The greatest love story of all time is the story of our salvation. God, despite all our sins, has such great love for us that he is unwilling to leave us in our sinfulness. And as today’s Gospel reminds us, he was willing to sacrifice his only Son so that we might be raised from the death of sin and come to share in his life of communal love.
Today’s solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity celebrates that life of communal love. For God is one God, in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – whose relationship is one of complete self-gift and outpouring of love. In other words, God is not a being who loves, God is love itself.
That God is greater than we can ever know and yet is also one who revealed himself to us in his Son is truly something to celebrate. For the God who is transcendent – above all things – is also immanent: present to all things. He invites us to relationship with him; to seek more and know more and to open our hearts and minds to how he reveals himself to us.
So today’s solemnity is actually a double celebration; we celebrate what God has revealed and we accept the invitation to know him more, and to find joy and fulfillment in that knowing.
As the fundamental mystery of faith, it permeates our identity and prayer. Already at this Mass we have invoked the Trinity in several ways: from the initial sign of the cross to the Gloria to our opening prayer, which is addressed to the Father but offered though Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit … one God, forever and ever. In a few moments, our creed will set out what we believe about the oneness of God, and yet a God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. And, of course, in the central act of the Mass we will ask the Father to send the Spirit so that our bread and wine might become for us the body and blood of Christ, his Son. Our faith is Trinitarian!
Here we have three divine persons who in the words of the creed are consubstantial – eternal – each to be adored and glorified, and yet, one God. Within the Trinity there is such a perfect relationship that they are fully united in every way – no boundaries or separations except that they are not the same person. Everything that belongs to one belongs to the other, and yet each is not the same as the other.
By celebrating the Trinity, we recall God’s invitation to us to be in relationship with him. We are reminded that God loves each of us and wills only our good; that this love is so real that Christ was actually willing to die for us; and that the Spirit is the gift of the Father and Son to us, to remain present among us. The Holy Spirit teaches and reminds us of that Trinitarian love, strengthening and consoling us in times of challenge and trial, and empowering us to be disciples in a troubled world.
Let us be honest, we will never fully know – in this world – how and why God loves us so much or why he has chosen to make us his sons and daughters. So let us today just simply revel in that divine love and that holy identity. Let it flow over us like a great wave – empowering us to live as faithful disciples.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As one of the most important solemnities on the Church’s calendar, it has a rich depth of meaning, but here is how Pope Benedict summarized it in 2012: “This Solemnity makes us remember and relive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the other disciples gathered in prayer with the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room (cf. Acts 2:1-11). Jesus, risen and ascended into Heaven, sent his Spirit to the Church so that every Christian might participate in his own divine life and become his valid witness in the world. The Holy Spirit, breaking into history, and opens hearts to hope, stimulates and fosters in us an interior maturity in our relationship with God and with our neighbor.”
As we celebrate the Church today, I encourage all of you to share stories with one another with loved ones, family, and friends of those times when you made sacrifices for your faith.
Today we need community and we need inspiration from the Saints and from our brothers and sisters who make up the Church. As we return and build back our Church from Stay at Home conditions, stories that inspire will help us combat those moments of doubt and fear. Repeated throughout the New Testament is the phrase “Do not be afraid.” Now is the time for us to dig deep within and live out our faith.
As I look to the history of our Community of faith, I think of the men and women who sacrificed and literally built our Church. The clergy and laity working together to pass on the treasure of our faith. Share your story and those who inspired you. One example that inspires me is the sacrifices that Fr. Endress made to build Precious Blood. Today, I am sure he must be moved with joy at our beautiful Parish Campus which we have expanded and continue to maintain while the number of parishioners that continue to receive the Sacraments continues to grow. Come O Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the Faithful.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Memorial Day is a United States national holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I. Today many traditions continue around this holiday.
Please keep those who sacrificed all for our country and peace in our world in your prayers. Here is a prayer I offer for all veterans who have died. May they rest in peace.
“God, lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued absence. Bless those whose dear ones have died in accident or misadventure. We remember with compassion those who have died serving our country
in the futility of combat. Comfort all those who mourn. We believe that you will provide for us as others have been provided with the fulfillment of Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Dear Parish Family,
Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that those who love Him will follow the will of the Father and follow His commands. During this time, we have many opportunities to love God and our neighbor. Students completed their schoolwork; those who move from one stage in life to the next usually would have milestone celebrations. Most have been creative and honored them in unique ways. As we BEGIN to return to public worship, many of our beloved Parish remain at home to protect themselves and others.
This is a unique opportunity that will test our patience and provide an opportunity to show charity to others. When we first began this stay at home process, I stated that I felt God is speaking to us and we need to listen. The commands remain the same. The most important to Love God above all and to love our neighbor as our self. I ask and pray that all of us will breathe and do all we can slow down to show charity to others as we begin to worship and interact in new and different ways. Know of my love and prayers for all of you.
Dear Parish Families,
Mother’s are special people. During this Month of May we honor Mary as our spiritual mother and the mother of Jesus our Savior. We are also called to honor our own mothers or those who were special to us in our lives. I am thankful for the many sacrifices made, lessons taught and acts of kindness my mother shared with me. If you can not be with your Mom on this day, say a prayer for her. If your Mom is staying at home due to the Coronavirus, give her a phone call, try Zoom or Facetime or send her a Mother’s Day card.
We are often blessed by others in our lives: aunts, Godmothers, grandmas and other women who demonstrate the tender care of motherly love. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us pray for these women in our lives and those who have gone before us to heaven. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let all Mother’s experience the joy and peace of God. Happy Mother’s Day!!
Some of you have been reaching out and asking, “when do I think we will return to Mass.” Honestly, I don’t know. There are a lot of variables to this. The overall is how we are dealing with the Covid 19 Virus.
As you long to be back at Mass and yearn for the Eucharist, I yearn for you to be back and to serve you the Eucharist. That makes it difficult at this time of year as we hear readings from the Gospel of John on the discourse of the bread of life. Usually we would be preparing for First Communion. I know a lot of people have questions about that, as well. What I can tell you is this. I desire deeply to give the young children the Eucharist. I know they have been preparing for this. I know parents may have had some plans made. I do not see First Communion happening as planned for May 3rd of this year. I have not set a new date since I do not feel we have enough data to know when it would be safe to set a new date. It is frustrating enough for those involved for the cancellation and I can’t imagine how they would feel if I had to come back again and say, “oops we need to move that date again.”
I wish that I had more of an answer for you, but we still don’t know enough to make some of the decisions. Until we do have that information and until it is safe again to gather, I encourage you to pray the Spiritual Communion Prayer below. Know of my prayers and support for all of you.
It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion, which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion is an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and lovingly embrace him at a time or in circumstances when one cannot receive Him in sacramental Communion. The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.
Spiritual Communion Prayer
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
Dear Parish Family,
Greetings to each of you. I pray that you and your loved ones are doing well. Here is a Parish update for all of you.
I am celebrating Mass daily for parishioners and area Catholics. On Facebook business pages, it indicates the number of people reached and I am amazed by the numbers. Often it is much higher than the total number of views. It is common to have 1,000 to 2,000 reached. Not going to lie to you, that is more than the usual number of those attending daily Mass. However, I need your help. Please subscribe to Precious Blood Catholic Church-Jasper YouTube. It costs nothing! We need a thousand subscribers to live stream the Mass and other Parish events on YouTube. There are many who do not have Facebook; this would be another option for them. If each parishioner would do this, we would accomplish our Goal. PRECIOUS BLOOD NEEDS YOU! PLEASE RESPOND WITH ACTION. The following link will direct you to our YouTube page where you can click to subscribe. https://tinyurl.com/y7ks7kml
Nancy continues to create a smaller bulletin for online and we print about 75 off for nursing home/homebound and those without internet. About 50 are left at the entrance of the Church. Bonnie continues to update the website with the Masses and other posts. Weekly, we send out letters and bulletins to those in the nursing home and homebound. Barb also continues to send out e-mails to parishioners for whom we have e-mail addresses.
The outside lights were converted to LED lights. There are of couple of lights that need attention. Those funds are already available in our Building and Improvement funds and approved by both Parish and Finance Councils. Also, the HVAC unit was replaced in the office and the staff was grateful to have heat. The facilities and office staff continue to deep clean the Parish.
Know of my continued prayers, support and love for all of you. I look forward to the day when we worship together again in our beautiful Church.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Rejoice. He is risen!!! Happy Easter. I would like to thank all who watched from a distance on Livestream the Liturgies of the Triduum. Over 1,400 viewed Holy Thursday. Unfortunately I accidentally deleted Good Friday after it was aired (ugh the challenges of technology), 1,200 viewed the Easter Vigil and 2,200 viewed Easter Sunday Mass.
It was certainly a different Holy Week. Benedict went with me and waited in the Sacristy as I offered the Masses or Service. I spoke to a camera rather people. Frustrated, I decided to honor social distancing but invited four people to help with Music and assisting around the Altar. Nancy and Ann provided beautiful music which people responded to immediately online. I was so moved when I heard the music back in Church. I had seen others providing music from a distance at Mass, so I thought we need hope and music always adds to our liturgies. The servers allow the repeated parts to be included, which is what most of us are accustomed to at Mass. Sam and Abby wore their masks, kept a distance and responded beautifully.
Many of you reached out through texts, emails and calls encouraging and thanking me for the liturgies. I am grateful to support you through the gifts of my Priesthood and Livestream. Different, yes, but we remain strong and faith filled at Precious Blood. As I looked on-line, I am amazed at the acts of kindness that so many are doing throughout our community. God is alive and you are bringing Him to your neighbor. Well Done Precious Blood, Faith in Action!!
Some updates –
On Saturday, the company which is working on converting the lights to LED finished the outdoor lights. It was so nice to see Precious Blood all lit up after the vigil. It reminds us that Christ brought the light of truth to the world.
Nancy, Bonnie, Barb and I, have been getting our necessary work done and taking time to clean and purge the office, preparing for a deep clean of the office area. Julie and Shelia have been working hard to do a deep clean in both the Church and School. The office remains open 8-4 Monday through Friday, although the staff are on reduced hours. Our demand has shifted and as Pastor, I have been watchful of this change. Consulting with our councils and speaking with the staff, we are approaching this unique time as best that we can.
A reminder, please get your 52-week Cash Raffle tickets in, also thank you to those who continue to tithe through on-line donations on the website, automatic deposits or mailing in their weekly envelopes. Your support allows us to continue the ministry of our amazing Parish.
Easter does not end with Easter Sunday, so let us enjoy this festive season. Rejoice in our Lord’s Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday. We all need the hope filled message of the resurrected Lord in our lives right now. May this Easter Season be a happy and blessed one for all of us!!!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In this week’s bulletin, I wanted to share with you some information about a celebration we will be having the Sunday after Easter. The Second Sunday of Easter is observed as the Feast of Divine Mercy.
What is this Feast? Divine Mercy was revealed through Christ to St. Faustina. St. Faustina was a member of the convent of the congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. Our Lord appeared to this nun bringing a wonderful message of mercy for all of mankind. Sister Faustina’s diary cites the different visions she received and their messages.
Jesus told St. Faustina that this Feast of Mercy would be a very special day when “all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.” Christ made a great promise to all who would go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of His Mercy, now called Divine Mercy Sunday (The Sunday after Easter.)
Certainly, now is a time we need to pray for God’s mercy. You can join us celebrating this feast by watching and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. You can watch the video on Facebook or YouTube. Both accounts can be found under the title of Precious Blood Catholic Church – Jasper on both forms of media. Please click and like our video and subscribe to our Facebook and YouTube Accounts. We need 806 more subscriptions on YouTube to stream live. Please help us reach this goal. WE CAN DO THIS!
Also, for those who do not have either a YouTube or Facebook accounts another way in which you can watch and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet is through our website. Simply click upon “Banner” that has the Divine Mercy Chaplet and view the video.
I am thankful to both Jane Persohn and Jennifer Kluemper for sharing their beautiful talents with us. May God’s infinite mercy surround you and your loved ones during this time.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Holy Week is the most sacred week of the year for us Christians. That makes it especially difficult for us since there will be no Public Celebrations. We will honor our God and live out Holy Week in creative ways to live out our faith in God.
The week’s celebrations begin on Sunday with Palm Sunday. It will be different this year. There will be no blessed Palms and no Public Celebration. I will, however, provide a few resources for Holy Week for activities at home. Also, on Holy Thursday I will livestream adoration for people to view on Facebook.
The Sacred Triduum begins on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper which recalls the first Mass when Jesus gave us the gift of His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist and instituted the Priesthood. On Friday, we will recall the death of our Lord. Finally, on Saturday evening and Sunday, the greatest event in history is celebrated as we rejoice in the Lord’s resurrection and the hope of our own resurrection with Him one day. Again, I will livestream all these events, to stay connected and provide what I can for you during this time.
Have a blessed Holy Week and a joy-filled Easter. Know of my love, support and prayers for all of you.