Announcements – April 24, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

For many people, it was difficult to read the bulletin in its “tabloid” format (11 x 17). I’ve reduced it to one page which will be printer-friendly (and perhaps phone-friendly) and will include the bulk of our announcements and the weekend’s homily in the body of the e-mail. I will continue doing this until we have public liturgies and Masses once again. Your feedback on formatting and information is always welcomed and appreciated!

Tonight (Friday, April 24th) at 5pm, Father Hottovy plans to stream a Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration and a rosary. This will stream on Facebook only. Remember—it’s not necessary to be a member of Facebook in order to view things on the parish’s FB page. The link is HERE.

Saturday at Noon, Father Hottovy will process with the Blessed Sacrament. Although an e-mail was sent Thursday with the information and flyer, I’m going to attach it again. Please see the aforementioned flyer for details and a map of Saturday’s route. (The route planned for next week’s procession will be sent out early next week.)

Tuesday at 5pm, St. Thérèse Devotions will be streamed on our Facebook page.

Confessions will be heard on Saturdays from 1:30-3pm with at least two priests available. The priests will be in the sacristies. Remember to keep to 10 or fewer people in the church. This might mean forming a line outside; please be prepared for that possibility.

Masses will be streamed on the WEBSITE and the Facebook page at 4pm on Saturdays and 10am on Sundays. Many thanks to the families providing music for Masses and to the people who are streaming! Your time and talent is a great gift to our parish in a time of social isolation!

Catholic Social Services has released extra funds to assist the poor and vulnerable in southern Nebraska, but especially those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who need help with rent, utilities, food, etc. If you are in need of help, please call 402-327-6211. Calls are answered beginning Monday at 9am.

SCRIP can still be ordered online or with a paper form. For SCRIP orders or questions, please contact Janel Andreasen at jeandreasen@me.com or 402-525-5500. Thank you to those who have continued to use SCRIP, and thank you for your patience while we worked out the most efficient way to receive and distribute orders!

Many parishioners have received phishing e-mails and/or text messages. The sender claims to be Father Hottovy (or “Father Jamie”) and will first ask the recipient to reply to the message, then will follow up with a request for gift cards. Father Hottovy does not communicate this way and will never ask for gift cards. Do not respond to these messages!

There are four attachments: bulletin advertisers, the one-page bulletin itself, the flyer for Saturday’s Eucharistic procession, and The Saint Teresa Times.

Lastly, Father Raminedi has shared the homily he prepared for this weekend:

This is one of the beautiful post resurrection experiences of the disciples, told by Luke in today's Gospel passage, we have what we might well call a 'mini-gospel'. In a sense, everything is here. It stands as a symbol for the whole Christian life.

It begins with two people on a journey. Life, as depicted in the Scriptures, is a journey. We are called a 'pilgrim people'. Jesus calls himself the Way.

The problem is that many of us are quite lost. Many are going the wrong way. Others are going round in circles. In this story it was becoming a journey to nowhere. They were not going to any place in particular. They were in flight from anticipated danger and difficulties. For Luke, Jerusalem was the place where it was all happening; it was the focal point of God's saving work. Yet these two men were distancing themselves from the city as quickly as they could. They were lost and they were confused. They had been present during the momentous events of Holy Week. As disciples of Jesus they were deeply concerned over what had happened. They could talk of nothing else. But they were also disillusioned. The death of their Master was the end of everything. It was better to get out while the going was good. Like many others after them, they felt that the life and death of Jesus made no sense.

It is precisely at this point that God in Jesus re-enters their life, unexpected and unrecognized. Just as so often we fail utterly to recognize him. He may come in the form of a friend, a colleague, or a complete stranger. It may be someone we love, admire, fear, hate, despise, or want to ignore. He may come, not as a person, but in the form of a happening or even an inanimate object. Through these he has something to say to us. But our prejudices and a priori expectations can totally blind us to his presence, his coming into our life at this point. We need, however, to realize that we are never alone in our life's journey. He is with us all the time. "I am with you always." But, as happened with these two disciples, we at times feel he has abandoned us, he has let us down, and he no longer cares. As the stranger walks along with them he enters their lives where they are, namely, in their distress about what happened to Jesus. "What matters are you talking about as you walk along?" That is the point where we too should go to meet Jesus. So often, we find people who think that when they pray they should leave all their problems, their weaknesses and failings, their disappointments and angers outside. Prayer is a time to meditate on some uplifting Gospel passage and to pray for virtue. They are surprised, then, when they are continually bombarded with distractions about things that are really bothering them. Surely it is right there in those problems that Jesus is to be met, that it is right there our prayer should be focused? Jesus always wants to meet us where we are, not where we would like to be or where we think we ought to be. Jesus' question surprises the two disciples but he has their full attention. "Are you the only person in Jerusalem who does not know what happened during these past few days?" Jesus' execution was clearly the talk of the town. Jesus' answer is delightful. "What things?" the one who was at the center of it all asks disingenuously. But it gives the disciples a chance to present their version of the story - and their lack of understanding. "We were hoping," they say in words laden with disillusionment but full of irony, "that he would be the one to set Israel free." Their hopes were well grounded but their concept of how Israel would be liberated was not. They had heard rumors of a "resurrection" but of Him they saw nothing. All this they tell to Jesus himself! How often, I wonder, has the same thing happened to us? They are then given a lesson in Scripture. Jesus shows them how all the happenings which to them indicated the total failure of Jesus' work were, on the contrary, stepping stones to triumph and glory. "Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?" It is in Scripture that we also meet God and Jesus. Scripture is the Word of God and through it he communicates himself to us. ‘Not to know the Scriptures’, says St Jerome, ‘is not to know Jesus himself’. Once the treasures of the Scriptures are opened to us, as these disciples, we will find it is an inexhaustible treasure house which never ceases to give new insights. Like the disciples, our hearts will be on fire as Jesus talks to us on the Way and explains the Scriptures to us. In fact, this part of the story corresponds to the Liturgy of the Word in the Eucharist. It is a most important part of the Mass, often just gone through because it is there. But it is only in breaking open the Word of God and finding its meaning in our present lives that the rest of the Eucharist will be properly understood. The Word of God is also the Bread of Life whose nourishment we need.

As they reach their destination, Jesus indicates he will continue on his own. He really would have done so, if they had not invited him to stay with them. Jesus never forces himself on us. But without him, a real darkness, much more than the darkness of evening would have come down on these two men. And as they sit at table, the stranger becomes the host and Master. He takes the bread, breaks it and distributes it to them. For the early Church, this pointed clearly to their own Eucharistic celebrations. The disciples are now meeting the third mode of Jesus' presence among us - in the Eucharist, in the sharing together of the blessed and broken bread. And so their eyes are opened. They now really see the stranger for who He is - the Jesus they had been talking about all the time. At that moment, he vanishes. Is this to say his miraculous appearance is now no longer necessary once his presence is recognized in the sharing of the Eucharistic bread? And, after all these experiences, what do Cleopas and his companion do? They go straight back to the Jerusalem from which they were fleeing. They simply must share their experience of the Risen Jesus with their fellow-disciples, who, in fact, have also seen Him. They go back to the city which saw the climax of Jesus' work and which will be the starting point of the continuation of that work through the Church. There may still be dangers and difficulties but, now that they can see, now that they know that their Jesus is Lord and is with them, they want to be part of it all, part of the work of building God's Kingdom.

This story can also be seen as symbolic of the Eucharist. All the elements of a good Eucharist are there:

  • There is the encounter between the Lord in the guise of an ordinary person, any person, even a total stranger. The very gathering of the Eucharistic community is an encounter with the Lord. The community is already the Body of Christ.
  • There is the Introductory Rite where the two disciples express their disillusionment and sense of hopelessness and helplessness as they walk the road to nowhere.
  • There is the Liturgy of the Word as Jesus breaks open the Scriptures, explains its full meaning with regard to himself and leaves their hearts on fire with evangelizing enthusiasm.
  • There is also the remembering of the sacrificial death of Jesus which is at the heart of every Eucharist.
  • There is the breaking of the one loaf of bread by which the community recognizes the living presence of the Lord in each one and the unity that binds them together as the Body of Christ.
Finally, there is the desired conclusion of every Eucharist - the urge to go out and share the experience of knowing and loving Jesus as Lord and inviting others to share that experience.

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