What's Happening During a Pandemic
While we are "Safer At Home" our weekly newsletter is changing format
to help you during this challenging time.
Spiritual Meanderings During a Pandemic
Fr. Michael's Easter Message is still in production.
We will email it out to you as soon as it is ready.

Fr. Michael will be hearing confessions this
Friday, April 10 at the
St. Francis Shrine from Noon - 2:00 p.m.

In His name and by the power of His Cross and Blood, I ask Jesus to bind any evil spirits, forces, and powers of the earth, air, fire, or water, of the netherworld and the satanic forces of nature. By the power of the Holy Spirit and by His authority, I ask Jesus Christ to break any curses, hexes, or spells and to send them back where they came from, if it be His Holy Will. I ask You, Lord Jesus to protect us by pouring Thy Precious Blood on us and our families, which You have shed for us and I ask Thee to command that any departing spirits leave quietly, without disturbance and go straight to the Cross to be disposed of as Thou sees fit. I ask Thee to bind any demonic interaction, interplay, or communications. I place (name a person, place, or thing) under the protection of the Blood of Jesus Christ which He shed for us. Amen.
Symbolism of Easter Food & Drink

One of the traditions of Holy Week that I have come to admire and enjoy is the blessing of Easter foods that takes place during the day on Holy Saturday. This tradition was not at all a part of my own childhood, but for the last 40 years (since I was ordained a priest), it has become a cherished part of my Holy Week celebrations.

  • Until the 1950s, the Easter Vigil was celebrated very early on Holy Saturday morning, with just the priest, musicians and a few altar servers in attendance. The liturgical reforms of Holy Week instituted by Pope Pius XII and later by the Second Vatican Council restored the Easter Vigil to its proper time in the evening, after dark. Until the Easter Vigil, the holy water containers are empty. They are filled with the waters of baptism during the liturgy itself. The Book of Blessings prescribes two different forms of blessing for Easter food, depending on whether it occurs before or after the Easter Vigil. If the blessing occurs before the Easter Vigil, there is no blessing with holy water.


  • Easter Eggs represent the miracle of new life and the renewal of springtime. Christians see the Easter egg as a symbol of Christ rising from the tomb.

  • Easter Ham and other pork products (bacon, sausages) represent freedom from the dietary restrictions of the Torah and the New Covenant that is ours in Christ Jesus.

  • Roast Lamb recalls the Passover lamb still shared by our Jewish brothers and sisters at this time of year but also Jesus Himself, the Lamb of God. The term Paschal refers to both the Jewish Passover and Christian celebration of Jesus passing from death to new life.

  • Wine is reminiscent of the sweet wine that is part of the Passover or Seder meal and represents the sweetness of freedom from slavery.

  • Salt symbolizes the baptismal call of Christians to be salt of the earth and light to the world.

  • Yeast Bread symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit, the life breath of God, and the effects of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our world. Unleavened bread is used at the Passover meal as a reminder of the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt during the Exodus. Yeast breads symbolize the new Passover of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

  • Easter Breads are generally made of yeast and include dyed eggs, fruits and nuts and even candy. The symbolism of the yeast (see above) is thereby enhanced with these additions of sweetness.

  • Hot Cross Buns are yeast breads with raisins or other dried fruits and a cross made with icing on top.

  • Butter (often molded in the shape of a paschal lamb) symbolizes the sweetness of new life.

  • Cheese symbolizes the richness of freedom. Dairy products in general symbolize the Promised Land of milk and honey.

  • Honey recalls the land of milk and honey promised to the Israelites during their 40-year sojourn in the desert.

  • Lamb Cake is usually a pound cake (lots of eggs, lots of butter) baked in a mold and decorated with icing and white coconut.

  • Chocolate including Chocolate Eggs, Chocolate Bunnies, Chocolate Whatever. If you’ve given up sweets for Lent, chocolate anything is a good way to celebrate Easter!

Since we are not able to have public gatherings on Holy Saturday in 2020, the following blessing can be used at home by our parishioners. This is taken from a book called Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, published in 1988 by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference, now known as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB.


After the fasting of Lent, and the Easter Fast from Thursday night until the Vigil, the foods of Easter have a special place. The following blessing prayer may be used before the meal that breaks the Easter Fast.

God of glory, the eyes of all turn to you
As we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death.
Bless us and this food of our first Easter meal.
May we who gather at the Lord’s table, continue
to celebrate the joy of His resurrection
And be finally admitted to His heavenly banquet.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Your donations are needed and will help us
continue to operate during these unsettling times.
During this time when many of us are spending more time at home, consider the following as a way to continue the practice of the faith:

  • Spend time praying the Rosary with your family.

  • Read/Pray over the Mass readings for the day (in “The Word Among Us” or “Magnificat” or on the USCCB website).

  • Pray for all of those affected by the Coronavirus as well as those who care for them.

We rely on our faith when faced with challenging times like this. We place our trust in our merciful Father who never fails to take care of us.
Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of
the Lord
April 12, 2020

The great feast of Easter has begun, Christian stewards. Let us rejoice and be glad! Just as we embraced the discipline and fasting of Lent, let us fully embrace the joy and feasting that the next 50 days offer. We are called to be good stewards of the Easter season.

Our first reading, from Acts, gives us instructions on how to do this. Here, St. Peter says that our Lord “commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead… that everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins through His name.”

How do we ordinary people preach and testify to all that God has done? By the way we live our everyday lives; through the intentional use of our time, talents, and treasure for the kingdom of God. Putting God and others ahead of ourselves in every aspect of our lives is the most eloquent preaching we can do. Boldly and joyfully embracing a stewardship way of life is our most powerful testimony.

As Christian stewards, we are the modern-day witnesses of an incredible miracle prompted by unfathomable love, the death, and Resurrection of our Savior for us. Let us rejoice and be glad, and let’s make sure our lives are a testimony to this amazing grace!
Our Unusual Journey and the Need for Prayer
Never in my life have I been more in need of these words of salvation and hope!

Our school, both in-person and virtual, is closed this week. Students, parents, and teachers will take a well-deserved break from the hard work of providing an education for our students in these challenging times. During this week off, our staff will continue working on improving our skills as virtual educators.

In these first weeks, we have learned a number of lessons. We have learned how important it is to offer face-to-face contact to our students. They need to see us, and they need to see each other. We need to pray together and celebrate successes. This means that we are continually researching safe, effective ways of staying in touch. We have learned that challenging our students to think for themselves looks different virtually than it does when we are in the classroom. Taking away the structure of the classroom means that innovative daily reminders are necessary to keep the learning going. We have also learned the value of clear, concise written communication, and we strive to teach this to our students. And, of course, we are all learning daily lessons in patience.

We continue to hope for a return to our traditional classrooms. I think it is safe to say that we will return to the classroom with an appreciation for the smiling faces of our students. We are learning to be grateful for the good days, the challenging days, and the mundane days. While we wait, we will do our best to challenge our learners to be the best that they can be, whether at home or at school.

We are blessed with the promise of eternal salvation. Our current struggles are just one more challenge on that path. He is Risen! Alleluia!!
... Safe at Home and Being a Blessing!

Mary Laidlaw-Otto, Principal
CDs from Augustine Institute

Did you know we have CDs (and other items) located in the narthex? Each week we will highlight one of the available CDs.

Cost is $4 each.
Dr. Timothy Gray presents an honest look at the blessings and struggles of marriage. He connects the Fall to daily marital struggles and explains how, like Adam and Eve, spouses can end up blaming instead of supporting each other. Dr. Gray also explains how words can heal and build up married life. Discover how to find or renew happiness in your marriage with Beloved.
With public celebrations of Mass being canceled over the next few weeks, SCRIP is still available at the parish office during regular business hours. However, we have some materials available if you would like to set up an online account.

Our enrollment code is 18DE7D4F11822. Once you have an online account you can pay by direct debit from your checking account (Presto Pay), by credit card, or by check here in the parish office. If we do not have the item in stock we will order on Monday and have the cards by Thursday. Once you have the physical card you can enroll it in your "wallet" and reload it as needed.

These are unprecedented times, but with your help we can keep this fundraising effort viable.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the parish office at 414-321-1965.
This program allows .5% of your shopping on Amazon to be donated to St. John the Evangelist.

If you purchase Scrip, St. John's receives an additional 2.25%. That's 2.75% of your purchases to St. John's if you are already shopping Amazon.
The newsletter is published on Wednesdays. Articles for each week's publication are due on Mondays at noon.

To submit articles e-mail to: newsletter@stjohns-grfd.org
"Remember God's Will in Yours!"

Please keep the needs of St. John the Evangelist in mind as you do your estate planning. For information on how to include the parish as a beneficiary, contact the Parish Office at 414-321-1965.
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