One faith community, two worship sites
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
12 March 2021 Volume 63
March 9, 2021
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
Last Sunday’s first reading was from the book of Exodus and it was about the Ten Commandments. The Third Commandment asks us to keep holy the Lord’s Day. On March 3, 2021, parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee held Lenten missions, and priests were sent forth to preach on the gift of Sunday. These men were like modern-day missionaries charged with raising awareness of the importance of Sunday in the spiritual lives of the faithful.
 
We have gone through a particularly difficult period and, for a multitude of reasons, people were discouraged from attending Sunday Mass. The pandemic isolates us from one another and, I would offer, that some in our society who do not hold worship as an essential activity have attempted to separate us also from our responsibility before God. Fear of COVID-19 overtook many people and our Sunday worship was limited to only a small percentage of those who could or desired to attend.
 
Before the pandemic, studies suggest that only 25 to 30 percent of those claiming to be Catholic attended Mass on Sunday. Now, remember, Sunday is a day of obligation for the faithful. There are legitimate excuses, such as illness, charitable responsibilities, impossibilities, travel, etc., but sloth is not one of them. We must challenge ourselves to live up to our responsibility before God. It is hard for me to imagine a person who claims they love someone and then arbitrarily fails to show up to a dinner that expresses that love. Imagine a person who gives a response that states, “I will do it on my time or when I wish.” They feel no sense of obligation to acknowledge the love offered by the One who is far superior to us.
 
God placed the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to aid us in maintaining our focus in this world. Our lives are pulled in many directions, but there must be only one priority in all our lives, and that is the expression of our love for God. If that is not our priority, then all of our lives in this world are incomplete. The Church in her wisdom clearly stated that intentionally missing Sunday Mass is a grave sin.
 
We do not like to talk about sin, but we must because it concerns the salvation of our souls. Sin is the destruction of our relationship with God. Think of the First Commandment, “I am the Lord thy God; thou shall not have strange gods before me.” What gods do we place ahead of our God?
 
We do not fulfill the Sunday obligation with the participation of worship for an hour alone. The obligation includes setting aside Sunday as the Lord’s Day. Sunday should be different from the other days of the week. It is a day that belongs to God; it is a day that He calls for us to rest and renew our spirits. Sunday should reflect the beginning of our lives with Him.
 
At the Lenten missions, the missionary preachers proclaimed their insights into the celebration of Sunday and the centrality of the Eucharistic Presence. Each preacher, in a manner unique to their priestly or episcopal experience, shared the importance of Sunday with the people in attendance and those who were viewing it online. Take a moment and go to www.archmil.org/Lenten-Missions to listen to the various approaches to the Gift of Sunday that each presentation provides. I plan to listen to all of them. These missions began the first of a threefold presentation on the Gift of Sunday. The next presentation will occur in Advent, and the final one will be in Lent of 2022.
 
I am grateful for the cooperation of our preachers and their enthusiastic response. It was obvious to me that they love the people of the Archdiocese who they were ordained to serve. My gratitude also extends to Randy Nohl, Jenni Olivia, and Kim Mandelkow, who coordinated these missions along with the Archdiocesan staff. I believe that this will be a game-changing moment in our history.
 
Christianity reshaped the world by just a handful of disciples who were willing to proclaim Jesus. It is now up to us to ignite the flames of faith and become messengers of Christ to our families and communities. May Lent 2021 be the time when we take up the cross, renew our commitment to the Faith and, in Christ’s name, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
              
Sincerely,
 
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
St Thomas School Endowment News!
 
The St Thomas School Endowment Committee has voted to provide grants to St Thomas Parish students for the 2021/2022 school year who attend a Catholic Grade School or a Catholic High School. They must be parish members for at least 2 years. The grants will be $750 per student for grade school students and $1500 per student for high school students. 
Contact Matt Fehler at 262-210-1603 or
Lloyd Sippel at 758-6480 or
email at lsippel@tds.net
to apply for the grant.
Please view Fr. Ed's message below regarding required Mass sign-ups for Palm Sunday and Easter
Palm Sunday/Easter Mass Sign-ups
We need your help
 
The Mass sign-up process has been extremely valuable in helping us understand in person Mass attendance. As we did during our Christmas season, sign-ups will be required for Palm Sunday weekend and Easter weekend services. This will help us determine if additional Masses need to be scheduled to accommodate our parishioners.
 
Please use the button below to register for Palm Sunday weekend and Easter weekend services. Although we require Mass sign-up every weekend, attendance is expected to be higher for Holy Week so we must ensure that everyone registers in advance for these dates. We will have various services to choose from at both St. Clare and St. Thomas. If a particular Mass fills up, please consider a different option that may be available at either church. As always, services will be live-streamed and recorded for those who are unable or uncomfortable attending in person.
 
Thank you in advance for your help.
NEW!! PALM DISTRIBUTION OPTIONS

We received wonderful news from the Archbishop. Parishes will be allowed to distribute palms this year! Palms will be distributed at all the Masses on Palm Sunday weekend so please sign up using the link above as registration for attending Mass in person will be required. We will be checking people in at the door as we did for Christmas Masses.

If you are unable to attend a Palm Sunday Mass or feel uncomfortable doing so, we have another option for you. A "DRIVE-UP" palm distribution will be held on Sunday March 28 from 1 to 2pm at both St. Clare and St. Thomas. Please feel free to drive up to the church entrance at either church during this time, remain in your vehicle and palms will be brought out to you safely.
Spring Cemetery Cleanup
Spring cleanup will take place on March 27 at St. Thomas Cemetery. If there are any items you would like to save, please remove them beforehand. All winter decorations, Christmas wreaths, etc. will be removed and discarded on the 27thSpring and Easter memorials and decorations can then be placed beginning Palm Sunday, March 28. Please see the Rules and Regulations on the cemetery page of the STA parish website for details as to what is permitted. 

Thank you
St. Thomas Pastoral Council
Update
 
The STA Pastoral Council is blessed to have 9 dedicated and conscientious council members (6 adults and 3 youth-14-17 years old) who see their role to assist in fostering pastoral activity in accordance with our Catholic faith. Our role is to define and set strategy for the parish and the other ministries as well as an advisory group to Father Ed. We provide a consultative vote on multiple items when requested by Father. Our Council engages in a continual process of pastoral planning which takes into account the needs and priorities of the parish, the requirements of the Archdiocese, and of course our service to the community. The Council provides oversight to a variety of ministerial committees at St. Thomas that include Prayer & Worship, Human Concerns, Faith Formation, Christian Women, Stewardship and Building & Grounds. We also meet with the Saint Clare Pastoral Council three times a year and collaborate in an effort to better coordinate efforts across our parishes.
 
Even during these unprecedented times, the Council has been meeting remotely and involved in decisions to implement creative ways to serve our parish family. A few examples of key decisions we were asked to assist with include:
  • Conducting a census to ensure our parish membership information is accurate and up to date.
  • Improving communication through the introduction of an online newsletter, livestreaming Mass capabilities and personal outreach via our newly formed Helping Hearts ministry.
  • Jointly creating a combined parish mission statement for the two parishes,
  • Establishing new Mass times that allow Fr. Ed to celebrate all Sunday Masses.
  • Developing attendance procedures for Christmas and Easter Masses.
  • Recognizing the importance of ministries to the lifeblood of a parish, we have been partnering with St Clare to establish a shared Elizabeth Ministry which provides outreach, service and love to women and men, in events such as pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, regretted abortion, and stillbirth support.
 
2020 has certainly been a challenging year for our faith community given the virus and the various restrictions, however it has been gratifying to see the STA parishioners work to maintain our focus on faith and community, two key factors that bring our parish together.
 
God has blessed our parish, and these are exciting times. If you are looking for a new way to connect your time and talents to your faith and want to share your great ideas for this parish, the STA Pastoral Council is looking for parishioners who would be willing to join us. Please prayerfully consider the opportunity to be part of the St Thomas Parish Council. If you are interested in exploring serving please contact Woody Ritchey or Kelly Malchine thru the parish office at (262) 534-2255. 
 
We look forward to being able to gather together for fellowship in 2021. May God continue to bless you, your families and the St Thomas Aquinas Community.

 
Kelly Malchine, Pastoral Council Co-Chairperson
Woody Ritchey, Pastoral Council Co-Chairperson
Each day, each year brings its challenges and blessings.  Often, we rely on the support and comfort of others...which describes the Prayer Shawl Ministry.  Whether needing a hug, searching for answers, asking for strength, or just knowing somebody cares, we offer our prayer shawl and mini-prayer shawls as physical reminders that someone has prayed for us and took the time to make a physical reminder of how we are always wrapped in God's love.  They are free...take one for yourself or a loved one.  You will find a table dedicated to them in the Gathering Space.

ALSO....we need some kind souls to help us in our outreach.  Crochet or knit a shawl in a triangular shape or as a wrap-around afghan.  We even have some free yarns available by that special table in the Gathering Space.  These "kits" can be delivered to you by the Helping Hearts Ministry if you wish and they will also pick up the finished shawls.
Please contact Kelly at 262-895-7207 to arrange for a delivery or pick up.

If you have any questions, call Nancy at 262-493-3807. 
Bless you, all.
WE NEED HELP!

Our March Fish Fry's are here and the first one was a huge success. 550 dinners served!!!

Thank you to all our volunteers for providing their time and talent to make our Fish Fry's a success. Wonderful job!!!!!

We do need more help with our last 3 Fish Fry's. Please look at the sign-up below and take a minute to consider donating a little time. Our 8pm - 9pm shift is in desperate need of some volunteers for the remaining dates.

PLEASE CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING FOR ONE OR MORE FISH FRY'S
IF YOU ORDERED A WILD GAME MEATLOAF, DON'T FORGET TO PICK UP THIS SATURDAY MARCH 13 FROM 5-7pm OR SUNDAY MARCH 14 FROM 9-11am.

Please enter the Rectory driveway off 1st street and proceed to the school doors. Remain in your car and someone will meet you.

THANK YOU
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.
New Matrix!!!

The Archdiocese published a new matrix last week. Click below to see the new directives.
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.