Hello Everybody!

We are now entering our 8th week of our parish church not able to celebrate mass. And I’m not sure when it will take place. Bishop Joensen and pastors have a weekly Zoom meeting and it will come up then. The cases and deaths in Iowa continue to be higher than we would have expected after weeks of isolation. Speaking of Bishop Joensen, he has an update on Fr. Pisut at the end of this email.

One on my list of intriguing questions is what do we want to come back to exactly like it was 2 months ago, and what do we want to change? When you are in financial crisis, it is hard to worry about that question. But sooner or later we should address it. I’m starting by making a new list of ‘what is important to me’… followed by ‘what is very important to me’… followed by ‘what is essential to me’…followed by ‘what is no longer important to me’! I haven’t gotten very far but I do know that my life no longer feels the same as before, and it’s not just that I’m stuck at home and I have to wear a mask. For me there is one essential thing that I can think of now, and that is the largest Imax Theatre in the neighboring six states that is four blocks from my apartment better reopen. Even when ministering full-time I made my challenge to see every new movie that wasn’t animated. The only animated movie that I was dragged to, but liked was Toy Story 4. Heck, I would give movie reviews in my homilies. I know that the hard part for me, and I think for you also, is getting serious about making those lists.

What I want to write more about in the days to come is the unique differences between faith and religion. That also leads to the difference between being spiritual and being religious. For those of us who feel religious, that should also mean we are faith-filled and spiritual. The harder distinction is whether people can be spiritual and faith-filled, but not religious. I’ve been pastor of the two youngest parishes in the diocese: Ss. John & Paul in Altoona, and St. Boniface in Waukee. Their average age parishioner was younger even than St. Francis or OLIH in Ankeny. If I heard it once, I heard it 1000 times: ‘I’m spiritual, but not religious’. When I homilized about that issue, I always said: ‘I’m the pastor and I think I’m spiritual, but not religious’! I belong to a denominational religion, but the word ‘religious’ seems to have bad connotations. Maybe it boils down to whether I go to church or not. But I wouldn’t want people to go to church, but not claim to be spiritual. You can see where this is going, and I have confused you. But I promise to come back to it because you’ll want something on your new ‘essential to me’ list. And you might not want exactly what you had before.

Stay strong everybody!

Find our Masses online through our Facebook , website , or YouTube Channel .
St. Augustin Pastor Fr. Christopher Pisut continues to engage his personal wellness program, and finds that it has been genuinely beneficial for his physical and spiritual health by helping him strive for more balanced habits of self-care, prayer, and social relations. He genuinely appreciates the many cards and letters he has received from parishioners along with the promise of prayers, and asks that prayers continue through these next weeks--just as he continues to pray for the entire St. Augustin parish and school community. Thank you!

~Bishop William Joensen

Although publicly celebrated Mass continues to be suspended, the diocese has prepared guidelines for parishes so we can be prepared for the day when we can once again gather as a community at the table of the Lord. On May 9 , Bishop William Joensen sent a letter to the faithful outlining the preparations.

Watch HERE for Bishop Joensen's video message to each of us.
As always, see up to the date diocesan notices on the
including a special letter from our
Seminarian, Nick Smith , along with an update on work being completed in the east hallway, links for RE registration for the 20-21 session & lots of other great information!