Homilies

FROM FATHER YOUNG

THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

A lot of people, especially kids, give up candy for Lent – and then devour it at Easter till their stomachs almost burst.   I read a story online about a father who wanted to urge his kids to move beyond just giving something up for Lent.  He encouraged them to make a real change in their lives, start doing something good and turn away from bad habits.  His son decided that he was going to stop fighting with his brothers and sisters.  Commendable!  A couple of weeks into Lent the father asked his son how things were going with what he had decided to DO for Lent.  He said, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad…but boy, I can’t wait till Easter.”

So what are you doing for Lent this year?  How are you living out the 40 days; by being more prayerful, by fasting or offering alms?  Here are some activities that are happening in our parish which you might like to consider in order to live out this Lenten journey and uniting yourself more closely with Christ.

Each Friday during Lent, the parish hosts either a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry (Feb 16, Mar 2 &16 at 5:00 pm) or a Lenten Supper (Feb 23, Mar 9 & 23  at  5:30 pm).  This is a great opportunity to come together as a parish community, allowing others to serve us as their Lenten sacrifice.  After we fill our stomachs, we will pray the Stations of the Cross in the Church at 7:00 pm.  One of my most favorite devotions, especially during Lent, is to pray the Stations, to truly meditate and walk the path of Christ to Calvary, helping to see the sacrifice He gave for our salvation, also helping us join our own sacrifices to His.  Following Stations we are going to have a ten minute witness from a member of our parish on how they carry the crosses that are in their lives.  This past Friday, Deacon Roger Heidt gave us a wonderful reflection, allowing us an opportunity to enter into the sacrifices his family has made.  In turn, it helped us to understand and even more easily accept our own crosses.

There are many other opportunities we have during Lent that can assist us in our Lenten observance of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  Each week, St. Lambert Parish offers 24 hours of Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  It is a time to sit before our Lord in prayer, recalling the words of Jesus to His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?”  Maybe you could stop in sometime on Thursday and be with our Lord?  On March 3rd, our parish has volunteered to pray in front of Planned Parenthood from 7 am to 7 pm in conjunction with 40 Hours for Life – praying that all mothers and fathers will choose life for their unborn child.  We pray that this sacrifice of time that we make would help show the love Christ has for those parents and give them a heart that chooses life.  Lastly, we have the opportunity during Lent to give more of our treasures.  Weekly in our bulletin we see the shortfalls that occur in helping to keep the parish running, as well as recognizing the needs of many of our school children who need financial assistance.  Maybe this Lent, we decide to use the money we are saving and direct it to help others—like for me in giving up Starbuck’s coffee.

In our opening prayer today at Mass we ask our Lord to help us “grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.”  Take the opportunities that we offer here at the parish to truly know Christ more deeply, especially His great sacrifice.  This will encourage us to accept and offer our own sacrifices during these 40 days.

God Bless You…Fr. Young

 

From Father Joseph Scholten

THE SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

You have to begin with the end in mind.

Renovating their home, no one starts to knock out walls without a new floor plan ready. In painting, each brushstroke becomes part of something beautiful the artist has in mind. To drive to Grandma’s house, you have to know where Grandma lives before hopping on the interstate.

As we begin Lent this week, what’s the end goal we have in mind? While I was on retreat recently, the speaker thumped the table at one point and insisted, “Lent is not about giving up chocolate!” But what is Lent about?

This Wednesday, as the ashes are blessed, we pray “that we, who acknowledge we are but ashes and shall return to dust, may, through a steadfast observance of Lent, gain pardon for sins and newness of life after the likeness of Your Risen Son.”

Forgiveness! New life! This is what Lent is about! Notice how the prayer over the ashes reminds us of Jesus’ Resurrection. That’s where we’re headed! From the first centuries, Lent has been the way Christians prepare themselves to enter into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our dear Lord, which we’ll celebrate the last week in March.

Because Jesus is risen and alive now, He has power to forgive our failures and renew our lives, just like He does for the man with leprosy in today’s Gospel. That man received the gift of a new life –  something he could never give himself. Jesus, living now in glory, offers the same to us today.

Whatever we do this Lent, it will be worth it if it aids us in living in the presence of the Risen Lord. Are you giving something up? Let it be something that hinders your awareness of His presence. Are you doing something extra? Let it be something that helps you recognize His presence. I have nothing against giving up chocolate – just remember that we do it because we believe in a love that’s so much sweeter!

God bless you!

Fr. Joseph

 

FROM FATHER YOUNG

THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Catholic Family Sharing Appeal – One Faith, One Family! 

This weekend gives us a chance as a parish to look back on Catholic Family Sharing Appeal (CFSA) from 2017 and also to look forward to our commitment we are going to make for CFSA 2018!

Last year we heard the audio announcement from Bishop Swain at all of our Masses where he asked our parish as well as parishes throughout the Diocese of Sioux Falls to consider providing financial support for the appeal.  We were told that within our diocese the Appeal supports Seminarian/Priest Education, Evangelization/Discipleship, Catholic Family Services, Pastoral Ministry Services, Communications, Catholic Education/Newman Centers, Pastoral Administrative Services and other Outreach Ministries.  Each of those categories support multiple different programs and entities to include all of the youth retreats, adoption services, marriage tribunal, cemeteries, Bishop’s Bulletin, TV Mass, Respect Life Initiatives and hospital/prison chaplains.  The Bishop assigns each parish a goal and last year our goal was $106,000!  How do you think we did?  We exceeded our goal due to the generosity of each of you.  We were able to raise $124,300, thus $18,300 remains with our parish to support our internal programs and needs.  Thank you for answering the call from Bishop Swain in 2017!

Now, we must look to this years CFSA Appeal – 2018!  What has changed?  Well, this year we not only listened to the Bishop make his request, but we also got to view it through our new projector!  The needs of the Diocese are still evident, in order to support the many ways they provide  for the parishes throughout the Diocese.  We are lucky to live in Sioux Falls, because many of these resources are within our own city – counseling through Catholic Family Services, easy access to the diocesan offices (including multiple parishioners who work for the diocese and also worship with us at   St. Lambert Parish) and Chaplain services at the local hospitals.  The diocese provides most of these programs – we could not financially and physically do these on our own.  We are dependent upon the diocese in many ways so we can continue to support the people of our parish.  Even the goal has not changed for us this year – $106,000.  The only question that remains is how much more money are we going to bring back to our parish this year?  Let’s see if we can out do ourselves this year in our generosity!

Thank you for your assistance in the past and for what you can financially provide this year.  If we are able to have everyone participate – 100% participation – I know that this year will be even more successful than last year.

What we provide together as ONE FAMILY is more than any parish

or ministry can do alone!

God Bless You…Fr. Young

 

FROM FATHER YOUNG

THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

This week throughout the Diocese we celebrate Catholic Schools Week.  It concludes with Bishop Swain celebrating Mass at Augustana on Friday with students filling the gym from all the Catholic Schools in Sioux Falls as well as students from Vermillion and Brandon.  He always begins his homily with a roll call to make sure all the schools showed up, at which time the kids yell and waive their hands in the air to let him know they are present – one of the highlights of the day!  I’m certain that the St. Lambert School students will be the loudest!  Each of the students, faculty and staff proudly wear their Catholic School shirts with this year’s slogan – Catholic Schools:  Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.  Since I was not raised in a Catholic School, going to these Masses and working as the O’Gorman Junior High Chaplain as part of my first assignment, was all new.  But through those experiences, I have become more convinced that we as Catholics have a commitment to ensuring that our Catholic Schools continue to thrive and welcome more of our youth.

It is not a surprise to anyone this day and age that Catholic Schools are in a state of decline throughout the country.  In 1960, more than 5.2 million students were enrolled in nearly 13,000 schools across America.  Today there are only 2.1 million students enrolled in only 7,000 schools.  There are many reasons for the decline whether it be a huge loss in religious vocations who used to be the major work force behind these schools, changes in demographics with less immigration of Catholics from Europe and finally the rising cost of the standard of living which has forced both parents to acquire jobs thus in some ways putting Catholic education beyond their budget.  Probably the biggest change though is the thinking that the Catholic Schools are separate from the parish and the diocese – that it is just an option that parents choose as if it were just another private school.  These Catholic Schools are important to the parish, to the Diocese and to the universal Church since they help keep a strong community.  Studies show that Catholic Schools are an unquestionable success in every way – spiritually, academically and communally.  They graduate young adults who are more inclined to continue to practice their faith through Mass attendance and prayer, maintain a pro-life attitude against abortion, increased willingness to consider a religious vocation and continued support for the local Church through their time, treasure and talent.

I am the first to say that we have some great public schools…and if I must say so myself, Mitchell High School, home of the Kernels, provided me with an outstanding education which has allowed me many wonderful opportunities.  But as we become a more secularized society, there is a great tendency to push God out of everything – even to say a prayer at graduation is like pulling teeth.  Catholic educators understand the importance of a great education, wonderful extracurricular activities – also provided by public schools – but also desire the faith dimension…being able to pray, attend Mass, learn the virtues – truly raising the standard of our youth!

There are many though in our society who just can’t afford to go to a Catholic School.  Money should not be the determining factor on who does and does not get a Catholic education.  Our parish supports families with monetary assistance each year.  Maybe you would be interested in sponsoring a child in need!

Sioux Falls Catholic Schools….to form a community of faith and learning by promoting a Catholic way of life through Gospel values and academic excellence.

 God Bless You!

Fr Young

 

From Deacon Roger Heidt

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

President Donald Trump declared January 16 as “Religious Freedom Day” in the United States. In his declaration President Trump said the following “Faith is embedded in the history, spirit, and soul of our Nation. On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate the many faiths that make up our country,” Trump said. “Our Constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion.”

 Growing up in Lemmon, SD in the 1950’s & 60’s I would have never thought of the need to declare a “Religious Freedom Day” in the United States as a necessary action. However, the world has changed as have the people who inhabit our world today.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, spoke in March 2016 at Brigham Young University on religious freedom and said this “People who believe in a loving God are always a people of hope and the joy that comes with it.” He further states, “We need to wake each other up to see the world and our nation as they really are, the good along with the evil. We need to support each other in the work for religious freedom we share. We need to treat each other as friends, not enemies or strangers…it’s important for our own integrity and the integrity of our country to fight for our convictions in the public square. The greater task is to live by what we believe, by our actions, fidelity to God, love of spouse and children, loyalty to friends, generosity to the poor, honesty and mercy in dealing with others, trust in the goodness of people, discipline and humility in demanding the most from ourselves.”

Pray this week for a greater understanding of religious freedom and that each of us can bear witness to a loving God and share our hope and joy with those around us.

Deacon Roger

 

P.S. On Sunday, January 21st, Deacon Jerry Wathen, now retired from active ministry, celebrates 34 years of ordained ministry. Deacon Jerry served St Lambert parish for 25 years before retiring. Thanks Deacon Jerry and thanks to his wife Dorothy for her support.

 

From Fr Joseph Scholten

THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

What to be called? One of the first decisions a new priest faces is how he wants to be addressed. Do I join the venerable line of Fr.’s Lastname, keeping youthful informality in check? Or do I embrace casual appeal as  Fr. Nickname? To be honest, I’m not fussy about what people call me (as long as it isn’t “Joey”, which the Aussies tell us is a baby kangaroo). I introduce myself as Fr. Joseph because I love Saint Joseph and I’m grateful to bear his name, as little as I live up to his example of manly virtue. It remains something to strive for.

Names matter for us as Christians, as they mattered for the people of Israel. We try to keep the second commandment, and each day we pray “Hallowed be Thy Name” to our Father in heaven. God regards our name, too. As we hear in the first reading, God calls by name: “Samuel, Samuel!” At first, the boy doesn’t know it’s the Lord Who calls him. Can He really know me so personally? Does God really know my name?

In the first chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus acknowledges Simon’s name. Then he changes it! Jesus presumes pretty great authority in telling him, “You will be called Cephas”, or Peter. But He has that authority, since He created Peter! He knew this man even better than Simon’s parents did, and the name Jesus gives him reflects the deepest truth about who the disciple is: not a fisherman, but a fisher of men and a rock of faith for the fledgling Church. The task of naming the child Jesus is given to Mary and Joseph by the angel (see Luke 1:31 and Matthew 1:21). The name “Jesus” reveals Who He is: “God saves.”

At a child’s baptism, the first question asked of the parents is, “What name do you give your child?” This question points to one of the first responsibilities of parents toward the new person God has entrusted to them. The Catechism teaches, “In Baptism, the Christian receives his name. Parents, godparents, and the pastor are to see that he be given a Christian name” (paragraph 2165). A “Christian name” may be the name of a saint, but it could also be a name drawn from scripture. Christian parents can also name their children after a Christian mystery or virtue, like Faith or Grace. “What are we going to name our child?” might be a good question for new parents to bring to prayer. You probably won’t hear it directly from an angel (let me know if you do), but it never hurts to ask.

God knows us each by name. What an amazing truth to recall in the middle of the bleak month of January! Wherever you are, God knows you by name. You aren’t just “Jenny-stuck-in-traffic” or “Mike-shoveling-snow.” You’re a child of God, made in His image and destined to live with Him forever!

As Jesus prayed at the Last Supper, may God the Father keep us all in His holy name!

Fr. Joseph

 

 

 

 

FROM FATHER ANDREW YOUNG

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

Happy New Year – 2018! 

The past few weeks have been quite a blur with all of the celebrations within the Church.  Making our way through the Advent Season, the celebration of Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family, Mary the Mother of God on January 1st and this weekend Epiphany!  A lot of reasons to celebrate and to give thanks to our Lord.

After all the festivities of families and friends, we get back to the daily routine of life.  Do we have to though?  What can we do to make this year different?  Every year on January 1st, people make some sort of resolution to do something “new”.  Usually it involves going to the gym, staying off the sweets – typically centered around our bodies.  Memberships at gyms always tend to go up in January, which probably is a good thing.  It is important to keep our temple working well.  Usually the difficulty comes with trying to stick to the regiment and not abandon the idea come February 1st!

What are some other ways to make 2018 different, better?  Taking care of our bodies is great, but we are people who are not simply “bodies” but also souls!  How can we work on strengthening and nourishing our soul for this calendar year?  There are many things we can do, but here are a few suggestions of my own:

  • Attend daily Mass once a week if you don’t already do so (8:30 am Monday-Saturday or 5:30 pm Wednesday). This is a great way to take time out of our day and give it to our Lord, but also to be fed through His Word and Eucharist.
  • Pray the Rosary (or part of it) once a week or even daily, allowing for reflection on the Mysteries of Christ.
  • Pick up a spiritual book from the bookstore and read it.
  • Subscribe to a religious affiliated magazine.
  • Pull out your Bible or go to the USCCB website and pray/read the daily Scriptures.
  • Volunteer once a month (or more) with any organization, school or association.
  • Sign-up to be a minister within the parish: Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, Homebound Minister of the Eucharist, Lector, Server, Choir Member.

These are just a few ideas and there are many more that you might be willing to “take up”.  But honestly, do prayerfully consider how you might be able to make this new year different by building up your faith and, in doing so, strengthening your soul and love for Christ and His Church.  There are many great opportunities we have to grow in our faith; it is just a matter of committing to it and doing it.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!  May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!   Numbers 6: 24-26

 God Bless You…Fr. Young

 

From Fr Joseph Scholten

THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

 

Merry Christmas! The season lasts twelve days, after all. This Sunday we honor a humble family from Nazareth: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family might seem hard to relate to. What do our families have in common with the household formed by the Son of God, the Immaculate Virgin, and the Just Man?

Yet if we look more closely, the Holy Family appears quite like us in a few important respects.

First, if you have ever been concerned about your family’s finances, you aren’t alone! Those “two turtledoves” we hear about in the song are actually a sign of the Holy Family’s poverty. In Luke 2:24, we read that Mary and Joseph brought two turtledoves to the temple as a sacrifice for the first-born son.  Now normally families were to offer a lamb: the exception was made for needy families who would have had difficulty obtaining one (see Leviticus 12:1-4). Our Lord chose to enter a family that had to work for a living, a family that at times could not provide what was considered “standard” for society.

Second, Mary and Joseph each faced a task beyond them. Mary receives the angel’s message that in her, something entirely new and inexplicable is about to take place. Joseph must protect the Christ child and His Mother, leaving in the dead of night to smuggle them away from Herod’s soldiers. They both felt fear in the face of what was asked of them regarding this child. But what mom or dad doesn’t feel some fear and trepidation at each stage of parenthood? From pregnancy to infancy, from school years to full-fledged adulthood, even the best of kids raise questions of their parents: can we do this? What if I’m not enough?

But in the face of these questions, the Holy Family’s story parallels our own  in a third important respect: God gave them what they needed. While the task Mary and Joseph faced loomed much larger than them, grace also abounded  to strengthen them to do what needed to be done. They faced each day’s challenges as they came. They were confident that, though they may not have felt like they were enough, they had nevertheless been chosen.

As the saying goes, you can’t choose your family. We who believe in the Love that governs the universe know that our lives are not random – we, too, have been chosen for our families. And God never asks what His grace will not supply. Calling on Him for help, confident in the grace provided us through the sacraments, we can entrust our families to the One “from Whom all fatherhood is named.” He will never abandon what He has begun.

May peace and goodness accompany your family in the New Year!

Fr. Joseph

 

FROM FATHER ANDREW YOUNG

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT and CHRISTMAS 

When I grew up in Mitchell, my family used to always go to Midnight Mass (which was actually at Midnight) at Holy Family.  We would show up early to make sure we were able to sit in our normal pew and listen to the beautiful adult choir sing Christmas carols.  The adult choir only sang one time a year, at Midnight Mass.  The Church was kept quite dark with no Christmas lights on.  At Midnight the lector would go to the ambo and proclaim the below Roman Martyrology followed by Silent Night sung by       the choir and concluding with Christmas lights being lit on the multiple Christmas trees that adorned the sanctuary.

Each year, we celebrate Christ coming into our world on Christmas,  as our Savior.  It is a time to look to the future but also look back to Christmas pasts – as a young child, teenager, newly married, after you welcomed your first children and grandchildren.  Christmas is a time to remember what God did by sending us His Son, but also the memories that we hold onto and cherish from our lives.  Make more memories this Christmas Day that can be celebrated in future years – spending time with your families and welcoming our Savior into your homes.  Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

The Twenty-Fifth Day of December,
when ages beyond number had run their course
from the creation of the world,
when God in the beginning created heaven and earth,
and formed man in his own likeness;
when century upon century had passed
since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood,
as a sign of covenant and peace;
in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith,
came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses
in the Exodus from Egypt;
around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;
in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
in the year seven hundred and fifty-two
since the foundation of the City of Rome;
in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus,
the whole world being at peace,

 JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since his conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

God Bless You…Fr. Young