On April 12, I began my fifth year here at Prince of Peace as your servant. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday and in others, I feel like I’ve been here for a long time. Regarding the latter thought, that in no way is a negative. Rather, it’s how much I love being here and watching how this parish continues to evolve. There are just a couple of thoughts I’d like to share:
First of all, anything good that happens here is not due to anything I do, and I mean that sincerely. God is the one and only doer of all that is good at Prince of Peace! Of course, there are humans who lead projects and do so many things here with great love, but it is Jesus who is the driver.
Every morning (and I mean EVERY morning), my prayer is this: “Lord please help me to be your tiny instrument, and please allow your will to be done in all we do here today.” It is the only way good things happen here!
Second, I must thank so many of you for all that you do to keep this place so vibrant and growing. It is YOU who make Prince of Peace what it is! It’s not just the big events – the picnic, the spring auction that are so great; it’s all the little things done here on a daily basis by so many volunteers that make this such a great parish.
One final thought: If you love your Catholic Christian faith, please continue to learn more about it. I guarantee you that none of us knows everything we should know, and it’s just one of the great things about our faith. In addition, living your faith in all the routine situations in life – work, school, get togethers, etc., are a great way to show others you love Jesus and being a Catholic. You do not have to push your faith on others, but just living a life that would please Jesus is enough!
Thank you for all you have done to make me a better Christian!
- Deacon Jeff
Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, which was established by St. John Paul II during the Canonization Mass of St. Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000. This date was the Second Sunday of Easter in 2000, and thus St. John Paul declared every Second Sunday of Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday.
To understand more about the Divine Mercy of Jesus, we need to know a bit more about the saint to whom the revelations were given: St. Faustina. Helena Kowalski was born on August 25, 1905, and was the third of ten children born to a poor, but deeply religious family.
At an early age, Helena stood out because of her devotion to prayer, work and helping the poor (understanding she too was very poor). She felt a calling to religious life in her teenage years, but her parents could not afford the money it took for admission to any of the convents.
Helena went out by herself to work and save the money. On August 1, 1925, Helena entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name, Sr. Maria Faustina. Even though her life seem insignificant, monotonous, and dull, she hid within herself an extraordinary relationship with God. The angels, saints, the Blessed Mother, and the souls in Purgatory were a real part of her daily life. In her conversations with God, she was instructed to write everything she was told in a diary, which today is a very popular book: The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.
St. Faustina is most well known for her development of The Divine Mercy Chaplet, prayed by many at the 3 o’clock hour daily. She knew of Jesus’ incredible mercy for everyone, and the Chaplet is the most profound tool to feel his mercy. St. Faustina battled with tuberculosis for many years and passed away at the very young age of 33.
We will offer adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of Reconciliation from noon-3pm this Sunday, and will pray the Chaplet at 3:00. Please make the time to join us and feel the awesome mercy Jesus can offer you!
- Deacon Jeff
If you walked with Jesus (and your parish family) through the past three days, known as the Triduum, you have experienced a lot! But think of what Jesus must have experienced. What we remembered in these last three days is nothing compared to the agony, suffering and horrible death our Lord experienced.
Many of us “more experienced” adults have prepared a “Last Will and Testament”. Jesus completed his last will on the Cross: He committed his blood to us, the Church; his garments to his enemies; a thief (by name, Didymus) to paradise; his body to a grave and his soul to his heavenly Father. Jesus had two last treasures: his mother and the apostle, John. He gave them to each other, mother and son. At that moment, he made all of us children of his mother. It is why we respect and honor her so much. What a great accomplishment under such horrible suffering!
And today, we celebrate the day above all days: the glorious resurrection of Jesus! Today, we again say and sing, Alleluia! Today, Jesus made death – his own – and ours, a transition to a new and perfect life in Heaven. As Christians, we need to celebrate, not just today, but every day.
The Church gave us six weeks of Lent, a time of penance and fasting, and now gives us seven weeks of Easter. May we enjoy every day by remembering what Jesus endured for us - for YOU - to make sure you may someday be with him and all the saints for all eternity. A blessed Easter to each and every one of you! I am so very blessed by God to be your humble servant!
- Deacon Jeff
Welcome to Holy Week, my friends. If there is a week to really, really focus on our faith, this is it.
First of all, why is this week so important? Well, if you believe in eternal life and Jesus is truly your Savior, this week is the reason God came to earth as man. Jesus came to take all of our sins and carry them to the Cross, suffering the most brutal death imaginable to show us the depth of his love for us.
To show your love for him, one of the best ways is to walk with him this week.
The three days leading up to Easter, called the Triduum, begin with Holy Thursday. In this Mass, we celebrate the Last Supper, where Jesus gave his Apostles (and us) the Eucharist and showed us how to care for each other by washing their feet, then goes to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prays as a human (Father, please take this cup away from me), and as God (not my will, but yours be done). We continue on Good Friday not with a Mass, but a service to commemorate Jesus’ incredible suffering before he is so brutally crucified – for every one of our sins. We remain vigilant, and on Holy Saturday at dusk, we celebrate his victory over death – his glorious resurrection. These three days are the most holy of our entire year, so I strongly encourage you to try to attend all three days. If not, do your best to come to any one of the Masses or the Good Friday service.
How else can you honor Jesus this week? Watch a movie on his life! There are so many to choose from, but I try to watch “The Passion of the Christ”, as painful as it is to watch, to feel in some small way what Jesus did for me. There are lots of books to choose from as well. I have, The Last Seven Words, by Fulton J. Sheen as just one of hundreds of books available.
Please take the time this week to remember Jesus’ love for you; then celebrate with your parish family on Easter Sunday!
- Deacon Jeff
As you read this corner from me this weekend, I hope you will take a moment to pray for me. What’s so problematic for Deacon Jeff this weekend? Really nothing at all. However, God willing, as you read this, I will be on a silent retreat at the Jesuit House on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh.
For those of you who have never heard of a silent retreat before, please allow me to give you a little background. There are several places to go on a silent retreat. The closest is the Jesuit House in Oshkosh and I personally happen to like it! Is it totally silent? No, but briefly here’s how it goes:
After arriving on Thursday and getting personal belongings in your room, dinner is served. There you can meet and talk with others. There are usually around 40 men who come to each retreat. Following dinner, there is a brief talk from the director and an introduction of the priest who will be offering talks each day.
There are usually four talks each day (about 30 minutes each), but it’s up to you whether to attend or not. Once the introductions are complete, you are silent for the rest of the time here including meals. If you are looking for something like salt or pepper at the dinner table, there is a spinning lazy Susan where you can get these items without asking. The only time you talk is at the daily Mass; you are allowed to pray out loud!
Boring you might say? How can you stay quiet the whole time? I thought the same thing the first time I went. But what happens is that in the silence, God speaks to you! I’ve had so many wonderful things I’ve learned on these retreats, only because I don’t talk, and God can speak clearly to me!
So please do pray for me, as I will be praying for all of you in earnest! I will see all of you for Holy Week!
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Catholic Church, and for that matter the whole world is mourning the loss of a great man: Bishop David O’Connell. If you haven’t heard of him or of his tragic death, allow me to give you a brief description, understanding I never knew or even heard of Bishop Dave before his death.
Known as a passionate lover of the homeless, sexually abused, and a man of peace and deep compassion, Bishop Dave loved to walk the streets of Los Angeles at night to minister to all different types of people. You can only imagine what and who he might have encountered. Both social progressives and conservatives embraced this man. This is an incredible accomplishment in this society that is so deeply divided. He was able to meet virtually anyone where they were at in life with deep love and compassion, again another unique gift. He was trusted by gang members, as well as local crime fighters. It seems to me he was the face of Christ to so very many.
Initially believing Bishop Dave died in his sleep, police easily determined he was murdered. The suspect is his housekeeper’s husband, who apparently was heavily under the influence of drugs when he committed the crime. He was arrested the day following the tragic killing of Bishop Dave.
If you have a chance, read some of the articles written about him. I believe you will find as I did that Bishop Dave was a “one of a kind” man. He had the correct calling, and lived his call to the very fullest. Please pray for the repose of his soul, as well as for all those who depended on him for guidance. May God welcome him to paradise!
March 20, 2022
It is hard to believe we are already at the 3rd Sunday of Lent; we are closing in on the halfway point in this season soon! Since I have been gone for the last week in Florida, I thought I’d give you a few reflections on that time away from here. First of all, I certainly missed all of you and I missed the parish! I know everything here was running smoothly because you are fortunate to have one of finest parish staffs in the Diocese available for your needs/concerns. Second, I know at this point we have already exceeded our Bishop’s Appeal goal, which happened in only five weeks! Thank you so very much for your generosity and promptness! The only goal we need to accomplish yet is to get to 500 gifts. This should not be difficult, based on the number of registered parishioners we have here at Prince of Peace. More importantly, whenever there is a task to be done here, we all need to be a part of it; waiting for someone else to “take care of things” – especially financially – is not what God asks of us. God asks for us to share our blessings with others, so if you have not yet donated, please consider giving to the Appeal today!
While we were on vacation, Mary and I attended Mass at St. Leo the Great in Bonita Springs, FL. This is a very impressive structure that seats well over a thousand people. The Mass we attended was almost at capacity! I realize they have many visitors attending Mass there, but I couldn’t help but picture Prince of Peace with every seat taken. The Mass IS Heaven coming to earth, and if we can understand and comprehend this, every seat should be taken on the weekend!
How so very blessed each one of us is to be here! Thank you for blessing me with your presence!
- Deacon Jeff
March 13, 2022
If you do not see me around this weekend, it’s because Mary and I are taking our first vacation since Covid-19 hit two years ago. We are coming back today, but since I have to write these corners ahead of time, I’m writing this before the vacation! Anyway, yesterday (March 12) is the third anniversary of the beginning of my assignment here at Prince of Peace. Even though I’m not here today, I can assure you a lot of different emotions are within me today. People ask me all the time if I like being here and if like what I do. It goes without saying that I love being here as your servant; all of you have changed my life in ways you will never know or could even imagine! Do I like what I do? Again, I love what I do here, but I will say this – it is a difficult job, and it comes like anything else with its’ many, shall I say – “opportunities”. There is never any boredom around here, and I could spend virtually all day every day here and not run out of things to do!
Putting all those emotions aside, I can say one thing for certain: We are so very blessed to be here, there is no other place we would rather be than here at Prince of Peace! I am so grateful to every one of you for your care, support, and incredible kindness. YOU are my inspiration!
Our staff here at Prince of Peace runs on three main principles, and in this order: 1) We are here to serve God, 2) We are here to serve the wonderful people of this parish, and 3) We are here to support and serve each other. If any these principles are not adhered to, we cannot serve God nor you in the proper way. I sure hope you can see these principles lived out when you are here,
if not please let me know! Thank you for everything!
- Deacon Jeff
March 6, 2022
As we enter this season of Lent, we usually have decided by now what we are going to “give up”. This is a very noble idea and a great way to offer a small sacrifice for all that Jesus did for us on the Cross. This year, however, I’d like you to consider doing something rather than giving up something. The activity I’d like for you to consider (if you’re not already doing so) is to pray the Rosary daily.
This prayer for many is too repetitious, too long and too boring. Others believe because of the structure of the Rosary prayer and a tendency for our minds to wander that it cannot be an effective prayer. Yet, countless saints and even the Virgin Mary herself in many of her apparitions asks those she appears to that they pray the Rosary. If that is the case, there must be something very powerful about this prayer!
The Rosary has also been described as a “weapon” like anything that comes to mind when we hear that word. How can prayer, and especially repetitive prayer like the Rosary be a weapon? Pope Francis has asked us to pray the Rosary for peace in Ukraine. We pray the Rosary for an end to Covid-19, and for healing for ourselves and others.
The Rosary was instituted back in early 13th Century by St. Dominic, who saw the Virgin Mary in a vision and was taught by her how to pray. It is the one symbol that reminds almost anyone of a person’s Catholic faith. If you have never prayed the Rosary, we have materials to get you started. Even if you’ve prayed it in the past, try to make it a daily part of your Lenten observance. There is something special about this prayer and the more it is prayed, the more it will become a part of your life!
- Deacon Jeff
February 27, 2022