The Annual Diocesan Appeal and the Hokey Pokey

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I am sure that all of you probably know the song and dance called “The Hokey Pokey.” It goes like this: You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out. You put your right hand in, and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about. 

After your right hand, you put your left hand in, then your right foot, then your left foot, then your head, until finally, you put your “whole self in!”

Can you imagine what would happen if you were doing the “Hokey Pokey” and the left hand refused to put itself in?  Or the right foot refused to put itself in?

This can never be if you want to do the “Hokey Pokey!”  The hands, the feet, the head—they are all part of the “whole self.” You need them all to do the “Hokey Pokey.” After all, like the song says, “That’s what it’s all about!”

The Hokey Pokey and the Church

Maybe this example of the “Hokey Pokey” seems a little bit silly, but it is a good picture of the Church.

The Bible teaches us that the church is the Body of Christ and that it is made up of many members. Each member is different and each has been given different gifts that are meant to be shared.

The Annual Diocesan Appeal of the Diocese of Peoria reminds us that we at Holy Cross parish are part of a larger body—the Body of Christ.  Holy Cross church is part of the Church of Peoria, and Bishop Daniel Jenky is the visible head of this Church.

We must understand that the Body of Christ is not an organization that just strives to bring people together. The Body of Christ is a living organism that works together to serve the head of the body, Jesus Christ.

We are connected to one another by our love for the One who called us to a new life, redeems us from the consequences of our sin, and renews us for a life of service.

ADA and being part of the Body of Christ

The fact of the matter is, you can’t love Christ without loving the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. When you respond to the call of Christ to follow Him, you become a part of a world-wide body that is bigger than any culture or language. 

If you are part of the Body of Christ, you are never on your own—you are connected and in communion with others.   The idea of a “free-lance” Christian or local church does not make sense when we are part of the Body of Christ.

ADA helps you

The Diocese of Peoria is the union of all the parishes of the diocese.  Bishop Jenky presides over the whole diocese, and he organizes all the pastoral work of the diocese to fulfill Christ’s mission in our geographical area. While the work of Christ is done chiefly in the local parishes, there are many tasks which require the administration and efforts of the larger Church, the Diocese.

The Annual Diocesan Appeal (ADA) is the major source of revenue for the ministries and agencies of the Diocese of Peoria.  The ministries and agencies of the diocese reach across parish boundaries to provide pastoral care and service in many areas.

Holy Cross parish has a history of participating well in the ADA.  Your contributions have helped our Bishop minister to numerous Catholics across the diocese. Our assessed goal for 2014 is $84,233.  Please prayerfully decide how much you can participate financially this year—and join “the dance.”  God will bless your generosity. 

Why We Need the Resurrection

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Jesus was crucified. He died. He was buried. And he rose again. The resurrection is THE essential doctrine of Christianity. Why? Because there is no Christianity without the resurrection.

That’s right.  Without the fact of Jesus rising physically from the dead, Holy Cross parish (and every other parish) would not be here. 

Everything we believe in our Catholic faith about life now and in the hereafter is founded on the fact of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. 

This makes our Easter celebration the greatest celebration of the year.  

But, how do we know that Jesus really rose from the dead?  What proof do we have? Here are several.

1. The Empty Tomb of Jesus

The tomb of Jesus was empty.  There are some theories of why that was so, but all theories “limp” and “do not hold water.”

One theory is that someone stole the body.  But who?  The apostles?  They were too cowardly to stand by Jesus as he was dying.  They wouldn’t have the courage to steal a dead body.

And besides, they would not have been able to overcome the Roman guards.  Besides the followers of Jesus, no one would have a motive to steal Jesus’ dead body.  Quite to the contrary, everyone from the Jewish authorities to the Roman procurator wanted Jesus to stay inside the tomb.

2. Eye Witness Accounts  

There is Biblical documentation that presents eye witnesses to the Risen Jesus.  Jesus first appeared to several women. 

No ancient author would have used women for witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. Women were second class citizens in Bible times; their testimony was not even allowed in court. Yet, the Bible says the risen Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other holy women.  Then, Jesus appeared to the apostles. 

There are at least eight accounts of Jesus appearing to his disciples, ranging from one to five-hundred.

3. The Apostles’ New-Found Courage 

After the crucifixion, Jesus’ apostles hid behind locked doors, terrified they would be executed next. But something changed them from cowards to bold preachers.

Anyone who understands human character knows people do not change that much without some major influence. That influence was seeing their Master, bodily risen from the dead. They left that locked room to boldly preach the Risen Christ, unafraid of what would happen to them.

4. Disciples Died for Jesus  

All of the apostles, except John, died a martyr’s death because of their preaching that Jesus is risen from the dead. 

A sane human person would not die for a truth he or she was not absolutely convinced in.  No one would die for a lie.  And, over the centuries, literally millions have died for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Many still die for Christ every year.

5. Christianity is Growing  

Christianity is ranked the largest religion in the world today, and is still growing. 

Thousands of people are giving their lives over to Jesus Christ, their Risen Savior, every year.  People’s lives are changing for the better when they encounter the living Christ in their lives.

There are other proofs, and extended explanations of these.  Our belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is central to all our other beliefs.

Why do we need the Resurrection? The Resurrection of Jesus is proof of God’s love for us. It is proof that we can live a grace-filled life on earth, and will live a glory-filled life in heaven. 

It is proof that God never intended to lose anyone that was His.  We are His.  Alleluia!

God Knows What’s in Your Heart

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I like identifying with King David.

I even say that famous statue in Florence is “my statue.”

When I am praying the Psalms and come across lines like, “I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him; so that my hand shall ever abide with him,” (Ps 89:20)  I feel the Lord is speaking to me.

As the first book of Samuel describes, David was actually the least likely to be chosen as the new king of Israel.  He was so unlikely that he was not even invited to the sacrificial banquet of Samuel.  He remained outside, doing something useful like tending the sheep. [Read more...]

LENT – What should I give up?

Lent

A real smart kid said to his Dad:  “I’m giving up school work for Lent.”  The Dad responded to his smart son: “Okay, then I will give up giving you an allowance.” The smart kid:  “Never mind.”

The happy season of Lent is upon us again!

And, Christians are called to review their lives and make extra sacrifices in order to gain greater self-control to live the discipline of Christian life.

Traditionally, we “give up” things during Lent.  We should always, however, keep in mind “why” we do this.

Lent is the major penitential season of preparation for Easter.  It begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. Now, the number “40″ is a fairly significant one in the Bible.

There are at least ten instances in the Old Testament and New Testament where 40 occurs, either in years or days, e.g. it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, Moses was on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights, the Israelites wandered 40 years, Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and was seen on the earth for 40 days after His crucifixion.

A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal.  And, such is Lent—a time of “testing and trial” leading to a time of restoration, revival, and renewal.

The “testing and trial” deals with the penance we are to practice during—doing something that will foster our total well-being, especially our spiritual well-being.   Our Church tells us that fast and abstinence is to be part of our penance.  Here are the specifics:

  • Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
  • Every person between the age of 18 and 60 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Fasting means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted for the other two eating times.

But, getting back to the “why” we do this:  Fasting is a means of developing self-control. It is often an aid to prayer, as the pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God.  Fasting also puts us in solidarity with those whose must continually fast because of their poverty.

Abstinence, or giving up something we like, is an act of self-discipline.  We purposefully sacrifice something we like to grow in self-control and move us towards greater charity.

Lent is about conversion, that is, turning our lives more completely over to Christ and his way of life. That always involves giving up sin in some form. Our giving up of something we like is to give us the proper self-discipline to give up some sinful tendency in our life.

The goal of Lent is not just to give up something for the duration of Lent, then return to it at Easter.  The point of Lent is  to root sin out of our lives forever. Conversion means leaving behind an old way of living and to fully embrace our new life in Christ.

Let’s have a happy Lent.

When You Say Yes…Mean It!

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Yes, no, maybe so. Yes, no, maybe so.

Each and every day we’re faced with dozens of decisions – things or people or places or events that we must say yes or no to.

Yes, I’ll have chicken for dinner tonight. No, I won’t have beef. Yes, I’ll go to work this morning. No, I won’t stay even a minute after 5:00. Yes, I’ll call my sister today. No, I won’t have time to eat lunch with my brother.

Yes, no, maybe so. We have to decide on things dozens of times every day. There are big decisions, little decisions, major decisions, mundane decisions. [Read more...]

Why Jesus Called You to Be Salt and Light

Salt and Light: The Christian Calling

What did Jesus mean by calling us SALT and LIGHT?

Salt was one of the most common substances in the ancient world.

Roman soldiers were paid in salt and would revolt if they didn’t get their ration.

Indeed, our English word “salary” comes from the Latin “salarium” which literally means “salt-money.” And our expression, “That man is not worth his salt,” is a reminder of the high value that salt had in biblical times. [Read more...]

Online Giving Now Easier with Mobile Device Support

Online Giving Updates to MobileOnline Giving just got a whole lot easier.

The newest release has an updated look and works with mobile devices.

Now you can create new gifts, update or change gifts, and manage the whole system from hand-held and tablet devices.

Online Giving is a simple and safe way to contribute to your parish: 

  • No more having to write checks before Mass or in the pew
  • Interest-free payments
  • Schedule contributions to work with your paycheck schedule
  • Great for when you travel – you can do it anywhere
  • Easily adjust the amount of your automatic contribution
  • Never worry about misplacing your contributions at Mass

By signing up to give your weekly offertory and special collections online, you will help the parish more accurately forecast our finances and plan more strategically.

Online Giving is safe, secure, and dependable.

Online Giving doesn’t require any special hardware or software – all you need is an internet connection.

You can set up several funds for contributions and the appropriate options for giving. You can choose recurring or one-time gifts, or make pledges.

Online Giving can be effectively used on its own or with regular offering envelopes.

Click here for more information about Online Giving or call parish office at 352-8748.

Ordinary Time is EXTRAORDINARY

Ordinary Time green

Ordinary Time is green.

We are back to Ordinary Time on the Church calendar.

Ordinary Time refers to all of those parts of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year that aren’t included in the major seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter).

Many people think Ordinary Time refers to the parts of the Church year that are unimportant.

This is because Ordinary Time refers to the period of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year that fall outside of the major seasons.

It’s also because of the connotations of the term “ordinary” in English. But nothing could be further from the truth!   During Ordinary Time we are to live in the extraordinary grace of our God—which is present every day. [Read more...]