Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Journeys dominate this weekend’s readings — from the return of the exiled to a destroyed Jerusalem, to the disciples setting out to preach the Gospel to the world. Both will be fraught with peril, hardship, and pain. Even Saint Paul’s missionary work is centered in Christ’s crucifixion. We, too, are called to be people moving into the world to live the Gospel. Like our ancestors, we rely on love, peace, and mercy to sustain us.

Next weekend will be the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Figuring out how to live in faith can sometimes create a confusion of copious rules, regulations, practices, and prohibitions. The reality, however, is a rather simple “heart and soul” thing. Loving and responding to God cannot happen apart from loving one’s neighbor with deep compassion. Next Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that the neighbor might not be the one we would choose to love. The Good Samaritan story is a cautionary tale that catches our attention for good reason.

I hope that you all had a very safe and enjoyable Fourth of July celebration. For many it continues this weekend. May the Lord watch over us all as we spend this time celebrating the 243rd Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception sent out this “Act of Consecration for the United States of America.” I think that we need more prayer now than ever and may we pray this, asking God, and the Blessed Mother, to assist us:

Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in union with the Blessed Virgin Mary we adore Your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme eternal dominion and authority.

 Most Holy Trinity, we place the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to You. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Have mercy on our President and on all the officers of our government. Protect family life in our nation. Grant the precious gift of many vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, and all who are in need.

 Mary Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness of our land, we honor you and ask your maternal protection and care for us. Obtain for us the graces we need to live and die according to the Will of your Divine Son. Amen.

 It’s a simple prayer, but I hope that we can all pray it and ask the Lord to be with us during there peril- ous times.

Father Stephen Schumacher, newly ordained, a student in Rome, and our “summer Associate Pastor,” is now here and ready to meet you and spend time with you! His phone extension and e-mail are on the bulletin cover. This is, of course, his first weekend with us. I hope that you welcome him and make him feel at home, even though it is only for about 11 or 12 weeks!

Mrs. Tammi Rohman, the new principal for our school, “officially” became the principal last Mon- day, July 1. She’s been here the second half of June getting things set up in her office. We welcome her and assure her of our prayers and support. The school office hours for July are listed here in the bulletin. Except for pre-school we do have room in all the classes. She has assembled an excellent faculty and we are expecting great things this year! Welcome, again, Mrs. Rohman to Saint Monica Parish and School!

Rev. Mr. Dane Westhoff will be leaving early this coming week for Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for his continued training as a Chaplain Candidate for the United States Army. We wish him a safe trip and safe training there. There was a recent accident at West Point in which an incoming senior at the United States Military Academy was killed. So, please remember, even training can be dan- gerous. We pray for his safety, and the safety of all those in his class. He will be back at the end of next month. Meanwhile his Saint Monica e-mail is still working, if you need to get in touch with him.

As announced last week, we now have an additional time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation: Last Wednesday, July 3, we began having a priest available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation each Wednesday from 3:30 until 4:30. Since we also have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at that time, I thought it would be a good time to schedule an additional time for Confessions. (If for some reason a priest would not be available at that time, we would announce it in the previous week’s bulletin, an “email blast” would be sent out, and our Facebook page, along with our website, would announce it. I foresee that happening only in the most exceptional times. But we would try to get notice out to all.) During the Fall I will evaluate whether or not this has been successful and a deci- sion will be made to either continue it or not, or perhaps just have it several Wednesdays a month, rather than all. However, for now, and throughout the summer, we will have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. each Wednesday as well as each Saturday.

Worship Committee: This is a repeat from last weekend, but it is worth putting in the bulletin again. Basically, I would like to reestablish the Worship Committee here at Saint Monica. I am ask- ing that ALL interested parishioners to come to the Rectory Meeting Room on Wednesday, July 24, at 7:00 p.m. for an initial meeting. Depending on the response we get we will then have various committees for all aspects of Worship here.

Baptisms: As announced last weekend, there will be a Baptism during the 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, August 18. (I’m giving you six weeks’ notice!) Since these aren’t scheduled “on the spur of a moment,” you will have several weeks’ notice before a Baptism takes place at a Mass. The Mass won’t be extended unduly! It might take a couple of minutes, but the plusses outweigh the minuses when one celebrates a Baptism at Mass.

Faithfully yours,

Fr Joe Weber