Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fr. Vogel's Commission to the St Columbkille Laity

Father Vogel left us with a commission before leaving St. Columbkille for his new parishes in Elgin and Raeville.

He offered his last Mass at St. Columbkille on Thursday morning, with the parish's lay people in mind.

All of us, "as we are," are to "forward the Kingdom of God," he said.

Amos the prophet, in the first reading of the Mass for the day,  was "an ordinary lay person" following what God had asked him to do, Father said in his homily. In the Gospel reading, he said, Jesus brought signs of His Kingdom through healing and forgiving.

So  how are we, the lay people of St. Columbkille, supposed to further that Kingdom?

"Our entire role as a Church is to be Christ," Father Vogel said, "to bring Christ to the entire world." While Father has been called to bring Jesus to a new community, we at St. Columbkille are to continue our lives here being Christ for others.

May God bless Father Vogel as he extends the Kingdom of God. And may we embrace our role as Christ bearers.

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, June 28, 2016

Picnic with the Padres

In addition to our pastor Fr. Dave Reeson ...

... Fr. Vogel (who will leave Thursday) ...

 ... and Fr. Pat (who will start Friday) ...

... Fr. Dave decided to let some other folks see what
 they would look like as a priest or vowed religious.

 It was just part of the fun at the
Picnic with the Padres on Sunday.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Goodbye Fr. Vogel

This was Fr. Vogel's last weekend at St. Columbkille. After 5 years here, he will be the new pastor at St. Boniface Parish in Elgin and St. Bonaventure Parish in Raeville. After the noon Mass, the Women's Guild hosted a farewell reception for him. We wish Fr. Vogel well as he serves Christ's people.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Farewell from Fr. Vogel

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It has been a wonderful five years of being your priest.  A priest’s first parish has a special place in his heart.  I have learned so much from you, from Fr. Damian especially, Fr. Steve and Fr. Dave – from our deacons, parish and school staff, married couples, widows, single adults, young people and children.  I thank you so much for opening your parish and your lives to me.  It has been my desire to try to follow St. Paul in a passage I reflected on in the seminary before coming to St. Columbkille Parish:

“When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

In so far as I have been but a small instrument in helping you encounter Christ, I rejoice and thank God.  For those moments I have come short, inadvertently or unknowingly caused harm, I ask your forgiveness.

It is the great privilege of the priest to be able to be a part of your lives, especially at so many important moments of your family.  I have helped you bury the dead through over 80 funerals, but also worked with couples for 40 weddings, baptizing 3 of their children out of 104 baptisms. Comforting the sick through countless anointings, bringing the Father’s mercy again and again through reconciliation, assisting in the preparation of those to receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, and being the conduit through which Christ has fed your souls with his daily bread, the Eucharist, in the Sacrifice of the Mass.  I feel blessed to have so many spiritual children, including your children that I have so much loved teaching in the school and religious formation.  It is difficult to leave.  But just like Elisha in the first reading this weekend, just like the disciples in the gospel, the Lord has called me to leave this family, and go on to a new assignment.

I rejoice knowing that the same Jesus Christ who was with you before I arrived will continue to be at the center of your lives after I go.  All the Christian faithful remain united to one another through the Mass and prayer; may we continue to lift each other up in our prayers.  I depart with these words of the Father, that you may never forget you are His beloved sons and daughters:  “You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you, … Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:4a, 5a).

Giving thanks to God for you always in my prayers,
Fr. Vogel

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cave Quest: Singing

A big part of Vacation Bible School this week was all of the singing and dancing. Through it all they kept their focus on Jesus as the Light of the World.

Cave Quest: Learning at Snacktime

During Vacation Bible School, snacks weren't just about eating. They were also about learning. That happened whether it was finding a surprise in the snack of assembling a tower. All of the snacks were prepared to work within the themes of each day.