November 26, 2017



I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Because of the holiday and bulletin deadlines, I had to compose these words a couple of weeks ago while I was still away taking classes at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago.

Today I went on a little hike on the wooded grounds around St. Mary lake. I saw a few deer as I walked over to a place called Marytown which is the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a modern-day martyr who died in a concentration camp in World War II. He identified himself to the guards as a Catholic priest and offered to take the place of another man who was scheduled to be executed. His offer was accepted and the man who was saved would eventually attend the canonization of St. Max.

The Franciscans Friars of Marytown have made a beautiful shrine and I would certainly recommend it as a place to visit on pilgrimage. It is beautifully decorated and they have 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration with a giant monstrance above the main altar. The rector of Marytown was actually taking classes with me at Mundelein, and mentioned that he would be attending the beatification of Father Solanus Casey in Detroit (which took place last Saturday).

I learned a lot in my classes at the seminary, and I’m sure I will have much to share with you by way of homilies and bulletin articles in the weeks and months ahead. But for now, we will naturally focus on two things. Certainly the Grow and Go Campaign we introduced this weekend, but also Advent and preparation for our annual celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ. Our Advent by Candlelight is coming up next weekend. I hope you’ve signed up for a table. Our guest presenter will be Debbie Herbeck of Ann Arbor. She and her husband Peter are world-class evangelists. Maybe she can inspire us here at the beginning of our own evangelistic campaign.

And, as for me personally, I’m beginning to get excited about a trip down to Detroit to a very special concert; Andrea Bocelli. This was a special surprise gift from the Parish in recognition of my 10 years here at Holy Spirit. Thank you very much for this great gift. Fr. Lobert will be joining me on this little adventure and I’ll report back to you on how it went.


I wanted to give you an update on our promise of new bathrooms. As you might imagine, this will be a real logistics problem. Time will be needed to accomplish the task, but we will still need the use of facilities while the project is going on. We have limited funds and so we are trying to cut as many corners as possible and this will require planning. So all I can tell you at this time is that we are thinking of waiting till the warmer weather of spring, perhaps during the Easter vacation time, before we begin.

Today marks the beginning of an exciting evangelization initiative in the Diocese of Lansing to further encourage parishes to create a culture of conversion, discipleship and evangelization. Inspired by Bishop Boyea’s 2012 pastoral letter, the new GROW AND GO initiative invites you to continue to GROW as a disciple of Jesus and GO evangelize our world.

As a disciple of Christ, we are taught to GROW closer to him by praying every day, studying our faith, engaging in parish life and serving others’ needs. We are also called to GO evangelize by praying for those who are separated from the Church, witnessing about Jesus, inviting people to church and accompanying them as they grow.

During this weekend’s Mass, you will receive a Personal Evangelization Plan. This plan asks important questions that will help you GROW in your faith, and GO evangelize. Please be sure to fill out the plan and prayerfully commit to cooperating in Jesus’ Great Commission to bring the Gospel message to everyone we encounter. Fr. J


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