Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings this week- end (as we return to the “normal” Sunday readings after observing the Feasts of Saint Louis and Saint Monica) will ask us: “What does it take to be a disciple of Jesus?” As students, and we are all students, even those out of formal school for decades, we need to be eager to learn what it takes to follow the Lord. May we listen to His teachings!

Today is also “grandparents day,” as “decreed” by Hallmark Cards. Regardless of how this “holiday” came about, we want to thank all of the grandparents here in our parish for the special role that you play in the lives of your grandchildren. It’s sad to say but sometimes it is the grandparents who take a more active role in the Christian education and formation of their grandchildren, than the parents do.

ACTS Retreat: The Women’s ACTS Retreat has been this weekend. It will end after Mass at Saint Richard’s this morning. Thanks to ALL who prayed for the retreatants, the team, and all those involved especially the family members. The next MEN’S ACTS RETREAT will be the weekend of March 26 – 29, 2020. I cordially invite all the men of the parish, who have not yet experienced an ACTS retreat, to prayerfully consider making that retreat.

Next weekend we will celebrate the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend we will be assured that God is eager to welcome us back, today, or any time. However, let’s always be aware of the things we might have strayed from God’s embrace. May we thank God for the assurance of peace and reconciliation.

As I put in the bulletin last weekend, WELCOME “HOME”: Deacon Dane Westhoff, now a First Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves. During the school year he will ordinarily only be able to be with us on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. BUT, he will be back (as far as most of you are concerned) all the time!

WELCOME: This is also a repeat from last week, welcoming a seminarian to be with us this year.  This year we have been assigned Mr. Jacob Connealy, who is in his second year of pre-Theology. He will be here most SUNDAYS, assisting at Mass, and being “around,” getting to know some of the things about parish life. Jacob is a student for the Archdiocese of Omaha and is a 2015 graduate of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.  (His degree is in accounting!)  I want to welcome Jacob and I hope you do, too, as he spends his first weekend with us.

Adult Faith Formation: This new effort to help us grow in the faith begins today, Sunday, September 8, after 9:30 Mass, and runs until 11:15. We will meet in the Cry Room / Chapel until the Msgr. Schneider Hall renovation is completed (sometime next month). We will meet on the Second and Fourth Sundays. I hope that some of you will be able to attend and learn more about our faith. Fr Stephen Schumacher will be the presenter for this first session. In addition Deacon Dane Westhoff, Deacon Carl Sommer, Seminarian Jacob Connealy, and I will be presenters. We might have some of the young adult group also make presentations as time goes on. All are welcome

Catechetical Sunday: This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday next Sunday, with the theme of “Stay with Us.” On this day catechists are formally commissioned for ministry to the community. Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith. Our full time school faculty and our PSR faculty will be commissioned next Sunday at the 9:30 A.M. Mass.

West County Deanery Catholic Formation Commission: This was formed as a collaborative effort between the Deanery and the Office of Catholic Education and Formation. 11 of the 12 parishes in the Deanery are participating. Each parish was invited to have three members for this commission. I asked parishioners Nick Lober, Jeremy Rutherford, and Christy Stoltman to represent our parish. The first meeting was on Tuesday, August 27th and the next will be on Tuesday, September 17th. The first meeting was an “ice breaker,” while the second meeting will be more of a discussion of the various trends that have been seen in the West County parishes over the past thirty or so years! Please pray for a successful Commission to address some of the issues of the Church in our Deanery.

Missionary Plan of Cooperation: Each year each parish in the Archdiocese (and most of the country) host a Missionary to speak about their missions and take up a collection to assist the work of the church in their particular area. This year we have been assigned the Dominican Province of Nigeria. We will have a Dominican Priest from Nigeria, Father John-Mark Igboalisi, OP, on the weekend of September 21 and 22. He will also be available for Confessions that Saturday afternoon.

Construction Noise and Daily Masses: Our morning Weekday Masses were moved from Church to the gym on August 5th, and will continue to be there for several more weeks. Hopefully we can be back in Church for the weekday Masses beginning September 23. (The Saturday morning 8:00 A.M. Mass will be in Church as will, of course, all of the weekend Masses.) I have an agreement with the contractor that if there is a funeral they will suspend work during the Funeral. Regarding Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament: Because of the construction, Adoration, until further notice, will be from 3:30 P.M. until 9:00 P.M. on Wednesdays. Thank you for your patience with the building of the new elevator and the renovation of the Msgr. Schneider Hall and serving kitchen. Confessions will still be available from 3:30 – 4:30 on Wednesdays.

Changes coming: With Fr Schumacher heading back to Rome for school on Thursday, September 19, and with no guarantee of any other Archdiocesan priest help, there will be changes coming regarding our Masses beginning on September 30. If we don’t get another priest, and it looks bleak that we will, effective September 30, we will only have the 6:30 A.M. weekday Mass. On Wednesdays, effective October 2, we will have an all school Mass at 8:15 A.M. (Please note that in addition to the daily 6:30 A.M. Mass, I will also have a Nursing Home Mass each Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 P.M.) Effective October 5, there will no longer be an 8:00 A.M. Mass on Saturday mornings. As for the weekend Mass schedule, I’m still trying to do all I can to get some help for the weekends. Also most likely there will be only one priest hearing confessions on Saturday, beginning September 21, although I do have a commitment from a Religious Order that they will provide a priest “as often as possible,” so, when there is only one priest celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation, on Saturdays, confessions will end promptly at 4:30, even if there are people in line. I’m sorry that this has to be done, but there are simply no more priests available. Pray for vocations and that people being called would respond!

Faithfully yours,

Fr Joe Weber