Pastor’s Corner

Respect For Life

Dear Parishioners,
On January 22nd in 1973 Roe vs. Wade was decided. When people
hear Respect for Life I feel they often think of abortion but Respect for Life is this and so much more.

This issue is one that is close to my heart. When I was born I was
a “preemie.” I was two moths premature. After my birth, I was
placed into an incubator. The technology was rather new in 1970.
In all fairness not everyone understood how things worked and
certainly many were not accustomed to caring for such a small
baby. One nurse assumed that I was dead and so she shut the oxygen off. When the other staff members found me, I was purple in
color. You see, we should not make assumptions in life. It is not
for us to make that type of decision, who appears to be full of life
and who does not.

As Catholics we believe in following the Divine Will of God.
The many different areas of this includes Natural Family Planning, accepting children that God has given to both their mothers
and fathers, respecting people who have disabilities, opposing the
death penalty and allowing people to die without the use of extraordinary means.

The next few weeks, I plan to write articles focusing on some of
these issues to educate all of us on the view of the Church. Bottom line, we believe in Natural Law, the way God designed creation. In living out our faith we must defend the rights given by
God. Everyone should have the right to live and defend their life
when attacked either verbally or physically.
Please keep in prayer our civic leaders, all who defend life and
those who work to save lives. I challenge all to think how they
treat their neighbor. Blessings to all of you.

Fr. Gary

Strategic Plan Survey This Weekend

Dear Parishioners,

Thank you for those participating and those
who have already participated in the Strategic
Survey and Registration Update. We have gotten a good response from the college students and appreciate their input.

Fr. Gary

Precious Blood Parish
Strategic Survey and Registration Update

Please complete your Parish Survey and
Registration Update form and return to the
parish office as soon as possible.

For anyone who would like to provide additional input beyond the survey, we will be having engagement (listening) opportunities in the gathering area and after masses in Endress Hall the weekend of Jan. 19- 20. We will also be sharing more information about our Parish at that time.

Strategic Plan Survey & Registration Update

Dear Parishioners,

On the weekend of Jan. 12-13 we will be conducting our
Parish Strategic Plan Survey and Registration Update for all
parishioners. Please plan on getting to Mass early that
weekend, pick up your family envelope in the gathering
area along with any additional individual surveys, and
begin reviewing and filling out before Mass. We will also
be allotting time after the homily to complete as well as in
Endress Hall over coffee and donuts afterward. If you are
not at Precious Blood that weekend, the packet will be
mailed to you. The survey will also be available on the
web site. Our goal is to verify your registration information
for our records and give every parishioner (ages 14 and
above) the opportunity to provide their input in developing
the future for YOUR Parish. This will help us answer 3
central questions:
Where are we as a Catholic Church parish?
Where do we want to go?
How do we get there?
The input we get from all parishioners will help our parish
leadership examine future possibilities and establish a defined direction of vision for the parish. When adopted, it
will serve as our roadmap, guiding development and
growth of Precious Blood Parish.
Note: The registration update will serve as our means of
follow-up with everyone. When you return that, we will
also assume that you have completed a survey (which can
be submitted anonymously). The survey will also be available on the Parish web site.

Kent Reyling

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

Dear Parishioners,

I would like to wish all of you a happy, healthy and holy New
Year. As we begin the new year we start with the Blessed
Mother. We celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
which is a Holy Day of Obligation. The solemnity honors the
divine motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the GodBearer, Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on January 1st, one week after Christmas.

In the 4th and 5th centuries debates about the nature of Christ
raged in the Church. The debate was about the relationship of
Christ’s divine and human natures. At the center of this debate
was a title of Mary. Since at least the 3rd century, Christians
had referred to Mary as theotokos, meaning “God-bearer.”

The first documented usage of the term is in the writings of
Origen of Alexandria in AD 230. Related to theotokos, Mary
was called the mother of God. Referring to Mary this way was
popular in Christian piety, but the patriarch of Constantinople
from 428-431, Nestorius, objected. He suggested that Mary
was only the mother of Jesus’ human nature, but not his divine
nature. Nestorius’ ideas (or at least how others perceived his
arguments) were condemned at the Council of Ephesus in AD
431 and again, at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.

The Church decided that Christ was fully God and fully human, and these natures were united in one divine person, Jesus
Christ. Thus, Mary could be called “mother of God” since she
gave birth to Jesus who was fully divine as well as human.
Since this time, Mary has been frequently honored as the
“mother of God” by Catholics, Orthodox, and many
Protestants.

A prayer for our Blessed Mother on this day:
Rejoice Mary, Mother of God,
Virgin, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb,
for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.
Meet it is in truth, to glorify thee,
O Birth-giver of God,
ever blessed, and all undefiled,
the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the Cherubim,
and beyond compare
more glorious than the Seraphim,
thou who without stain didst bear God the Word,
true Birth-giver of God, we magnify thee.

Fr. Gary

Christmas Time

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I wish all of you God’s blessing, at this time. Christmas is a special time for us. It is a time to recognize the love and goodness of God; a time to know that Christ has come among us; a time to remember that God now shares the same joys and sorrows that we do; a time to rejoice in the hope of eternal life that Jesus brings to each of us.

I pray that all of you have the opportunity, to spend time with your loved ones and let them know you love them. Always know that I love you.

As I reflect upon the new life Christ brought into our world, emotions of joy and gratitude well up within. I am so thankful to all who make our sanctuary look beautiful. I thank those who share their gift of music to make our liturgies so delightful. I appreciate all those who share their talent in the various ministries in which they assist. Once the Nativity scene is finished being set up, I ask all of you to take a few moments and reflect upon the Nativity and the image of our Lord. May Christ bring peace into your lives during 2019.

Thank you for all the kindness, support, encouragement and generosity you have shown to our parish during 2018. All of you certainly help make Precious Blood to be the vibrant parish it is today. I hope that this Christmas will be the most joyous you have known. May the newborn Christ Child bless you, your families and friends and your homes.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all,

Fr. Gary

Gaudete Sunday (third Sunday of Advent)

Dear Parishioners,

Sunday following Mass, a parishioner spoke to me about a discussion he had at the beginning of Mass with his daughter. The cantor announced that it was the second Sunday of Advent. Then his daughter leaned over to him and said you know what that means, with a smile on her face. She said next week Father wears pink.

Gaudete Sunday is celebrated on the third Sunday of Advent. The word Gaudete means rejoice, it reminds us to be joyful in this time of preparing for the coming of our Lord. The season of Advent originated of forty days in preparation for Christmas. On this Sunday the liturgical color is Rose, most of the children like to tease the priests that it is pink. I don’t care what you call it pink/rose, all I know is that it reminds us to rejoice, the Lord is near. Gaudete Sunday signifies that we are midway through the season and signifies the nearness of the Lord’s coming. Gaudete Sunday is further marked by a new Invitatory, the Church no longer inviting the faithful to adore merely “The Lord who is to come,” but calling upon them to worship with joy “The Lord who is now nigh and close at hand”.

The spirit of the Liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the Christmas feast as well as for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Gary

CPC Thank You

Dear Parishioners,

I wanted to thank all of you for the response for the CPC
campaign this year. We did achieve our assessed goal in
pledges with 73% participation from the Parish. Any funds
collected beyond our assessed amount will be returned to
the Parish and help with our regular operating expenses.

As part of the Diocese, Precious Blood is able to provide
the benefits we have for our staff, otherwise we would not
be able to do so. This year the Catholic School Office did a
regular review of our safety practices to ensure the safety of
our children. Along with our Sheriff, they toured the facilities
and made suggestions on how we could strengthen our
safety policies. Regularly our Parish office is in contact
with the Catholic Center. Their assistance allows us to
complete our tasks here at Precious Blood in an efficient
manner.

Some can give and some can’t, however we all benefit from
the services the Diocese provides to us throughout the year.
Some parishes can contribute and others are challenged, but
we all pull together and help the Church offer its ministry to
all who are in need. Thank you for your participation and
support. You all make not only Precious Blood a special
parish but your help makes our Diocese special as well.

God Bless you.

Fr. Gary

Advent

Dear Parishioners,

Some people have asked me about the advent wreath and
the history behind it. The advent wreath symbolizes our
need to prepare for the one true light.

During Advent, candles decorate the Advent wreath, a
wreath made of evergreen with four candles. Three of them
are purple or violet and one is rose or pink in color. During
each week of Advent, a candle is lit until the fourth week,
when all four are ablaze. The colors of the candles mirror
the color of the vestments of the priest and deacon. Advent
wreaths are used both in churches and in private homes to
remind people to prepare for the coming of our Lord and
honoring His incarnation. We are preparing for the real
reason of Christmas. Jesus is the true light that dispels ignorance
and sin and sheds light upon truth.

Advent is a time for the faithful to prepare spiritually. During
this season, when we often get distracted by shopping,
decorating, baking and partying, we need to leave room for
Jesus in our lives. Advent helps us Catholics to realize that
Christmas day is the real celebration and not before. I must
admit, I need that help. I need the preparation and the opportunity
to focus. I listen to Christmas music rather early.
Sometimes if we celebrate too early, it takes away from the
glory of Christmas.

During Advent, Catholics have various traditions. Typically
they go to confession, some attend daily Mass, and most try
to increase their prayer, practice patience and tolerance,
while the rest of the world gets caught up in distractions
which try to pull us away from the Light of truth, Jesus our
Savior. Maybe you could spend an hour of adoration with
Jesus—we do have a few open hours that could be filled by
regular adorers. Please contact the office for information.
The Little Blue Books are in and can be picked up in the
Parish Office while supplies last. Unwrap the gift of your
faith this holiday season and learn of the love God has for
you.

Fr. Gary

The Gift of Hope

The Gift of Hope

We expect Jesus to be a savior who will take care of all our needs for comfort and security in this World. If it seems to us, he is not answering our prayers for prosperity and protection, we feel betrayed; we get disillusioned. Jesus does promise security and life to the fullest as he defines these. He asks us to trust in his words, his promises, regardless of what we see and feel. Through every crisis that calls into question our trust in God, Jesus is inviting us to focus all our hopes and desires on the fullness of God’s promises, to trust not in the visible signs that God is providing for us, but simply in His promise to do so. This purifies our hope. We see this in the flight into Egypt. Mary and Joseph had the savior of the World in their care, but they had to trust purely in God’s word for protection when they were homeless refugees on the road to a foreign land. Jesus repeatedly challenges us, what are you looking for? What do you expect of me as Savior? Do you trust me no matter how vulnerable or abandoned you feel? Every experience of insecurity and doubt is a crisis that calls us to a deeper, more purified trust and hope as the Savior God really sent Jesus the suffering servant. Ask God to focus your hopes in union with Him alone. Ask God to teach you to trust the words “Give us this day our Daily bread” Matthew 6:32. When you are worried or a friend experiences a crisis, turn to Sacred Scripture and be comforted. A few favorite passages to read are: Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Zechariah 4:6, Philippians 4:6-7, Philippians4:19, 1 Peter 5:7. Receive the sacraments which God gave us to experience and encounter with him through grace. He touches our lives to assure that He is there and always loves us!! Know you are loved by God!

Fr. Gary

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Parish Family,

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving as a country. We recall the Pilgrims and Indians sharing food and giving thanks for the blessings that the Lord provided for them in this country. God has given each of us much to be thankful for this year. I am thankful for the Parish and School and the people who make up Precious Blood and Holy Trinity Catholic School. None of the ministry Benedict and I do, would be possible without a dedicated staff and team of volunteers. I encourage you to express your appreciation when you see one of the staff members. Tell them thanks and what you appreciate about them. I give thanks to the many sacrifices you have made in Stewardship of time, talent and treasure, which allow us to perform the ministry to God’s people. God bless you for your tithing and know how critical this is for our Parish and School to provide ministry to all of you. Your gift of presence at Mass and many Parish events is another reason for my gratitude. We are also blessed with our Catholic School, Holy Trinity and the Religious Education program that serve our young people. If you see our Principals, Jon and Jenna, teachers or catechists, please thank them for their work. Join me in thanking the many volunteers who assist them for their gift of time and talent. Our faith is a gift from God; our life is a precious gift; this week give praise to our Lord for all he has given you including family, friends, and fellow parishioners. Know of my prayers of thanksgiving for all of you. I am grateful to have the honor of serving you as Pastor/Priest Delegate. I pray that all of you enjoy a meal with your loved ones and I look forward to sharing the Eucharist with all of you this week. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Fr. Gary