Weekly pastor’s post (October 8)

The model for all faith formation programs!

This last week I was able to sit down with not one, not two, but three different faith formation volunteer teams. Our First Holy Communion parent orientation was on Thursday, our adult catechesis (OCIA) team met that evening and our Confirmation team met on Saturday. With their help, Saint Mark parish is moving ahead with all three of these sacramental preparation programs. It is no exaggeration to say that without the generous help of these faithful & enthusiastic parishioners, our faith formation program would not be possible. I am so very grateful for their willingness to assist in the work of passing on the faith to our children, youth, and adults.

By the way, its not too late to volunteer for any of these programs! With all three programs scheduled & mapped out, it is easy to slip into any of them – and its a great opportunity to share your faith with others! We’d be happy to have you.

If you came to the 10:30 am Mass this weekend, you will have noticed that we are once again including the use of incense. Our altar servers were super excited at the prospect of re-introducing this to regular practice – and they weren’t the only ones! I love the smell of the incense, the sight of the smoke as it curls around the altar, and the symbolism of the gestures of incensing the altar, the Book of the Gospel, the gifts before consecration, the priest, and the people. Since this will be a feature of the 10:30 am Mass for the foreseeable future, I hope to offer more insight into the meaning of this rich tradition in our faith.

By the way, if you’re interested in doing reading on the liturgy yourself, you can’t go wrong with anything written by Bishop Peter Elliott. One of my favorite books is his Liturgical Question Box: Answers to Common Questions About the Modern Liturgy. Though written as a Q&A, it is pretty easy to read straight through – at least, if you’re a fan of the liturgy! I highly recommend this book, as well as any others written by him.

As always, know of my prayers for you. I hope you have a wonderful week.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

P.S. Remember that this is the last week to offer your input on Partners in the Gospel. The online form for general public input (click this sentence to use it) will be closing at the end of this week (Friday). If you haven’t yet offered your feedback – or have more feedback to give – take the time to offer it today!

October 9 – “Lets make like Saint Denis and head off” was one of the go-to lines of one of my seminary classmates at Mundelein. Though we all found the pun hilarious, it always struck me as a mite inappropriate to tease about one of the early Christian martyrs in this way….. until I read up on Saint Denis and discovered that he actually did head off after his head was taken off!

Legend tells us that upon being beheaded, Saint Denis picked up his head and walked several miles – preaching all the while on repentance! Read more about Saint Denis and his companions at My Catholic Life, whose memorial celebration is today.

October 10 – As you may have heard, a priest of the archdiocese and one of my friends, Father Paul Kaech, died early last week after suffering a massive heart attack in his rectory at Saint Edward parish in Shelton. He was 59 years old.

I first met Father Paul at Saint John Seminary in Camarillo (California), where we both studied. Many years my senior, he nonetheless treated me – and all those around him – with a kindness and care that formed the foundation of his desire to serve the Lord. As priests, we had occasion to serve together briefly in Lewis & Pacific County and I was edified to see how his natural gifts were a blessing to his parishioners.

Whether by family & friends, brother priests, or parishioners, he will be deeply missed. His funeral Mass is today at Saint Edward parish. You can read a little about Father Paul at the Northwest Catholic. In your kindness, please say a prayer for the repose of his soul and the consolation of his loved ones.

October 11 – Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint John XXIII, most commonly known for having convened the Second Vatican Council. As I was reading up on him for this entry, I came across this National Catholic Register article about his preparation for the Council, which included a pilgrimage to Loreto and Assisi – on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, no less!

Though often misunderstood, Vatican II is the most influential movement of the Church in our time, though the vision of the Council fathers and the movement of the Holy Spirit therein have yet to be fully realized. Even as we explore how to fully live into the aggiornamento of the Council, we thank God for inspiring Pope John XXIII and for His continued care for the Church. Read more about Saint John XXIII at Word on Fire.