Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Prayer has been a key component of faith for thousands of years. While prayer can be uniquely personal, this weekend’s readings provide some essential and expansive insights about it from both Judaism and early Christianity. Abraham and Jesus both extol the importance of persistence, and Jesus teaches us that prayer at its best is communal. We pray as one body of God’s people. Most profoundly, we dare to pray at all because God is loving and just.

Next weekend we will celebrate the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. During the summer it is tempting to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of our labors. With summer upon us, who can blame us for congratulating ourselves for the work we have done and taking a well-deserved break or vacation? By the way the world defines success is not the way God would. What, in the end, matters to God? As we will gather next weekend we will reflect on what really matters in the world.

This weekend the Archbishop has asked the priests to preach at all the Masses. Last Wednesday evening all the priests were invited to attend a “summit” with the Archbishop about the sexual abuse scandal that has afflicted the church for centuries, not just since 2002. Even though, as last week’s edition of Our Sunday Visitor said in its headline: “One Year Later,” since the release of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s report on sex abuse allegations and findings for many years, we Catholics while still hurt and ashamed, should have hope. On the front page of the OSV were the words: “The Church continues to heal after the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report revealed decades of widespread abuse by Catholic clergy.” Hopefully what we priest say this weekend and what will be in the Saint Louis Review will help us. In addition I have purchased 1000 copies of Bishop Robert Barron’s new little book (only 105 pages) entitled Letter to a Suffering Church. All will be invited to take a copy today after Mass. In the book the Bishop makes no excuses for the actions of priests (and bishops) who abused minors. Nor does he make excuses for Bishops who covered up these sins and crimes.

But he also gives us reason to have hope. Please prayerfully read this little booklet and reflect on its words. The church has ALWAYS had scandal. The difference now, from the past, is that there is instantaneous communication and 24 hour news shows. The past was horrible, too, just as many actions in this past century, but we should have hope because there have been very, very few allegations of any sort of child sexual abuse since 2002 and the adoption of the “Dallas Charter.” I’m sorry I can’t be more specific about what will be said at the Rigali Center by the Archbishop and others on Wednesday, but we priests will try our best on this weekend and I will comment more about what was presented in this space next weekend. MEANWHILE, please pray for priests. It isn’t an easy life, but it can be a life full of joy. ALSO please pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. There are young people listening, may they faithfully respond.

Worship Committee: The first meeting was on Thursday, July 25. “Stay tuned” for details.

Baptism Preparation Class is ordinarily on the Fourth Thursday of the month (except November!). Because of the rescheduled Worship Committee meeting last Thursday I am moving it to the First Thursday of August, August 1st, at 7:00 P.M., in the Rectory Meeting Room. Again, a class is required before the baptism of the first child to a couple. Please call the Rectory if you would like to reserve a spot for the next class which will be on August 1st, not July 25th. When you call to schedule a baptism, for your second or subsequent children, a ceremony to be scheduled with the convenience of all involved, we will be sending you information for the godparents, including letters requesting the approval of the godparents’ proper pastor that he/she is a Catholic in Good Standing and may serve as a godparent. There will also be a couple of pamphlets for the godparents and a new pamphlet for the parents.

As you know a godparent must be a practicing Catholic, 16 or over, confirmed, and wishing to serve as a godparent! Please remember that you must have one Catholic godparent who meets those requirements. Another “Christian Witness” may also serve at a Baptism. If you have questions, please call me or Father Schumacher. If you want your child’s Baptism at a Sunday Mass, please let the person taking the information at the Rectory know. I will then get back in touch with you. A reminder that there will be a Baptism during the 9:30 A.M. Mass on Sunday, August 18. Thank you.

The Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) is coming to an end. Our parish is within “striking distance” of reaching our “challenge goal,” (we are at 89% of our goal) and new participants (we have 32 new donors this year). Thank you ALL for your generosity. Please contact the Parish Office if you haven’t been contacted by the ACA Office or our committee. Thank you.

Noise and Daily Masses: This is basically the same as I put here last week, so in SEVERAL weeks not this coming week (but perhaps the following week), we will be moving the 6:30 A.M. and 8:15 A.M. Masses to the GYM, as we did after the fire in December 2016. The noise level from the construction will be too much for a prayerful celebration of Mass, since the contractor wants to begin work at 6:00 A.M. I have an agreement with the contractor that if there is a funeral they will suspend work during the Funeral. However, for the other weekday Masses, for perhaps two weeks, Masses will be in the gym. We will give you notice both in the bulletin and announcements at Mass when this is going to happen. Repeat, it is NOT the week of July 29. Masses this coming week will be in Church as usual.

PLANNING AHEAD: On Sunday, August 11, at the 11:30 A.M. Mass, we will welcome all of the school families back to school. Our youth choir will be participating at the Mass. Our lectors will be chosen from the school families. At the end of the Mass there will be a “back pack and school supply” blessing. Following the Mass we will have the “back to school” open house and ice cream social. PLEASE note that this is for ALL the children of our parish, not just the full time day school. All are welcome.

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the BVM, August 15: This year it is a Holyday of Obligation. We will have a VIGIL Mass on Wednesday, August 14, at 5:00 P.M., and the regular Holyday of Obligation Schedule, namely 6:30 A.M., 8:15 A.M., (first day of school so all of our students will be there), 12:10, and 7:00 P.M. (Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be suspended during the 5:00 P.M. Mass on Wednes- day.)

Please remember we have Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament each Wednesday 8:45 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Also we have an additional time for Confessions from 3:30 to 4:30 Wednesday afternoons.

Faithfully yours,

Fr Joe Weber