One faith community, two worship sites
23 December 2020 Volume 52
Fr. Ed's Christmas Message

THANK YOU to everyone who has already signed up for a Christmas Mass!!! As we mentioned initially, we did not know what to expect in terms of people attending. The response has been amazing and we look forward to seeing all of you. Since the response was so strong, Fr. Ed will be offering an additional Mass at 6pm on December 24 at St. Clare. This will allow for a few more of our parish families to attend an early evening Mass.

It is imperative that EVERYONE who plans on attending any of the Christmas Masses be aware of the restrictions under which we are working and REGISTERS IN ADVANCE:
We have never done this before and are learning as we go. We ask for your patience and understanding as we check names at the door for each Mass.

You can register for Masses with the link below until 4pm December 23. You may also call the parish office if you need help registering. The St. Thomas parish office can be reached at 262-534-2255. The St. Clare office can be reached at 262-895-2729.

We encourage the elderly and vulnerable within the parish to participate in the Mass via streaming video.

If you are turned away at the church door because the Mass is full and you made the attempt to attend, you are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass by the Archbishop. You will not be turned away if you register in advance of 4pm on December 23.

These are the realities we are dealing with and we are asking for your understanding and cooperation as we deal with the restrictions during the Christmas season. 
December 21, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I have heard this refrain repeatedly: “It just doesn’t seem like Christmas.” We all wonder what God is teaching us through this time of difficulty. Anytime our normal schedule is broken because of personal illness, necessary travel or the untimely death of a loved one, our Christmas season is challenged, to say the least, and cannot be celebrated in a normal manner. Rarely in my experience, however, does this happen to everyone at the same time. 
How many unbroken traditions of family or friend get-togethers during the Christmas season are now unfulfilled? The visitations and drop-ins that are so much a part of our social-networking are now, for the sake of health and safety, put off until next year with the hope of some normalization. Even Christmas caroling and Christmas choirs are suppressed, acknowledging the observance of social-distancing.
What is God teaching us this Christmas? I remember Francis Cardinal George, who ordained me a bishop and, without a doubt, was the intellectual leader of the USCCB, would boldly declare: “It’s not about you, and it’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus Christ.” Sometimes, we can get caught up in focusing on ourselves. Remember, St. Peter successfully walked on the Sea of Galilee until he took his eyes off Jesus and worried about the wind and the waves.
Lesson one: Keep your eyes on Jesus. His birth is a statement that God loves us and will never abandon us.
Being separated from family and friends is challenging. Oh, I know that Zoom is available. But, I have never experienced satisfaction from a Zoom hug and kiss. We really need to be physically present to experience the joyful face of a family member or friend when they open the thoughtful gifts we have given. We have deep feelings for our family and friends, and rightfully so, because they have shared life with us. Jesus also had deep feelings for His family and friends.
We hear little of St. Joseph, His foster father, but I can imagine that Joseph’s death emotionally touched Jesus. I know Jesus was consoled by the fact that Joseph had joined God the Father after fulfilling his responsibility here on earth. There are three words in John’s Gospel that causes me to shiver: “And Jesus wept.” Jesus did not even cry during scourges or His crucifixion, but there at the tomb of Lazarus, His friend, Jesus wept.
This Christmas may mean separation from our family and friends, but God is teaching us how important these relationships are.
Lesson Two: Express your love for family and friends. Time is short, and life is fragile, but love lasts forever.
We might complain that we cannot celebrate Christmas the way we want. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.” We often forget how blessed we are to be able to exercise our faith and witness to Christ amid the difficulties and confusion that surrounds this pandemic. Jesus tells us, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We have an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of our faith by our lives. We declare our confidence in Jesus, even during these trying times, to assist others to see the Way.
Lesson Three: Our prayer: “I trust in God. I trust in His word.” A sense of peace is present in the lives of those who seek to do the will of God.
A Blessed Christmas to all of my LOA readers, as we view the Christ Child in the manger. We know that He comes to declare the Love of God for us – and, our gift to Him is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.             
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Congratulations Deacon Carl
on your retirement

St. Clare and St. Thomas would like to extend heartfelt appreciation to Deacon Carl Mahnke
for all the wonderful blessings he has given us as our Deacon. 2021 will be Deacon Carl’s 25th year serving the Lord and so many around him. The lives he has touched and the difference he has made in our world is something we will always remember. 
The Lord gave us a gift in Deacon Carl and we wish him all the best as he heads into retirement.  

Thank you and God Bless 
St. Clare and St. Thomas Welcome
Maureen LeGros
as Youth Minister

St. Thomas recently had a staff change with the resignation of Thaddeus Loduha, St. Thomas Youth Minister. While Thaddeus was there only a short time, he resigned in pursuit of other opportunities and his last day was December 13. He will be missed and we wish him success on his new journey.

With Thaddeus' resignation, we found another wonderful opportunity to bring our two parishes closer together as One Faith Community. Maureen LeGros has accepted the position of Youth Minister for both St. Thomas and St. Clare. Maureen is currently the St. Clare Youth Minister and she worked in partnership with Thaddeus to bring our two programs closer together this year. She is an integral part of our program already and positioned perfectly to take on this new shared role. Additionally, she has a tremendous passion and commitment for the work she does. She brings an energy that is truly contagious.

Although Maureen officially begins her new responsibilities on January 1, she offered to jump in immediately and ensure a smooth transition. Please congratulate Maureen and learn more about her in the bio below!!!!!!

Maureen LeGros,  Youth Minister at St. Clare with six years of experience. From 2000 to 2009 she was a religious education teacher at St Leonard's. In 2009, then joining St Clare with her husband and three sons, she took an opportunity opportunity to become active in the Youth Ministry program. She served as a catechist from 2009 -2014 before she was hired at St Clare in 2014 as Youth Minister. She loves the job! Last spring she obtained a Youth Ministry Leadership Certificate from Cardinal Stritch University. She has a passion for creating an environment for motivating parents and youth to get more deeply involved in their faith. She believes ministry is a team sport, and requires action. "A parish survives and flourishes when we all play a part and take on a commitment. " St. Clare and St. Thomas collaborated with the Faith Formation Programs, retreats and various activities throughout the years. Together we continue to draw on the wisdom gleaned from our experience while anchoring our vision to present an inspiring faith community where everybody belongs. Maureen is a powerful force in youth ministry and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to get involved. Maureen currently lives with her husband in Muskego. Maureen likes to bake, hike, teach yoga, and garden.

Thank you for your financial gifts

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee would like you to be aware of tax benefits available to you when you support your parish.
  • The CARES Act will allow taxpayers to deduct donations to charity of up to $300 on their 2020 federal tax return, even though they take the standard deduction. The new law allows all taxpayers to take a charitable deduction even if you do not itemize.
  • Funds from an IRA can be used for charitable donations if done correctly. Using an IRA to make a charitable donation can help lower your tax bill.
  • Check with your tax advisor for more information and new tax laws for 2020.
  • Please remember the parish in your year-end giving. The needs in Wind Lake/Waterford continue to grow as the pandemic remains.
  • Your gift of any amount will empower our parishes to serve those who need it most.
Thank you for your continued support of your church.
Please note: There will be no Adoration on Thursday December 24, 2020.
It is that time of year again!
The Hunting seasons are upon us, so we begin planning for the

49th Annual Wild Game Dinner

~We will be seeking Meat Donations~
We can pick up, process and store it!
Please contact…..
Mikki Hegemann Brown… 262-210-3168
Scott Gunderson… 414-581-3157

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.