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Archive for the ‘Events at MMOC’ Category

Breaking Ground


(Ed. Note: Click on any of the pictures to see it larger.)

Groundbreaking_at_MMOC - CopyAfter 10:00 Mass this morning, we broke ground for our new parish hall and education center. Pictured (L to R) are Tom “Tiny” Poellinger, Bill Brendel, Andy Foley, Jim Fowler, Doug Ramsey, Hank Klos, Mike Marco, Joe Kaiser, Gloria Royer, Sue Groetsch, Dn. Richard Sage, Chuck Berendes, and Fr. Brian Konopa.

FoleysWe thank the ladies of our PCCW for providing Father’s Day cake and coffee, served al fresco while friends chatted and children explored the sand pile and earth-moving equipment.

KidsFor most of us, today was our final moment on the Horton Street parking lot. Tomorrow morning it becomes a hard-hat area and excavation begins! As the work proceeds, we ask everyone to be patient about noise and dust, and to continue to pray that all work will happen safely.

CamerasPolly_and_ChuckTo capture a record of the project, we’ve placed two cameras on the roof of the church. Eventually we hope to produce a time-lapse that will compress months of work into a few minutes of video. (You can watch a brief sample on our YouTube channel.)

Lord, thank you for bringing all our efforts to this exciting moment. Thank you for everyone who has had a part in that, whether by giving, planning, praying, or in any way that helped things along. Thank you for bringing together just the people we needed at every phase. Please bless the work of our hands so that we may Build Our Future Together. 

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With the cooperation and support of Fr. Konopa and Dn. Sage, we have begun an experiment with recording their homilies. We hope access to these homilies will be helpful and meaningful for many people in our parish family.

The homily videos are available in two ways. If you prefer to use your smartphone or tablet, visit our mobile site (mmoc.mobi) and download our free app to your iPhone or Android device. If you have a larger screen, visit the full website (mmoclacrosse.org) and click “Watch a Recent Homily” near the top of the screen.

One benefit of viewing a homily on video is that we are able to offer closed-captioning. Now our sisters and brothers in Christ who have a hearing impairment can share in our worship a little more fully.

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It has been quite a week for our parish family and faithful people everywhere.

Pope_Francis_Washes_Feet_of_PrisonersPope Francis washed the feet of a dozen people in prison, half women and men, including a mother with her child. Her facial expression makes me wonder what she is feeling. These days have been filled with moments too extraordinary for words.

Anice_FeuerhelmHere at MMOC, at the Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Fr. Konopa washed the feet of a dozen men and women, including three people, candidates, who would become fully members of our faith at the Easter Vigil: Anice Feuerhelm (left), Alex Powell, and Dana Riley.

Carrying_the_CrossOn Good Friday, music enriched our journey through the Passion story. Then it was deeply meaningful to come forward and touch the wooden cross. Finally we received Holy Communion reserved from the Mass on Thursday.

Easter_Fire_CandleThe Vigil Mass on Saturday night is something I look forward to every year with a child-like anticipation: The spark of the Easter fire. The candle light. The readings and sacraments of welcome that take us back to the earliest days of the church, when all were equal, all shared, all embraced, and all looked after each other. CatechumensIt was sweet to congratulate and welcome Anice, Alex and Dana into our parish family.

Flottmeyers_Easter Sunday_2015This morning at the 8:00 Mass, there was warm sunshine and a real taste of the joy of Easter morning. As people streamed into the church, the mood was cheerful.

Let’s keep that going. Let’s serve each other cheerfully and humbly, obeying our Lord’s example and instruction to wash one another’s feet.

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Tom_Thibodeau_Feb_2015_smallThis weekend after each Mass, Tom Thibodeau is presenting 15-Minute Scripture. About 80 people stayed after the 4:00 Mass to hear Tom’s wit, zeal and insight.

15-Minute Scripture is a tradition warmly remembered from the days of Msgr. David Kunz’ pastorate at MMOC.

Tom is a professor of religious studies and director of the master’s program in servant leadership at Viterbo University. For three decades he has also served our parish family as director of our Confirmation and RCIA programs, preparing people to become full members in our Catholic faith. We are extraordinarily fortunate to have this prophet in our midst.

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A Confident Peace


Dn. Sage gives a HomilyThis weekend it was Dn. Richard Sage who gave the Homily. In the Gospel (Mark 1:21-28), the people marvel at Jesus’s sure sense of authority, both in teaching and in his command over an unclean spirit. As an example Richard talked about dealing with rambunctious children with a calm, firm voice. We are so very blessed to have Richard in our midst, all the more since his recent retirement.

FriendsAfter Masses this morning, about 300 of us had breakfast together in the dining hall. That was a pleasing turnout, considering we woke up to snowy walks and roads. The Men’s Club had a big crew and everywhere there were friends enjoying each other.

Jim_Kirchner_and_GrandchildI talked with Mike, whose family joined the parish last July. They’d felt at home here after meeting Fr. Konopa and feeling a warm, friendly welcome from the people of MMOC. With a smile he told me that it was our ministry of hospitality that got his family on board.

Kerry makes pancakesInevitably, a parish breakfast at the diocesan center brings up thoughts about our situation with our buildings. I listened to several people who had a variety of ideas. I think it’s great that so many of us are thinking about our parish life, reflecting, thinking about what sort of parish family we are and what we value.

When I witness the people of our parish being good stewards, sensing what is needed and responding, I am filled with hope for our parish family and all the lives we touch: A confident peace.

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A Parish Prayer


Parish Prayer

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Here are just some moments at MMOC during 2014 that stand out in my memory.

Breakfast Feb 2014Turnout was phenomenal for the Men’s Club’s Superbowl Sunday breakfast in February. Tom Thibodeau’s comment, “We’re hungry not just for food, but for community” reminds me that we do need some sort of social hall of our own.

Max and Fr. DougLate in March, Fr. Doug announced that Bishop Callahan had asked him to accept a new assignment. Happily he landed in West Salem and Bangor, so he is still nearby his parents and many friends here. I treasure this photo of him sharing a moment with Max at First Communion.

Christ our Light 2014April brought Holy Week and Easter. As always, the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday prayer service, and the Easter Vigil Mass are richly meaningful celebrations that sparkle in my memory. A particularly touching moment was witnessing Fr. Doug wash the feet of Theresa Vick. You can see Theresa here in the foreground of our Vigil photo.

MMOC Confirmandi 2014In May a large group of MMOC students were confirmed at the cathedral by Bishop Callahan. Springtime brings so many rites of passage, including First Communion, graduations, and so on. As a teacher I recognize the wistful look on the faces of Catechists, proud of their charges and just a little bit sad about letting go of them.

MMOC Women's Club Brat Barn 2014Another May day that stands out to me was Memorial Day, when our Women’s Club staffed the brat barn at the Village Festival amid jet noise from the Blue Angels performing at Airfest. I love this picture for the industry of Gloria and Cherie, and Vickie’s terrific smile.

SchaubsIn June we said farewell to Fr. Doug with Vespers and dinner at the diocesan center. This photo of him sharing a laugh with the Schaub family is something I treasure almost as much as the privilege of worshiping beside this oh-so-devoted family.

Fr. Konopa and the DarlingsLater in June Deacon Richard Sage was happy and proud to announce that we had paid off our debt to the diocese, thanks in no small part to the stewardship of our Women’s and Men’s Clubs. Being debt-free helped us to welcome our new pastor unfettered, with a spirit of hope and opportunity.

And there he was, our new pastor, Fr. Brian Konopa, celebrating his first Mass at MMOC on a sunny, breezy July morning. From the first moments he instilled a sense of groundedness, a warmth and humor, a wisdom and insight that quickly brought trust and confidence.

Lois_at_Piano_ColorJust days later, many of us were heartbroken to lose our dear and longtime friend Lois Przywojski. We miss her yet trust she is with the Lord.

Children_Around_the_FontFrom the earliest days, it was clear that Fr. Konopa was a pastor who would teach us new things small and large. He showed up at Riverside Park to help the Men’s Club with Riverfest clean-up. He invited children to surround the font at Baptism. When he was formally installed, an unprecedented number of people attended daily Mass.

September saw our Women’s and Men’s Clubs begin their seasons. These amazing, devoted servants and stewards are the left and right lungs of this parish.

In November we celebrated our patronal feast with Mass and a potluck supper at the diocesan center. Deacon Richard Sage and LuAnn Miller were lauded as Man and Woman of the Year.  On Thanksgiving day, we returned to celebrating Mass in the morning, and the celebration was gorgeous.

St. NicholasIn December the spirit of St. Nicholas appeared at our Religious Education class and also at an Advent luncheon.

Homily_smallSo as this year nears its end, I treasure many warm memories of our life together as brothers and sisters in parish family. In the new year, may the Lord give you peace. Let the love among us be a beacon light to the community around us.

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