The Holy Father has reached out to Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki to send his assurance of his spiritual closeness to the archbishop of all those impacted by the Waukesha parade attack. Pope Francis sent the remarks through his Secretary of State. The message reads:
TO THE MOST REVEREND JEROME E. LISTECKI, ARCHBISHOP OF MILWAUKEE:
THE HOLY FATHER ASKS YOU KINDLY TO CONVEY THE ASSURANCE OF HIS SPIRITUAL CLOSENESS TO ALL AFFECTED BY THE TRAGIC INCIDENT THAT RECENTLY TOOK PLACE IN WAUKESHA. HE COMMENDS THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO DIED TO ALMIGHTY GOD’S LOVING MERCY AND IMPLORES THE DIVINE GIFTS OF HEALING AND CONSOLATION UPON THE INJURED AND BEREAVED. HE JOINS YOU IN ASKING THE LORD TO BESTOW UPON EVERYONE THE SPIRITUAL STRENGTH WHICH TRIUMPHS OVER VIOLENCE AND OVERCOMES EVIL WITH GOOD (CF. ROM 12:21).
CARDINAL PIETRO PAR OLIN
SECRETARY OF STATE
Archbishop Listecki’s Christmas message is now available on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee website. You can read this inspiring message for the New Year here.
The budgets attached represent the amount of revenues we expect next year as well as what we expect to spend maintaining services to the parish and school, staff and grounds upkeep.
The School budget is balanced albeit very tightly. As in years past, the school accepted several additional students over the summer months. We are anticipating the same will happen again this summer. Tuition for those additional students have not been included in the budget. In total, all budgets for school associated activities are positive.
The Pandemic has negatively impacted the financial picture of the Parish. Two years in a row we have not had a Festival. Net revenue from each festival has not been less than $50,000 each year. Envelope contributions fell and weekly offertory cash was off significantly this last year. In addition, there is an increase in salaries due to replacing several legacy staff members. Accounting for these changes results in a $125,000 loss to the parish. This is the first time in many years that St. Matthias has submitted a deficit budget to the Archdiocese.
To offset some of this deficit, included in the July/August envelope packet will be a special envelope for Festival donations. Please use this special envelope to share with the Parish whatever monies you would have spent at the Festival. You can also contribute online through the parish website, www.stmatthias-milw.org. Scroll to the bottom and click on “Give Online”. We also ask that you keep this deficit in mind as you discern your weekly contributions to the parish.
We continue to move through a transition time here at St. Matthias. There is a lot happening! This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. While the Christ Event happened in one movement of time–life, death resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit (Pentecost)—we separate the various moments in order to reflect on them and their meaning for us.
With the ascension, we remind ourselves that upon his death Jesus moved into the fullness of glory with the Father. This can be a good time for us to be aware of our movement through this life toward the same life after death—a time to remember that our loved ones who have gone before us have already moved into a fullness of life with God. It’s also a time to remember that we will one day join them.
On Monday, May 17th, our newest staff member Charmaine Pfeifer will join us and take her place in the front office to begin learning all that is involved in her role as the initial contact for people who call or visit the office for various reasons. We certainly welcome her and look forward to her presence among us! In the meantime, our “transition team” will continue to monitor and guide parish life. I am grateful to our two trustees, Don Vaclav and Paul Ziehler as well as Jean Hansen, who leads the Finance Council. We meet weekly to make sure all areas of parish life are on track. Of course, this is in concert with the parish staff, volunteers, and all who work for the good of the parish.
Sacramental providers will remain the same: Fr. Dave, Fr. Bill, Fr. Charlie, and myself. We are happy to continue serving the people of St. Matthias in this capacity!
On July 1st, we will be joined by Permanent Deacon Stanley Lowe. He will assume the position of Parish Director. We look forward to welcoming him to the parish community! Some of you have been asking how Jeff Van Dalen is doing. I recently spoke with him via telephone, and he is recovering from surgery on his Achilles tendon, a slow and painful process that means very limited mobility. Please keep him in your prayers.
May the Spirit continue to guide us!
Fr. Chuck Schramm,
It is with heavy heart that the festival committee is announcing that our festival will be cancelled for 2021. We have been working diligently on trying to make things work this year, but due to many matters out of our control, we are unable to move forward. At this time, we plan to forage ahead for 2022, and hope that the current issues of today will not be an interference.
Let us all pray for health and prosperity for our parish community.
The Festival Committee
June 14, 2020
In the opening verse, Jesus identifies himself as the bread from heaven. In the next verse, he states that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has life eternal. The fact that the Jews quarreled among themselves at this statement should not be a surprise. The word that Jesus used, that is translated as “eats” here, would carry a sense of gnawing, as a dog with a bone. Drinking blood was prohibited within the Jewish community. It should not be surprising that some of the Jews who were hearing this questioned his teaching. John’s gospel often presents the questions that arise as an opportunity for further instruction.
Jesus explains, “… unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (John 6:51) In case they missed the point, Jesus restates this point three more times (verses 53, 54, and 55). The expression “flesh and blood” was a way to describe a human person. For those Jesus is addressing, the term “flesh and blood” would also call to mind the animals that were ritually slaughtered as offerings to God–including offerings made throughout the year, but especially those made as part of the Passover observance. Jesus is describing himself as the lamb that was killed and had its blood drained so that it could be used as a sacrificial offering. This same connection will be made later in John’s gospel when he places the hour of Jesus’ death at about the time when the lambs were being killed for the Passover observance.
For John’s community, Jesus is their food and drink. Because John’s gospel is the last of the four gospels to be written, those in the community have had more time to reflect on the significance of the Jewish tradition in light of Jesus’ life and teaching. The experience of God feeding the Jews in the desert is a springboard to help them understand God’s new revelation in Jesus. It is not enough to believe in Jesus, or even to ritually participate in the new customs of the Christian community. They are seeking to understand how God is continuing to nourish them on this new journey.
Departing from Matthew, Mark and Luke, John’s gospel does not have a Last Supper account before Jesus’ passion and death. Instead, Jesus’ instruction offers the Christian community a way for them to understand God’s continuing to nurture and give life. White Jesus’ teaching here would include God’s real presence in the Eucharist, it also encompasses a much broader and pervasive reality.
- If someone said of another that they gave their flesh and blood to a project, what are the different ways that you might understand that statement?
- What images come to mind when you think of flesh? What images come to mind when you think of blood?
- Have you ever had periods when you did not get enough to eat? How far back would you have to go in your family tree to a generation that truly worried about not having enough to eat? How do you think that experience affected them?
- Have there been times in your life when you felt a hunger or a thirst that was not about food or drink?
- How many times can you recall the scriptures referring to God who is feeding God’s people?
- Why would John take the time to note that the Jews quarreled among themselves over Jesus’s teaching?
- Are there aspects of God’s relationship with us that you have quarreled about?
- What are the things that nourish your soul, and your spirit?
- What does this say to you about God’s desire for you?
- Can you take some time now or later today to speak to God about what this text is saying to you at this time of your life?
The gospel background and reflection questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM.
They are edited by Sister Anne Marie Lom, OSF and Joe Thiel.
May 10, 2020
This text is part of a much larger section of John’s Gospel often referred to as “The Last Discourse.” It is the intimate conversation between Jesus and the disciples before the crucifixion. Similar examples of this kind of discourse can be found throughout the scriptures. The 49th chapter of Genesis records Jacob’s farewell, Deuteronomy 31 to 33 has Moses’ farewell, and Paul’s farewell is found in chapter 20 of Acts. In general, these discourses begin with a prediction of approaching death, then offer encouragement to the speaker’s disciples, and then exhort the disciples to pass on their instruction to others who will come later.
In the text here, Jesus is reassuring the disciples before his departure. He seeks to calm their fear by encouraging them to trust in God’s protection. He does not disguise the reality of his impending departure, but frames it in terms of going to prepare a place for them with God. He then tells them that when he returns, they (Jesus, the disciples, and God) will be reunited. It is ambiguous whether this reunion will be at the resurrection or in the final age.
This text, and John’s gospel in general, portrays Thomas as the one who questions Jesus and what he is trying to teach them. Philip, too, has a special relationship with Jesus in John’s gospel. He is one of the disciples that Jesus personally invites to be a follower. He is the disciple responsible for bringing Nathaniel to Jesus (John 1:43-48). Jesus asked Philip how they might feed the multitude (John 6:5-9). When some Greeks came looking for Jesus, they approached Philip first; then he and Andrew took them to Jesus (John 12:20-22). When Philip asks Jesus to “Show us the Father” in verse 8, the question should be heard as coming from someone who has a special relationship with Jesus.
In verse 11, Jesus makes a rather bold statement that he (Jesus) is in the Father and the Father is in him. After 2,000 years of theological reflection, the contemporary Christian community may not find this kind of statement shocking. But for the early disciples, this was an extraordinary statement. In a kind of recognition of how difficult it may be to grasp what has just been stated, Jesus adds “or else, believe because of the works themselves [that I have performed].”
John’s community would find consolation in this text. Since Jesus’ ascension, they have experienced the deaths of some of their members. They have been expelled from the synagogue, the place that they believed to be the center of their relationship with God, their community, and their family. Lastly, the Christian community has begun to experience persecution for their faith in Jesus. Jesus’ words would help them find a new center of meaning in him, and assure them that they did, indeed, still have a place where they could gather together with him and with God.
- How has social distancing, and the closing of businesses, and the possibility of becoming infected by the virus affected you?
- In verses 2 and 3 of this gospel, Jesus speaks of having prepared a place for you. How do you hear that statement?
- Given what you know of both Thomas and Philip, how do you think Thomas and Philip were feeling as they heard Jesus speaking to them?
- In verse 9, Jesus says to Philip: “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?” Read these words out loud until they seem to capture the emotion of Jesus’ response to Philip. What comes across to you?
- In verse 5, John tells Jesus, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how we can know the way?” How do you hear these words today in your own life situation?
- At the end of this text Jesus says: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” Do you believe that what Jesus says here is true? How is it true in your own life?
- Can you take some time now to talk honestly with God about his words of reassurance to you in this gospel? Or you might want to talk with God about the hope he has in you that you will do even greater things.
The gospel background and reflection questions are written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM.
They are edited by Sister Anne Marie Lom, OSF and Joe Thiel