Bob, Fr. Stephen, our deacons and religious, the entire staff of our parish and preschool, and our faithful volunteers, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a most Blessed Easter and a Joyous Easter Season.  May God bless you! 

Growing together as disciples of Christ!

 

 

 

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Welcome!

Thank you for choosing St. Paul as your spiritual home as we begin Holy Week with the celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. In a special way we welcome all those who are here for the very first time, those who have been away for a while, and our returning college students.  May God bless you all!  We pray that you feel right “at home” at St. Paul!

Today’s liturgy is very striking as we begin by joyfully welcoming Christ into the Jerusalem of our hearts and then a few minutes later are crying out “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”  It would seem manic if it wasn’t for the fact that this is exactly what we do every day.  One minute we profess our undying love for the Lord and the next minute, nail Him to the cross with our sins.  Jesus died for us, to atone for our sins, and yet we still choose to disobey God’s will ... again, again, and again!  Yet, the measure of a person is not the number of times he or she falls, but the number of times he or she turns to God for forgiveness and tries again!  Let us turn to Him and try harder to be faithful!

Seder Supper: On Monday evening at 6:30pm, we will celebrate our annual Seder Supper or traditional Passover Meal.  This family celebration commemorates the liberation of the people of Israel from captivity in Egypt and forms the basis of both the Last Supper and our Mass.  Call the office to see if there are still any available tickets leftover.  This is a wonderful event for the entire family!

Via Crucis: Join us on Wednesday night at 7pm for a special living Stations of the Cross enacted by our Amor de Jesus Grupo de Oración.  It is a very vivid and striking commemoration of the Passion of Christ.  Bilingual programs are available.

Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday marks the beginning of the Sacred Triduum: the holiest days of the liturgical year.  Children who attend services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil/Sunday Mass will get a special gift from me next month. 

Holy Thursday begins with a special Mass commemorating the Last Supper at 7pm.  Afterwards, Fr. Stephan is leading a group to visit the local churches while the rest of us remain in our “Garden of Gethsemane” adoring the Lord until midnight.

Good Friday: I encourage you to take the day off and reflect upon the sacrifice Christ made for you and your salvation.  Living Stations offered by our youth begins at noon.  Then we have the first day of our Novena to Divine Mercy at 2:30pm followed by services of the Passion of the Lord at 3pm, 5pm (Spanish), 7pm, 7:30pm (Portuguese).  At 9pm, we will again offer the Stations of the Cross along our peace path.  Bring a candle or flashlight from home!

Holy Saturday is a time of breathless expectation.  At 10am we have the Easter Egg hunt, 11am blessing of the Easter Baskets in the Family Center, 3pm our Novena, and then the great Easter Vigil begins after sunset at 8pm.  Please note there will NOT be a 5:30pm or 7:30pm Mass on Holy Saturday.

Easter Sunday Masses follow our normal Sunday schedule with the addition of a Mass in Portuguese in the Family Center at 12:30pm. Overflow services will take place in the Family Center. Parking will be limited so please come early and use the parking in the Cascades Parking Center as well as in the Medical Clinic across Stall Road.  Please do not park in our neighbor’s yards or in the PDQ parking.  (We don’t want to give them the occasion to sin!)

Please be sure to invite your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and classmates to join you for our wonderful Holy Week services.  Offer to pick them up and take them with you.  They will be glad you thought to share the graces and blessings of this week with them.   Growing together as disciples of Christ,

 

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Dear Friends,

As we come to the “home stretch” of Lent, we are invited to listen to Jesus as he beckons us to crawl out from the dark tomb of death, to be unleashed from our bindings of sin, and to begin life anew in Him.  How is this possible?  First of all, pray for the grace to be attentive to the voice of our friend Jesus.  Second, make every effort to come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week.  It is being offered Monday through Thursday evenings throughout our deanery at 7pm: Monday at Most Holy Redeemer, Tuesday, here at St Paul, Wednesday at Corpus Christi, and Thursday at St. Timothy.  Third, take a good look at what is binding you.  It could be grief, unforgiveness, bitterness, depression, anxiety, addictions, lust, gluttony, avarice, pride, sloth, envy, greed ... Ask God for the grace to be unbound, freed from all that prevents you from truly being the person God has called you to be.  If you need help, seek counseling or spiritual direction.  God created us to be people of freedom, of joy, and of peace.  I pray that this week will be one of healing for you!

Next weekend is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.  We are so blest to live in Florida with so many beautiful palm trees.  Please bring a branch from home so that you can welcome the Lord into the Jerusalem of your heart with style!  (We will have the normal commercially purchased palms on hand as well.) 

Palm Sunday also marks the start of Holy Week.  Please see this bulletin or the Lenten Highlights 2017 magazine we mailed to you for all the other events of Holy Week.  The Seder Supper on Monday night at 6:30pm is a must for anyone serious about their faith.  The Living Stations on both Wednesday night at 7pm and Good Friday at noon are not to be missed.  The Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7pm, Good Friday with all of our services, and the great Easter Vigil and Sunday Masses are certainly “must attends” for us all!  Please mark your calendars and invite your friends!

On another note, we have installed a new bathroom in the St. Michael Cabin to serve you better and completed the new doors by the choir.  The Shrine in honor of Our Lady of Good Health is coming in nicely and we are completing the designs for the renovation of our piazza this summer.  We have upgraded the sound system on the Peace Path and are in the process of extending audio/video capabilities in our Family Center.  The installation of a life-size outdoor crucifix, Padre Pio statue, and statue of the Madonna and Child are in the works.

We are presently interviewing for a new Director for our Preschool and Youth Minister.  If you or anyone you know is interested in either of these positions, please contact the parish office.

Finally, thank you for completing your pledge to the Annual Pastoral Appeal.  Your generous donation funds so many vital ministries throughout our diocese.  For example, whoever we hire for the Preschool Director and Youth Minister will work closely with the diocesan offices.  They will provide training, support, and guidance in order to help us provide the highest quality education and faith formation for both our youngest parishioners as well as our teens.  In addition, your donation financially supports our parish since what is not raised through pledges must be paid through our offertory.  Since APA funds are not assessed, every dollar given to the Appeal is like giving $1.20 to the parish.  Thank you for your generous donation.  Pledge envelopes are in the narthex of the Church.  Thank you and may God bless you!

Growing together as disciples of Christ,

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Dear Friends,

In today’s Gospel,  we hear the story of the man who was blind from birth.  At the time, people felt that if something bad happened to somebody, it was because either he or one of his ancestors had sinned.  They believed he was “born totally in sin.”  Jesus explained that sometimes bad things happen to good people.  But our God is a loving and merciful God and often he uses the bad things to create wondrous things.  In this context, the healing of the blind man has led to the healing of countless people who have suffered from spiritual blindness.

What is spiritual blindness?  It is the inability to see God’s hand at work in our lives, to see His presence in the sacrament of the moment.  I believe that while we may have 5 physical senses and perhaps a 6th sense of intuition, those who are enlightened also have access to the 7th sense ... a spiritual sense which allows us to experience God throughout our daily lives.  A newborn baby asleep in her father’s arms, a beautiful sunset, the weathered face of a farmworker, the wrinkled hands of a grandmother, the laughter of a child, a cool mid-summer night breeze ... all become revelatory - not just pretty images.  As Catholics, most of us have that 7th sense when it comes to the Eucharist.  It is not merely a wafer and wine.  It is an encounter with Christ - a sharing in the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ!

How can you be healed of your spiritual blindness so you can see God clearly?  1) Pray for the grace.  2) Spend time each day in prayer - share your heart but also listen to him!  3) Read the Sacred Scriptures ... just a paragraph a day and remember God always speaks to us when we read the Bible.  4) Be attentive to His presence.  How?  I take a step back and open my heart and mind to God.  A friend once told me that life is theater.  If that is true, then being attentive to God means watching Him as both the playwright and the leading actor.  Another way of looking at it is seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling from the heart ... rather from the head. 

Am I making any sense?  I hope so!  In any case, I pray that we will all be healed from our spiritual blindness and that as we journey through this fourth week of Lent, we may grow ever more in love with Christ!

Let me also share that the Parish Mission to Panama was a huge success.  Our medical team worked closely with the local clinic to serve the needs of the poor while our two teams of youth and adults cleaned a vacant building so it could be used by the parish, visited four communities and painted two chapels on remote islands, worked with children in two remote villages, shared the message of Divine Mercy in three villages, and shared the faith with the children preparing for First Holy Communion.  It was an amazing experience ... truly life changing ... We will be sharing our experiences with the parish in the near future.  Please watch the bulletin for details. 

Finally, please, please, please, complete your pledge to the Annual Pastoral Appeal.  We have only raised half of the necessary funds and as we begin to prepare our budget for next year, I’m not sure what we would cut in order to pay this bill.  The Annual Pastoral Appeal funds vital services for the poor and elderly, education for children, adults, seminarians, and priests and deacons, and help for those most in need.  Please be generous and you will certainly be blest!  Pledge envelopes are in the narthex of the Church.

Thank you and may God bless you!

 

 

Third Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Panama Mission update!

On March 10, the team arrived safely in Montijo, Panama - what a welcome! The following day, they were ready for the first day of mission in the clinic and parish center.

The medical team and local medical staff served medical needs, and the rest of the team cleaned the parish center. After Mass and lunch, they visited the river San Pedro. At night they led the Stations of the Cross and went to Florentino to share with their small community the miracle of Divine Mercy! The next day some Panama friends joined in!

The team travelled to remote islands where the islanders are only able to celebrate Mass with a priest a few times a year. They received such warm welcomes. They painted their chapels, provided medical care, distributed reading glasses, celebrated Mass, and distributed rosaries & at night shared the message of Divine Mercy.

On March 12, the team joined the family of Montijo for Mass and their Family basis catechetical program. Afterwards the team led them in activities and games, ate lunch and then visited the colonial church of San Francisco and the Cathedral of Santiago.  At night, they had another Divine Mercy mission in San Cristobal. 

Fr. Bill and the Panama Mission Team are expected to arrive Friday, March 16.  We can't wait for them to tell us all about this wonderful experience.  If you would like to travel next July 2018 with this team please contact PanamaMission@StPaulChurch.com

 

Second Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My dear friends,

As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent, we are invited to join our Lord and to summit Mt Tabor along with Peter, James, and John (Mt 17:1-9).  Like our faithful companions, we are invited to experience the Transfiguration and to be fortified on our Lenten journey to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Last week, Fr. Carl Arico introduced us to contemplative prayer.  Through this profound form of meditation, we can more readily recognize “Transfiguration moments” in our lives and hear the voice of our Father: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  Even if you missed the retreat, be sure to join Sr. Theresa for the follow-up sessions during the following Wednesdays at 11:15am.

Our parish Lenten theme is “forgiveness.”  Hopefully, you have your Lenten “Forgive” cross and Dr. Allen Hunts’ book “Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody.”  I’ve really enjoyed the book and it has been an extra blessing to host the online discussion on my Facebook page.  If you want to join, just be my friend!  (Bill Swengros).

Today we begin our online study of “33 Days to Merciful Love” by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC.  During these next 33 days, we will journey with St. Thérèse of Liseaux, “The Little Flower,” as we prepare our hearts for consecration to the Heart of Jesus on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23rd.  To join us, secure your copy of the book from the Lighthouse kiosk in the church narthex and join me on Facebook!

In the same vein, next Sunday we will offer a special showing of “The Face of Mercy” at 7pm in the Church.  (Note that the Lenten Highlights has the wrong time!)  This wonderful documentary explores the history and relevance of Divine Mercy.  Please be sure to put it on your calendar and bring a friend!

As you read this, I am with a group of fellow parishioners on a medical and evangelical mission in Panama.  We are doing this for a number of reasons.  First of all, it is what Jesus asked us to do: to share the Good News and to help others in need.  Second, I think it is very important for our young people to develop an understanding of how our brothers and sisters live in other countries.  Too often we take for granted the blessings of living in our country.  Third, we have much to learn from others.  While our neighbors may not be materially wealthy, they are rich in many other ways!  I for one, always feel I receive far more than I give when I’m on a mission!  Please keep us in prayer and be assured we are praying for you!

Finally, I thank you for your generosity in responding to the Annual Pastoral Appeal.  With only a fraction of our parishioners participating, we are well on our way to reaching our goal of $437,000.  Why should you pledge?  Because you want our children to know and love Christ and His Church, you are concerned about our elderly, you want to help those who have unexpected or difficult pregnancies, you want to get the homeless off the street and back into productive life, you want to provide for the education of seminarians and the continuing formation of priests and deacons.  In sum, you care!  Please complete your pledge today.  Pledge envelopes are in the narthex of the Church.  Thank you and may God bless you!

Growing together as disciples of Christ,

Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor

 

First Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 3, 2017

My dear friends,

With the passing of Ash Wednesday, we have begun our annual Lenten pilgrimage with the Lord to the heavenly Jerusalem.  Far more than simply 40 days of foregoing things we enjoy, it is an opportunity to truly grow spiritually.  The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and works of charity.

Prayer Communication is essential in every relationship, including our relationship with God.  Prayer is communicating with God, sharing with Him all that is in our hearts but also, listening to Him as He shares His heart with us!  To help us develop our relationship with the Lord, I’ve asked Fr. Carl Arico to lead us in our annual Lenten Mission this week.  Sr. Theresa, a group of parishioners, and I met Fr. Carl on our parish cruise last year.  His presentations were so inspiring.  I encourage you to make every effort to join us Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights beginning at 7pm.  He will also be preaching at the 12:15 daily Mass.  This is a rare opportunity to truly deepen your relationship with the Lord.  Be sure to come and bring your friends with you!  Details are in this bulletin as well as our Lenten Highlights which was mailed to you last week.

Fasting is very different from dieting.  The New Testament records that the Early Church used fasting to “supersize” their prayers.  They prayed and fasted before making big decisions, when they had special needs, and when they wanted to simply grow in faith.  The same is true of us.  In addition, fasting reminds us that everything is a gift from God and helps us to stand in solidarity with the poor who live with constant hunger.  I encourage you not only to abstain from meat on Fridays, but truly fast ... from food, yes ... but also fast from those things which prevent us from truly being open to God’s grace ... anger, rush to judgment, foul language, procrastination, sloth, gluttony, lust, inordinate and immoral use of media, impatience, unforgiveness, etc.  If you need ideas of what you can do, talk to a family member or a good friend!

Almsgiving The Early Church was known for its charity.  Almost every letter in the New Testament has a request for the community to share their resources with those in need.  It is amazing to count up the number of times Jesus refers to money and the need to be charitable.  Works of charity or almsgiving is an essential part of the Christian life. 

When we speak of almsgiving, we should certainly remember our spiritual home, St. Paul.  Many do not realize that you are our sole source of funding.  We do not receive funding from the government nor the diocese.  Thank you!  I also encourage you to remember the Annual Pastoral Appeal or APA.  Our diocese provides vital services throughout our five county area.  The diocese also tithes in support of charities in our country and throughout the world.  Many people do not realize that the diocese provides support to the Holy See so that the Pope can fulfill his mission as spiritual leader of the Church Universal.

Our Lenten food drive to replenish our Food Bank is also a great way to help those in need.  I also encourage you to volunteer next week after Mass to help sort all the bags of food received.  Thank you!

Forgiveness  Perhaps the greatest work of charity is that of “forgiveness.”  St. Paul challenges us all to be “ministers of reconciliation.”  I hope you received your Lenten “Forgive” cross and copy of Dr. Allen Hunt’s book “Everyone Needs to Forgive Somebody.”  (Both available in Spanish.)  (I’m doing a study of the book on my FaceBook page.)  Think of the people you need to forgive and ask for the grace to forgive them.  Not because they deserve it, but because it is what Christ calls you to do.  Also, think of those you have hurt.  Ask for forgiveness.  If that is not possible, pray for them, that they may be healed of the wound you inflicted.

Know you are in my prayers.  May this Lent be one of the best ever for you and your loved ones!  Growing together as disciples of Christ,

Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor

 

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Dear Friends,

As you read this, I’m on mission in Kingston, Jamaica with Father Richard Ho Lung and the Brothers of the Poor.  Father Richard was born in Jamaica in 1939 of poor Chinese immigrants.  In 1959 he joined the Society of Jesus and on July 4, 1971, was ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  He taught in St. George College, University of the West Indies, and Boston College.  While serving as a parochial vicar the Lord called him to serve the poor in a radical new way.  In 1980 he left the Jesuits and dedicated his life to serve the rejected and destitute.  In 1981, he formed the Missionaries of the Poor and serve the very poor in the slums of Kingston.  Today the order has grown to well over 600 brothers serving in missions throughout the world.  Their principal charisma is “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross” with special care for the destitute homeless, orphans, elderly and sick.  In a sense, he is the “Mother Teresa” of the Caribbean.  Please keep me, Fr. Richard, and the Missionaries of the Poor in prayer as I will you!

Tuesday is often called “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras.”  Here at St. Paul, it is a celebration of the wonderful diversity of our parish family.  Please be sure to come for a wonderful evening of fellowship, free ethnic food, music and dance beginning at 6pm.  This is one evening you won’t want to miss!

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day of fast and abstinence from meat.  Today we will be marked with ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday as a sign of our humility and total trust in God.  At Mass we will have copies of our Lenten devotion: Allen Hunt’s book entitled “Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody” and our Lenten forgiveness cross.  Questions: Who do you need to forgive?  Who do need to ask for forgiveness?  Also, what works of prayer, fasting, and acts of charity will you embrace for the next 40 days?  (See this bulletin or www.stpaulchurch.com or our parish app for Mass times!)

Thursday is the first of our series of V Encuentro/Encounter meetings.  The goal is to share ideas on how we can better serve our youth, young adults, and families.  Join us from 7-8:30pm in the Family Center.

While we may not eat meat on Friday, we will feast in other ways ... Mass (7:30am, 12:15pm, 7:30pm), Eucharistic Adoration, Stations of the Cross (3 and 7pm), and our Fabulous Fish Fry (5-7pm).

At our weekend Masses, we are blest to welcome my good friend Fr. Carl Arico who will introduce us to the following parish Lenten Mission.  Between 8am and 1pm you will have the opportunity to donate blood with the “Big Red Bus” and our Society of St. Vincent de Paul will kick off their annual food drive!

Whew!  I’m exhausted just reading all this!  This Lent promises to be one of the best ever!  Please take the time to look through our Lenten Highlights 2017 booklet which was mailed to you and this bulletin.  Mark upcoming dates on your calendar and invite friends and family members to join you.  May this Lent be a time of spiritual growth and enlightenment for us all!

Growing together as disciples of Christ,

Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor

 

 

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, February 19, 2017

 My Dear Friends,

Last year, Bishop Lynch shared how our diocese had fared during the past twenty years.  Since 1996, the total population in our five county diocese increased by 30.9%.  During the same period, the total number of registered Catholics increased by 15.5%.  In regard to Sacraments, the total number of baptisms has decreased by 20%; the number of first communions has decreased by 20.7%, the number of confirmations has decreased by 15.5%, and the number of marriages decreased by 58.8%.  Unfortunately, this conforms to the national trends.

When Allen Hunt from Dynamic Catholic was here last month, he presented another disturbing picture.  Of the 1.7 million babies baptized in the Church last year, statistically only 1.4 million will receive first communion, 1 million will be confirmed, and seven years later, only 150,000 will marry in the Church.  How sad!

While thankfully, our parish is doing better than the national and diocesan averages, I’m still concerned.  For instance, last year we had 268 baptisms, 236 first communions, 157 confirmations, 41 marriages, and 73 funerals.  Perhaps more disturbing is that after being confirmed few continue with faith formation.

What can be done?  First of all, please pray for our youth and their families.  May they grow in love for Christ and His Church.  Pray for the leaders and catechists who serve our Church.  May they be filled with the wisdom of God!

Second, please complete the Disciple Maker survey from Catholic Leadership Institute.  Your feedback will not only help our parish but parishes throughout the United States.  You can take it online (www.stpaulchurch.com) or pick up a hard copy in the narthex.

Third, please participate in the V Encuentro/Encounter meetings which will take place every Thursday evening in March from 7-8:30pm in the Family Center.  The primary objective of these meetings is to discern what we can do to better serve our youth and to be more effective disciples.  While you don’t need to attend all five sessions, all five have a unique focus.  (Please call Jim at the parish office to let us know you are coming!)

Last but not least, please don’t be afraid to share your faith with our youth and their parents.  Encourage them to open their hearts to the love of God and the richness of our Catholic heritage.  Joyfully invite them to join you for our Sacred Liturgies and parish events.  Let them see what a difference Christ has made in your life.

On another note, thank you for your pledge to the Annual Pastoral Appeal.  Your generous donation is a sign of your love for God, your support for our parish, and your concern for those in need who live within our diocese.  Thank you for caring enough to share!

Growing together as disciples of Christ,

  Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Paul offers many opportunities to grow in faith this Easter Season...download our Easter Highlights and share our faith with others! 

Online Book Study with Fr. Bill begins Sunday, March 12.  We will be using 33 Days to Merciful Love by fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC.  Book is sold at Parish Office for your convenience.

 

Download full book study reflections for Resisting Happiness by Mathhew Kelly by Fr. Bill HERE

Congratulations Fr. Bill on your 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood! May 18, 2016

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