We are getting near the end of the time for filling out the Disciple Maker Index survey, which closes March 23rd. I ask you to fill it out, if you have not yet done so. The link is on our website and there are paper copies in the back of church, at fellowship and in the parish office. Your anonymous opinions will be extremely helpful to the parish leadership and me. Please do not procrastinate any longer and take the few moments to do it. Thank you.
Our readings through Lent are chosen to gradually reveal to us who Jesus is and what He means for us:
Our theme this week is thirst and the need for water to quench it. The Israelites were wandering deeper and deeper into the desert and were so concerned about where they would find water that they turned against God and Moses. But Moses stood up for them and God gave them water from the rock to quench their thirst.
In the Gospel Jesus breaks customary restrictions by going through Samaria; by speaking to a Samaritan, much less a woman; and by asking her for water. In the dialog that follows, Jesus informs her, and us, that He gives “living water” that leads to eternal life.
The point is that each of us, in our innermost being, thirst for the real meaning of life. Jesus is telling us that He is the living water that will quench that spiritual thirst and give meaning and direction to life. He shows us that love of God, lived out through love of neighbor, especially the most vulnerable, is what gives true meaning to our lives. Lent is an opportunity to reflect on how we are doing.
One way we can respond in Lent is to support our Living Waters Campaign in which we, as a community, help some of the most vulnerable of God’s children by making clean water readily available to them. I have been in Tanzania and have seen how badly these wells are needed and how much they benefit the people, especially the women and young girls.
The living water that Jesus gives us leads to eternal life. I invite us to reflect this week on the living water that Christ gives us through the community and the sacraments, asking ourselves how we can better share the gifts we have been given with others. And let us continue to support each other in prayer.
This coming weekend, March 14th & 15th, we will celebrate the anointing of the sick at all Masses. Please invite those who would benefit from this sacrament to attend.
The 99 Experience begins this week. Please keep the participants in your prayers. You can still sign up through Monday, March 9th.
If you have not yet filled out the Disciple Maker Index survey, please do so ASAP. It would be very helpful to me if every parishioner would fill out this anonymous survey. It is on our website or there are copies at the welcome table in the back of church. Thank you.
The Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent is always some version of the Transfiguration. Last week, Jesus’ human nature was highlighted in His temptations; this week His divine nature is being highlighted in the Transfiguration.
At the Transfiguration, we hear the same statement from the Father as we did at Jesus’ baptism: This is my beloved Son. But this time, three words are added: listen to Him. Why??
Right before this, Peter had declared Jesus to be the Messiah and Jesus had foretold His passion and death. Peter had replied that it would never happen and Jesus had responded: get behind me, Satan. The disciples had their cultural idea of what the messiah would be like and they were NOT listening to Jesus. They either did not want to or could not hear what He was saying. They are being shown that Jesus IS the messiah, but are also being told TO LISTEN.
We could be doing the same thing. One way we could be like Peter and the other disciples is by thinking we know what God wants and how it should be, but not listening as we are being told otherwise. Another way could be like the priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who were so intent on performing their religious duties that they did not heed the cry of their injured countryman.
The point is to always be listening and open to the Spirit in our lives. If we are absolutely convinced we know what God wants, we will not be able to hear the Spirit calling us. That is why it is so important to come to Mass regularly and allow the readings and homily to speak to us. That is why it is so important to take some quiet time each day to simply be in the presence of the Lord and listen. If you are not in the habit of practicing these two things regularly, I encourage you to use Lent to get in the practice.
The Lord wants to help us. The Lord wants to lead us. But we need to allow Him to do it. As we struggle to do so, let us support each other in prayer.
Have you ever thought about joining our Celebration Singers Choir but just aren’t sure you want to make that year long commitment?
How about giving it a try by joining us for some or all of the Holy Week/Easter liturgies:
Holy Thursday, April 9th at 7:00 pm
Good Friday, April 10th at 7:00 pm
Holy Saturday, April 11th at 8:00 pm
Easter Sunday, April 12th at 10:30 am
Rehearsals will be held in church at 7:15 pm on Thursdays beginning February 27th (There will be no rehearsal on March 5th).
We are also looking for hand bell ringers and other instrumentalists for Holy Saturday or the Easter Sunday Masses. Rehearsals will be scheduled based on your availability.
Contact Kathy Wellenstein at 414-453-3875 x14 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or are interested in participating.
Oh my, goodness, it is Lent already!? Wasn’t Christmas yesterday? A lot is going on: please remember to fill out the Disciple Maker Index and to register for The 99 Experience, which will take place later in Lent. There is a lot of important information in The Invitation, which you will receive this week. Please read it.
As always, our Gospel for this first Sunday of Lent presents the temptations of Christ, this time Matthew’s version. I have always thought of my weaknesses making me the most vulnerable to temptations. For example, if I like food, I am vulnerable to the temptation to overeat. Or if I am lazy, I am vulnerable to the temptation to stay in bed on Sunday morning, instead of going to Mass.
I read an article that pointed out that, while that might be true, the real danger lies in our strengths. The devil knew Jesus had the power to do the things he proposed; he was targeting a strength of Jesus. Temptations involving our strengths may involve more overarching and devastating results: they may encompass a way of life, rather than just one failure like overeating at an evening meal.
For example, if I am industrious and energetic, that gift can tempt me to amass excessive wealth. If I am gifted with organization and people skills, the temptation might be to power. If I am intelligent and bright, it might be to arrogance, etc. Looking at our strengths might help us uncover underlying urges that keep us from being the best “light to the world,” as Jesus has asked us to be.
An antidote is true humility, which calls us to recognize our gifts in an honest way, but remembering that these gifts come from God; we did nothing to earn them. Hopefully, this realization will help us use our gifts in ways that benefit others and not just ourselves, This Tuesday evening, March 3rd, we will spend an hour on this topic of humility. I invite you to join us in the church at 7:00 pm for a presentation I will give, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and some quiet time with the Lord. It is a wonderful way to prayerfully enter into Lent. Please take advantage of this opportunity.
Sunday, March 8th
After the 8:00 & 10:30 am Masses
Do you wonder where the Father Francis Jordan Room is? What about the library? And what is all this talk about a cow barn?
The answer to these and all your burning questions can be answered! Open Doors St. Pius X will be a tour of St. Pius X along with a few stories about our early days. This is not just for newcomers, but for everyone who is interested.
The tour will last about 15 minutes and finish with delicious Cranky Al’s donuts and fellowship.
No reservations are required. All attendees can meet at the altar steps. Hope to see you there!
The Disciple Maker Index survey link, www.DiscipleMakerIndex.com, is active as of February 23rd. Please take a few minutes to fill it out, online, if possible. For those who do not use the internet, we have copies in the back of church. Filling this anonymous instrument out will help you reflect on your strengths and where you need to grow. It will also help parish leaders know where we are providing good ministries and where we need to fill in the gaps. I ask each parishioner to participate.
Please be aware that scams are being sent out using my name asking for gift cards, donations, etc. I will NOT send e-mails like that. If you receive an e-mail that seems suspicious, send me an e-mail before you open it, asking if it is legitimate. Don’t ever send money or information without asking me first. This scam is happening to priests across the country.
Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday. Please join us for Mass at 8:00 am or 7:00 pm.
This is the last weekend before Lent and maybe our readings are setting us up for what we should work on in Lent! They are very clear in what God is calling us to, but doing it is a difficult challenge for us humans. And what is it? Loving our enemies!
Look at what we hear in these readings:
- [do] not bear hatred for your brother/sister in your heart
- take no revenge
- cherish no grudge
- love your neighbor as yourself
- offer no resistance
- turn the other cheek
- love your enemies
- pray for those who persecute you
- do not turn your back on your own
I don’t need to comment on these; they speak for themselves. Our culture needs the witness of people trying to live according to these norms. Name calling, open hatred, verbal violence – all of these are rampant in our politics and all around us. Our efforts to avoid these sins and to practice the virtues presented in our scripture readings can make a difference. Our witness is sorely needed!
It is not easy, but we need to work on improving. Underlying all these virtues is the virtue of humility. I invite you to join me on Tuesday evening, March 3rd, for a short presentation on the virtue of humility with time for reflection in front of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord to help us to grow during Lent. More information is in this bulletin and on our website.
Reflection: how am I at forgiving others? Is there someone I need to forgive? How can I plan out a way of doing it that will work for me? And let us support each other in prayer.
Join us on Saturday, February 22nd from 5:00 - 8:00 pm at Wauwatosa Catholic School in the Griffey Center for a delicious spaghetti dinner.
This dinner features food prepared by The Bartolotta Family and is sponsored by the Wauwatosa Catholic School Home & School Association.
As of February 4, the donations to the first annual Salvatorian Sunday collection totaled $5,111. On behalf of all Salvatorian brothers and priests, I thank you for your generosity. PACT: Pius Parishioners Always Come Through!!!!
This weekend and the next couple weekends there will be a table in the back of church to sign up for The 99 Experience. There is information in the bulletin and on our website, where you can also sign up. Please read the material and seriously consider taking advantage of this Lenten opportunity to let the Lord speak to you in a personal way.
Our readings this weekend deal with the commandments and how we are to observe them. Our first reading tells us that by observing the commandments of God, we are choosing life. Most of us try to keep the “commandments,” but Jesus warns us in the Gospel that we might be taking too simplistic a view of what the commandments really are asking of us. With compelling examples, He challenges us to move from external behaviors to a righteous heart that motivates good behavior.
A clear example is Jesus’ first one: thou shalt not kill. I don’t think any of us are in the habit of killing people. But Jesus moves to anger and name calling, saying that these things are also reprehensible. And maybe we are not as innocent when we look at the fifth commandment from this perspective. Do we kill people’s reputations with the things we say about them? Are there people we can’t forgive? Do we harbor anger in our hearts?
Our culture needs to hear and heed this message of forgiveness and civility. Jesus emphasizes how important it is by telling us not to bring our gift to the altar, that is, don’t come to worship, until we resolve these issues.
Being human, we will never be perfect in avoiding hurtful words and actions, but it is important to recognize how sinful these are and how they hurt both the other person and ourselves. Our culture desperately needs the witness of Christians who can forgive and relate compassionately to others. For an excellent reflection on this, search for “Arthur Brooks National Prayer Breakfast Speech” online.
I invite us to reflect this week on our ability to forgive, to dissipate anger in a positive way, and to avoid negative speech. How can I do better? What practical steps can I take to improve? And let us support each other’s efforts with prayer.
I thank all those who have supported the Salvatorian Sunday collection so far. We will keep the collection open a couple more weeks and then I will find out the total and report it to you.
Congratulations to Randy Ferrell, a teacher at Wauwatosa Catholic, who has been selected as “Teacher of the Year” by the 4th VFW District. Randy led a research project with the 8th graders a couple years ago to develop a memorial for each soldier who died in the Vietnam War. This project allowed our students to learn about the war and, at the same time, begin to understand the tremendous toll it took on individuals and families.
Wauwatosa Catholic does a wonderful job instilling our Catholic faith and an inquiring, open mind in our children. Registration for next year is open: please consider sending your children to our school. If money is a factor, please talk to our principal, Lori Suarez, about the possibility of tuition assistance.
Our readings this weekend are very powerful. Jesus tells us that we are to be light for the world and salt for the earth. Isaiah gives us some hints on how to do it.
We don’t think about salt much because we have refrigeration and many prepared foods already have salt in them. But in Jesus’ day, salt was essential for preserving food, as well as giving flavor. It was so valuable that even the root word for “salary” is the Latin word for salt.
Isaiah tells us WHAT to do and what NOT to do, in order to be light and salt for the world. The “to do’s” are to be generous with the gifts that God has given us, especially to the hungry, naked, oppressed, and homeless.
Sometimes the “not to do’s” are more difficult: remove false accusation and malicious speech from your lives. We have a real problem with this in our culture. It is sad that our children are exposed to politicians and public figures being mean, bullying, and threatening to others. This sends the message that it is OK to behave this way. Gossiping, talking about others behind their back, bullying, calling names, denigrating others – all of these are contrary to Gospel values and sinful. Worst of all, the more these things are done, the more others do the same.
We CAN make a difference. We can make a concerted effort, first of all, not to do these things ourselves. Second, we can refuse to be part of a conversation where any of these things are happening. We can politely say that we do not find that kind of talk uplifting and productive; then, if the conversation doesn’t change, simply walk away.
Reflection for the week: change in our culture begins with each one of us. How do I use the gift of speech? Am I light and salt to the world by what I say and listen to? How can I do better? And let us support each other’s efforts in prayer.
All are invited to the Mini Green Summit after both morning Masses on Sunday, February 23rd.
The summit will be held from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm in the St. Pius X Cafeteria.
Bring your gently used clothing for others to put in the Better Earth recycling bin and learn more about this ongoing St. Pius project. There will be an activity for children and you will be able to meet representatives from the organizations listed below.
- Tosa Bag It
- Citizens Climate Lobby
- Green Neighbor Wauwatosa
- Interfaith Earth Network
- Better Earth Recycling
- Victory Garden Initiative
- Wauwatosa Farmers Market
- MKE River Keepers
- Tosa Sustainability Committee
- Compost Crusaders
The Justice and Peace Commission is hosting and we are all learning to follow Pope Francis' words of encouragement and learn how to better “Care for our Common Home” - Earth.
Children and adolescents face social stressors that are more complex and intense than in previous generations. Whether in person, over social media, or within groups, negative experiences can have lasting effects on the mental health and functioning of our youth.
This talk will identify how to delineate “bullying” behavior from other negative interactions, and will discuss healthy, effective ways to respond to social stressors of all types. Learning strategies for addressing social challenges, and improving the experiences of youth in today’s world, is an important aspect of growth and development.
We invite you to join in this conversation aimed at helping our youth more confidently and effectively attain success and satisfaction in the present and future.
Presented by: Dr. Matthew Jandrisevits, PhD, Pediatric Psychologist, Children’s Hospital
Date: Thursday, February 20th, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Wauwatosa Catholic School, 1500 Wauwatosa Ave. (in Griffey Hall, enter through church doors)
Sponsored by: Wauwatosa Catholic School and St. Pius X Health Ministry
Parents, teachers, grandparents and any concerned adults are welcome to attend.
This week you will receive The Invitation. My letter in that contains comments on what is happening at Pius, so I will go right to my reflection on our liturgical celebration this weekend.
At all Masses, we will bless candles that will be used in the church this year, as well as any candles parishioners bring to Mass. Why?
It all has to do with “light.” Christ came into the world to be the light of the world; we, also, are to be “light to the world.” Until the revision of the liturgical calendar after the last Vatican Council, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord marked the end of Christmas time, and, because of the line in the Gospel, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles,” candles were blessed and the day was unofficially called “Candlemas Day.”
It is hard for us to appreciate light because it is so accessible to us. If it starts to get dark, we simply flip a switch and there is light. But, before Thomas Edison it was a different story: when it got dark, much activity stopped. With candles, there was a little light to break the darkness and make some tasks possible. Candles were essential to daily life and safety. Light helps a person to know their surroundings and gives a sense of assurance and security.
The point is that Jesus is our light, not something extra, but something essential for knowing God and how we are to act in this world. The light of Christ assures us that God is in our lives and helps us find and follow the correct path through darkness.
There is certainly darkness around us, the darkness of hatred, violence, fear, pain, storms, etc. Christ is our light and assures us that God is with us and, if we follow the light and do our best to pass the light on to others, all will be well.
I invite us this week to reflect on light and how it enables us to see: how comfortable am I when I am in the dark and cannot see anything? Am I allowing the light of Christ to influence my speech and actions? What is one area of my life in which I could move out of darkness? And let us support each other in prayer, as we struggle to bring the light of Christ into our lives and world.
Videos & Resources Available from the "Our Teens Mental Health: Staying Healthy in Mind, Body & Spirit" Presentation
If you missed the "Our Teens Mental Health: Staying Healthy in Mind, Body & Spirit" Presentation on January 26th, the videos and resources that were shown are now available.
Take advantage of these resources and share them with family and friends.
Center for Parent & Teen Communication
National Alliance on Mental Illness - Support for Teens & Young Adults
"The Deepest Well" - a Book from the Center for Youth Wellness
Dan Siegel - "The Adolescent Brain"
The Biology of Toxic Stress
InBrief: The Science of Resilience
Teen Suicide Prevention
We are at the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. Wauwatosa Catholic School does a wonderful job of challenging our students academically with the International Baccalaureate Program, while helping them understand and grow in their Catholic faith. The I.B. Learner Profile (such as caring, principled, and reflective) supports and encourages our Gospel values. I encourage you to consider our school for your children and encourage others to do so, also. I thank our principal, Lori Suarez, and all of our teachers and staff for their excellent ministry.
Last weekend I introduced “Salvatorian Sunday,” an appeal to financially support the efforts of the Society of the Divine Savior, which has staffed St. Pius X since its beginning. Envelopes are in the pews or you can donate online through Pius’ website. Please be as generous as you can.
Our Gospel this weekend presents Matthew’s version of the beginning of Jesus’ active ministry, touched off by the arrest of John the Baptist. And almost immediately He calls his four main apostles; Peter, Andrew, James, and John. The presentation is dramatic: Jesus sees them, He calls them, and they leave everything to follow Him. It sounds so total and complete that we can be left feeling that it has nothing to do with our ongoing, personal struggle to respond to the call to follow Christ.
But, look at the reality: those men also had a long struggle to grow into being true followers of Jesus. They argued over who was the most important, John and James had their mother ask for a special place for them, they wanted to send people away rather than feed them, they fell asleep instead of praying with Jesus in Gethsemane, Peter denied Jesus three times, etc. They struggled, as do we, to grow in their ability to be true disciples of Jesus. But they made it. I don’t think the four men would have been able to travel over the whole known world preaching the Gospel and accept martyrdom those first days after Jesus called them: they needed to grow.
The point to us is that we, too, are called to be fishers of people, to bring people to the Lord by the way we live our lives. It is a process; we will never get it perfect. But if we follow Jesus (read scripture, listen reflectively to homilies, spend quiet time talking with the Lord, take advantage of faith formation opportunities), His Spirit will help us grow in our ability to be true disciples.
Reflection for the week: am I growing as a disciple? Do I spend enough time talking with the Lord and listening to His word to give His Spirit a chance to guide me? What is one practical change I can make in my life to do better? And let us support each other in prayer