Bulletins (Please scroll to the bottom of the page for this week's and past weeks' bulletins.)

This week our parish will be engaged in Vacation Bible School with a large crew of leaders, helpers, and children. Erin has been working on this for a long time and we are very grateful for the wonderful response. Please remember to pray that our children will be touched by this experience as they continue on their voyage of faith.

It won't be long before we will be organizing our Religious Education Program for the new school year. We have at least three sections for each grade level, so it takes a great number of teachers and helpers who are committed to be here each Wednesday or Sunday for class. We want this to be a very positive experience for our children, so please do respond affirmatively when asked to assist.

I am often astounded at how deeply committed parents are to the welfare of their children. As one who just watches, I sometimes wonder how parents can have day jobs in addition to all the activities they follow with their children. Parenting truly is a labor of love; no price could measure the commitment.

Another labor of love is passing the faith to the next generation. The Book of Deuteronomy speaks of drilling the love of God into children, “speaking of it morning, noon and evening.” Today there are so many activities and goals that capture our time and energy, that we really need to be intentional if we are going to successfully transmit our faith to another generation. Parents and parishes need to sort of back up and ask how this can best be accomplished and what role each can take in achieving this essential task.

So this brief note comes with a plea. Please don't be complacent about the faith formation of your children, thinking that it will just happen. Please say a prayer and ask God to guide you as you prepare for the new year of religious education.

For some time now, it has felt to me that we are living through a time of rapid social change. Issues that were barely on the radar screen in my early years of priesthood have become the stuff of daily conversation. This is true concerning issues of poverty, sexual ethics, gender identity, racial unrest, respect for life, immigration, and a whole variety of social issues.

I am sure most of these issues have always been with us in some form or another. Perhaps the use of social media has made them more apparent or more urgent or more acceptable in ordinary conversation. It feels to me like these are bigger issues than they were in my earlier years.

I certainly cannot know all the issues or all the solutions that might untie the knots of social interaction. Not all of the issues confront me very directly, although some do. As a Christian and as a leader of the Christian community, what really concerns me is that we face the rapid evolution in society with a Christian perspective.

It is not sufficient for us to make armchair judgments on people who are struggling with life issues. Nor is it sufficient to grab our data from social media sites that support our basic pre-judgments. As we face new world circumstances, we are always called to respect human dignity in every person. And often we should ask, "What would Jesus say or do?"

Of course, this approach can be taken in a simplistic and false way if we do not really know Jesus. In these days of summer, it would assist our growth as Christians and as citizens to re-read the Gospels and get to know Jesus again, St. Jerome said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." As we get to know Jesus better, He will guide us in facing our world that sometimes seems so confusing to us.

Financial Report: Our weekend crowds continue to be on the light side, so it's always amazing that our weekend offertory is so positive. We are grateful to all those who donated $10,053 in envelopes and $2,372 the loose offering last weekend. Our on-line giving yields about $41,000 each month. Thanks to everyone for their generosity.

A Stewardship Testimonial: "The garden produce at this time of the year is a special gift from God and reward for living in South Dakota."

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