One faith community, two worship sites
05 February 2021 Volume 58
February 2, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is Catholic Schools Week and I find myself celebrating Mass almost every day at a different parish school or school system in our Archdiocese. All of us should be proud of the work done by our principals, teachers, school staff, pastors, parish administrators, priests, deacons and parish staff. Their efforts and sacrifices have provided quality Catholic education during trying and unique times. If I can be a bit prophetic, I believe what is happening in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the area of education cannot be found anywhere else in the Catholic Church in the United States. I believe the innovative work of our schools will become a model for other dioceses in the country. These models will assist in keeping Catholic schools viable in the years to come.

I am proud to say that I am a product of Catholic education. Besides the academic discipline that the teachers – namely, sisters – instilled in me, they also offered me a vision of the world through the Christian lens. I received an understanding that the responsibility I had to my brothers and sisters came through the Cross of Christ, who died so that we might be saved. Now, in His name, I was charged to live for others because of His love for me. My teachers introduced me not only to this world but also to the unseen world created by God, which is the world of angels and heaven – the world to come. They promoted patriotism and a love for our nation, along with the freedoms and rights that we enjoy. They boldly proclaimed that these freedoms are to be defended even with our lives, if necessary.

We need Catholic education because it proclaims and protects our religious freedom, a freedom which I fear is questioned in today’s society. I have often maintained that you are freer in a Catholic school than in a public school. In a Catholic school, you are free to pray or not. In a Catholic school, you can express your belief in God or not. Studies have demonstrated the importance of Catholic schools to the neighborhoods they serve because of the social responsibility parents and students express to the community.

We are committed to Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Our Catholic universities and colleges have not only recognized the importance of Catholic education, but many have also contributed and collaborated with the Archdiocese. The dedication that our teachers and administrators have exhibited during this pandemic demonstrates that they view the well being of our students as their primary goal. The leadership in the Archdiocese is exemplified by Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Cepelka, whose visionary leadership has created a Catholic school system that is admired by all. As I celebrate Masses through the Archdiocese, one will find Dr. Cepelka or a member of her staff in the congregation.

When I was preaching at St. Peter in Slinger, I reminded the students that I was in their seats, to me, what seems to be yesterday, but in their minds, I’m sure it seems to be ancient history. I told the students that as I matured, I began to realize how many people were supporting me and my education, many of whom I would never know. This realization became a foundation of my life because it taught me that I could pray for those supporters and that God would bless those who shared their treasures with others.

To the grammar school, high school, college, law school and graduate school I attended, all Catholic communities of education that have contributed to my education and formation, may God bless them all. May St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of universities, colleges, schools, teachers and students, pray for us so that we may continue to create communities that LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Catholic Stewardship Appeal

Feb 6-7 is the kick-off for the 2021 Catholic Stewardship Appeal. The Catholic Stewardship Appeal reminds us that if we come together as people of God, we can accomplish far more than any one of us could on our own. We want the Church to be strong, vital, and serve the faithful through the sacraments and ministry. We need to serve the poor and comfort those who are suffering. We celebrate a Church that is diverse, welcoming, inclusive, spiritual, and joyful.
We at St. Clare and St. Thomas Parishes are a generous giving community. We faithfully contribute to meet the needs of our own parish, but also give to serve the greater Church through our support of the Catholic Stewardship Appeal.

Each year we are asked to ensure that the Church not only sustains, but also grows ministries that will strengthen and expand its support to:
·       Catholic schools and religious education programs
·       Catholic Charities
·       Formation of priests and deacons, and parish lay leaders
·       among many other efforts

The Appeal was founded on a tradition of hope, faith, and gratitude some 90 years ago. By supporting it, we demonstrate our humility and generosity that is firmly rooted in the biblical concept of stewardship and in our obligation as Catholics and disciples of Jesus Christ to share our blessings with others.

A request for Appeal support from the Archdiocese has or will arrive in your mailboxes very soon. Please take time to reflect on and prayerfully consider that request and decide how you can help ensure the continued strength and vitality of our beloved Church.
Thank you to those of you who have been faithful contributors to the Appeal in the past. We hope you will consider renewing your support this year -- with an increase if possible. And, for those of you who have not made a gift before, please think about doing so this year.
Your Appeal gift does make a difference! Thank you and God bless you!

Please watch the special message from the Archbishop below.
Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday Changes
We have all had a year filled with different ways of living and praying. There are fewer people in church, no holy water in the font, less singing at Mass, and no coffee and donuts afterward. Yet we still pray. The Vatican has given instruction on the distribution of ashes, instead of giving ashes in the shape of a cross on the forehead – unsafe in this time of pandemic – we can still receive them by sprinkling on top of the head. We will look a little cleaner, yet we still repent and believe in the Gospel.
This has been directed to us from the Holy See and affirmed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It recalls the biblical method of putting on sackcloth and ashes as a sign of penance. In Rome and some European monasteries, this is the normal way of distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday. This method can be done safely as long as both the minister and the recipient are wearing masks. The recipient simply kneels, or makes a profound bow, before the minister who sprinkles the ashes without saying anything. While marking the forehead is our custom, placing ashes on top of the head is within our ritual rules as the Roman Missal only says that the minister “places ashes” (imponit cineres) and does not specify how.
Looking a bit ahead to Holy Week, we will be allowed to distribute palms of Palm Sunday this year. In addition, the Chrism Mass will take place on the Tuesday of Holy Week, but attendance will be by invitation only. The Mass will be live streamed.

More information will follow as we approach these Holy celebrations.
Our Religious Education Students hard at work

Pictured below is one of our Religious Education Classes being facilitated by a young man (sophomore) who helps teach on Sunday. They learned about a fishing town neat Galilee called Capermaum. Jesus taught about God’s love. Jesus liked to go up in the hills of Capernaum to pray. The kids learned we can all be missionaries and bring the good news to others. Adam brought the good news to the St Thomas youngsters and they drew what they would need in a missionary backpack.  
Do you have the STA Parish App?
Our parish app is a quick connection to things happening at St. Thomas. Quickly view parish bulletins, contact info, connect to our website, and access online giving! Also, get notifications about last minute schedule changes or events.
We hope you used Sign Up Genius to register for this weekend's mass. At St Thomas we will be utilizing the screens for the worship and at St Clare we will have worship aids available. You can obtain a copy of the worship aid by clicking the button below. You can also register for Mass with the link below.
We would like to highlight and thank a few of our loyal sponsors in each email.
St. Thomas and St Clare thanks you very much!
A complete list of all our sponsors can be found on our website. Please support them whenever possible
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Clare of Assisi parishes
Waterford and Wind Lake, WI.