Solemnity of Christmas

Today we celebrate one of the greatest celebrations in the Catholic faith: the Nativity of the Lord. It is with great joy that we celebrate Christmas because it actually fulfills what the prophet Isaiah had foretold the people of Israel: one day the Savior shall be born for you. Not only did Jesus Christ come for them but for all people. When the angels had announced to the shepherds that the Savior had been born, they announced it to the entire world. The world has been blessed by the birth of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is a joy we renew once again as we celebrate this great solemnity.

On behalf of your pastor, Bishop Callahan, I extend best wishes and remembrances in my prayers to you and your families for a very Blessed Christmas. Also, I want to thank all those of our parish family for the time, talent and treasure which they give so generously. May the Lord bless and reward you for your goodness. A Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Thank you and God bless you.
Fr. Stoetzel

Christmastime Schedule

christmasDecember 25: Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord Christmas
Midnight Mass
Festival of Music begins at 11:30 p.m.
(There is no 5:10 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve)

Christmas Morning
Masses at 7:00, 8:30, 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day
(There is no 5:10 p.m. Mass on Christmas Day)

January 1 * Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Masses on Saturday at 5:10 p.m.; Sunday at 7:00, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. (No 5:10 p.m. Mass)

January 8 * Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Masses on Saturday at 5:10 p.m. and Sunday at 7:00, 8:30, 10:30 a.m. and 5:10 p.m.

Week of December 19-24
Sacrament of Penance
Monday - 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday - 7:30 & 11:30 a.m.
Thursday and Friday -  7:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Saturday - 7:30 a.m. & 11:00 - 12:00 noon

Weekday Mass times (December 19-24)
Monday — Friday
6:30, 8:00 a.m., and 12:10 p.m.
6:30 and 8:00 a.m.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

One thing that parishioners are finding about me is I walk almost every day. When I was assigned here 30 years ago, I walked to Aquinas, Cathedral School, Mayo Regional Health Center, and business places in the area. I maintained that practice if I could at every assignment I have had. I set a goal to walk 10 miles per week. In the summer of 2010, I raised it to 15. Now I try to walk at least 20 miles if I can.

The only reason I walk is to be pain-free for the day. If I don’t walk, most of my joints will ache. Two side benefits came from my walking daily: I have lost 30 pounds, and my blood pressure lowered to the normal range. I get up very early to walk between 2 – 4 miles devoting the first 20 minutes to pray the rosary. I prefer to walk outside to take in the beauty of nature and fresh air. When it isn’t possible, I walk in the nave of the Cathedral or in the undercroft.

This is my form of exercise. A quote from sacred scripture states it best: “All the fat belongs to the Lord.” (Lv 3:16b) So, God, don’t be shy to take more because there is plenty from where that came!

Thank you and God bless you.
Fr. Stoetzel

Gaudete Sunday

The Season of Advent this year is the longest it can be since Christmas is on Sunday. Even though it is the longest, it still seems too short for me. I feel negligent when I don’t make a more concerted effort to really reflect and internalize this season because of the consumerism of Christmas and the hectic schedule right up to Christmas Day. It should not be this way.

The Advent Season gives the opportunity to remember the promise God had made to the world that one day the savior will come, and to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time. As we wait for that day when the Lord will come again, we should meditate daily on this promise and be truly ready.

There are just two weeks left to Advent. Make time for you to reflect daily upon the readings for the Masses. Just as you prepare to do the 101 things that you have to get done before Christmas Day, prepare your heart and soul to embrace the Good News the Savior has been born for us and that He will come again.

Thank you and God bless you.
Fr. Stoetzel

Second Sunday of Advent

There is one thing pastors hate to write or discuss and it is finances; however, they have no choice. As rector of the bishop’s parish, I have to be diligent in making sure that the parish is responsible for its operational budget and future needs. Even though parishioners give the appearance they don’t want to hear about the parish finances, I believe they do deep-down.

I want you to know the parish has been hit hard too by the bad economy that has affected the United States and world. It is reported that donations to all charitable organizations are down 20% within the last two years. It is very difficult for our parish to meet its expenses presently, and some bills are not being paid. A question can be asked: How long will our creditors wait? We have spent most of the savings we had which means we have very little to nothing in reserve.

I thank you for your attention. This is not just someone else or mine concern but all of us. This is our parish and our duty to maintain it. I ask you to be a generous as you can to support financially the work of the parish. As said St. Paul wrote, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Please remember your family and parish family this Christmas.

Thank you and God bless you.
Fr. Stoetzel

First Sunday of Advent

Ring out the old and ring in the new. These words are heard almost strictly for the beginning of a new calendar year. How true these words are. Yet, these words could very well be said as the new Church year begins.

Last week, we celebrated the last Sunday of Ordinary Time or the solemnity of Christ the King. This celebration made us aware that all things belong to Christ, and that Christ will be the judge deciding who will go to heaven or hell. This week, we begin all over again with a new year beginning with the Season of Advent. These four quick Sundays and the weekdays in-between draw our attention to prepare for the annual celebration of the birth of Our Lord. We want to prepare internally again for this celebration opening our hearts and souls to receive the Prince of Peace.

Let us ring in the new Church year. Let it be a time for internal renewal throughout this year reflecting on the great mysteries of our faith.

Thank you and God bless you.
Fr. Stoetzel

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