MARCH Parish Update

Parishioner Joanne Arbic cheers for a team-mate! The girls won the state title, including parishioners Kylie Jones, Lizzy Ohman, Mia Woolover, and Anna Hildenrand! The boys finished 3rd. Joanne her brother Evan & Anna Hildenrand made the all-UP team. Jo & Anna were part of 2 relays that broke UP records. We are so proud of all of you!


Parish Council
Holy Name High School
Mold Update
Upcoming Homily Series
Holy Week Schedule
Last Week’s Homily
Rainbow Recovery Talk
Healing Prayers

Welcome to our parish family Cecilia Meier, congratulations Hannah and Joe! (4lbs 6oz!)

I am hoping to reform the Parish Council. If you or someone you know would be a good fit, please reach out!I’m looking for strategists who can help me create a plan for the new situation we find ourselves in. Of the following models that Parish Councils tend to fall into, the bottom row is what I need. I would really value the insights and teamwork of parishioners in creating a plan for our future!

Models of Parish Councils
Last weekend the principal of Holy Name High School in Escanaba, Joe Carlson, came and spoke at our parish. I’ll be honest, before he came I really thought it was a long shot that anyone in our area would take advantage of that (they’ll be having an online option).After hearing their presentation though, it was pretty hard not to be excited about it! I will bend over backwards to support any family from our parish who chooses this route. It’s going to be an amazing education for those students. You should definitely take a look-

The mold has been abated from the rectory- (Atlas Cleaning did a thorough job, and Ian McDonald was great to work with) We removed mold both from the attic and from the poorly ventilated and 60 year old bathrooms. Mackinac Environmental has done air quality tests and determined that it is now completely safe.If anyone is up for it, I really need a hand ripping out the carpeting as I’ve become very sensitive to dust. Our maintenance man is recovering from an injury, so I’m extremely short-handed. I’m living in an apartment above Frank’s Restaurant (the owners generously lent it to me) until I can get back in the rectory, Fr. Romeo is living at St. Mary’s. 

Gifts of the Holy Spirit
April 11- Fear of the Lord (Divine Mercy Sunday)
April 18- Understanding (Fr. Romeo)
April 25- Wisdom
May 2- Knowledge (High School Confirmation at 1:30)
May 9- Piety
May 16- Fortitude
May 23- Counsel (Pentecost)

March 31 Wednesday– 3:30 Adoration, 4pm Mass
April 1st Holy Thursday– 7pm Mass, Chapel of Repose in Parish Hall until Midnight
April 2nd Good Friday– 12:10
April 3rd Easter Vigil– 8:00pm
April 4th Easter Sunday– 8:00am and 10:00am

In the first reading, the Jewish people are conquered. Everything goes wrong for them. Their enemies burnt down the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem: their cultural and religious and political capitol. The palaces were set afire, all its precious and sacred objects and works of art were destroyed. Many were killed, and those who weren’t killed were carried away to Babylon, where they lived in exile for 70 years. Utter disaster.Then we hear the Psalm today- 137- one of my favorite Psalms. It’s a song that was written about this time of exile- when everything seemed to be going wrong and they were far from their home. Their captors told them to sing songs to entertain them. So- they sing, and there’s this sort of defiant hope that all would be made right again. And a bracing of oneself not to forget what is most important and what is central in times of trial.

Psalm 137 By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat and wept
Remembering Zion
On the poplars that grew there
We hung up our harps
For it was there that they asked us,
Our captors
For songs“Sing to us” they said
“one of Zion’s songs”
O how could we sing the song of the Lord
On alien soil?
If I forget you Jerusalem
Let my right hand wither!
O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not
If I prize not Jerusalem above all my joys!

(I actually put this psalm to music once- here’s a recording from my 2006 album just for fun)–>
The rest of the Psalm is about their enemies being conquered. 
Here on earth, we are on alien soil- and yet we sing!
Since our true home is in heaven, our roots are not here. We can say ‘everything is on fire but I’m not burnt’- like the burning bush. “This is an overwhelming situation but I am not overwhelmed.”This Laetare Sunday is about defiant hope in the midst of trials. 

So I know I’ve been kind of aloof the last month or so- if I’m honest with you, a lot of things have been going- not great. I’ve been very much down on my luck, or facing spiritual warfare, just- everything seems to be going wrong!
I was assigned here on July 1 of 2015 with a 6 year assignment- I’m actually due for reassignment here or elsewhere July 1st of this year.

 I got a voicemail from the Bishop this past Friday to talk about the next 6 years.

“Do you want to stay or do you want to go?”

As I listened to his voicemail I couldn’t help but think of the no good, very bad month I’ve had. It has been a streak of bad luck or spiritual warfare:

-It started with Fr. Romeo’s ER visits with respiratory issues, and the mold problem at the rectory forcing us to move out.
-I was also having a hard time breathing probably because of the mold problem-then Fr. Romeo’s car broke down and I had to cart him around for a few weeks
-then my email was hacked-then our website crashed multiple times-then I lost my phone with all my contacts on it
-then the Newman Center dumpster got infested with rats
-there has been a larger than normal slew of homeless people seeking help at random times!
-Then, when we went to fix one of the bathrooms in the rectory (to get rid of some other mold from 60 year old fixtures) we had a bad experience with a contractor and have to redo some of his work.
-Then we discovered that -we’re pretty sure- multiple vendors have been cheating or fleecing us.
-Then, at the end of a project in the FF building, a pipe was hit, and water poured all over brand new drywall, carpeting, and a tongue and groove ceiling (an accident by a hired crew that did an otherwise great job)
-of course they shut off all the water. But then, they forgot to turn it back on. That caused the boiler to go out. We realized it a couple of days later. When I ran over to the basement and went to open the door to the boiler room, the doorknob came off in my hand, and I couldn’t get in!
-Then, when I was on my way to a borrowed cabin where I was staying, I met a truck on the road- I couldn’t tell how narrow the road was because the surrounding area looked solid with the snow. I went to shimmy around the other truck, and my vehicle ended up in a swamp.
-Then a photo from the most awkward year of my life appeared on the cover of the UP Catholic. :/

-When I got to the cabin after the tow truck got me out, at one point I got snowed in for a morning and couldn’t come back here for half a day while I waited for a snowplow.
-then I stayed with Dcn. Bill. He comes out of the bedroom not feeling well, and we went to the Emergency Room for 3 hours in the middle of the night.-Then my mom fell and got injured!
-We’ve had multiple staff members get sick and even injured.-The insurance company gave us the run-around and we weren’t able to file a claim for well over a month.
-Then, in 3 or 4 circumstances, I kept putting my foot in my mouth, and just saying things that weren’t helpful to the people I was trying to help!
-Throughout this time, we’ve been filling in for Fr. Dominic at his 3 parishes so I’ve been running all around the county instead of concentrating on any of this.It has been a month.
Anyway, ALL of that list is just a distraction- the only worry that reaches my heart is this one:

 -a lot of the parish efforts we were working on together have fallen apart due to Covid, a lot of people who came back to the Church or who came to the Church for the first time in the last 5-6 years are no longer attending this past year, and now that more and more people are vaccinated (and still not returning) I’m not really sure what their goalposts are for coming back, or how to stay connected to them or minister to them, and help them grow closer to God.

So I get this voicemail from the Bishop- saying basically,“Do you want to get out of there, or keep going?”

I immediately called back and left a message on the Bishop’s phone saying, “Bishop I am elated to accept a reassignment at St. Joseph’s- I’m very happy here. I love these people and I love the Soo, thanks for keeping me here.”There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, and no other battle I’d rather fight.

Here’s the other side of the coin- you can look at the troughs of the waves or you can look at the peaks. Here’s my last month from another perspective (and it’s my perspective)
I don’t want to embarrass anyone or forget anyone with this list:

When Fr. Romeo’s car broke down- Stan Caruso helped him out. Kristen Sawruk (N.P.) got him into her office to check out his respiratory issues. Steve Lalonde did our project across the parking lot so we could focus on the mold issue (furred out the walls with beadboard wainscoating)
Audrey Crawford and Rick O’Kane did the painting. 
(We fought for every inch of it- but we now have a great youth room for our high schoolers and middle school classroom and small groups)
Lisa Kapahua volunteered many many hours of work cleaning so our maintenance man could focus on the other projects thrust upon us.
George Maas did a ton of free electrical work for us.
Phil Haggerty did quite a bit of construction!
In a pinch, Scott LaBonte got our boiler back up and running.
Joe Jazz helped us with some security camera work.
Tim Vail got the website up and running.
In a big way, Bishop John helped us out with the insurance company by rattling some cages.
The Diocesan lawyer helped us deal with the contractor who we were having a difficult time with. 
Kristom Miller shared his expertise in regards to abatement, and lent us a negative air machine to scrub the air clean.
Dave Marone helped us figure out the answers to some roofing questions at the root of our problem.
Andrei Sawruk installed flooring so we could get rid of the old carpeting
Joe Gallagher helped us with some painting and shoveling. 
Mike and Amy Piedmont housed us in their cabin, 
Dcn. Bill housed us for over a month.
Thanks to generous donors who came forward, and our savings, we’ll be able to fix the things that need fixing. I’ve been grateful for so many people pitching in!

It’s a frustration for me when we have to focus energy inward to the parish instead of outward to the community, but we had deferred maintenance that couldn’t be put off any longer. 
Outward efforts:
Our parish has been able to feed and clothe (and temporarily house) some people in real desperate need, thanks to the volunteers at the food pantry and thrift shoppe.
Jayne McLeod, Jen Sheldon, Sherry Duesing, Mariah Jackals and Lydia Kugler have been leading online prayer groups.
Ian and Bailey Yazel are keeping the Christian Young Professionals group rolling
We’ve managed to keep the school open all year
In addition to the people who have dropped off bread or food, our regular volunteers and staff who keep things running. And others who pray for us.
And most of alltimes 1,000 the Lord – who sustains us through difficult times-

There have been answered prayers: prayed for a woman in our parish whose doctors were amazed at how healthy her heart is- contrary to their expectations after what she’d gone through
A young couple (married last year) had a difficult pregnancy- Margaret Swedene organized a meal train, many parishioners were praying fervently for them. And yesterday their baby girl was born- a bit earlier than expected but healthy at 4lbs 6oz!
When the boiler was out in the Faith Formation building, it was during those two unseasonably warm days in February, so no pipes froze!
I had a conversation with the other day with a woman in our parish who I’ve been praying for- her cancer is in remission and she’s doing great!
There are at least 3 people who want to join the Catholic Church and our parish family though RCIA. 
We continue to have more baptisms than funerals.
To my knowledge, we have had zero parishioners die of Covid throughout the entire pandemic. 
Fr. Romeo’s is feeling healthy again and Deacon Bill is back to serving at the altar!
The Jewish people eventually made it back to the Promised Land. And as for me, I’m at peace, and I want for nothing. I’m very grateful to God, and to all of you. We do have our work cut out for us, but more on that later!
Today is Laetare Sunday- Laetare means “Rejoice”- it’s the idea that there is joy in the midst of suffering. A glimmer of light and hope in the dark winter of Lent.
Hard times will pass, and I’m confident that God is at work.

Rainbow RecoveryI was recently invited to give a talk to the online Rainbow Recovery group- if you’re interested, here it is!
Healing Prayers
Here are the healing prayers from the John Paul II Healing Center which I mention in the talk.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that I am unloved and unloveable. I renounce the lie that I am not wanted, not desired and not good enough. In Jesus name, I announce the Truth that by virtue of my baptism I am a beloved son or daughter of the Father. I announce the truth that that He loves me so much that Jesus gave his life for me, and that there is no greater love possible (Jn. 15). I announce the truth that the Love of God has been poured out into my heart through the Holy Spirit. I announce the truth that I am loved and valued, wanted and desired, and that I am precious in the Father’s eyes.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that I am alone, that no one understands me or cares for me. I renounce the lie that I am unprotected, and that God has abandoned me. In Jesus name, I announce the Truth that Jesus himself promise me, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5); “I will be with you always till the end of time” (Mt. 28). I announce the truth that I am connected and understood and deeply cared for. I announce the Truth in Holy Communion I am united with Christ and The Communion of Saints. They are always with me, so I am never alone.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that if I trust I will be hurt, disappointed or die. In the name of Jesus, I renounce all fear, anxiety, mistrust and distrust. I renounce the lie that I am not safe and not protected. And I announce the Truth that God is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer and my protector (psalms 23, 27, 91). I announce the Truth that God’s perfect love cast out all fear (1 Jn. 4:18). I announce the Truth that I am safe and secure.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that I am bad, dirty, ugly, stupid, worthless, perverted. And in Jesus name, I announce the Truth that Jesus died for my sins and that I am forgiven, washed, cleansed, justified, and accepted (1 Cor. 6). I announce the Truth that Jesus did not come to condemn me but to save me (John 3:17-21; Romans 8:1; John 8:10-11). I announce the Truth that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I am forgiven and set free. I announce the Truth that I am pure and worthy, not because of what I have done, but because of what Jesus has done for me.  

In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that I am powerless, weak, unable to change, not capable; that I am stuck, trapped, that I don’t know what to do”. In Jesus name, I announce the Truth that Jesus promised that His grace is perfected in my weakness, so that when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:8-10). I announce the Truth, that “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) I announce the Truth that “where the Holy Spirit is there is freedom.” (2 Cor 3:17). Therefore, I accept the truth that I am empowered by Christ and liberated by the Holy Spirit. I announce the Truth that through Confirmation, I am anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives and dwells in me.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that nothing ever changes and I will never have what I want. I renounce the lie that my life is meaningless and that I have nothing to live for. In Jesus name, I announce the Truth that my hope is steadfast in Christ, and that He makes all things new (Jn 21:5). I announce the Truth that because my hope is in Christ I will not be disappointed (ro. 5:5); I announce the truth that “I am being transformed from glory to glory into the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18); and that God is at work in me, and what he begins he will bring to completion (Php 1: 6) Therefore I am filled with hope in the good things to come. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the lie that everything is confusion, that I don’t understand anything and that it is up to me to figure thing out on my own. In Jesus name, I announce the truth that I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) and that the Holy Spirit reveals whatever I need to know when I need to know it (1 Cor 1:7). I announce the truth that the Lord gives wisdom and understand to anyone who asks (James 1:5). I announce the Truth that God has given His Church to lead me into all Truth. I announce the Truth that I have understanding and enlightenment from the Lord.

Prayers Against Common Sins 
Pride: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of pride and any idolatry of myself. I renounce self-righteousness, self-deception, and self-promotion. I ask for your forgiveness Lord, and I choose instead to humble myself before you.” 
Envy: “in the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of envy, and any idolatry of position or status. I renounce coveting what anyone else has and bringing them down. I ask for your forgiveness Lord and I choose instead contentment and kindness toward my neighbors.”
Anger: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of anger, and any idolatry of power, control or justice. I renounce all bitterness, judgments, and retaliation. I ask for your forgiveness Lord, and I choose instead the virtue of patience and long-suffering, to bless those who hurt me.”
Lust: In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of lust, and any idolatry of sex or relationships. I renounce all immorality, fornication, adultery, pornography. I ask for your forgiveness Lord, and I choose instead the virtue of chastity and to see everyone in purity. “ 
Gluttony: In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of Gluttony, and any idolatry of food, drink or drugs. I renounce all self-indulgence and false comfort through what I take into my body. I ask your forgiveness Lord, and I choose instead temperance and fasting to combat self-indulgence.”  
Greed: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of Greed, and any idolatry of security, wealth, or money. I renounce all sins of hoarding, stealing, or using people to get ahead. I ask your forgiveness Lord, and I choose instead generosity and trusting you for my provision.”
Sloth: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the sin of Sloth, and my idolatry of ease and false comfort. I renounce laziness or giving up when things get difficult. I ask for your forgiveness Lord, and I choose diligence and perseverance.” 

Prayer for Renouncing Inner Vows
Father, I acknowledge that I have tried to save myself rather than rely on you for my salvation. Please forgive me for my sin of pride and self-sufficiency. I acknowledge that my effort to protect myself has left me imprisoned behind walls that keep me from freely giving and receiving love. I deserve to be free of this bondage that has come as a result of my own choices. In the name of Jesus I renounce the inner vow that ________________(Details of inner vow). I ask you to release me from the bondage of this vow now. Thank you. Amen.
Prayer for Renouncing Judgement
Father I acknowledge that I have judged (name____). I realize that I did this to protect myself from the feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness in order not to be hurt. I also realize that this judgment is sin and keeps me bound. I ask you know for your forgiveness and to release me and ____ (the person judged) from the bondage of the condemnation and isolation. In the name of Jesus I renounce the judgment of _____(name) that ______(identity specific judgments). I know I cannot change my own heart so I ask you to give me your heart of compassion for ______.
Prayer of Forgiveness
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you who you need to forgive (could be family, friend, abuser, God, yourself)
2. Picture the person in front of you and pay attention to what you feel. 
3. Make an account of the debt they owe you (what did they take from you, how did they hurt you? It is ok to feel angry.)
4. Imagine yourself telling them what they did to hurt you and how it has affected you. 
5. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you believe about yourself based on that incident (identity lie). 
6. Renounce the identity lie. (For example: “I renounce the lie that I am not loved or cared for, etc.”)
7. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the judgment you hold towards that person who hurt you. 
8. Renounce the judgments (see prayer above).
9. Ask Jesus to forgive the person. 
10. Forgive the person. 
11. Pray a prayer of blessing over that person – ask God to bless them in the opposite way that they hurt you.
12. Ask Jesus to seal this forgiveness and heal the wounds. 
13. Thank God for His healing.