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“Faith lifts the staggering soul on one side, Hope supports it on the other. Experience says it must be, and Love says let it be.” – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
 
September 17, 2020
 
Dear Friends,
 
I recently spoke with an educational administrator who shared with me how the teachers of their school were doing. While September is usually such a beautiful month in schools, this year many teachers already find themselves stressed, worried, and with the proverbial “gas tank” on empty. Many of the sources of joy that accompany the school year, such as field trips, lively school Masses, and community with other teachers are not experienced in the same way.
 
In our first reading from this Sunday’s liturgy, the Lord tells us: “my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). My first reaction when I prayed with this text was…yes, Lord, we get it!! You win – now can you just make this stop? These past few months have brought so many questions into my personal prayer with Jesus. I wish I had more answers, but what I do know is that somehow the Lord keeps on providing. Mother Seton’s description above of the “staggering soul” is so fitting for all of us in these times. I come before the Lord begging Him to increase my faith and hope, and somehow these prayers are always answered. If I respond in love, I stop questioning the why “it must be” and am more comfortable with just saying “let it be.”
 
If you too find yourself to be a bit of a “staggering soul” this week, please know that your sacrifices are noticed and appreciated! Especially if you work in education, know how grateful we are for your efforts. Your priests and parish staff continue to keep you in our daily prayers. If all you can do is come before the Lord as a “staggering soul” begging Him for faith and hope…sometimes that’s enough! Thanks for all that you are and do.
 
Video Mass for Sunday, September 20th. Here is the recorded Mass for this upcoming Sunday (the 25th 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.
 
UPLIFT Families. Families are encouraged to join our UPLIFT Families faith formation program that will meet twice a month on either Wednesday evenings (6:30-7:30 pm) or Sunday mornings (10:30-11:30 am) on Zoom beginning in October. Meetings will be focused on engaging families in prayer, scripture, and fun faith-based games. More details and registration can be found at tinyurl.com/2020upliftfamilies.

UPLIFT Teens. UPLIFT Teens, our faith formation program for high schoolers, will begin next week with a parent orientation session. There is still time to enroll! Visit tinyurl.com/upliftteen2020 to learn more and to register.
 
Becoming Catholic. Despite the many challenges we face today, we believe in the power of love found in Communion and in community. Our parishes invite anyone who is interested in exploring the Catholic faith to consider the RCIA process. RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is a place where adults of any or no faith tradition can explore questions of faith and prepare to join the Catholic Church. Our four-parish RCIA process is underway. Given the ongoing pandemic, we will be as flexible as possible regarding in-person, virtual and alternate meeting opportunities. If you or someone you know might be interested, contact our Pastoral Associate, Chad Griesel, at grieselc@archmil.org.
 
Virtual Food Drive. Our Riverwest Food Pantry Virtual Food Drive is continuing for its third month! If you would like to support this ministry, instead of bringing an Item of the Week to Mass (which we cannot accept in our current conditions), please consider contributing an Item of the Week to the food drive at yougivegoods.com/familyoffourparishes-september. Thank you!
 
St. Vincent de Paul. Did you know that our Family of Four parishes supports two conferences of St. Vincent de Paul? Our Six Saints Conference continues its ministry to our neighbors by offering various household items, furniture, and vouchers to people in need. Donations of physical items or monetary donations are accepted. Please reach out to Laura Hancock at hancockl@archmil.org for more information. Also, the Cathedral of St. John/Old St. Mary Joint Conference of SVdP is continuing to support our neighbors by mailing food vouchers to their regular recipients. If you would like to make a financial contribution to this ministry, please mail your donation to: St. Vincent de Paul Society, Cathedral of St. John/Old St. Mary Conference, 833 N Van Buren St, Milwaukee, WI 53202. Thank you!
 
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
Please be sure to check the parish website for the most current updates:
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