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“It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about the serious problems afflicting the world and I tell myself, I must talk to the pope about it. Then the next day when I wake up I remember that I am the pope.” – Pope Saint John XXIII
 
 
August 20, 2020
 
Dear Friends,
 
This Sunday’s Gospel presents us with Simon Peter’s beautiful profession of faith in Jesus: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” It was an inspired response and a conclusion that Peter had reached in his heart after seeing Jesus preach, heal, and work miracles. But it would be years until Peter fully understood the weight of what Jesus told him next: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”
 
There are a number of titles for the men formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis), Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), and Karol Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II). We might call them “Pope,” or maybe an affectionate “il Papa.” Other titles include “Vicar of Christ,” “Supreme Pontiff,” or the “Bishop of Rome.” But my favorite – and perhaps their favorite as well – would be this description of their ministry: servant of the servants of God. It is said that after a man is elected Pope, there is a “crying room” that he spends time in to pray and gather his thoughts before being announced to the world. Perhaps not tears of joy, but rather of the realization of the weight of what is being asked! Most Popes just wanted to be a simple parish priest, but then found themselves eventually being called to a ministry of leadership unlike any other. The keys given to Peter represent his authority – a service of leadership on behalf of the apostles. To be the servant of the servants of God is a weighty cross, as is any role of leadership if it is taken for what it should be – a service on behalf of others.
 
Friends, a lot of my prayer these days is for all of our leaders. I am praying for the Pope, our Bishops, Pastors, and other church leaders. I am praying for our President, Governor, Mayor, and other government officials. School principals and teachers, CEO’s and small business owners, and the list goes on and on. If you find yourself in a place of leadership these days, you have a lot of stress and no easy decisions to make! So please know that you’re prayed for and deeply, deeply appreciated. Thanks for your willingness to serve so generously in this way. Pope Saint John XXIII said this as well: “I must consider myself as the man of the cross and love the one that God gives me without thinking any further.” For all leaders out there – may you persevere, stay faithful, and never lose a sense of humor along the way!
 
Video Mass for Sunday August 23rd. Here is the recorded Mass for this upcoming Sunday (the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time). We provide a worship aid to help you better enter into the prayer of the Mass. Please know that we will continue these recorded Masses indefinitely. We are so grateful to DV Productions, our Liturgists Mary Robertson and Brian Eggers, and our music ministers for their efforts in making our prayer as beautiful as possible.
 
In-Person Masses. If you want to attend an in-person Mass this weekend, there are still a few places available for the 10:00 am Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Divine Providence-St. Casimir Church. See Our Lady of Divine Providence’s website for signup. Registration closes at noon on Friday.
 
Virtual Food Drive. We know that our parishioners are incredibly dedicated to supporting the ongoing ministry of the Riverwest Food Pantry. Although the pandemic has required the cancellation of all food drives for RWFP (including the physical donation of the “Item of the Week” at our parish Masses), we would like to support the Community of Generosity with a Virtual Food Drive. Instead of purchasing your Item of the Week and bringing it with you to Mass, all you have to do is visit https://yougivegoods.com/rwfp-familyoffourparishes-august, click on your parish, and then shop. We are not yet half way to our August goal of 2000 pounds of food. With 11 days left, let’s see what we can do! It really is that easy… and will have a lasting impact on supporting the needs of our neighbors! Thank you for your generous giving!! If you have any questions about this food drive, please contact Laura Hancock at hancockl@archmil.org.
 
Our St. Vincent de Paul Six Saints conference has been very busy during the pandemic. Although they have needed to adjust their procedures in meeting the needs of the poor in our community, those needs have not diminished in any way. If you would like to support the ministry of St. Vincent de Paul by offering donations of kitchen items (pots, pans, plates, silverware, cups etc.), household items (new or like-new bedding, new towels, etc.) or furniture, please contact Laura Hancock at hancockl@archmil.org or leave a message on her office voice mail 414-271-6577 and she will connect you with the chapter President to arrange for pick-up of your donation. Also, financial donations via cash or checks made out to St. Vincent de Paul are always appreciated. Please mail checks to Three Holy Women, Attn: Laura Hancock, 1716 N Humboldt Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202. Thank you for your ongoing generosity!
 
Parish Financial Support. We continue to be humbled by your financial support of the parish during these tender and tenuous times. Thank you so much, it has been amazing to witness the generosity of so many! Please mail in your envelopes and contributions to our parish office (Old St. Mary Parish, 835 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202), and our parish staff will process these.
 
Please do not hesitate to contact me (Cell: 414-305-3824; baumgardnerj@archmil.org) or Fr. Tim (Cell: 414-762-7986; kitzket@archmil.org) if you need anything! Be assured of our love and prayers.
 
Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John
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