Father John’s Message

Fr. John Gerritts  |   

24 January 2021

This weekend over 40 kids celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation with us for the first time. I know the kids were nervous leading up to the day, yet they didn’t let their nervousness keep them away from experiencing God’s great gifts of mercy and forgiveness. It did take a slightly different form this year. Typically we would have one large group celebration with six to eight priests assisting. This year we had four separate services spread throughout Saturday with eight to twelve kids and their families attending each service. The benefit was I had the opportunity to celebrate with each child as he or she celebrated this Sacrament for the first time. Please keep the kids in your prayers as they now prepare to celebrate their First Holy Communion later in the spring.

Our school is preparing to celebrate Catholic Schools Week at the end of the month. We will have a few of the usual activities, however one event we have canceled is the annual Soup and Pie Social. This has become a popular event especially for new families to our school and families looking at our school. This is the time of year when current school families re-register for next year and new families start registering. I would encourage you to consider Saint Patrick School as the place to educate your child(ren). Saint Patrick School offers a strong Catholic identity, small class sizes, challenging academics, wonderful opportunities for leadership, sports, and creating lifelong friendships. When your children attend Saint Patrick School, the whole family has an opportunity to be a part of a caring, close-knit community. Contact our principal, Mr. Dan Bell, for more information about our school (dbell@stpatrickeducenter.org).

Now that many of us have become familiar with video meetings utilizing Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Webex Meetings, a classmate from when I was going to school in Rome and I have started reaching out to those we were with in the seminary to hold a virtual reunion. This spring we will celebrate our 30th anniversary of being ordained deacons at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, so this comes at a perfect time. Because those I lived with in Rome are from all parts of our country, most of us have not seen or communicated with one another in a long time, after having lived together four years far from our homeland. It is interesting as we search for our classmates to learn what they are doing. One is an Archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio (an ambassador on behalf of the Vatican) in South Africa. Another the Bishop of Marquette, Michigan. Several of us are pastors. A few are in academics. I will keep you posted after we meet.

Finally, we are making preparations for Ash Wednesday and Lent. We will have many of the usual Lenten opportunities including Mass on Ash Wednesday with the distribution of Ashes, Stations of the Cross on Fridays, opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry. However there will be changes. For example, the fish fry will be carry out only. We will include one or two services with general absolution as we did in Advent along with more opportunities for individual Reconciliation. As we get closer to Lent we will provide you with more information.

With that I am going to wrap up this week’s column because I need to take a really important phone call. We are trying to figure out a safe way for the Girl Scouts to sell their cookies – and for us all to buy some.

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