St Ignatius of Loyola

Today is the Feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus).  This incredible man was a soldier who laid his armor down so that he could put God first in all things.  He had a great gift to pray with the Scriptures by making himself present to the scene in the life of Jesus.  He also had a gift for recognizing in his own spiritual life when the Holy Spirit was prompting him, when the evil one was present, and when it was just the human spirit at work--we refer to this as the discernment of spirits.  St. Ignatius has been very influential in my own life as many of the gifts he has given to the Church on techniques in prayer have been shared with me.  The Jesuits are known for their great academic gifts to the Church including leading many universities and also that their order makes a special vow of direct obedience to the Pope.  Click here for a link to more on the life of St. Ignatius.    And click here to read the 14 Rules of Discernment that St. Ignatius gave to the Church.

Olympic Mania and Cathedrals

What do the Olympics and a Cathedral Church have in common?  Head Coach of the US Olympic team is Duke University's Men's Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski.  I have read some of his biographies and books on leadership growing up and have always thought he was a good role model.  He is a Catholic and I read once that he even carries a rosary on him during games!  In the video I have connected here, he speaks about his Catholic faith but then also is discussing the diocese of Raleigh, NC and their need for a Cathedral Church.  Being at the Cathedral here in Winona, I thought it served as a reminder of how blessed we are to have our parish also being the home of the diocese.  Enjoy this couple minute video and remember to cheer on our USA Olympic teams!
Click here for a link to the video

The Hand of the Lord Feeds Us

Here is a full text of my homily for this weekend.  Jesus is the one who provides for our every need and does so most perfectly by giving us Himself in the Most Holy Eucharist.  What a treasure!  Click here for the text of my homily.

Join Us for the Cathedral Block Party!



St. James Coffee House

I want to introduce you to and invite you to join in supporting a very exciting and new coffee house in Rochester, MN.  It is actually a Catholic Coffee House but is open to all people.  This coffee house, named St. James Coffee was initiated by Father Matt Fasnacht from our diocese after God placed on his heart to create an atmosphere where people could have a place to talk about their faith openly in a relaxed atmosphere.  God has guided and directed the organizing and planning for this and many generous donations have made this place truly an incredible setting to relax, talk, hang out, and even pray in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  I concelebrated for the dedication of the coffee house which Bishop Quinn presided over with mass and a blessing just over a week ago.  I encourage you to check it out when you are traveling through Rochester or go and visit and stay for a few hours.  St. James Coffee house is located directly across from Pax Christi Catholic Church in Rochester in an ideal setting (4156 18th Ave NW).  Click here for a link to St. James Coffee website.  Also, this coffee house was featured by a nationally known Catholic speaker,  Fr. Leo Patalinghug in his tv series Grace Before Meals.  Enjoy this video showing the coffee house before construction is finished up.

Feast of St. James the Apostle

Today is a special Feast day of one of the Twelve Apostles.  St. James the greater is celebrated this day throughout the Church.  St. James is known to have traveled to Spain and brought the faith there.  Click here to read Saint James biography.  As they celebrate in devotion the life of this fervent apostle, the Cathedral of Saint James in Compostella, Spain swings the largest thurible of incense ever (as far as I know).  Fr. Colletti and I both were privileged to witness this live with the other pilgrims on our trip for World Youth Day last summer in Spain.  This video shows the incensing and it is truly amazing how close it swings to both the people and the ceiling.  Enjoy this fun video when the Pope was there.  It is more chaotic when the Pope is not there as people pack the Cathedral during the mass to witness this incredible devotion!  

Saint Sharbel Makhlouf

Today is the Feast day of Saint Sharbel Makhlouf who is a monk from Lebanon.  He led a very holy life and even was known to perform miracles in his lifetime.  He only died just before the turn on the 20th century in 1898.  He was canonized a Saint by Pope Paul VI in 1977.  He is an important intercessor as we continue to pray for Christians and all in the Holy Land.  Click here to read a short article on his life.

Pilgrim Choir Singing in Kinsale

Click on the Video below to hear the Pilgrim Choir sing "O Be Joyful" in Kinsale, Ireland.


July 22 Bulletin

Homily for 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here is a full text of my homily for this weekend.  While none of you (most likely) will hear it because I am in Owatonna this weekend covering for my home parish as their pastor is away on vacation, feel free to read it by clicking the link below.  Know of my prayers for you and God bless you.  See you next week.  Click here to read the full text from my weekend homily

Holy Hour for Marriage

The local and national media is running column after column on the marriage amendment that will be on the ballot this November.  The majority of them are unfavorable to recognizing the great dignity of marriage.  Join us in continuing our prayerful efforts that all may come to recognize the beauty of married love in the way that God created it between one man and one woman.  This is not an attack on anyone, it is simply seeking to identify the truth of what marriage is and has always been in God's plan for humankind.  Join us in prayer this Saturday, July 21st at 9:00am at St. Mary's Catholic Church in town here.  This is a special time to pray through our questions and concerns as well as seek God's protection for all married couples.  Hope to see you there.

Vacation Bible School 2012

The Vatican Express will take place the week of August 6-10 at Cathedral.  So far 87 children have registered and 34 adult and youth volunteers will help in various ways.  You may still register and forms are available HERE and at the parish entrances.

Almost There: Annual Diocesan Appeal

Thank you to everyone who has been so generous to the Annual Diocesan Appeal.
Cathedral has fulfilled it's monetary goal and is well on the way to surpassing it's participation goal. They have currently raised $56,849, surpassing the monetary goal of $45,410. The participation is slightly below the goal of 25%, currently sitting at 24.44%. 
St. Casimir has fulfilled BOTH it's monetary and participation goals for the year! They have currently raised $18,672, surpassing the monetary goal of $13,460. The participation goal of 25% has also been exceeded and is currently at 30.07%. 
What does this mean? Because St. Casimir has exceeded BOTH goals, they will be getting back the money over the goal, giving them a profit of $5,212. Cathedral still has to hit the participation in order to get the money back, with a possible profit of $11,439. Money that continues to come in will also come back to the parishes. 
If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so. You can get up-to-date parish stats and donate online by clicking on this link.  Thank you!

Rushford Hosts Dad's Belgian Waffles This Sunday

St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rushford, MN invites you to attend their 13th Annual All-You-Can_Eat Belgian Waffle Breakfast. Waffles are prepared by Dad's Belgian Waffles of Algona, Iowa.
Where: Montini Hall (105 N. Mill St.), Rushford MN
When: Sunday, July 22, 2012
Serving from 7 a.m. - 12 Noon
Price: Adults $8.00, Ages 6-12 $4.00, Children 5 and under eat free onsite
Carry out available.

Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!  This feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary originates to July 16th, 1251 when Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock and gave to him the brown scapular to wear.  The scapular is actually what the Carmelites (and other) religious orders wear as a part of their habit.  However, the "brown scapular" has been given to all as an opportunity to wear as a sacramental that shows and spreads our devotion to Mary and is said to grant us perseverance in our final hour.  Click this link to read more on Our Lady of Mount Carmel and other links about the wearing of a scapular.
Click read more below for a prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel:

Weekend Activities

On this warm weekend, I just wanted to thank you for those who prayed for the success of the incredible youth conference that took place at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.  There were many many young people who excitedly gave their hearts to Jesus.  It was a wonderful event.  At the closing mass, there were somewhere between 50-100 young men and women who came forward in front of all their peers and said they are considering a call to either priesthood or consecrated life.  It was a beautiful testimony to the vitality in the Church.  Blessed be God who is at work in the hearts of each one of us and in a particular way the hearts of our young people this weekend.  God be praised.

Do I Trust God Enough?

Here is the text of my homily from this weekend.  God calls us to recognize all that He does for us and the ways in which our lives are infused with His grace.  By opening our hearts to God, we will see more and more the many ways that He is at work in our lives.   Click here for the homily text.

Pilgrim Choir concert.

On Thursday June 28, the choir sang at the Gothic church at Kylemore Abbey.

Items to Pray For this Weekend

A huge youth event is taking place in Rochester this weekend.  It is called Steubenville North and is a wonderful Catholic youth event with tons of energy.  The youth will spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and will attend Mass each day.  Many priests (including the bishop) from the diocese will come to hear confessions.  The youth are given opportunities to learn the Church's teachings as well being able to discuss the "hot topic" stuff so desperately needed these days.  Keep the event taking place at the Rochester Civic Center in your prayers.  Click here for the website with the events information.
Along with this, some of our own Catholic youth here in Winona are preparing for a mission trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota at the end of this month.  I remember these kinds of events being so formative to my faith life as a young man and so your prayers for both God's grace to break through as well as each young person's openness to God is vital.  This is an important role for all of us in the parish community to incorporate more deeply by lifting one another up in prayer.  

Fr. Kern Welcome at St. Casimir

Change of plans . . .due to a scheduling conflict, the welcoming reception at St. Casimir parish for Father Jason Kern has been changed to the weekend of July 28 and 29. You'll have an opportunity to meet Father Kern after the 5:15 pm Mass on Sat., July 28, and the 9:00 am Mass on Sun., July 29. Please introduce yourself to Father and then stay to socialize and enjoy some treats!

Feast of Saint Benedict

Today is the feast day of the namesake of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.  It is the feast day of Saint Benedict who died in the middle of the 6th century and is known as "the father of western monasticism."  He is given this title because he is the founder of monasticism in the west as it is known today.  This means that nearly all religious orders followed his model in some fashion.  He is also the patron saint of all of Europe as he is such an influential saint.  Click here to read a short article on his life.  
The Third Promise of the Sacred Heart
“I will comfort them in all their afflictions”
Thursday July 19, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona at 7:00pm. Come hear Raymond de Souza speak on the comfort given by the Sacred Heart to His true devotees in times of affliction
Followed by: Religious Freedom in America today
Who decides about our beliefs and practices: The Government? Or the Gospel?
The RCR Apologetics Program – Real Catholic Replies by Raymond de Souza, KM

Upcoming Changes

Summer continues to bring changes for our cluster. You might have noticed the new look of the website. We're excited for a general updates, including Fr. Jason Kern's information on the Clergy & Staff page. During this time, it is likely you may run into something that is not working properly. Please let us know, and we will get to it as soon as possible.
We are also happy to report that with parish change comes technology change. Thanks to donations for technology upgrades, we will be updating the office computers for the first time in almost eight years. We ask you to bear with us the next few weeks while all the kinks are worked out.
Thank you for your patience!

Homily for 7/8/12

Happy Monday to you!  I have inserted into this blog the written text of my homily from this past Sunday.  Its basic premise is that we must open ourselves to God by removing the things in our life that prevent us from doing so!  When we do give our hearts to Jesus, then we can share in Jesus' mission in the world.  Click here to read the text that I used generally:

First Friday at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart

A blessed First Friday to you from the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart!  The Church has traditionally remembered Friday's throughout the year as a way of commemorating the day Jesus died on the Cross for us.  In a particular way the Church celebrates the first Friday of each month to remember the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and how His Sacred Heart is pierced with a lance out of love for us.  Jesus' Heart pours forth the grace of our redemption!  May we enter into that grace today with receiving the love God has for us!  Read more on this tradition here:
First Friday Devotion History

Happy July 4th

Fr. Mike set this post up before his departure to Owatonna.  They were recorded last year at Niagara Falls, Ontario. Enjoy!

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!  On this day I can't help but feel gratitude in my heart for the numerous blessings of our great nation.  I feel so very indebted to those who have gone before us to make this country what it is and will continue to be, please God.  In a particular way my mind is drawn to thank those who have served our nation in the armed forces and particularly those who have died doing so.  May they find eternal rest with our Savior.  Finally, just a word of encouragement as we continue to work to shape this nation into a land of continued liberty.  We must continue in our prayers and efforts to ensure that authentic religious liberty is maintained and defended.  We must also seek for an end to injustices such as abortion, euthanasia, homelesssness, and poverty in a nation of such prosperity.  We must defend our liberties and strive to improve our nation in every way that we can.  May God grant you peace and joy this day; enjoy your time with family and friends and keep cool!  God bless you.

My First Assignment

I am happy to write you from my new desk, at my new assignment, as your new Parochial Vicar (associate pastor) and I must say I am very excited to be joining a wonderful group of faithful people to serve the Cathedral, St. Casimir, and the Newman Center here in Winona.

Fortnight for Freedom Day 13  July 3, 2012

These reflections and readings from the Vatican II document Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae) are intended for daily use during the Fortnight for Freedom, a national campaign designated by the U.S. Catholic bishops for teaching and witness in support of religious liberty. The readings and the questions that follow can be used for group discussion or for personal reflection. Excerpts from The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, SJ, General Editor, copyright © 1966 by America Press, Inc.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
In turn, where the principle of religious freedom is not only proclaimed in words or simply incorporated in law but also given sincere and practical application, there the Church succeeds in achieving a stable situation of right as well as of fact and the independence which is necessary for the fulfillment of her divine mission. This independence is precisely what the authorities of the Church claim in society. At the same time, the Christian faithful, in common with all other men, possess the civil right not to be hindered in leading their lives in accordance with their conscience.

July 8 Bulletin

Fortnight for Freedom Day 12 July 2, 2012

These reflections and readings from the Vatican II document Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae) are intended
for daily use during the Fortnight for Freedom, a national campaign designated by the U.S. Catholic bishops for teaching and witness
in support of religious liberty. The readings and the questions that follow can be used for group discussion or for personal reflection.
Excerpts from The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott,
SJ, General Editor, copyright © 1966 by America Press, Inc.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright ©
2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington,
DC. All rights reserved.
Day 12  July 2, 2012
Among the things which concern the good of the Church and indeed the welfare of society here on earth—things therefore which are always and everywhere to be kept secure and defended against all injury—this certainly is preeminent, namely, that the Church should enjoy that full measure of freedom which her care for salvation of men requires. This freedom is sacred, because the only-begotten Son endowed with it the Church which He purchased with His blood. It is so much the property of the Church that to act against it is to act against the will of God.

Reflection for Day Eleven  July 1, 2012

These reflections and readings from the Vatican II document Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae) are intended for daily use during the Fortnight for Freedom, a national campaign designated by the U.S. Catholic bishops for teaching and witness
in support of religious liberty. The readings and the questions that follow can be used for group discussion or for personal reflection. Excerpts from The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, SJ, General Editor, copyright © 1966 by America Press, Inc.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
Day 11   July 1, 2012
Furthermore, society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on pretext of freedom of religion. It is the special duty of government to provide this protection. However, government is not to act in arbitrary fashion or in an unfair spirit of partisanship. Its action is to be controlled by juridical norms which are in conformity with the objective moral order.  These norms arise out of the need for effective safeguard of the rights of all citizens and for peaceful settlement of conflicts of rights. They flow from the need for an adequate care of genuine public peace, which comes about when men live together in good order and in true justice. They come, finally, out of the need for a proper guardianship of public morality. These matters constitute the basic component of the common welfare: they are what is meant by public order. For the rest, the usages of society are to be the usages of freedom in their full range. These require that the freedom of man be respected as far as possible, and curtailed only when and in so far as necessary.
Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae), no. 7 December 7, 1965
Reflection for Day Eleven
The Council Fathers are well aware that, while various religious groups are meant to live in harmony, each accepting the equal rights of others, yet, in reality, conflicts frequently arise between various religions. This may be due to what a specific religion
holds concerning the nature of its own beliefs in relation to the beliefs of other religions. While each religious group has the right to profess that its religious beliefs are true and that other religious beliefs are either inadequate or contain erroneous tenets, no
religious group has the right to persecute or seek to suppress other religious groups. Similar conflict may arise within a religion, in which case, the cause of the conflict does not reside in the religious belief as such, but in a misinterpretation of those beliefs that
prompts misguided attacks on other religious groups. Given the reality of such religious conflicts, the Council Fathers acknowledge that the government is responsible for keeping public order, not by taking sides, but by enacting just laws and guarding the equal
rights of all. What causes religious conflicts today? Do governments always adequately respond to such conflicts? What distinguishes "public order" (which limits religious freedom) from an ordinary policy preference of government (which does not)?