Mass Times and Locations
 

The Parish and the Body of Christ

Dear parishioners,

Blessings of peace and joy to you!

The holy season of Lent is on the horizon, for Ash Wednesday is about a week and a half away. Fortunately for us, the fever pitch of commercialization that characterizes Christmas is toned down during Lent and Easter so that we can have some extended, quiet moment for reflection throughout the season.

While we wait for the Lenten storm to gather, I want to remind you of a few exciting projects and events that need your support.

Ash Wednesday

We shall have two Masses to help us take a solemn dive into Lent on Ash Wednesday, which is on 2/26. I urge all the parish families and friends of the parish to participate in the Holy Mass and receiving of ashes. Mass at St. Isidore’s is at 5:00 pm; Mass at St. John’s is at 7: pm. The schedule provides an excellent opportunity for students and working parishioners to be part of the beautiful Ash Wednesday tradition.

First Reconciliation

Twenty-three exciting young children in the parish will be making their First Reconciliation in preparation for first Holy Communion on February 29th.  I ask for your continuing prayers for them and their families.

2020 Lenten project.

One of the Lenten disciplines that the church urges us to embark on for both personal and communal spiritual growth is almsgiving. While some individual members of the parish continually navigate ways to assist those who are not so fortunate with economic resources, as a church, we can collectively do the same.

This year, our parish Lenten project (mainly financial) will go to support the Haiti school project that is supported by St. John, All Saints, and St. Mary’s – Vinton. The Social Justice Committee will be instrumental in organizing this year’s project. They will be sharing materials and other pieces of information intended to draw our attention to the project and update us on how much we realize.

It’s just a Lenten almsgiving discipline. Children can reduce or give up on favorite candies they take during Lent, save the cents and give towards this project.  Adults may be encouraged to fast from some favorite “goodies” and direct the money for such “likes” towards this project.

 During Lent, we sacrifice and discipline the body’s desires and taste so that we can give to others.

Many blessings,

Fr. Andrew

The Parish and the Body of Christ

                              

Dear parishioners,

Blessings of peace and joy to you!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?”  Jesus stresses how his followers, like himself, must become the germ of change and preservation of the world from corruption. In a similar message, Jesus says, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for another” (John.13:34-35).

It is true today, through medical practice, that the heart, a vital element of the human body, needs a minimal amount of salt to keep healthy; yet, the seasoning or preserving character of salt for flavor and endurance can’t be denied. Contextually, it is the consumption of salt that Jesus stresses in the passage; salt enters the body and gives it a flavor. Similarly, a person becomes a member of the body of Christ and the parish to bring the taste of joy and change to the world around us. Because salt is first eaten before its flavor can be experienced, so must the change occur within the Christian first before it influences others.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.” Jesus likens his disciples to light. For in the most real sense of the word, Jesus alone is the light of the world. By referring to the disciples as the light of the world, he challenges us to possess the same mind that he has, and that is the only way we can influence it.

The challenge that Jesus gives by this comparison is for us to seek ways to be of positive influences. But, how do we maintain our momentum to do what Jesus is asking? We can take some clue from the apostle Paul, who salted and lighted his ministry with the spirit and power of God (1 Cor. 2:4). In other words, rely on God for strength and less on our human wisdom and intellectual ability. Follow the logic of grace and you will do well in all things.

Also, next Sunday, February 16, 2020, is the annual auction for St. John’s. The auction committee has been working hard to make it another success. I add my voice to their effort to invite parishioners of St. Isidore’s to the auction and encourage all parishioners of St. John’s to support this primary fundraiser for the parish. The previous ones had been successful because you contributed to it immensely. I am hopeful that we will all rally behind the committee to give it a good shot again.

Many blessings,

Fr. Andrew

Sunday, January 19

Dear Parishioners,

Blessings of peace and joy to you and your families.

          I write to inform you that Charlene Vig will not be joining our parish staff after this weekend. After nearly seven years of dedicated service to our parish family of St. John the Baptist, Charlene has decided to discontinue as the Youth Minister and a staff member for a personal reason.

As the Youth Minister, Charlene worked hard with a team of parishioners and youth leaders to prepare some of our young compatriots for Confirmation and a faith-based educational and social formation.

On behalf of all parishioners, especially the youth, I thank Charlene Vig, for her ministry at St. John the Baptist. We all wish her well; we also hope that her plans will still enable her to keep serving her parish in some other capacities.

Meanwhile, Charlene’s intention is to volunteer her time to work with our Confirmation group till they are confirmed in March. We again, appreciate this gesture.

Relatedly, we will start looking for her replacement for our youth soon. Hence, if anyone has suggestions about youth ministry in the parish, they are free to let me know or contact any of our Faith Formation Commission members. 

Also, if anyone feels called to work with our exciting young people in the parish and meet the requirements that will be set for it, let the person consider applying.

Service to God, the church, and one’s parish are always excellent and rewarding.

Many blessings,

Fr. Andrew

Sunday, January 12

Dear Parish family,

Blessings to you.

This weekend we celebrate the feast of the Lord’s baptism. At the same time, we conclude the celebrations that mark holy Christmas. The Lord’s baptism constitutes the foundation for our baptism, even as his death and resurrection form the basis of our hope for eternal life with God.

Consequently, we rejoice in the baptism we have all received. At our baptism, we receive gifts, which enable us to serve and support the church and beyond. Here at St. John’s, so many parishioners are involved in various parish ministries. Some have served over the years and are no longer able to do it, while others continue to serve joyfully.

As we conclude the Christmas season and step deeper into the new year, I wish to render gratitude to all parishioners for your continuing presence and support for the parish. It takes all of us to build the church. The spiritual and financial support you render to the parish is the source of the vibrancy and aliveness of our joyful and welcoming church.

Just to give you an idea of the number of parishioners involved in serving our family of St. John:

 Staff-6, Pastoral Council-9, Finance Council-7, Sacristans-4, Communion Ministers-45, Lectors-19, Altar Servers-42, Greeters/Ushers-24 families, Music- 24, Faith Formation Commission-8, Liturgy Committee-7, Social Justice-6, Environment and Grounds-9, Social Justice- 8, Evangelization Committee-8, Auction Committee-8, Religious Education-47, RCIA-6, Community Connection Group-3, Baptism Catechisis-8 and Youth Ministry & Confirmation-14. There are still others serving in different areas.

Thank you for your services in the past year and your willingness to keep serving our beloved parish.

Happy New Year!

Many Blessings,

Andrew.

Sunday, December 22

Dear parish family,

Blessings of peace and joy to each of you.

Welcome to the fourth week of advent.

     Two Sundays ago, I officially mentioned the creation of Mary’s Prayer Garden at St. John. I waited for the 8th of December to announce it to coincide with the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother.  The prayer garden, while not being new, has been relocated from its former location around the rectory to the east end of the church. From its current location, one can conspicuously see the beautiful statue of “Our Lady of Fatima” from Highway 30 and from the upper parking lot.

     We offer a big thank you to everyone who helped plan, organize, and build the new Prayer Garden: Charles and Marylynn Murray, Loraine Kula, Linda Hansmeier, Wanda Thackery, Janet Dietrich, and Laura and Jeff Friedman. Also, thanks those who helped with labor and construction: Troy Louwagie, Mark Anton, Brian Dake, Ryan Reyhons, Orville and Marybeth Peiffer, Zach Vig, Charlene Vig and the many Parish Youth.  Thanks to Keith Woods who put in the sidewalk and to Ann Hufford and Dennis Allard for their financial donation.

It’s a prayer garden and a good place to seek the intercession of the Blessed Mary through the rosary. Whenever you can, come to pray the rosary and experience Mary’s powerful intercession.

Second Sunday of Advent

 Dear parish family,

Blessings of peace and joy to you.

Welcome to the second week of advent. A man appeared before a judge for failing to keep the child support responsibility for his two-year-old boy. And when the judge asked him why he had failed to support the child, he answered, “The boy doesn’t look like me.” Then the judge responded, “If so, take care of him till he looks like you.”

The message of John the Baptist for the weekend can be likened to the one above. When he started his ministry, John was heard in the desert shouting, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” The central idea underlying John’s preaching is repentance and conversion. John calls people to make changes in their lives in anticipation of the advent of the Messiah. Like the judge in the story above, John is asking us to do what makes us look like God. 

During this advent, John’s voice comes to us again to challenge us to be and look like God. Here are some simple actionable activities we can engage to mirror our Father in heaven:

  • Pray more. Try to remind yourself to make brief prayers a few times over the course of the day. We are all busy, especially if we are not retired; and that is alright! With the busy schedule, we mostly don’t get the time and the place to kneel and pray. So, it may help a great deal to remind yourself to say brief prayers frequently during the day when driving, sitting in the office, waiting to pick your child from school, picking stuff at the store, etc. If our students can remember to do the same when in the car to and from school, during sports and other activities. If we remind ourselves to pray and do so frequently, we keep our image of God with us.
  • Find a favorite short prayer that you can repeat several times during the day. Any simple prayer like one of these: “ God is good all the time” “Jesus I trust in You”, “My Lord and my God”, “Lord help me”, “ Lord come to my assistance”, “Lord make haste to help ”, “My soul glorifies the Lord”, “Blessed be the Lord”, can constitute remarkable prayers, if we consciously repeat them often. 
  • Show favor to others. The people we must love, appreciate, and care about, present us with the opportunity for our generosity. So, let’s put others before ourselves. People reflect what we are or can be. Love others, appreciate and care for them, and behold, you’re loving, appreciating, and caring about yourself. But, if we dislike and condemn them, make no mistake, we dislike and condemn ourselves.
  • Look for the opportunity to confess your sins. Confession results in reconciliation with God, with others, and with ourselves. A good confession cleanses the tainted heart and soul to become godly. If we don’t look like God now, then let’s follow these simple steps and we will soon look like our father in heaven.

Happy advent! 

First Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners,

Blessings of peace and joy to you and your family.

Welcome to the holy season of Advent. God has begun another holy year with us; and once again, let’s travel hand in hand with each parishioner through the new liturgical year. Remember that this Advent season is the start of the liturgical Year A (Cycle A). You know that there are three liturgical years or cycles. We just ended the Year C, during which our Sunday liturgy focused primarily on the Gospel of Luke. 

In Year A, the church offers us the opportunity to reflect on Matthew’s gospel to broaden our insights and appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ. All four Advent gospels will open to us the treasures of God’s eschatological fulfillment that await us. This first Sunday urges us to be expectant and prepared for the dawning of God’s inbreaking into our individual lives and human history. The second and third Sundays will present to us the strong figure of John the Baptist. To us here in St. John the Baptist Church and St. Isidore Church, he is our man. He is our mentor. He is our guiding star. I pray that his strong voice and words will be heard daily by all of us and walk to the savior he leads us to discover each day. As the fourth Sunday dawns, we will be at the threshold of Christmas. We shall say something about Christmas when we near the moment. But for now, we listen to the echoing voice of John the Baptist, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Have you been thinking of making any resolutions at the end of the year? Do you have any areas in your life you intend to resolve to change or improve? Why not do it now? Does the Church’s year mean anything you? It’s almost a puzzle to me when I consider how I hinge my life upon the secular calendar and make resolutions around 12/31 each year to improve in some areas of my life. The intention to prune and refine my life through resolutions never materialize to my expectation. It seems to me upon further reflection that the spiritual year might be a more practical and relevant moment to make resolutions than the secular year. Hence, I have decided to adopt the church’s year for my resolutions to seek improvement in my life journey. You might want to consider that also. For grace comes to us during holy moments rather than secular times. Hence, the beginning of the Church’s year can be your grace-filled moment to resolve to step out into life with the confidence that comes from God and supported by the channels made available to us by the Church. If we attach a more careful consideration to the Church’s calendar year and pitch our activities around it accordingly, who knows what the grace of God will furnish us with?

I also encourage you to make time for the few spiritual and holy activities lined up for us during the Advent season: communal reconciliation, an hour of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Rosary, or Evening Prayer and Benediction could provide enriching moments of preparation for Christmas. Decide to make time for these activities and you will find the time for them. Check the bulletin and website for programs.

Advent is here. A new liturgical year has dawned on us. Let’s celebrate God’s wonderful love for us each year.

Fr. Andrew

Solemnity of Christ the King

Dear Parishioners,

Blessings of peace and joy to you and your families.

“Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” “Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23: 42-43). These two profound statements, the first made by a dying thief on a cross and the second by a dying king on the Cross are repeated to us every year on the feast of Christ the King.

We notice from the gospel that all the people mentioned in the account: the rulers of the people, the soldiers, and the other thief, ridiculed Jesus because it was absurd to see the one who claimed to be a king dying on the cross. Conversely, the “repentant” thief, amid such derision, was able to contemplate the unfolding events to discover the humble king of heaven and earth. 

The first reading is even more consequential to the understanding of the kingship and the kingdom of Jesus. According to 2 Samuel 5:1-3, David was anointed king after all the tribes of Israel came to ask him to be their king. Note that this was the third anointing David received following what is recorded in 1 Samuel 16:1-13, when God asked Samuel to anoint him, and the one recorded in 2 Samuel 2:1-4, when the tribe of Judah asked him to be their king. The significance of the threefold anointing which never happened to any priest, king, prophet was that: 1. David’s kingship will be permanent and everlasting. 2. His kingdom will go beyond a demarcated boundary to include everyone.

Observe that these anointings occurred not for  David himself, but for the messiah( the Christ/ anointed), the future  descendant of David, Jesus Christ, who will be a ‘Prophet’, ‘King’, and Priest’(note also that these three groups were all anointed for their ministries).  Again, connect what the angel Gabriel said to Mary concerning Jesus, “ the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will rule over the house of Jacob, and his kingdom will have no end (Luke 1:32-33). It is through the cross that Jesus fulfills this and establishes the kingdom which is open to all people. For this reason, St. Paul in the second reading reminds us that God has delivered us from darkness into the kingdom of his beloved son; in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

So,  the monumental consideration for us, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, is not whether the World recognizes Jesus, not whether some people somewhere or around us accept Jesus, but whether YOU and I  will keep  accepting Jesus as our king and live as members of his kingdom to the end. And remember, His kingdom first takes place in our HEARTS; and it is a kingdom of truth, peace, justice, and love for all women and men. 

TRUST IN THE LORD

Dear parishioners,

Blessings and peace to you and your families.

I thought you may take some encouragement from these words; For we all need to be encouraged to stay afloat in the sea of life. But, where can we draw any meaningful encouragement from? Well, it’s the solid, unadulterated God’s Word.

Things will happen in life, if they are not happening already, where we may find ourselves wondering, “I just don’t get this. Everything has been falling in place just fine until now. I don’t get this at all.” We might even question, if we haven’t done so already, “God, why?”

It’s okay to ask God why. But we don’t have to expect him to answer. Sometimes, the reason is that he doesn’t have to proffer any answers. But, for the most part, it’s simply because we won’t get it even if God explains the situation to us. He sees more than we see, he knows more than we know.


Remember your efforts in elucidating an easy-to- grasp concept to your three or four or five-year-old child or grandchild, and they never get it. They never get it because they are kids, their intellectual conceptions have not matured enough. Similarly, we also could be infants before God when life challenges arise, and we are seeking to understand. We may not get it! God can expound on something to us, and we go like, “Uh, I don’t agree with that. I think it’s not in my best interest, or its’s not what I think it should be.”

So God says, “I’m not even going to bother illustrating anything to you. I am with you. That is My answer. I am with you, and I will get you through it. Just trust me. And in time, you will look back and will see things working together for good. Ultimately, on the other side, you will get the big picture. But until then, you will have to just trust Me.”

We all get overwhelmed sometimes when circumstances we have to deal with stress us out. Maybe you’ve even had a terrible mishap of some sort — a tragedy, an unexpected announcement about your health. You’re wondering, “I don’t know how to handle this. I don’t know what to do.” I don’t know what is going to happen sooner or later.” Here is the key: trust in God; find your peace in him.

Do you have faith in God? Do you have trust in him? Say with David, “In you Lord, I have found my peace,” (Psalm 131: 1), and believe it for what it is. Learn to say and believe it, “Lord, not my will, but yours be done.” And then, live in love, grow in faith, be a blessing.

Gratitude

Dear Parishioners,

Blessings of peace and joy to you and your families.

At the start of the month of November which we acknowledge as the month of thanksgiving, I invite all parishioners to live with grateful hearts throughout the month and beyond. As members of a faith community who are recipients of the unceasing graces and rich blessings of the Father, let us remember that gratitude multiplies blessings and opens the door of greater opportunities to us.

Gratitude is associated with blessings. The more we demonstrate grateful hearts, the more astronomical our blessings can be. We should all have a reason to thank God, but as a parish community, here are some reasons to collectively give thanks throughout the month:

Our sister Sue, after several years of dedicated service to our sister parish communities of St. John and St. Isidore, retired from active ministry. We thank the good Lord for choosing her and working through her for his church.

Another reason to thank God is for my assignment to our sister parishes of Saint Isidore & Saint John. The appointment is an expression of Archbishop Jackals’ willingness and commitment to keep supplying all parishes with priests. As we pray for more priests for the Archdiocese of Dubuque to serve the pastoral and spiritual needs of parishioners, our gratitude should be expressed to God and to Archbishop Jackals.

The call to be grateful is also a call to attend Mass constantly on the weekends; and as a reminder, our morning Masses are short and sweet moments to savor God’s fragrance during the week. Consider morning Masses as well whenever your schedule permits you. The Mass itself is a celebration of thanksgiving and so being at Mass enables the worshipers to give thanks together. I am hoping for a packed church all through the month. Invite a friend or a relative and bring them to church.

Again, thanksgiving is also a time to share our blessings with the Church. Deciding to bump up your giving during this time and hopefully going forward is encouraged highly. I humbly invite all parishioners to use this month to start considering an adjustment in their weekly contributions to keep supporting the  church. However, the parish is always appreciative of the commitment of the members who support it.

Finally, I encourage all parishioners to add to their prayer intentions Pope Francis’ intention for the month of November. The intention is for ‘Dialogue and Reconciliation in the Near East’. The holy Father is asking that we pray for a true spirit of dialogue, encounter and reconciliation to occur among the various religious groupings. These monthly intentions are so purposeful and a way to keep a universal prayer going in the church. It is therefore necessary that we unite with the pope to pray together for the world and about the issues that confront us.

Together let’s give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love is everlasting!

Fr. Andrew

Faith Formation News

“Things what we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.. We will not hide them from their children, but tell the coming generation, the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has wrought”.  (Psalms 78:3-4).

In response to the Archdiocese plea for mission-related needs and responding to God’s calling to be stewards, St. John grades preschool-eighth-grade will be implementing Archdiocese One as a mission project.  Each week of faith formation the children/youth will have an opportunity to help fill up the collecting container with “pennies to pocket change.” No amount is too small.  Every penny will help secure the future for Priest Retirement, Seminarian Education, Cathedral of St. Raphael Church and Campus repairs and Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services.

Our children and youth, from preschool to eighth-grade will be adding two new prayers to their prayer repertoire this year, the Memorare and the Angelus. 

Please keep our twenty-three second-graders in your prayers, as they, under the leadership of  their families, prepare together for the Sacrament of Reconciliation that will take place February 29, 2020.

Baptisms and anniversaries

Dear Parishioners,

1. Blessings of peace and joy to you and your families. I bring to your attention that starting this November, parents seeking baptism for their child will be expected to attend a baptism catechesis session. The session is for those who are baptizing a child for the first time as well as those who have baptized a child before. As Catholics, our baptism incorporates us into Christ, and at the same time initiates us into a faith community. It is our desire and Christian responsibility as a parish community to accompany and support families to prepare through catechetical instructions for the joyful celebration of baptism. 

There are four scheduled dates for catechesis. Those who will desire to ask for baptism should take note and register to attend a session prior to their preferred date for the baptism. Baptism preparation starts when parents come to meet the priest or another pastoral team member to sign up for a session and continues during the catechesis session.

The following dates are schedule for catechesis at St. John the Baptist. 

November 12, 2019

February 11, 2020

May 12, 2020

November 10, 2020

2. We are starting to offer special anniversary blessings for couples celebrating 15, 25, and 50 years of marriage. Any couple wishing to receive anniversary blessings should call the office prior to the weekend Mass they wish to be blessed to let Fr. Andrew know ahead of time.

God bless,

Fr. Andrew

A Letter from the Archbishop

In response to real needs, and after broad consultation, as well as much work, I am happy to announce the start of a special appeal, which we are calling ArchdioceseOne, to help the poor and to support the mission of the Church. As the special appeal unfolds, each of us will be invited to help secure the future for mission-related needs: to financially support retired priests; to educate future priests, our seminarians; to make much-needed repairs to the Cathedral of St. Raphael; and to provide more legal services for immigrants, which has been identified as the greatest need for the poor in our midst. And we’re hoping that when we each do our part our special appeal will produce spiritual benefits as well, for example: to strengthen unity in our Archdiocese; to deepen our practice of stewardship as a way of life; and to heal the Church with the medicine of charity. I invite you to go to the website www.ArchdioceseOne.org to watch a video prepared to introduce you to our special appeal.

As a beggar for the Lord, I am asking all of us, please, to support our special
appeal with a sacrificial gift, and to pray for its success. We can’t hope for its material and spiritual success unless this holy work is begun with God’s
inspiration and carried out by God’s help. Towards that end, as the official prayer for our special appeal, ArchdioceseOne, we pray: God, come to our assistance; Lord, make haste to help us. God bless you.


Thank you,
Archbishop Michael Jackels

Faith Formation News

Take Away Hunger on October 9: Take Away Hunger will once again take place at St. John from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.  This year’s presenter will be Joe Mischka, from Cedar Rapids, who will speak about agriculture in Haiti.  A seasoned Haitian traveler, Joe works and visits with the Haitian local farmers in the Notre Dame de Lourdes area to learn more about their agriculture and what their needs are.  The evening is divided up into three-twenty-minute segments, 1. Joe Mischka, 2. Packaging in the lower level, or 3. Join some of the grades as they learn new facts in the education wing about Haiti and agriculture/Catholic Social Teaching.   Regardless of when you arrive you will have an opportunity to listen to Joe, help package or go to class.  Feel free to spend as much time as you want in any session.

RCIA will begin soon. If you, or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Catholic, or want to learn more about the Catholic faith, contact Fr. Andrew at 319-895-6246 or Linda at 319-540-1190.

Family Sacramental Interviews will begin this week for First Reconciliation and First Communion. This year we have 23 children who will be preparing to receive First Sacraments.  Please hold these children and their families in prayer as their parents teach their child/children about receiving the sacraments and how they live the sacrament in their everyday lives.

Feast of Archangels & an appeal from the Archdiocese

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Blessings of Peace and Joy to you and your families!

We celebrate the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time which coincides with the feast of the Archangels – Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael.  On this Sunday, the Archbishop will launch a special fundraising appeal called Archdiocese One, intended to address some significant areas of concern in the Archdiocese, at the St. Raphael’s Cathedral at Dubuque. I share with you the Archbishop’s message:

Illustration

Someone once said that manure, if just piled up, only stinks and draws flies. But if it is spread out over the ground, it nourishes the soil and benefits the crops.

Message

That is the message of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage. The rich man was not condemned for being rich, but because he refused to share with the poor.

Application

The Gospel story reflects the biblical teaching on stewardship, which begins with the fact that we don’t own anything; everything is on loan from God. God entrusts us with time, talents, and treasure to manage according to God’s good pleasure, which is, first, to provide for ourselves and our dependents.

But it is also God’s pleasure that we share what we have in support of the Church’s mission and to provide for the poor. Each of us has to decide how much of our time, talent, or treasure isn’t ours to use or to store up for ourselves, but which God intends that we share. And when we give, it is important that we give cheerfully, neither compelled by threat nor enticed by reward.

 Jesus promises those who share will receive back in proportion to what they give; the measure you use will be measured back to you.

Special Appeal

Our special appeal, which we call Archdiocese One, is a way to help the poor and to support the mission of the Church. In the course of our special appeal, each of us will be invited to help secure the future for mission-related needs: priest retirement fund; education of seminarians; repair of the Cathedral of St. Raphael; and legal immigration services, identified as the greatest need for the poorest of the poor in our midst.

But we’re hoping for spiritual benefits as well. For example, to strengthen unity in our Archdiocese, to deepen our practice of stewardship as a way of life, and to heal the Church with the medicine of charity.

Take-away

At Holy Mass on Sunday, when the collection basket is passed, put your hand in the basket, hopefully to give a gift, but even if you don’t have something to share. In such a case, putting your hand in the basket will serve as a reminder of our need to share to help the poor, and in support of the Church’s mission, in support of Archdiocese One. Spread the manure… I mean, the wealth!

Thank you,

Father Andrew

Lyrics & New Member Welcome


Blessings of peace and joy to your families!

Here are some things for your attention:

1. Singing during the penitential rite:

The following are the lyrics of the two songs I’ve been singing during the penitential rite:

A.            It’s me

Not my father, not my mother, but it’s me, oh Lord
Standing in need of mercy.
Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, oh Lord.
Standing in need of mercy.

It’s me; it’s me, it’s me oh Lord
Standing in need of mercy 
It’s me; it’s me, it’s me oh Lord
Standing in need of mercy 

B.          He touched me

He touched me, oh He touched me
And all the joy that floods my soul
Something happened, and now I know 
He touched me and made me whole

2. New parishioner Breakfast Meeting

Our parish, St. John the Baptist is a thriving parish that is blessed with new members from time to time; we praise Jesus! We have decided to alter the way we welcome new families to the parish. It’s customary in the parish that someone will visit and welcome a new family in their home. The challenge that is often encountered by those who volunteer to visit the families is that sometimes a family may not be home.

But it’s even more significant that we formally welcome and celebrate new families that join our parish together to give other parishioners the chance to know and embrace them as well. So, starting September 29th, we will have a new parishioner Breakfast Meeting after Mass every three months for new families that have not yet been welcomed in that manner. 

It will be expected that a member of each committee/commission for the ministries in the parish represents the ministry to give a brief description of their respect ive ministries in a way to let the new families discover and determine which ministries are available to them, if they decide to serve in any of them.

The Breakfast Meeting is meant just for the new families to the parish and the representatives of the committees/commissions to speak.

New families will receive an invitation through an email or/and a phone call from the parish sometime before the scheduled Breakfast Meeting.

Thank you.

Fr. Andrew

A Gesture of Silence

     I still remember the first phrase I heard from the onset of my days in the Seminary, “magnum silencium!” (great silence). Silence is the mechanism through which the divine presence is experienced in the heart and mind of a person.

     In my seminary days, we were encouraged to observe moments of silence in the morning before heading out to pursue the day’s undertakings and at night as we got ready for bed. But the two most profound moments to observe great silence were at church before Mass and a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

      Arriving some minutes earlier to sit quietly in the house of God to listen and speak to God alone is a healthy spiritual practice.  Silence has always been the bedrock for discernment. Anyone seeking to discern and figure out something in their personal, family, professional, and spiritual life may resort to silence. I encourage you to come to spend some quiet time in conversation with God before Mass commences or make time to sit alone before the Blessed Sacrament.

     The Bible is inundated with instances when God entered human stories in silence. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), and “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!”( Hab.2:20) are spectacular calls for us to learn to be silent before the Lord.

     Living in a noisy and information-saturated world of today where our phones, computers, TV, radio sets, social media, and the like  compete for our attention all the time, even during our sleep and meal times, where else can we experience the power of silence except in the quietness of the house of God?

     Silence keeps her great spiritual benefits for those who are intentional at observing it. Think about the beautiful image of the Holy Saturday Easter Virgil, at the beginning when the church is partially dark, the Paschal Candle enters the church and illumines the whole room with the profound light of the risen Lord. This is what silence before Mass can bring to us. It also clears all the noise in our hearts and minds and prepare us to see the light and joy of Christ in the sacrifice of the Mass we have come to be partakers of.

In his book, “The Power of Silence,” Robert Cardinal Sarah, intimates, ” God carries us, and we live with him at every moment by keeping silence. Nothing will make us discover God better than his silence inscribed in the center of our being. If we do not cultivate this silence, how can we find God?

  I can imagine the profound experience of God’s presence we will all begin to realize if we can create together the spiritual atmosphere for silence in our parish. What if we created a culture of 20 minutes of great silence before Mass?

Let us be guided by the understanding that we come to the mass to encounter the Lord in our worship, and I think a gesture of silence from each of us to all who are present will prepare us for it.

And by the way, parents with little children must not feel bad when a child cries or makes noise; for that is always a joyful noise to the Lord, and we welcome it. Coming to Mass with your children is more honorable to us than you can imagine

Fr. Andy

Schedules and recognizing marriages

Dear  Parishioners,

Blessings of Peace and joy to everyone. There are a couple of things I like to bring to your attention:

 1.    Beginning the month of August, at the start of every month, we shall offer special blessing for all those who married in that month.

2.       Office hours for Fr. Andrew and Cheryl at St. Isidore will be Wednesday and Thursday, beginning the month of August from 10 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

On Tuesday and Friday, Fr. Andrew will work at St. John.

3. We will also like to recognize and bless those celebrat ing  25th or 50th wedding anniversary. Any couple who are married 25 or 50 years during the year, may call the office and indicate that they will be coming to mass.

4. Thursday, August 15, is the solemnity of Assumption, a holy day of obligation. There will be a vigil Mass on Wednesday, August 14, at St. John’s parish at 6:00 P.M. There will also be morning Mass at 8:00 A.M on Thursday, August 15, at St. Isidore’s parish. 

Please, take advantage of the opportunity provided to attend Mass of the Feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church and Helper of Christians.

5. The only weekday Masses during the week of August 12-16 in both St. Isidore and John will be the Masses for the Solemnity of Assumption. There will be no other morning Mass on Tuesday at St. Isidore or Wednesday and Friday at St. John during that week.

Blessings in Christ,

Fr. Andrew

Adding a daily mass

Blessings of peace and joy to you and your families.

Part of the excitements and benefits of having a resident pastor as a parish community is the opportunity to have daily Masses in addition to weekend Mass. And as we continue to build and develop our growing parish together, one immediate introduction we are making to our scheme of parish life is another morning Mass during the week to the existing Friday morning one. This will day will be Wednesday at 8:30 A.M.

The Catholic Mass is miracle to families, parishes, towns, cities, and nations. One favorite  scripture that inspires my love for the Holy Mass is 2 Chronicles 7:14:  “  If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Is it any wonder that the Mass is offered in almost every village and cosmopolitan city in the world?

The miracle of the Mass is that it makes the saving power and victory that Jesus brought to the world present daily to our families and the world. As we participate in the Mass, we receive forgiveness and healing grace that empower us to live with gratitude. We’re able to count our blessings because we see in the Mass the very hand of God transforming and bringing victory in the troubled areas of our lives, gentle calmness in the chaos that surround us, and peace to the turbulence that buffet our lives.

Jesus is present to us and our community as we become the human tabernacles of the living God in the world though our reception of Holy Communion. The world owes a lot to the Catholic Church for the transforming power of the Mass that is celebrated daily around the globe bringing God uniquely to the world.

Why don’t you decide to make time to attend Mass at St. John the Baptist Parish during the week, if your schedule permits?

Save the date! The start of this new weekday mass will be Wednesday, August 7, 2019. In the meantime, the regular Friday mass will continue.

Fr. Andy

Getting to Know You

Blessings of peace and joy to you!

Last Tuesday, my pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Dubuque took a lovely turn with my arrival at the sister parishes of St. John in Lisbon-Mount Vernon and Isidore in Springville to serve as the pastor.

The initial “baptism” into the engaging parish life of Saints John and Isidore was exciting. With a bundle of enthusiastic young children and an evangelistic-minded team of missionaries and parish staff hosting “Totus Tuus,” it was obvious to me even without anyone expressing it that I have joined to two most lively, faith-filled communities.

The weekend celebrations and welcome rapport, amidst meal sharing, were the icing on the cake.” Everyone was delighted to see me” is the mantra I have repeated to people in Ghana, New York, Dubuque, and Mason City. I feel so much at home and comfortable already because of your smiles, handshakes, words of love and welcome.

With a deep sentiment of gratitude, I want to thank everyone of you and say that your families are my families as well. My mother will be delighted to here that I have many mothers here in Springville and Lisbon-Mount Vernon. My deceased father will be happy to notice that I have many fathers. My siblings will be excited to here that I have many siblings here to compensate for the sentimental loneliness that my distance from them create.

Lastly, I appreciate all those who came to mass at the weekend to welcome me and interact with me. Thank you for your handshake, smiles, words of welcome, and your faith. Thanks to all those who organized my welcoming gathering, and those who brought something to share with others.

Now permit me to introduce and share with you some sayings that I like to use from time to time, especially during mass.

1. God is good,…. all the time; All the time,….God is good.

2. My soul glorifies the Lord …..my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

3. The Almighty has done great things for me,….. holy is His name.

I encourage all parishioners to adopt these snappy, prayerful expressions and say them all the time, and the blessings of God will alight upon our parishes and our families.

In Christ,

FR. Andy A-Mensah

Greetings!

Dear Parishioners,
Blessings of peace and joy to all of you! It gives me great joy to count myself now as a member of St. John’s parish family, and to accept the noble responsibility of serving you as your pastor. From the time I learned about my appointment to St. John’s parish, I constantly thank God for all of you and remember you in my prayers.

A brief introduction of myself: My name is Rev. Andrew Awotwe-Mensah. I am a native of Cape Coast in Ghana, where I was formed and ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cape Coast. In Ghana, I was mainly involved in minor seminary formation, but I did part-time parish ministry as well. I’m from a huge family of ten children; all nine siblings and my mother are doing well in Ghana.

My experience and ministry in the U.S. took off in 2012, at a parish in New York City, for four-and-a-half years. I moved to the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 2016, where I served in Mason City and Manley for a year, and Dubuque for two years.

At this point, I’m delighted to acknowledge the tremendous dedication and invaluable contribution of our sister, Sue Schettler, to the parish of St. John for these many years. Sue’s leadership over the years has resulted in great changes in the parish and made it a growing parish community. On your behalf, I express warm sentiments of appreciation to Sue, for saying yes to the Lord and the parishioners of St. John, to become Parish Life Coordinator. We wish her happy retirement and good health as she spends more time with her family.

We also express heartfelt gratitude to Fr. Jack, for his years of service to St. John’s as Sacramental Priest. Certainly, all parishioners have receive spiritual growth and blessings from his weekly celebration of the holy sacraments with you. The current arrangement only provides a little relief for him as he still has the care of All Saints.

Finally, in my years of ministry and life experiences, one thing stands in front of my eyes: I’ve always learned more from parishioners and people in general than I am able to teach them. This conviction fills me with greater expectation and hope as I come to join you to keep building St. John’s parish together. All of us are the members and owners of St. John’s parish. Let’s own it; let’s build it, and let’s worship and grow grow together in our faith.

Thank you for being part of St. John’s parish family!

In Christ,
Fr. Andrew

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