Volume 10, Issue 1
WELCOME to . . .
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - ST MARY
visit us on the Web at www.stmaryflorence.org
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 166, Florence, WI 54121 St. Mary’s Pastor: Fr. Timothy M. Brandt
Street Address: 308 Florence Ave., Florence, WI email:
Parish Office Telephone: (715) 528-3310 cell phone: (920) 615-6600
Parish e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Parish Secretary: Joanne Leffler
Religious Education Facilitator: Carolyn Lemanski
(715) 528-3008 or
* If you are interested in joining our parish, becoming Catholic, marriage prep, baptism prep, confirmation, funerals, returning to the Church, spiritual direction, getting an annulment, or have other concerns, contact Fr. Timothy.
* Questions regarding religious education and registration can be addressed to Carolyn Lemanski at (715) 528-3008.
* To schedule a Mass intention, have someone put on our prayer line, volunteer for a parish ministry, rent the parish hall, request a prayer shawl or to have communion brought to your home, call or e-mail the parish office.
Live the Gospel! Whatever it Takes.
Called to be holy, fully engaged, fully alive
The Lenten Journey: By His Wounds, We Are Healed
One of the frequent themes of Pope Francis has been to meditate on the wounds of Christ, wounds that show us the depth and breadth of God’s merciful love for the world. In His Lenten message for this year, Pope Francis has encouraged us to, “Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt. Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it. In this way, you can be reborn ever anew.”
The Sunday readings throughout our Lenten journey speak to the merciful love of Christ as he slowly descends to the very depths of human suffering that we may be healed. Christ begins by being tempted so that, united to us in our own temptations throughout life, we may be given the good example of Christ’s own prayer and fasting. By his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus shows his association with those who suffer public persecution, self-guilt, or lack of love. Physical suffering is encountered through the man born blind, and the ultimate suffering of all – the death of a loved one, or our own mortality, in the raising of Lazarus. Slowly, week by week throughout Lent, the woundedness of our human condition is met by the merciful healing of God’s love.
But the ultimate healing is yet to be revealed - Christ’s own sacrifice upon the Cross on Good Friday, so that three days later, He may Rise again victorious over sin and death … not for his own sake, but that by His wounds, we may be healed (1 Peter 2:24). We see this beautiful encounter with personal healing when Thomas, the weekend after Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, is invited to gaze upon the wounds that Christ endured – his hands, his side, still wounded, but now life giving.
As Christians, we are invited to meditate on the Passion of Christ whenever we participate in the Stations of the Cross, the Palm Sunday or Good Friday Passion narratives, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, or even Mass itself, which makes the offering of Christ re-present to us in each celebration. Another less-known traditional Lenten devotion of the Church dating back over 15 centuries has been the Devotion to the Five Wounds of Jesus … the wounds of his two hands, his two feet, and his pierced side. I invite you this Lent to meditate on these five wounds in front of your family crucifix, and to offer a prayer from the heart as you meditate on each of the wounds of Christ, maybe placing your own woundedness – your physical sufferings, the loss of family, the sufferings of others, or even guilt for your sins, present or past – and to pray on each of the five wounds, following each with an Our Father.
May God bless you!
Testimonial by: Norbert Zelten
My wife and I have been members of St. Mary's Parish for 30 years. We joined when we retired and though we are a little closer to Armstrong Creek than Florence, we joined here because there was more for parishioners to do here at St. Mary's. Initially, I was a reader, a distributor and a choir member. Some time ago, our parish director informed me I could only do one thing on the altar so I chose the choir. The rule re doing only one thing has since been abandoned. In our earlier years as members, Kay and I were also involved with St. Vincent de Paul and I was happy to see it evolve from an annual rummage sale to what it is now with a full fledged store.
We are now snowbirds and we joined a parish in Florida that was initially a mission church and presently is the second largest parish in the diocese. I also was a reader, distributor and active in the parish food pantry and was finance chair of the weekly parish bingo.
I might recall one instance when my elderly father reached a point where he could not live alone and some of my family members (brothers and sisters) were thinking of a nursing home. My wife and I happened to hear a Gospel at this time that indicated, "take care of your father". That was it - we took my dad in and Kay quit her job and took care of my dad for two years before he died.
At the time, we were living more than 100 miles from DePere where my father's funeral would be held because he spent his lifetime working at St. Norbert College, my alma mater. Before the funeral, in talking with my brothers, I asked if they, like me, had the tiniest doubt that there really was a God. I said maybe a 3% doubt. My brothers told me, "NO - I'm crazy". For my Dad’s funeral, I picked out four songs. At the funeral, a fine choir sang all four songs and added one more, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee". The following Sunday at our home parish, over 100 miles from De Pere, we attended a late Mass that typically had no choir. Because a group at church just returned from a retreat, they sang at the Mass we attended - all five songs of my father's funeral were sung in the same order as at his funeral. With tears in my eyes, I thanked them after Mass and said I didn't think any of them attended his funeral. Their response was they didn't know of my father's death. This was to me a minor miracle and I lost the 3% doubt.
I'm slowing down a bit, but my heart is still with St. Mary's in Florence especially since our current pastor, Fr. Timothy, has arrived at our parish and is bringing us all closer to God. —Norbert Zelten
Let the Children Come to Me
Some “present day” Lenten Youth Ideas!
*When you buy a soda, buy a second one for someone else.
*Text three people a day to see if you can pray for them.
*Bake cookies for a teacher you don’t like.
*Offer to babysit one night a week for FREE.
*Give a pair of jeans, a shirt, and a pair of socks and shoes to St. Vincent de Paul.
*Tip 30% any time you go out to eat.
*Only check your phone 3x a day!
*Take one less selfie a week.
*Give away a dollar every time you complain.
*Pick four outfits to wear all of Lent.
*Buy a candy bar for someone who makes you mad.
*Send your religious ed teacher an encouraging note every week.
*Turn off your phone when you’re with your family.
*Go one day a week without any make-up or hair products.
*Recite a Bible verse or prayer every time you eat.
*Buy a gift card for someone you’ve hurt (and apologize).
Youth Prayer for Lent
(A prayer suitable for teenagers
and young people to say)
Teach me a new freedom.
Freedom to reject comparison
And to embrace uniqueness.
Freedom to cut ties with greed
And feast on love.
Freedom to abstain from over indulgence
And feast on self-control.
Freedom to leave behind selfish thoughts
And to focus on the needs of others.
Freedom to fend off insecurity
And to embrace grace.
Lord, at this time of Lent,
Thank you for the freedom you bring.
Walking with Purpose/Alpha Series Updates
FEARLESS AND FREE! The Walking with Purpose women’s evening study group is currently studying Fearless and Free, an eleven-week Bible study based on the book of Ephesians. So many of us wrestle through the reality that life isn’t easy, even when we are doing the right thing. Suffering can slam into us from left field, leaving us reeling. This study provides a firm foundation to stand on no matter what life throws our way. With an emphasis on healing and wholeness, Fearless and Free is the most personal and transformative study that Walking with Purpose has offered so far! This is what we’ll discover through the pages of this study: We need to WAKEN to the reality of who we are in Christ and that we have an enemy who seeks to steal our true identity. We need to WRESTLE with the battle in our minds – bringing our thoughts in captivity to Christ. We need to be strengthened as WARRIORS so that we can move forward in life – not just surviving, but flourishing. All women are welcome to join us for this eye-opening book study taking place Wednesday evenings, from 5:45 pm—7:30 pm, in St. Mary’s Parish Office Center. Please contact Terri Koehn at 715-771-9378 if you would like to order a book.
Cost is $30, plus shipping. We look forward to seeing you there!
EXPLORE LIFE, FAITH, MEANING! Enter Alpha, a dynamic, weekly discipleship series set to resume during the spring/summer of 2020 at St. Mary’s Church in Florence! Prayerfully consider joining us for this faith-growing and life-changing experience as we encounter Christ at a more personal and heartfelt level! To learn more today, visit Alpha USA.org or feel free to contact Fr. Timothy. St. Mary’s Walking with Purpose group is going to start a bit later this fall so that interested women do not have to feel like they need to choose between WWP and Alpha.
Pastoral Council News by: Becky Kelley, Chair
Jeremiah 29:11-12 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”
Busyness.... Is it always such a good thing? Many of us don’t like to say “no” when we are asked to take on something new or to help others with a task. There is a tendency to say “yes” before we even know what the commitment will entail. How often do we take time to pray before accepting yet another responsibility?
Life is busy, and though society encourages this, it may not be God’s will for us. How does pride enter into our decision making when adding another agenda item to our already busy lives? We may feel guilty saying “no” or fear that no one else will say “yes”. There are also times we feel that we are the most competent to get the job done. Pride - a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed.
God..., spouse..., and family/children..., in that order. Are we neglecting an essential part of our responsibilities? If your prayer life (or your relationship with God), your marriage or your family/children are not getting what they need, it may be time to reprioritize. Let’s remind one another and ourselves to pray first. Cherish and nourish what God has blessed you with and seek his guidance when it feels like life is getting too busy.
Psalms 22:27 “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.”
Becky Kelley, Pastoral Council Chair
INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THE CATHOLIC FAITH?
WANT TO LEARN ABOUT JESUS CHRIST AND OUR COMMUNITY OF FAITH?
CALL FR. TIMOTHY AT THE PARISH OFFICE TODAY! 715-528-3310 OR VIA E-MAIL AT
I enjoy going to church because it's fun to see people you know, including friends. I also like Father Timothy's stories to help explain the readings in a fun way. I'm thankful for God and Jesus and the great deeds and miracles they performed themselves or through other people. I want to be a disciple like the Saints and apostles by following Jesus in his footsteps.
—Evan Parker, Grade 4
I like to go to church because I want to learn
about God and being a disciple of Jesus. I think
of Jesus as a friend I can always talk to.
—Emmett Parker, Grade 3
OUR PARISH WELCOMES YOU! Warmest greetings to St. Mary’s newest parishioners:
Brent and Theresa Pataconi and Family;
Scott and Amanda Wolf and Family;
John and Ann Price and Family;
Rebecca Vento and Family;
Rick and Jaye Conn;
Rob and Sue Ristau;
and Amy Hill!
THANK YOU for registering at St. Mary, and we look forward to sharing many years of faith, hope and love together in our church!
One Solitary Life by: Author unknown
“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credential but himself. While he was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away; one of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth – his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Twenty long centuries have come and gone, and today he is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever were built, all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.” (Author unknown)
Stewardship Opportunities Abound by: Joanne Leffler
Are you handy at building maintenance and general repair? Do you have a green thumb or a knack for decorating? Perhaps you have a passion for teaching or a love of music. Or, you have a flair for planning special occasions or gatherings.
Stewardship is synonymous with the roots of our Catholic faith, and we’re all called to contribute our own unique gifts and talents to the building up of the Church, for the Glory of God. With this in mind, any time is always a good time to explore the many stewardship opportunities awaiting your joy-filled, “YES!” here at St. Mary’s! Will you graciously answer the call to serve? If so, Jesus is sure to smile with delight!
During this Lenten season, prayerfully consider what gifts the Holy Spirit may be calling YOU to share in our parish community and feel free to contact Fr. Timothy or the parish office to answer any questions you may have regarding our valuable ministries! (A list of stewardship opportunities can be found in the church entryway for you to take home and review!)
And, while discerning, remember to hold in your hearts our mission statement which sums it up beautifully, “Live the Gospel! Whatever it takes.”
St. Mary’s “Souper Supper” taking place
the fourth Monday of
the month from
5:30 pm—6:30 pm,
in St. Mary’s Parish Hall.
Doors open at 5:00 pm.
Doors close at 7:00 pm.
Please join us for an
evening of food
and fellowship among friends in the community!
ALL ARE WELCOME!
Ongoing Parish Events
Fr. Timothy’s Schedule
Tuesdays and Fridays at St. Mary in Florence
Wednesdays/Thursdays at St. Stanislaus in Armstrong Creek and St. Joan of Arc in Goodman
Sunday Mass - 8:30 am
with Children’s Liturgy of the Word (for children age 4 through grade 1)
and Intercessory Prayer after Sunday Mass by the servers’ chairs
Saturday Mass - 6:00 pm
Tuesday Mass - 5:30 pm
Friday Mass - 8:30 am
Service Schedule at Florence Health Services (nursing home)
Liturgy of the Word with Communion: Fridays at 10:00 am
Mass: 2nd Friday of each month at 10:00 am
the second Thursday of every month from approx., 4:00—6:00 pm
or before Mass when priest is available
Eucharistic Adoration: Thursdays from 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Rosary: Sundays at 7:00 pm, in the parish hall
Stations of the Cross: Tuesdays at 5:00 pm, during Lent
and Fridays after 8:30 am, Mass during Lent
“Walking with Purpose” (women’s evening Bible study):
Wednesday evenings from 5:45 pm—7:30 pm, in the parish office center
“Alpha” (weekly discipleship series):
Resuming the spring/summer of 2020!
Religious Education Classes
Please refer to weekly bulletin
or find complete schedule on the parish website