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

At the end of June each year, Catholic dioceses in the United States gather a collection for the Holy Father. Often this collection is called “Peter's Pence.” Timing for the collection coincides with the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29th. This money is forwarded to the Holy Father who distributes it for charitable purposes, such as disaster relief.

In our Catholic tradition, we recognize the Pope as the head of the Church and a unique representative of Jesus on earth. Our devotion to the office of the pope goes all the way back to the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus said, "You are Peter and upon this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."

The office of the pope did not spring full grown right after the resurrection. From the beginning, the Church has always had a pope but the form and function of the office developed gradually down through the centuries as the Church responded to the needs of the time. It is still developing in response to the signs of the times.

For many centuries, popes rarely left the city of Rome or even the Vatican. Beginning with Pope Paul VI in the 1960s, popes began to travel the world. We have become much more accustomed to seeing the pope as pastor of the universal Church. Each of our recent popes has brought unique gifts to the office and have exercised their authority in differing ways.

I have always been grateful to be part of a Church that is governed by a pope. As a sign of unity in the one Church, the pope is also a source of unity in a world that is often fragmented. The pope is a carrier of Tradition in a world that is often willy-nilly. The pope keeps us grounded while the world around us spins, and he keeps us pointed toward Jesus Who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

At our parish Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, it was determined that we could make an extra $50,000 payment on our parish debt this month. This is very good news as we continue to whittle away at this obligation. When I came to the parish 5 years ago, the debt was about $4.3 million, so when this payment brings it below $3 million, it feels like a real milestone.

Each month our parish makes a debt payment to the diocese which holds our loan. As the principal decreases, so does the interest portion of the payment. For a number of years now, our parish Finance Committee has committed to making the interest payments from ordinary operating revenues. Money that is given for debt reduction is paid on the principal.

It is really quite amazing to consider what has been accomplished on this corner of God's Kingdom in just a few years. With lots and lots of people working together, a beautiful church and school have become landmarks on the western edge of Sioux Falls.

We are grateful to Jeremy Sorenson and Jeff Ellefson who are completing 6 years on our Finance Committee. Both of them have brought a great deal of financial expertise to the table and have been very diligent in watching over our budgetary process. We are grateful to Dan Donohoe and Jay Bemis for beginning 3 years terms of service.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ this weekend, we are reminded especially of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. As I often say, there are many ways of explaining this mystery theologically, but all of them limp in some ways. Basically, we believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist because He said He would be.

Sometimes the Eucharist becomes so common to us that we might take it for granted or celebrate it casually. I've even known people who tried to “fulfill their obligation” in the most minimal way. Of course, that misses the enormity of what we are called to receive.

Toward the end of the school year, I tried to impress on the young people of our parish that saying "Amen" before we receive the Eucharist is not really an option. That one little word is a profession of faith that says, "I believe." It should be pronounced audibly.

Financial Report: In these days of summer, many people travel away from our parish on weekends, visiting relatives, attending athletic events and taking a vacation. We are grateful that we received $6,990 in the offertory collection last weekend. Next weekend is the final weekend of the fiscal year.

A Stewardship Testimonial: St. Paul tells us that "God loves a cheerful giver."

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