WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE?

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After the ten lepers in today’s Gospel were healed, only one returned to thank the Lord for this favor. What is more, the one who did so was a Samaritan, a member of a group at enmity with the Jews in Jesus’ day. He would have been the most unlikely one to be singled out as a good example to the largely Jewish audience for whom this incident was being recounted.

In the Old Covenant there were thanksgiving sacrifices or “thank offerings.” In the New Covenant the Mass is our primary thanksgiving sacrifice. The Mass is the celebration of the eucharist (eὐcaristίa) which is the Greek word for “thanksgiving.”

Pastors in many parishes in our diocese and in our country are asking where are the rest of the faithful on Sunday who do not come to Mass. Why do not all the faithful come to Sunday Mass, the first obligation of any Catholic in observing Sunday as the Lord’s Day? This is a question which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addressed in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 73:

The life of faith is endangered when we lose the desire to share in the celebration of the Eucharist and its commemoration of the paschal victory. Participating in the Sunday liturgical assembly with all our brothers and sisters, with whom we form one body in Jesus Christ, is demanded by our Christian conscience and at the same time it forms that conscience. To lose a sense of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, a day to be sanctified, is symptomatic of the loss of an authentic sense of Christian freedom, the freedom of the children of God.

Let us make every effort to grow in our own appreciation of the eucharist in our own lives, so that we can witness to its importance to others and help them to return to give thanks to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, “at whose command we celebrate these mysteries.” (Eucharistic Prayer III) “It is right and just.”

Our long-time finance officer, Mary Steinmetz, has submitted a letter of resignation. She has earned a master’s degree in business administration and a license at a certified public accountant. These are no small achievements and I want to congratulate Mary on these achievements. Mary has not yet left the position and I hope that we can find a successor soon so that she may train this person. In the meantime we want to express our gratitude to Mary for her 20 years of service to our parishes and congratulate her on her achievements. We will have a reception in her honor next Sunday afternoon, October 16, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, at St. Peter’s in Tilden. All are welcome, so please join us.

Although I have served as pastor of our two parishes for three months now, there is one formality yet to be observed: my installation as pastor. This will be done at the 5:30 PM Mass on Monday, October 17, at St. Charles. Monsignor Mark Pierce, Dean of the Chippewa Falls Deanery, will be here to preside at the installation ceremony. Members of the parish staff, pastoral councils and finance councils should be present as they have a role in the ceremony. All are welcome to attend this Mass.

October is the month of the rosary. Continue to pray the rosary this week for peace and for our military personnel serving in war zones. Pray also for those who have abandoned the practice of their faith, that they may find their way back to Mass and the sacraments. Finally, pray for the priests, deacons and pastoral associates of our diocese who will be gathering at Holy Cross Diocesan Center for the Fall Clergy Conference on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

May God bless his people with peace.

Monsignor Gorman