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

Recently, you might have noticed in the media that the Catholic Church had changed its position on the morality of capital punishment. This evolution of the moral law is a good example of what the Catholic Church calls the development of doctrine.

Down through the ages, the doctrines of the Church often evolve as new questions are asked, new possibilities open, and a deeper sense of the teaching of Jesus becomes apparent. In the current age, the Church has been especially vigilant in regard to questions concerning the dignity of human life.

When the first edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published, it acknowledged that the state has a right to execute those guilty of capital crimes. It was only a year or two later that Pope John Paul II wrote his great encyclical on human life, Evangelium vitae. In that letter, he again acknowledged that the state had a right to execute certain criminals, but only as a last resort if it would be the only way to assure public safety. In the developed world, the Holy Father said, “such cases would be practically nonexistent.”

The edition of the Catechism was amended to reflect this new teaching. Recently, Pope Francis wrote that the use of capital punishment is “inadmissible,” since only God is the author and sustainer of life.

Like many teachings of the Church, it will take a while for this teaching to become an ordinary part of Church teaching that is well understood and accepted by the faithful.

In our own time, there have been so many threats to human life, from tiny babies in their mothers' wombs, to innocent people threatened by acts of terrorism or war, to those who are vulnerable to abuse or neglect, to those who are executed at the hands of the state.

Anyone whose life is in danger is a reminder to us that we should cherish all human life and work for its protection.

This week, we will introduce our new First Reconciliation Program for parents and their children. For nearly all of my years of pastoral ministry, I have been looking for better materials that will help parents and children as they prepare for this important Catholic milestone of faith.

This year, Dynamic Catholic produced a product that holds great promise. It is age appropriate and user-friendly. These materials will be distributed to parents this week. In addition, our Religious Education second grade classes on Sunday and Wednesday will focus totally on sacramental preparation.

This weekend we are inviting members of our parish to make a new commitment to tasks and ministries that our assist our common life together. Many of these volunteer opportunities are for liturgical ministries that help make our parish liturgy a great hymn of praise to our God.

I suppose theoretically we could have Mass with fewer ministers. When I was a child, we had just a priest and a couple of servers. The renewed liturgy of Vatican calls us to a much fuller celebration of the liturgy that is more representative of the community and a fuller act of praise to God.

Additionally, each person with a liturgical role is already making a profession of faith by exercising that role. These liturgical ministers encourage others in their life of faith.

We also need many other volunteers to make our parish run smoothly and efficiently. We simply could not maintain our properties, form our children in faith, or advise our pastor without those who donate their time so generously.

I hope you will study the many opportunities and make your commitment as a small act of faith in the Church that we love so much.

Financial Report: Last weekend, we were missing a number of people who attended Mass at the Dakota Bowl, so we were very pleased to find $7,159.48 in the weekend collection. Thanks so very much for your generosity.

A Stewardship Testimonial: "When you asked for volunteers, I was going to sit this one out. Then I realized how much I actually enjoy donating my time."

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