New Year’s Resolutions

By Fr. Jake Greiner

Though I do not want to wish away the remaining days of the Advent season before the celebration of Christmas, I am struck by the fact that 2015 is quickly coming to a close. I can say with complete honesty that this year has not gone as I would have planned.

Fr. Greiner
Fr. Greiner

I weigh more now than I weighed in 2014.  I have the best cooks in my parishes, so I believe that I could blame God for the weight gain since he sent me to these wonderful people a year and a half ago.  However, my dear parishioners did not prevent me from working out when I was feeling lazy and they are not responsible for the late-night snack­ing. In the end, the additional weight is on me, both literally and figuratively.

Besides this one health measure, there were other things I let slide in this past year. If these realities are going to change, I have to start making preparations for addressing these challenges now, not two days before the start of the New Year. Therefore, I have begun to pray about my New Year resolutions during the Advent season, so I could let the Holy Spirit into this process. I am not going to bore you with what I believe the Lord wants me to work on in 2016, but I believe that two insights from my prayer might be of assistance to you if you want to work on your New Year resolution.

The first insight was to make spiritual resolutions a top priority. If you have not prayed enough in 2015, missed Mass, have not given enough of your time, talent and treasure to the church or others, or simply did not do enough for your spiritual life and relationship with God, find ways to addresses these realities. These should be your top resolutions. Why? So many things remain outside of our control and this includes our lives. I believe that 2015 was a year when the world became more fearful and uncertain. This has affected us more than we probably even want to admit. What is going to help us more in addressing the uncontrollable in our lives than our relationship with God?  Our spiritual lives will help us to accept those aspects of our lives that are out of our control so that we have more courage, energy, patience and peace in addressing those realities that are in our control.

The second insight is that all of us need to have one resolution that focuses on our family — those who are related to us by blood and those who are family by friendship. I have been struck in this Advent season by the importance of Mary and Joseph in the life of Jesus immediately following his birth and into his young life.  Jesus was born as the Son of God, but our Messiah found help through others in accomplishing his salvific mission. If Jesus needed a family, this means we need a family. In the new year we need to develop and nurture those family members God has given to us in our lives for well-being.  If you count yourself among those who feel as if you have no family, I have a New Year Resolution for you: Find one! There is a Catholic church that wants to welcome you into their family, and through some patience, you will find a home that will help and nurture you.

May God bless our diocese abundantly in this Year of Mercy and in this year of grace!

(Fr. Jake Greiner is pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville and Sacred Heart Parish in Melcher.)

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Make room at the inn of our hearts

Children’s Christmas pageants portraying Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay as they prepare for the birth of Jesus have wrapped up in our diocese’s parishes. The costumes made of bathrobes, sheets and cardboard angel’s wings have been tucked into plastic storage bins. Our attention focuses now on the miraculous birth of our Christian faith, manifest in an infant in a manger. There was no room at the inn, we’ve been told. That’s why Jesus lay in a manger and not a baby’s bed in a cozy inn.

There was no room at the inn …

What if the inn isn’t a place? What if it’s a state of mind, a place in our hearts? How does that change who we are and what we do? Do we begin to see that the inn keeper isn’t some nameless guy from ancient history; that the innkeeper is each of us, followers of Christ? That our very being is the inn?

There was no room at the inn …

How do we open ourselves to be inns of hope, faith, joy and peace to all kinds of people who experience this Christmas time with a range of emotions? We know the reason for the season, but life-changing events influence how we observe this sacred time. Expressing joy comes easier when we’re welcoming a new child or grandchild into our lives or celebrating a promotion at work or a graduation. Simply getting through the holidays may be the goal of those mourning the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, dealing with serious illness or alienation.

Making room at the inn …

• Put God first. A priest of our diocese, Father Guillermo Trevino, observes in his column this week that “When we put Our Lord Jesus Christ first, many graces come as a result … I’ve never been happier in my life and I feel it is because of putting God first … I can personally attest that my love for my family, my parishioners and others has never been greater since I put God first.”

• Pray, attend Mass and receive the sacraments. Another priest of our diocese, Father Jake Greiner, knows that prayer is essential to opening himself to God’s will. In a column on preparing for the New Year, he observes: “Our spiritual lives will help us to accept those aspects of our lives that are out of our control so that we have more courage, energy, patience and peace in addressing those realities that are in our control.”

• Listen with the ears of your heart. Someone who has recently lost a loved one may feel like sharing stories about that person. Ask them to do so and make time to listen. The longing to share stories isn’t limited to the grieving. Some people in their twilight years might yearn to pass on the stories they’ve collected over a lifetime. Welcome their stories. Consider visiting a nursing home or getting involved in jail/prison ministry or pen pal ministry. Your listening ears are welcome in those sometimes forgotten places, too. Take a cue from Sister Dolores Schuh, CHM, of Davenport. She’s been corresponding weekly for four years with a man on death row in a North Carolina prison. She also sends a birthday card and Christmas card to each of the 146 men on death row at that prison.

• Practice patience. An interviewee for a story, asked what she prays for, began by saying what she doesn’t pray for: patience, because God will test it. But the world we live in today would benefit greatly from the patience of each of us. We can start by engaging in respectful dialogue with people whose viewpoints differ from ours — even in our own families.

Let’s contemplate and act on our role as innkeepers this Christmas season and see where it takes us during this Extraordinary Year of Mercy.

Barb Arland-Fye

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Bishop’s schedule for January

Bishop Martin Amos’ January SCHEDULE
3-11 OCEANSIDE, CA — Region IX Bishop’s Retreat, Prince of Peace Abbey
12 DAVENPORT — Priests’ Personnel Board, St. Vincent Center
12 DAVENPORT — Presbyteral Council, St. Vincent Center
16 DES MOINES — Midwest March for Life
18 DAVENPORT — Humility of Mary Convent, Mass
20 DAVENPORT — Propagation of Faith Meeting, St. Vincent Center
21 CLINTON — Sisters of St. Francis 150th Jubilee Mass
22 DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University, Board of Directors

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Las Mañanitas: Una tradición que perdura

Por Anne Marie Amacher
El Mensajero Católico

DAVENPORT — A las 5:30 am del 12 de diciembre, la imagen de la Virgen de Guadalupe fue iluminada como centro de atención. Ninguna otra luz en la parroquia de Santa María estuvo encendida, al menos que fuese la cadena de luces de Navidad que bordeaban la imagen de Nuestra Señora.

Anne Marie Amacher Las mujeres rezan el rosario durante “Las mañanitas” el 12 de diciembre en la parroquia de Santa María en Davenport.
Anne Marie Amacher
Las mujeres rezan el rosario durante “Las mañanitas” el 12 de diciembre en la parroquia de Santa María en Davenport.

Unas 20 personas recitaron el rosario durante “Las mañanitas”, que se celebraron en la parroquia de Santa María. Las luces de la parroquia se encendieron durante el rezo del rosario, seguido de la letanía de los santos. La gente empezó a llenar la iglesia en honor a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Ellos trajeron flores, principalmente rosas, para colocar ante la sagrada imagen.

A las 6 am, Padre Guillermo Treviño comenzó la misa en español cuya parroquia estaba completamente llena. El llevaba una vestidura blanca y dorada con impresiones en los dos colores de la imagen de la Virgen de Guadalupe. El Padre Chris Young concelebró.

La comunidad hispana de la parroquia de Santa María y otras parroquias de la Diócesis de Davenport con presencia hispana, ce-lebraron la fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de ese día.

El feligrés de la parroquia de Santa María, Manuel Toquinto dijo que la fiesta es especialmente importante para la gente de México, pero que también se celebra en otras comunidades de origen hispano o latino.

En la Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe se celebra la aparición de María al campesino Juan Diego en México, lo cual fue hace más de 430 años. Toquinto dijo que: “Diego fue hacia el obispo local y le dijo que María le pidió que se construyera una iglesia en la ciudad de México en honor a ella.” Sin embargo, el obispo pidió una prueba. Después de presenciar la cuarta aparición de María, Juan Diego regresó a su obispo con una tilma (manto) llena de flores. Cuando la abrió, una imagen de la Virgen quedó impresa en el manto. La iglesia fue construida y hoy millones acuden a la parroquia cada año en peregrinación, dijo la feligrés Rosario Castel.

Después de la misa, el grupo de danza de Quad-City, Danza Guadalupana, bailó en la parroquia, y después junto con a la imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, fue cargada por las calles al centro de pa-rroquial. Los miembros de los Caballeros de Colón ayudaron en la coordinación de las calles para que la procesión se desarrolle con normalidad. La danza continuó en el centro. También se realizó una recreación de la tradición de la Virgen de Guadalupe.

Castel dijo que la fiesta atrae a multitudes cada año. Cuando la fiesta cae en un día laborable, Las Mañanitas se llevan a cabo en la mañana, pero la misa se celebra en la noche para que la gente pueda ir a trabajar. Tras la danza, la pa-rroquia sirvió una comida, sopa de menudo, panes dulces y chocolate caliente.

“Esta es una verdadera fiesta para nosotros”, dijo Toquinto. “María es la Madre de Cristo y Madre de la Iglesia.”

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Iowa City Deanery statement regarding the Syrian refugee crisis

We, the undersigned pastoral ministers, deacons and priests of the Iowa City Deanery, (encompassing the Catholic parishes of Johnson, Cedar, Washington, Louisa and Muscatine counties) wish to affirm the Iowa Bishop’s Statement of Nov. 17, 2015, supporting the settlement of Syrian Refugees in Iowa and the United States. (http://iowacatholicconference. org/2015/11/statement-on-syrian-refugees/)

These Syrian refugees are fleeing war, misery and death and we believe that the process by which they are being vetted, mitigates any major fears we may have about our safety.

Because welcoming refugees to our country is in accord with the highest of humane and American values, and because we acknowledge the teachings of Jesus Christ who said:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited with me.” — Matthew 25: 35-36.

We urge members of Congress, Governor Branstad and the 26 governors who wish to deny Syrian refugees refugee status in our country, to legislate with reason and compassion and not out of fear or political expediency.

Carol Kaalberg, Rev. Timothy Sheedy, Deacon Derick Cranston, Rev. Corey Close, Deacon Mitch Holte, Rev. Gregory Steckel, Deacon David Montgomery, Rev. Joseph Roost, Deacon David Reha, Rev. Richard Beyer, Rev. Vitolds Valainis, Rev. Dennis Martin, Deacon David Krob, Rev. Steve Witt, Deacon Jerry Miller, Rev. Richard Okumu, Deacon Robert Snavely, Rev. Edward Fitzpatrick, Rev. Stephen Page, Rev. Gary Beckman, Rev. Jeff Belger, Rev. Joseph Sia, Rev. Bernie Weir, Rev. David Hitch, Rev. Msgr. Francis Henricksen, Rev. Edmond Dunn, Rev. Michael Spiekermeier, Rev. Louis Leonhardt, Rev. William E. Kaska, Rev. Walter Helms, Rev. Thomas Doyle, Rev. Rudolph T. Juárez

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Holocaust art/essay contests

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — The Quad Cities Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance) Committee is accepting entries for the “Ida Kramer Children and the Holocaust Essay Contest” and the “Meyer and Frances Shnurman Holocaust Visual Arts Contest.” The contests are open to Quad City-area students in grades 7-12. The deadline for entries is Feb. 1.
Both contests offer $500 for first prize with a $100 gift card to the teacher who provided guidance, $200 for second prize with a $50 gift card to the teacher who provided guidance and a $100 third prize, with a $50 gift card to the teacher who provided guidance. The first, second and third prize visual arts winners will be displayed at the Annual Yom Hashoah Remembrance program on May 1, 2016. The first-place essay will be read during the program. Quad Cites Yom Hashoah Committee sponsors both contests, with Quad City Arts co-sponsoring the Visual Arts Contest.
Details and applications for both contests are available online at www.jfqc.org or www.hecqc.org. For more information, contact the office of the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cites at (309) 793-1300 or aross@jfqc.org.
Yom Hashoah, or Days of Remembrance, is observed each year for the 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. While it is primarily observed by Jews, it is not an exclusive commemoration, as witnessed by the community-wide event held here in the Quad Cities and the diverse group that makes up the committee. Several Quad Cities organizations sponsor the committee, including St. Ambrose University in Davenport. The committee promotes Holocaust awareness not simply because it is a Jewish tragedy, but because they believe the world must not be allowed to forget that 12 million innocent human beings, 6 million of them Jews, were murdered by the Nazis. They keep the memory of the Holocaust alive to guard against the wanton destruction of any people.

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Midwest March for Life bus

Clinton — Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish is sponsoring a bus trip to the Midwest March for Life in Des Moines Jan. 16. The bus will leave the church parking lot at 6 a.m. For more information or to register call Mary Jo at Gateway Travel (563) 242-1025. Registration deadline is Jan. 4.

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