Thursday, September 10, 2015

People Are Searching

Recently I stumbled across something interesting (old news for those who keep up to date better than me): a list of the top questions posed on Google in 2014.

It seems many people are searching for things that technology alone can't tackle, as the top questions prove.

According to Google, "It seems love does make the world go round. This year, 'What is love' topped the question charts with 5x more searches than 'What is science.' But when it comes to puckering up, we like a bit of guidance and searched 'how to kiss' more times than any other activity, including 'how to survive.'"

Other Google findings:

  • "Of all the world's seasons and celebrations, we have the most trouble remembering 'When is Easter,' closely followed by 'When is Halloween,' with searches steadily increasing the closer each holiday gets."
  • "If you have a poor sense of direction, you’re among friends. 'Where am I' topped the world’s most asked 'where' questions, closely followed by 'Where is Sochi.'" (site of the 2014 Olympics).
  • "We want to feel wanted, especially when it comes to social media. In 2014, we were 2x more likely to search 'Who unfollowed me' as 'Who called me.'"
  • "In moments of existential crisis, we looked to the Internet for answers, with 'What is life' and 'Who am I' featuring high on our list of questions."

It seems that many people are searching for much more than encyclopedia knowledge or contemporary songs. They are looking for answers to profound questions: What is love?  What is life? Who am I?

They want to be loved and to belong. While looking for their geographical location, they may have been searching metaphysically, too: Where am I?

To me, the most Googled questions show an opportunity for evangelization. Long before Google, Jesus and His Church has had the answers. People are searching, and we can be the engine directing them to the right place.

We need to take seriously our mandate from Christ, and our parish's mission: "Go and Make Disciples!"

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Award Winning Bulletin

Today, J.S. Paluch announced their newest "Bulletin of the Week":

If it's Wednesday, it's time for our ‪#‎BulletinOfTheWeek‬:

This week's featured bulletin comes from Papillion, Nebraska in the Archdiocese of Omaha!

We wanted to highlight St. Columbkille Catholic Church and its great work in the New Evangelization including both their full and informative bulletin and their foray into the digital universe, furthering their mission (and ours) to "Go make disciples!"

The School and Parish are hosting a Family Fun Fest on September 20th, we hear it's a great event of fun, food, and community.

Fr. Dave Reeson, St. Columbkille pastor, said, "I've been amazed at how many people come back from vacation and immediately stop by the parish for the bulletin to catch up. Having an attractive, colorful bulletin that people want to read makes it much easier for us to communicate with our parishioners. Jackie Buso [the bulletin editor] does such a great job I'm surprised we don’t get recognized every week."

That bulletin can be seen here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Where is Fr Dave now?

Fr Dave wrote: "Fr. Richard Reiser and I are now in the second largest city in Iceland, Akureyri, and this was the first nice day that we've had in the 70s no rain and lots of sunshine.  It's mostly a Lutheran place but there is a Catholic Jesuit that was from here who is now buried in Germany that was very popular and did a lot of good things in Iceland and parts of Germany and France. Sometimes those Jesuits do all right."

His ministry to the "boat people" continues.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Families Need Help and Support

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, on behalf of the US Bishops, made this 2015 Labor Day statement:

Labor should allow the worker to develop and flourish as a person. Work also must provide the means for families to prosper. "Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment" (Laudato Si' no. 128). Work is meant to be for the sake of the family. We do not undertake labor for its own sake, but as a way to grow toward lasting and meaningful realities in our lives and communities. Parents are called to be providers and educators to their children, passing down essential values and creating a home environment in which all members of the family can be fully present to one another and grow. Dignity-filled work and the fruits of that labor nourish families, communities, and the common good.

Is there any question that families in America are struggling today? Too many marriages bear the crushing weight of unpredictable schedules from multiple jobs, which make impossible adequate time for nurturing children, faith, and community. Wage stagnation has increased pressures on families, as the costs of food, housing, transportation, and education continue to pile up. Couples intentionally delay marriage, as unemployment and substandard work make a vison of stable family life difficult to see.

Is there any question that too many children feel the tragic pangs of hunger and poverty commonplace in a society that seems willing to accept these things as routine, the cost of doing business? Millions of children live in or near poverty in this country. Many of them are latch key kids, returning to empty homes every day as their working parents struggle to make ends meet.

Pope Francis continues to rouse our consciences and challenge us to live more thoroughly Catholic lives. Laudato Si' is, in large part, about something called "integral ecology," an idea that our care for and relationships with one another deeply impact our care for the environment, and vice-versa. The Pope writes extensively about the importance of work in that context. "We were created with a vocation to work" (no. 128), and "the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts, nor from how individuals relate to themselves, which leads in turn to how they relate to others" (no. 141). Reminding us that "called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect," he calls for a "sense of fraternity [that] excludes nothing and no one" (nos. 89-92).

For the whole text, click here.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Financial Peace

For the first time, St. Columbkille is offering some classes in money management, budgeting and planning. This was originally inspired by Fr. Damian. In his years counseling, he found that most problems in marriages stemmed from how they handled money. He felt we needed to set up a class where people could learn how to handle and work with money.

Sheila and Mike Brodersen came forward offering to lead the ten week course, starting on Sunday, September 13th at 6:15. Sheila said, "Taking the Financial Peace University class made a huge impact on our communication. I now feel like we are on the same page about not only our finances, but our goals in life. This program brought Mike and I closer to each other. We were able to meet wonderful people who supported us along on our journey as well as teaching us to be givers."

One of the surprises has been finding a number of parishioners who have taken this course before, and have given it very strong reviews. One of those was Marcia Galardi who said, "Every engaged couple should be required to take this class!"

Babysitting will be provided. Anyone seeking more information or a preview or who simply wants to register can contact Sheila at

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pouring Concrete

During Phase Two of our Pave the Way project, there are four large concrete pours. The first of those was scheduled for yesterday, but they were prepared and did it Thursday instead.

 The sensor above ...

 ... is on this machine ...

 ... and reads a signal from this stationary laser signal ...

... so this computer can make certain the level of concrete is at the exact right height in all of the parking lot.

About 35 trucks were used, arriving 
every 12 minutes full of concrete.

Despite the GPS and computer equipment, a lot of getting the concrete in place remains a work of art.

Friday, September 4, 2015

First Friday All-School Mass

Some school parents suggested that the students attend Mass take part in the First Friday devotion by having an all-school Mass the First Friday of every Mass. It was a great idea, so it began today.

The first Friday of each month is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Fr. Vogel explained at Mass today, to draw love, we will often use a heart -- especially at Valentine's Day. Honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus is partially a way of honoring the strength of His love.

According to the words of Christ through His apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, there are several promises to those that practice the First Friday Devotions:

"In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."

The devotion consists of several practices that are performed on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months. On these days, one is to attend Holy Mass and receive communion. During the school year, the only First Friday we do not have school is January 1st -- which is a Holy Day of obligation. By attending Mass that day as well as the other First Fridays during the year, students will have attended nine consecutive First Fridays.

Today Fr. Vogel celebrated the Votive Mass to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mass ended with exposition of the Eucharist and praying a litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although the students had to return to school, there was a Holy Hour which ended with Benediction at 10 a.m.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

He has Plans for Me -- and You

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you . . . plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call Me, and come and pray to Me, I will listen to you. When you look for Me, you will find Me." -- Jeremiah 29:11-13

A recent Facebook challenge asked people to post seven Scripture passages in seven days. I have seen and appreciated the responses of parishioners Anthony Flott and Pat Dempsey to that challenge.

Kudos to them, because opening up your heart and mind in a public venue takes courage. And Facebook can be one way to take up Christ's challenge -- to proclaim His greatness, mercy and love to the entire world.

I thought about what I might post in response to the online challenge, and the above passage from Jeremiah was the first thing that popped into my head. And no wonder. An online search confirmed that that particular verse is among the most popular in the Bible.

Several commentators warned that the passage is taken out of context all the time, that people think God is promising to give us anything we want. The commentators encourage us to read the passage in its context, a letter from Jeremiah in Jerusalem to Jewish exiles in Babylon.

I think most people realize God isn't a magic genie who grants our every request. Though sometimes we need to be reminded of that. But as our Lord tells us through Jeremiah, He has plans for us. Our happiness is in that plan, and He will give us whatever we need or desire, according to His will for us.

For me, what is most comforting and reassuring about those lines is that God seems to be bending low to gently console me personally. And I suppose a lot of people sense a similar closeness when they read or pray over the text.

God has so many titles, but one of my favorites is "My Jesus." God is so great, so holy, so mysterious and so beyond us, yet He humbled himself to become one of us, under the name Jesus, to suffer and die for us. God did this for all of us, but for us individually and personally, too.

Thus He truly is my Jesus, Who stoops to my level and raises me up to His.

He has plans for me, He listens to me, He is always there for me.

I love You, my Jesus!

Inspired by the Year of Faith, Susan Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although that year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

We Have Power

Above is a picture before the electricity was turned off in our Parish Office. Below you can see the difference as there are no longer overhead lines going to the office and the poles have been removed.

Here's a picture from just before the work began. You can see the sleeve which the new lines would travel through underground to replace the overhead lines.

With the posts out of the way, the hill has been cleaned up so work can begin to build a retaining wall. The workers are anxious to start pouring concrete.