All posts by Laura Kelly

Quick Updates for this Weekend:

  • Faith Formation meets this Sunday from 9:15-10:45am.
  • We continue the 40 Days for Life Devotional to battle against abortion through November 1. More information can be found on the website: 40DaysForLife.com.
  • If you can help clean after Masses this weekend please sign up here. We only have about 30 minutes to get the church sanitized between Masses so It is very important that we have people signed up to help clean after the 9am Mass. Please help if you are able!
  • The USCCB guidelines on Faithful Citizenship are available on the USCCB website to provide guidance for Catholics in the upcoming elections.
  • Father Peter’s weekly article, The Greatest of These is Love, is now available on the Petoskey News Review’s website.
  • We are still looking for someone to fill the part-time custodial/maintenance position for the Parish/School. This position averages 12 hours per week from about 10am-12:30pm Monday-Friday. If you (or someone you know) are interested, please contact Kendall Hayes – 231-547-6652 or khayes@stmaryschoolchx.com
  • This weekend’s bulletin can be found here

Have a wonderful weekend!
“Put up willingly with the faults of others if you wish others to put up with yours.” — St. John Bosco

Lift Up Your Hearts: The Greatest of these is Love

Who among us does not want to be loved?

Kind of a silly question I suppose. But if you really think about it, not a single human being would want to be hated, completely isolated and rejected. We know those are not good things. Yet, there are many out there who do not know how to receive love, or maybe even how to give love.

This is usually because of abuse, trauma and grave lack of love in their own lives. Usually a hardness or coldness in response to love can be a subconscious way of protecting oneself from more wounding. To some, receiving love does not look like an opportunity of fulfillment, but rather a huge and frightening risk. Giving our hearts to another is a big risk if we do not know what the person receiving is going to do. The challenge is to love anyway. Just because we have been hurt by another does not mean that we cannot be healed and that we are not being called to love. There is a greater love that is always ours. A greater love than human love that has created us and that we have full and constant access to. It is this love, the love of God in Christ Jesus, that will make us whole again and bring us to the place where we can believe in love once more. St. Paul in His letter to the Romans reminds us, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

There is a song that plays on Christian radio stations by Danny Gokey called “Love God Love People.” The simplicity of the message is what the songwriter is getting at. We complicate things and the simple truth is that all of the Gospel and all of Scripture really is boiled down to this: namely “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love you neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). Jesus here is speaking to the Pharisees and scholars of the law who ask him which is the greatest commandment. Jesus says clearly that the two greatest commands are to love.

In the first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul gives us a clear understanding of what love looks like, in order that we know how to live it out in the world. He says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:1-8). He Later says “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

 

Our world desperately needs this message. On the one hand there is so much hatred, so many who are wounded, and so much pride. If only we could begin to live out the basic message of Jesus, we would see so much healing and transformation in the world. On the other hand, so many confuse love for a misled tolerance and an empty niceness, which robs love of its ability to bring real change in peoples’ lives and hearts. This is because we no longer want to say that anyone is broken or wounded or sinful. Real love is the Good Samaritan who comes to the aid of the stranger who is left half-dead on the side of the road. This man was a good neighbor who did not count the cost of reaching into the very real brokenness of the man beaten by robbers and of giving him life saving remedies. The Good Samaritan represents Jesus who comes down to us and raises us up to healing. Jesus loves us so much, and truly, nothing can separate us from His love, yet he loves us too much to leave us where we are to remain in our brokenness and sin. He wants to bring us to experience the fulness of His divine life, which is a life completely transformed by and filled with the love and presence of God.

We need to learn how to receive this love from Christ. It is a love that first enlightens our hearts and leads us through a process of accepting the ways that we are truly wounded. Then the same love draws us to repentance and forgiveness. Then finally it is a love that soothes and heals our wounds, leading us to transformation and wholeness through a deep union of love with God. Along the way we become instruments and witnesses to this same love, which draws others into the same healing process. Love never fails to bring this healing. So let us remember that for the healing of our own hearts and for the healing of the world, the greatest of all ways is love.

Good Wednesday Afternoon

Just a quick note to let everyone know there will be no confessions this evening. We will offer confessions on Friday at our usual times – 12-1pm and 4-6pm. 

Stay Warm!
 
“It is part of the discipline of God to make His loved ones perfect through trial and suffering. Only by carrying the Cross can one reach the Resurrection.” — Archbishop Fulton Sheen

 

 

Good Afternoon!

Happy Friday – Some updates for this weekend: 

  • The Bishop has updated the COVID-19 Protocols for Liturgical Celebrations. Please see a copy of his communication below.
  • This weekend we will celebrate World Mission Sunday, our annual worldwide Eucharistic celebration for the missions and missionaries of the world. Donations may be made online or in designated offertory baskets this weekend.
  • Faith Formation for grades K-5 begins this Sunday, October 18 from 9:15-10:45am. Faith Formation will meet 3 Sundays a month. Registration will be available prior to the beginning of class. Please join us for a great year of studying God’s Holy Word in Sacred Scripture!
  • Additionally, Sacrament Preparation for Year III (First Eucharist and Confirmation Preparation) has begun! If you missed the first parent + child class on October 11, please contact Liz Gengle for information and to register for the program. If you have a child entering Year II (preparing for their First Reconciliation), their first Sacrament Preparation class will be held on Sunday, October 25th from 9:15-10:45am.
  • We continue the 40 Days for Life Devotional through November 1. Please join us on this 40-day prayer campaign to battle against abortion. More information can be found on the website: 40DaysForLife.com.
  • If you can help clean after Masses this weekend please sign up here. Starting this weekend we will no longer be holding 11am Mass outside so it is very important that we have people signed up to help clean between the 9am and 11am Masses. Please help if you are able!
  • The USCCB guidelines on Faithful Citizenship are available on the USCCB website to provide guidance for Catholics in the upcoming elections.
  • Father Peter’s new weekly article, Gospel Poweris now available on the Petoskey News Review’s website.
  • We are still looking for someone to fill the part-time custodial/maintenance position for the Parish/School. This position averages 12 hours per week from about 10am-12:30pm Monday-Friday. If you (or someone you know) are interested, please contact Kendall Hayes – 231-547-6652.
  • This weekend’s bulletin can be found here.

Have a wonderful weekend! 

“Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts.” — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton


Lift Up Your Hearts: Gospel Power

In these very difficult and strange times we are living in, some of us may find that we are continually confounded by what we see on the news and the various events happening around the world.

I know that for me things are getting more and more concerning. I know that I have been tempted to fear, to get angry and to question why. Why are there so many fires and so many hurricanes? Why are people resorting to violent rioting and attacking one another? Why are people ending long-term friendships over political disagreements? I do not think I have ever seen times so tense before. Granted I’m only 38, but all of that on top of coronavirus and we have ourselves a pretty big confusing mess. Thankfully I don’t have a ton of time to lose watching the news, but I read a lot of articles and try to keep up with what is happening. Honestly, I cannot imagine living through 2020 without my faith in our Lord. Things can just seem so hopeless. Will we ever get back to normal? Will we always have to wear these horrible masks? Will we ever be united as a country again? Is there a peaceful resolution to our divisions and disagreements? Will people ever come back to church, even if there is a vaccine? What will happen next? Is there any good news? While many questions remain unanswered for now, the last one does have one. The answer is YES! There still is good news.

In this weekend’s passages for the Sunday readings, the Lord reminds us through the apostle Paul that when the Gospel is authentically preached, it is not just with words but also through deeds of power worked by the Holy Spirit to confirm the message. In His letter to the Thessalonians he states. “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction” (1 Thess. 1:2-5). St. Paul experienced the truth that when the Gospel is proclaimed the Lord accompanies it with signs and the power of the Holy Spirit. This is because God wants to continue to show and convince the world of His love and of His saving mission of forgiveness.

I have seen many miracles in my own life and have watched many more happen to those around me and to those I have ministered to. Two years ago I began going to the Encounter School of Ministry in Brighton, Michigan. This is a ministry that teaches ordinary Christians how to live in their identity as Christians and to proclaim the Gospel in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is a ministry that expects the unexpected, that believes in the power of miracles and that trusts that when we ask, our good Father in Heaven will shower His blessings upon us. They teach how to pray for healing and how to listen to the Holy Spirit in order to allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to flourish. Before, when I would see passages in Scripture about believers doing the same things that Jesus did, I always knew they were possible, but thought it was only for really holy people. I didn’t know that we could all learn to pray with expectant faith, knowing that the Lord is going to show up. Mark 16:15-18 says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

The Gospel that Jesus came to proclaim is powerful, transformative and life changing. While we know that the main focus is not necessarily the external wonders, miracles and signs, it is important that we realize that Jesus used signs and wonders to proclaim the Gospel and to show the world that He had the power to do what He proclaimed. There is a well known story in the gospels about a paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus and lowered down before Him through the roof by his friends. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God” (Luke 5:20-25).

Jesus demonstrates that His kingdom brings about the healing that humanity needs. He comes to forgive our sins, to bring us healing and to teach us how to live as one body. During these times that we are living in are we desperately need of the power of the Gospel. It seems that on our own we have been not be able to turn things around. Our Lord Jesus has the power, but just like the friends of the paralytic, we need to do whatever we can to bring others to Jesus, placing them before Him in our prayer. We pray that the Lord would grant mercy and forgiveness, and would demonstrate by the power of the Holy Spirit that He has the ability to bring us to healing and transformation. May He demonstrate to us the good news of the Gospel that has the power to bring about what it proclaims.

Good Saturday Morning!

Just a few quick things here as we get started on a beautiful weekend…I think the colors are starting to peak here in Charlevoix!
In this Sunday’s readings, Jesus uses the parable of the king who hosts a wedding feast for his son. Although many are invited, none come. In this lesson we are reminded that God is constantly inviting us to the wedding feast of the Lamb, we must ask ourselves if we are opening our hearts and minds to his invitation…The readings can be found here on the USCCB Website.
This weekend is Food Pantry Weekend! The food pantry is especially in need of pasta sauce and peanut butter. Monetary donations can be dropped in the collection baskets around the church and food supplies can be dropped near the church doors in the Parish gathering space hallway.
Right now the forecast for Sunday is “mostly sunny.” As long as this holds we will have Mass outdoors at 11am on Sunday morning. If you are able to stay and help afterwards with chairs/tear down, please do.
A reminder that Sacramental Preparation and Faith Formation classes have begun! In addition, the JP II High School Youth Ministry meets on Sunday evenings in Petoskey. For more information or to register your children, please call Liz Gengle 231-547-6652 x 13 or email: egengle@stmaryschoolcharlevoix.org.
October is “Respect Life Month”. We will be praying the Rosary at 12pm today (Saturday) near the statue of Mary off Bridge Street. We would love to have as many people as possible join us for this prayerful demonstration.
The 40 Days for Life Devotional continues through November 1. Please join us on this 40-day prayer campaign to battle against abortion. More information can be found on the website: 40DaysForLife.com.
Confessions will continue on Wednesdays from 5-7pm and again on Fridays from 12-1pm and 4-6pm.
If you can help clean after Masses this weekend please sign up here
The USCCB guidelines on Faithful Citizenship are available on the USCCB website to provide guidance for Catholics in the upcoming elections.
Father Peter’s article, Human Dignity, is now online on the Petoskey News Review’s website.
We are still looking for someone to fill the part-time custodial/maintenance position for the Parish/School. If you (or someone you know) are interested, please contact Kendall Hayes – 231-547-6652.
This weekend’s bulletin can be found here.
Finally the funeral Mass for Marilyn Gibbons is on Monday at 11:00am. Please keep Marilyn and her family in your prayers.
Have a wonderful weekend!

“May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done! Then in His mercy may He give us safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last!”
– St. John Henry Newman

Lift Up Your Hearts: Human Dignity

I am not sure that it is possible to over-stress the dignity and value of every human life.

This is especially true when we contemplate what God decided to do in order that humanity could once again have access to the divine life that He created us to enjoy. Not only did He create us in His image, but also God sent His only Son, Jesus, who showed us how to live as brothers and sisters and, most importantly, gave His life in a brutal death to save us from our sins. If God the Father did all that to prove His love for every human life, why do we take up arms against one another? We are living in a climate today where there is so much hatred, so much violence, so much cruelty, people are at each other’s throats over the issues of racism and whether or not one supports the police. It seems that everyone wants to corner us into one camp or another.

We easily get offended by people if they don’t agree with us. I find this extremely dangerous, unloving and unhelpful since God loves every human life that He created. There is no human life that we can say does not have value or dignity. There is no human life that can be thrown away, yet we do this every day. We marginalize groups of people and races in our minds. We look at the world through our self-centered blinders that make us treat others as less than ourselves. We put ourselves on pedestals and believe that we can dictate and decide who’s life has value and who’s does not.

In the Letter to the Philippians the Lord speaks to us stating “Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others” (Philippians 2:1-4). This is such a countercultural message, especially the idea that we should put others and their interests ahead of our own.

This takes us back to the golden rule, “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). If you show your love for others through selfless service, and begin to treat others with dignity and respect, then you promote human flourishing as a whole. We do this because every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and because we know deep dow that it is the right thing to do. The people that we serve and show love to will hopefully experience a greater peace that comes from feeling respected and cared for. The hope is that it spreads and that all begin to act in a similar manner. Whether we are treated in the same way or not, I think we will find that when we serve others and even die to self to show love we will feel more fulfilled personally. This is because we are fulfilling our calling to be a gift for others. Did you know that God made you a gift? Did you know that every human life is a sacred gift?

Jesus came to restore order to the whole universe and we, the human race, were His first love. In the creation stories in the Bible, the Lord God creates humanity as the crown of creation. In a sense, we are what all of the rest of creation was made for. Of course, that means that we have to care for our home. The Lord gave Adam and Eve dominion over all of creation. In creating them, He said “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

So God created man in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:26-28). Humanity is the only species of creation that is made in God’s image and likeness. What this means for God is that human life takes top priority.

We too should place the dignity of human life as our top priority as well. In our sinful broken world there are so many major moral issues that we need to address in order that all human life is given the dignity that God gave it. I think it’s so important to begin with the most marginalized: the unborn, the elderly, those on death row, the poor, the refugee, the imprisoned, the immigrant, those persecuted or mistreated because of race, religion, gender or social class etc. Looking at this list it becomes apparent that these issues transcend the political environment of our culture. We really do need to be complete in our support of human life and dignity, and work together to bring an end to all evils and attacks against human life.

With all of this in mind, I encourage all of you to shift your heart toward civility, love and kindness as we navigate all of the negativity that we are bombarded with on a daily basis through the news, social media and politics. At the top of our minds should always be the reminder that every life deserves respect, every life carries value. God loves all of us, He created all of us in His image and He desires each of us to share divine life with Him forever. He reminds us that “whatsoever you do to the least of these my brothers you do unto me” (Matthew 25:40). Let us give to each person the dignity that God has given them.

Happy First Saturday!

October is here! I hope you all have had a good week. As we begin the month of Our Lady of the Rosary, we pray that Mary continues to intercede for us in times of trouble and need. If you are able, take some time out every day to pray the rosary and give thanks to Mary for her constant presence and protection.

  • In this Sunday’s readings, we hear about how the Lord has chosen us as His people and has given us all the graces and the care that we need in hopes that we will use these gifts to bear everlasting fruit for His kingdom. the readings can be found here on the USCCB website.
  • Right now the forecast for Sunday is showing a 50% chance of rain. It’s too early to call the outdoor Mass now (we are in Northern Michigan, right?) so we will keep an eye on the weather & make the call closer to 11am on Sunday morning.
  • A reminder that Sacramental Preparation and Faith Formation classes begin this month. Please call Liz Gengle 231-547-6652×13 to register your children. In addition, JP II High School Youth Ministry kicks off this weekend in Petoskey. For more information, please call the Parish office or email Liz Gengle: egengle@stmaryschoolcharlevoix.org.
  • The Diocese reminds us that October is “Respect Life Month”. We will celebrate “Respect Life Sunday”  this weekend on Sunday, October 4.
  • Special thanks to those who contributed to our Disaster Relief collection last weekend. St. Mary raised $976 for this special collection. All funds will be distributed by the Diocese of Gaylord to those affected by the natural disasters on the west and southeastern coasts of the United States.
  • We need some help filling the 7pm slot for Thursday Adoration. If you are able to spend an hour with Jesus on Thursday evenings from 7-8pm, please let Mindy Joy know by calling the Parish office to sign up: 231-547-6652.
  • Special thanks to everyone who purchased bulbs as part of the St. Mary School Fundraiser – it has been a great success so far! Bulbs are still available to purchase online through December 1!
  • We continue to pray the 40 Days for Life Devotional. Please join us on this 40-day prayer campaign to battle against abortion. More information can be found on the website: 40DaysForLife.com.
  • If you can help clean after Masses this weekend please sign up here
  • The USCCB guidelines on Faithful Citizenship are available on the USCCB website to provide guidance for Catholics in the upcoming elections.
  • Father Peter’s article, Fruit that will Last, is now online on the Petoskey News Review’s website.
  • Finally, the bulletin for this weekend can be found here. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

“God loves those who thank Him even in suffering.”
— St. Arnold Janssen