Father Larry's Letters

"Father Larry's Letters" are a weekly letter/journal about the many events occurring within and around the St. Luke's community.

Advent Watching and Waiting Continue

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

As I write this letter, it is 60 degrees, sunny and beautiful and it is December. The forecast says we return to typical December later in the week. Maybe that will get us all in the Advent, getting ready for Christmas mood.

After our 9:00 am Thanksgiving mass, I traveled to northwest Omaha to my youngest brother’s home. His family was hosting our gathering. Great food and good visits. The next day, we gathered in Council Bluffs with my sister’s family for the annual Black Friday football game. My sister has a daughter that graduated from Iowa and a son who graduated from Nebraska. Now with their children, it makes a great gathering to root for the respective teams. Not much excitement in the second half.

On 11/28, I had a chance to be on Iowa Catholic Radio at 10:00 am with Jeanne Wells and Deacon Fred Pins. The topic was Stewardship. I was glad to talk about some of the things that we do at St. Luke’s in our stewardship efforts. The time went by so fast! That evening, our RCIA session talked about “Mary” of history and Mary’s current place in the life of the church.

Wednesday evening 11/29, we celebrated 1st Reconciliation with 5 students from Polk City. They had a Christmas program at their school on Thursday.

Thursday evening after mass, the rest of the students from Religious Education and St. Luke’s School celebrated their 1st Reconciliation. The doves on the tree in church represent the joy in their hearts after being forgiven. Later that evening, we had a rehearsal for next evening’s wedding.

Friday noon, I joined members of the Tribunal celebrating with Phyllis Caccitore who retired from membership on one of our panels after many years. Thanks for your years of service Phyllis.

Friday evening, family and friends gathered at St. Luke’s for the wedding of Megan Gollnick and Kelly Lang. It was a fine celebration with a Christmas flavor. Congratulations Megan and Kelly.

Saturday morning 12/2, I helped with 1st Reconciliation at St. Francis. They had several celebrations for their students. Congratulations to Everett and Lillian Huber who were baptized after mass 12/2.

Thank you to all of you who filled out your “We Are Gifted, We Are Called” tithing Appeal cards last week. Many of you were part of the Offertory gathering of commitment cards at our masses. Thank you again. If you have not filled out your card yet, you can do so on line or pick up one at the office. Thank you as well to those who made a 6 month commitment to our Capital Campaign for Phase I. Your generosity will help reduce our debt.

I encourage you to make confession part of your Advent preparing for the Lord’s coming. OLIH is having their Advent Penance Service this Sunday 12/10 at 3:00 pm. St. Luke’s Penance Service is next Sunday 12/17 at 3:00 pm. Don’t forget to consider coming to Fr. Adam’s 6:00 pm Sunday evening Mass with a focus on the four Dogma’s of the church on Mary.

Thank you to all who came for the Feasibility Study interviews with Bill Cordaro. He will use your input and the input from those who completed the on line survey to put together the Feasibility Study report. We will then have a pretty good idea about how to proceed with the Phase II proposal.

You can go to FORMED and get reflections about each week of Advent. It is a great way to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Several Phase II Video Moments Plus…

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

I get the privilege of writing this letter 11/15 for the 11/25-26 weekend. Thanksgiving happens in between. Today, the sun is shining after foggy and cold days. Can you believe just a few days until lots of turkeys are being roasted!

Monday 11/6, I had the memorial mass for the OLIH Knights of Columbus. Fr. Steve was on vacation. Tuesday morning, I again had the 8:30 am mass for Fr. Steve. Later that morning, we held our regular staff meeting followed that evening by the RCIA session.

Wednesday evening, I went with one of our young parishioners to the Andrew Dinner at the Basilica of St. John. Several priests and Bishop gathered with young men from the area to see a vocation video and to hear priest’s stories of their experiences as priests. It was great food and good stories.

Thursday the School Students enjoyed Iowa State University presenting a grant to Mrs. Kenkel, the music teacher at St. Luke’s School. Even “CY” and some cheerleaders came. The students were excited! That evening, Fr. Adam and I hosted a gathering of the Parish Pastoral Council, the Finance Council, the School Board and the Marketing Committee at the rectory. Nice appetizers and beverages were enjoyed. All had the opportunity to view the video presentation of our Strategic Planning Committee’s Phase II Concept. Lots of good questions followed. You can see the video on line as well. Check out our website or Facebook.

On Friday, Fr. Adam and representatives from the Finance Council and the Strategic Planning Committee presented the Phase II Concept to the Diocesan Building Commission along with the proposed plans for carpet in our facilities. As of 11/15, we are waiting for Bishop Pates’ written response to our presentations.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the ISU football game as a guest of Ryan and Meg Schon. They had a nice tail gate party and then very nice seats at the game. It was a great game until the last 38 seconds when they did not score from the 3 yard line.

On Sunday 11/12, I enjoyed the St. Luke’s School Student led mass at 10:30. Their Open House followed. Avery Rose, daughter of Jason and Angela Brinks was baptized after that mass. Welcome Avery!

Later on, the Stewardship Committee met for its regular meeting. Alpha met for its early evening session at 4:30 pm in the Gym.

Tuesday the Des Moines Catholic Tuition Organization held its annual Lunch at St. Augustin Hall. The CTO enables parents who need assistance to meet their tuition expenses, the kind of help they need for tuition. That evening, the RCIA met again and discussed the Four Last Things, Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. It was a lively discussion. This brings me up to 11/15. There will be lots of things happening between now and when you read this letter.

By the time you read this, you will have had a chance to see the video that was part of the presentation at the Diocesan Building Commission about our Phase II concept that could meet our present facility needs. You also will have a packet about our Fall Tithing Appeal. Included in that packet was information about how parishioners who are new since our last Capital Campaign, Together We Build, can help with that Campaign between now and June 2018 when the campaign will end. We need participation for both ongoing parish financial support and “Together We Build.”

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

November Winds and Prayers

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Can you believe that we are already into the 2nd week of November? We returned to regular time last weekend with light in the morning and dark so early in the evening. In November the leaves have pretty much fallen. The gray and tan colors remind us that this month is when we remember those who have died in our prayers. The growing season is finished. Life goes dormant until the Spring.

On Saturday afternoon 10/28, I enjoyed celebrating the wedding of Gloria Downing and Chad Heuer. With their large wedding party, we enjoyed their sincere participation and joyful voices. Congratulations Gloria and Chad.

That evening, I celebrated the baptisms of Saylor Hope Huseman, daughter of Sean and Clair and Allison Rose Lewis, daughter of Nathan and Ann. On Sunday Fr. Ralph Davis, celebrated the baptism of his cousin Frederick Anthony Weis, son of Michael and Terri. Welcome Saylor, Allison and Frederick. That afternoon, Alpha met for its early evening session in the Gym. After morning Mass on Tuesday, I spent the morning and afternoon at the Priest’s Study Day at St. Francis. We looked at “The Challenge of Leadership” and its 5 principles for making extraordinary things happen in organizations. That afternoon, we listened to Frank Harty. He spoke about things to be concerned about legally in the Catholic Workplace. That evening, our RCIA session focused on “the Communion of Saints” as we anticipated All Saints Day.

Wednesday 11/1, we celebrated All Saints day with the School mass at 8:30 am, the noon mass and at 6:30 pm. It is a great time to recall the “Saints” of our lives, our loved ones that we believe are in heaven right now. We can always ask them to pray for our particular needs.

Thursday 11/2, I made a home visit, met with a couple to talk about marriage and then had the evening mass followed by Adoration until 7:00 pm. Then the Liturgy Committee held its regular meeting in the conference room.

Friday 11/3, I celebrated the morning mass followed by adoration until 10:00 am. It was great to see the school children coming for quiet visits. Later in the morning, I went to Christ the King our monthly priest’s Support Group. It is wonderful to have other priests to share the events of life with and to receive their encouragement.

Saturday morning, lots of things were happening at St. Luke’s. Knights of Columbus were putting up snow fence; men of the parish were helping prepare the mobile classrooms for use; 4 families were attending our baptism class and The Alpha Holy Spirit Day was held in the gym from 8:30-3:00 pm. It was a wonderful day to experience 5 presentations on the Holy Spirit and to be invited to open our hearts to that Holy Spirit. May we all grow in understanding and in letting the Holy Spirit be understanding, and give us courage and strength in our lives.

Sunday 11/5, the Knights of Columbus had a wonderful breakfast of Egg Nog French Toast, eggs and sausage. After the 10:30 am Mass, Emily Elizabeth Hull, daughter of Mark and Koral Hull was baptized. Welcome Emily.

Remember to pray for all those in our Book of Memory during this month of November.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Fall Colors and Celebrations

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Several of the little trees at St. Luke’s have turned to beautiful golden array. I love to drive around these days especially in the early morning sun, to see the light coming through the red, gold, yellow and brown of the fall colors. God sure is a great artist and decorator!

A big thank you is in order to all who worked at our St. Luke the Evangelist Pasta Dinner and Silent Auction on October 15. It was a great success. Thanks in particular for those who donated items for the auction and the bake sale. It was great to see lots of parish members helping in various ways all day. Our Community is blessed by your participation.

From Monday to Thursday, Fr. Adam was at the National Canon Law Convention in Indianapolis. He said it was a very good convention with quality speakers.

On Monday afternoon 10/6, I was invited to be with a group of those interested in what Mercy Hospital and the Diocese could do with the land that Fern Ringenberger gave to them. It is the rest of the field where St. Luke’s has its campus. It was one of several meetings that will be discussing the possibilities for new neighbors in the future.

Tuesday 10/17, we gathered to package Meals from the Heartland once again. The school students worked beginning at about 1:30 pm until the end of the school day. Parish members worked the 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 pm shifts. A lot of boxes of meals were packaged for those in need. That evening, the regular RCIA class was held with its focus on Jesus in the scripture and in our tradition.

Wednesday I enjoyed lunch with the other area priests at Applebees. It is always good to be together and to share current things happening in our parishes. That evening, the Facilities Committee held its regular meeting. The report on our facility safety inspection was given. There were a few items that will be attended to through the course of the coming year.

Thursday 10/19, St. Luke’s hosted the Ankeny Ministerial Association for Lunch. They enjoyed the School lunch of the day - thank you Camha and Dave Grebasch for preparing such a nice meal. That afternoon, members of the Finance Council interviewed four different Capital Campaign Companies to help us determine what funds could be raised for our Phase II project. A selection will be made in a few days. Following the interviews, the regular Finance Council meeting was held. The financial statements for September were reviewed. We discussed the November Financial presentations that will be made the first three weeks of that month. Other ongoing items were also discussed.

At the same time as the Finance Council was interviewing, our Faith Formation Council held its meeting in the Media Center. Thanks for that good work helping us look to the future.

Friday morning, I enjoyed the 8:30 am mass with the School Students. The Kindergarten helped us celebrate with a special song with motions. Well done Kindergarten. Following the mass, the congregation went into the gym to have a blessing of the new large olivewood crucifix that has been put in place. That evening, I met with a couple to complete their marriage papers and to plan their wedding celebration.

You are encouraged to write the names of your loved ones who have died during this last year in our Book of Memory in the Narthex.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Rain, Sun and Hospitality

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Rain and rain and rain and sun and warm and cool. It must be Fall in Iowa! While I was gone to Omaha for the Annual Priest’s Workshop, our corn was harvested - before all the rain. Praise God!

Saturday 9/30, I had a house blessing. After the 4:30 pm mass, we had a parish gathering to welcome Fr. Adam Westphal and Pete Haack to St. Luke’s. The cupcakes, Fr. Adam’s own brew and wine were great. Welcome Fr. Adam and Pete.

Sunday 10/1, I had the privilege of baptizing Fulton John, son of Travis and Katie Funseth at the 8:30 am Mass. I enjoyed breakfast following at their house. Then I had a home blessing for James and Candice Gordan. Alpha in a Catholic Context held their 1st meeting in the Gym at 4:30 pm. Before it was over, I left for the workshop in Omaha.

The workshop featured Bill Simon who wrote the book “Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive.” He formed an organization called Parish Catalyst and works closely with Claire Henning. They both made presentations and led us in discussion. On Wednesday, 4 millennials from our diocese formed a panel to help us look at the demographic group of the millennials. Their presentations were very thought provoking.

Thursday on returning from the workshop, the Liturgy Committee had its regular meeting at 7:00 pm. On Friday 10/7 Fr. Adam had the 1st Friday Mass with the School students followed by Adoration of the Eucharist for an hour. Classes came in for their visits during the hour. During that time, I had the 1st Friday mass at Vintage Hills at 9:30 am.

On Saturday, we began regular Saturday morning Mass at 8:30 am that was followed by Adoration from 9:00 am - 10:00 am. Confessions are available during that time as well. That evening, we celebrated the baptism of Kashden William Grabau Keele, son of Kalvin and Paige after mass. Welcome Kashden! All enjoyed great supper at his parents home.

Sunday 10/8, the Stewardship Committee held its regular meeting. Study of the book “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly continued. Participation in the Ministry Fair and Time and Talent surveys was reviewed with recommendations for next year.

On another note, one of the concepts from our Workshop was a focus on “Hospitality.” This is not just what the people who hand out the books at mass and take up the collection do. That is hospitality, but it is not all it is. Hospitality is an attitude that we have when we are with other people. It is how we take the initiative to introduce ourselves to someone we have not met. “Hi, I’m Fr. Larry (or your name.) Glad that you have come today. What’s your name?” Being the one that reaches out can be hospitality. Asking what can I do to help can be hospitality. Volunteering to set up or take down tables and chairs can be hospitality. Serving coffee and donuts can be hospitality. When we are growing in our efforts to welcome people, to help people, to be part of serving others, we are developing the attitude of Hospitality. May we let God’s Holy Spirit inspire us when these opportunities are at hand.

Invite your family, friends and neighbors to come to the St. Luke’s Pasta Dinner and Silent Auction this Sunday evening from 4-7:00 pm. All are welcome.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Fall Really Has Arrived!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Summer is refusing to end. Even though the calendar says it is now Fall, summer and 90 degree heat remain saying “No” to concluding our very warm days.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Ministry Fair September 16 & 17. It is great to see many, many tables representing the activities and groups at St. Luke’s.

I enjoyed the Serra Club Priest’s Appreciation dinner at Walnut Woods on Monday, September 18th. It is a nice lodge to gather and still have ready access to the park environment. The Serra Club member’s prayers are very much appreciated.

Tuesday, Sepember 19, the St. Luke’s staff had their regular meeting. The various calendars were reviewed and plans for the immediate weeks were discussed. That evening, the RCIA held its 3rd session discussing the topic of Prayer.

Wednesday Morning, I met for the second time for 4th grade altar server training with our school students. I will have met with the RE 4th graders on September 27th. That evening, the Facilities committee held its regular meeting followed by the Finance Council. The Finance Council reviewed the monthly financial statements. We also discussed the Capital Campaign companies that have been contacted. The extended Request for Proposal was also reviewed. Progress of Strategic Planning and work on the Mobile Classrooms were also reported.

Thursday and Friday, I gathered with my class from Conception Seminary College for our 50th Anniversary of Graduation. We enjoyed being together those two days and shared many stories of all the things that have happened during those years. We enjoyed being with the monks of Conception Abbey, the college students and other Alumni at the Friday Mass and dinner. That Thursday evening, the Faith Formation Council held its regular meeting followed by training for table hosts for Alpha. Alpha will begin on Sunday October 1, 4:30 pm in the Gym.

Saturday, September 23, I joined 18 foursomes playing golf at the Green Par-Tee at Woodlands Golf Course. It was a beautiful and warm day. Someone even made a hole-in-one at the $10,000 premium hole! Thank you to all who worked to set up this very nice golf outing.

Saturday evening at the 4:30 pm mass, we celebrated the baptism of Clara Ann Niewoehner, daughter of Jordan and Erica. Welcome Clara!

At our weekend masses September 23 & 24, all were invited to mark our Time and Talent sheets during the mass. After the Ministry Fair where lots of information tables were available, this gave parishioners a chance to find a ministry or activity to be of help to our faith community.

Thank you very much to the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus for providing us with a new flag pole north of the office entrance. We appreciate their efforts to help us acknowledge all that our country means to us.

The holes for the concrete that will provide a firm foundation for our Mobile Classrooms were dug on September 23rd. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard in the heat to get this step completed in our process to get these classrooms ready.

I encourage you to consider taking part in “Life Chain” by standing on Merle Hay and University, near St. Theresa’s holding signs supporting Life on this Sunday October 1 from 2 - 3:30 pm. It is a great way to offer a silent witness for life.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Fall Beginnings and Colors

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

As I drive around and see the fields, I notice that the corn and soybeans are turning color fast. The warm and sunny days are drying the crops rapidly. Harvest will soon be at hand.

On Labor Day September 4, I attended the funeral for Sr. Barbara Marshal at St. Theresa’s. I worked there with her for a while. Her Franciscan simplicity was evident in her life and ministry. Following the funeral, I enjoyed golf with some other priests at the Legacy in Norwalk.

Tuesday we had our regular Staff meeting at 10:00 am. That evening, we held our first RCIA session for the year. Seven people joined us for the first stage of “Inquiry,” asking their questions as they begin exploring the Catholic faith.

I enjoyed having lunch with the area priests on Wednesday. We gather every few weeks to share food, what is happening and how we can help each other. After the evening supper club meal, I came back to the conclusion of Peter Haack’s catechist’s planning meeting in the Gym. They were getting their materials and plans for the coming season.

On Thursday after the 5:30 pm mass and Adoration, the Liturgy Committee met for its regular meeting in the Conference Room. Cari Higgins has agreed to chair the meeting. We explored various environment ideas. We began thinking about a central focus for the coming Liturgical year.

Friday morning, I attended a meeting to plan on getting our large olivewood crucifix hung in the gym. It will be a good added sign of the Lord’s presence with us always. I was at the Tribunal Panel for its regular meeting at noon. After a haircut, I attended the Dowling Catholic High School football game with Valley. It was a very good game.

Saturday, I had cleared my schedule enough so I could take in the Iowa State - Iowa game. I was very glad that both teams played well. But for one wrong pass, I think Iowa State would have won.

Sunday I enjoyed the baptism of Marie Olivia, daughter of Steve and Kayla Crann during the 8:30 am mass. Welcome Marie. Then I made my way to Sr. Susan Widdel, RSM’s 50th Anniversary of entrance into her religious order at OLIH. It was a nice reception to celebrate her many years of service to the Church, especially here in Ankeny.

Following the reception, the Stewardship Committee met for its regular meeting. Plans for the Ministry Fair, the Guidebook and the Time and Talent survey were finalized.

I encourage you to come to the St. Luke’s S’Mores and Bonfire Party after the 4:30 pm mass 9/16 in the SW parking lot. I will be part of the Green Par-Tee golf outing on Saturday September 23, 9:00 am at Woodland Hills. Come join us.

And speaking of “joining,” seriously consider becoming part of CFM (Christian Family Movement.) It is a monthly small group gathering of couples and families in homes that will begin in October. “Alpha in a Catholic Context” will also begin October 1, 4:30 pm in the Gym. A light meal will be served. Child Care will be provided. It is a simple but great way to take a step in growing in our faith. Sign up sheets are in the Narthex.

All of us are called to be disciples. As disciples, we need to grow in our faith so we have something to share. Look for some step that you can take this fall.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Beginnings and Blessings

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

We thank God for the blessing of the rain we have received. Grass has begun to turn green again. May we be blessed with the gift of rain yet again.

On August 14, I hosted the Shelby County priests for card playing at the Rectory. It is good to keep those skills up on a regular basis. That evening, I attended the reception for Joan Bindel who has been the diocesan Development Director for the past several years. It has been a joy to work with her through the years.

On Tuesday, August 15, we celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, Body and Soul, a joyous feast to celebrate. Wednesday, August 16, I was part of “The Deacon is In” booth at the State Fair. I helped make confessions available for a couple of hours. Later on, I shared some comments at one of the St. Luke’s Catholic School teacher’s meetings. Sharing our faith and Catholic Identity are the main purposes for our teaching. The Facilities Committee met that evening for their regular meeting.

Thursday, August 17, the Faith Formation Council met for its regular meeting. New Officers are Andrea Kjos, Chair person, Janet Fisher, Vice Chairperson, Melissa Teggatz recorder. They continued their meeting to plan the next steps for Alpha. The Finance Council met that evening as well. The regular finance reports were approved. Plans to interview Capital Campaign firms were discussed.

Friday, August 18, I attended the funeral for Joan Wilkinson at OLIH. Joan is Jean McPherson’s mother. Afterward, I was part of the monthly Tribunal meeting at the Diocesan offices.

After the Saturday evening mass, we had the joy of gathering with Nicole Lindsey for her reception as she makes final plans for joining the Dominican Sisters of Mary in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tuesday morning, we held our regular staff meeting at 10:00 am. That evening, I went with Bob Lickteig to the Ankeny Planning and Zoning meeting. Plans for setting up our Mobile Classrooms were approved. We will be setting them up ASAP. Look for opportunities to help with the work involved.

Wednesday, August 23 was the first day of school across the metro area including at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic School. What fun it was to welcome the new students and those who were here last year. The 5th graders have grown so much over the summer! May the Lord’s blessing come to all students from our parish and to their teachers as the new school year begins.

Pete Haack our new Faith Formation Director is still in need of Catechists to begin our Religious Education classes on Wednesday, September 13. It is a wonderful opportunity to grow in your own faith and a chance to share it with our young people. Contact him at the parish office.

Thursday 8/25 our Social Concerns Committee held its regular meeting. They concluded their study of the book “$2.00 a Day,” concerning the poor among us who sometimes have to survive on that amount. We talked as well about possible ways our parish could form a sister relationship for example with a parish on an Indian Reservation. More study will follow. Projects to help those in need locally will follow.

We thank Mr. Imad Quemsieh for making Olive wood Religious Goods available over the weekend. May his families in Bethlehem be blessed. Thanks as well to all the St. Luke’s School students at the 8:30 am Mass.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Vacation - Even in Iowa!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

When I came back from vacation on Friday afternoon July 21, we went from Ames where it was raining and 79 degrees to West Des Moines - no rain and 102 degrees!

Vacation in Iowa was great! It was very relaxing and enjoyable. We did not have to travel long distances to anything. Fr. Ken Gross and I left on Monday July 10 in the morning and went first to the Neil Smith Prairie Reserve near Prairie City, Iowa. They have a great visitor center to share lots of information about Iowa when it was a prairie. Buffalo Elk are there as well but they were in the shade because of the heat.

We traveled to Honey Creek State Park on Lake Rathbun. The next day to Ottumwa to lunch at the “Canteen,” a loose meat restaurant since 1936, then to Kalona to visit the Historical Village and Museum telling about the Amish and their settlement there.

We visited the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, and the Maquoketa Caves State Park. On Friday 7/14, we stopped at the Bellevue State Park overlooking the Mississippi and the river lock. We enjoyed watching the locks in action and finding out about their history.

We stopped at the town of St. Donatus and visited the church and outdoor Stations of the Cross. In Dubuque we visited the Mississippi River Museum, walked the river walk, rode the Fenelon outdoor elevator up the bluff, and hiked in Eagle Point Park.

On Sunday 7/16, we traveled to visit the New Mallory Trappist Monastery. It is a beautiful place - nice and peaceful. Then we went back to the river to Pike’s Peak State Park outside McGreggor. It has the best views of the bluffs and river as well as the barge traffic.

Monday 7/17 we traveled to near Harper’s Ferry, Iowa to the Effigy Mounds National Monument. Centuries ago, Indian settlements built large burial mounds in the shape of familiar animals. From there we went on to Decorah staying over night there. The next morning, we traveled 10 miles south to Spillville, to go to the Biley Clock Museum and Antonin Dvork Museum. Well worth the trip. Coming back, we visited the Vesterheim Norwegian–American Museum. It was interesting to get a flavor of a different nationality in their settlement in Iowa.

July 19 found us coming to the West Bend, Iowa Grotto of the Redemption. It is an amazing work of art - so many scenes that told the story of our Redemption. Then we made our way the following day to Remsen and St. Mary’s and their restored church. Beautiful stained glass, altars from the early 1900’s. We stopped to visit Trinity Heights in Sioux City with its 33’ high statues of Mary and Jesus and other outdoor and indoor displays. We concluded the day at Preparation State Park in the Loess Hills near Pisgah, Iowa.

The last day of vacation, we stopped at the Boone Scenic Railway for a 1:30 pm ride. And Bill Dolezal from St. Luke’s was our volunteer Conductor. Thanks Bill. This is a short version of the vacation. Iowa has lots of very interesting places and things to see. It is worth your time.

With August now on us, all kinds of things that begin in the Fall are very close at hand. Let me know if you know of anyone interested in the RCIA. Peter Haack our new Faith Formation Director is looking for catechists. Let the parish office know about either of these.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Celebrations - Summer is Here!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

I am writing this letter on 6/29, the afternoon after the several tornadoes that came to Iowa. I am hoping that there will not be a repeat performance this evening.

On Sunday 6/18, I had an opportunity to watch the outside performance of the Shakespeare play “The Taming of the Shrew” at Salisbury House. It was a bit of a farce but well played - very enjoyable.

Monday 6/19, I joined several other priests for a golf outing at Legacy in Norwalk. It was my typical golf - some good shots and a lot of others. Good that it was best ball.

On Tuesday, I met with my financial adviser and then went to the Tribunal at the Diocesan Offices. In the evening I enjoyed dinner at the Pearson home, some old friends who have moved into St. Luke’s. On Wednesday, I joined area priests for our pastor’s lunch at the Merle Hay Mall. We enjoy sharing activities from our respective parishes and try to share ideas and helpful hints.

Thursday 6/22 after the 5:30 pm mass, I joined one of our supper clubs at Ryan and Meg Schon’s home. We enjoyed the smoked meats and lots of side dishes. Thanks Ryan and Meg.

Friday 6/23, I visited the hospital and saw my spiritual director. That evening, I went to dinner at St. Anthony’s being held for Trevor Chicoine before his ordination as a priest. That ordination was held at St. Ambrose that evening. It was a great celebration.

Saturday evening at the 4:30 pm mass, we had the joy of completing the ceremonies for baptism of Amelia Marlene and Charlotte Marie, daughters of Jeremy and Carrie Braden. They were baptized in the NICU when they were born early. Welcome Amelia and Charlotte!

Sunday was a great day! I even went out for a nice bike ride, going out into the northwest wind and coming back with that wind. Wonderful! That evening, I enjoyed Vespers with those gathered for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Permanent Diaconate. It was great to congratulate many of the deacons and their wives that I have worked with through the years.

Monday 6/26, I joined the Knights of Columbus for their Installation of New Officers mass. Knights and their spouses joined together afterward for a light meal. On Tuesday, I joined Tonya Eaton our principal of St. Luke’s School, for a grant award ceremony at St. Ambrose. St. Luke’s School received a $3,000 grant for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). That evening, the St. Luke’s School Board met for their regular meeting.

Wednesday evening 6/28, the Social Concerns Committee held its monthly meeting. We focused on the book “$2.00 a Day” for our study. We reviewed our Charter Document for the committee and discussed aspects that we needed to build on and tasks to continue working on as well.

Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, the rehearsal and celebration of the wedding for Tori Brown and Ian Leslie was held. Congratulations Tori and Ian. Saturday evening at the 4:30 pm Mass, we celebrated the baptism of Rex Dvorak, son of Aaron and April. Welcome Rex.

Keep Fr. Ken Gross and I in your prayers as we vacation 7/10-23 touring Iowa!

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Retreat in the Country - Picnic in the face of the Sun

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

On this Sunday morning 6/18, we have found relief from the hot weather. Nice North West breeze. It will mean a bike ride later today.

The priests of the diocese were at our Annual Priests’ Retreat from June 4-8. We enjoyed Fr. Chris Collins, SJ as our retreat master. He used many themes from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as the basis of his reflections. It was beautiful weather, before the heat and no storms. The retreat gave us all a restful and inspiring time with the Monks at Conception Abbey.

The Thursday when I returned, we had the regular Parish Pastoral Council meeting after the 5:30 pm Mass and Adoration. Plans for the focus on Eucharistic adoration were presented. The discernment for new council members information and a prayer evening were also discussed. Council members were encouraged to invite parishioners who would make good council members.

Friday evening, Fr. Savino, the missionary from Ghana arrived for the weekend. I enjoyed Fr. Savino and discovered that he had been at St. Luke’s four years ago for the same kind of presentation at our weekend masses. It was good to hear about his diocese once again. Later this summer, Bishop Pates will be going to Fr. Savino’s diocese to ordain 15 new priests for that diocese. Sometimes it is indeed a small world.

Saturday and Sunday June 10-11, Fr. Savino preached at all the masses. He has called here since that weekend thanking everyone for their generous response to his preaching. After the 10:30 am mass, about noon, the Parish Picnic was held in our gym because of the heat and the very strong wind. Most all were grateful to be able to be inside for food and fun. Thanks to the Welcome Team for their arrangements.

On Monday, 6/12 I joined several Shelby County priests for lunch and cards with Fr. Paul Monahan in Council Bluffs. I got close to winning but it did not happen even though I was the score keeper!

Tuesday 6/13, I met with a couple planning their wedding. I also met with a parishioner to talk about “Life Runners,” a nationwide Pro-Life group. He is interested in seeing if a local group can begin. I also met that evening to discuss further developments concerning Mobile classrooms.

Wednesday 6/14, our Parish Finance Council held its monthly meeting beginning at 7:00 pm. We reviewed the monthly reports and the budget for the coming fiscal year. Questions and adjustments were answered and given. The Stewardship committee presented several suggestions for the Council to help parishioners understand our Finances and to encourage participation of time, talent and treasure.

Thursday morning, I spoke to a phone company representative about ways he thought we could benefit by working with them. On Friday after the regular mass, we began the 12 hour Eucharistic Adoration. At least two people were in Church for each of the hours. We concluded with Benediction by 9:00 pm. Thank you to all who came to enjoy the time with the Lord.

On Saturday and Sunday at our weekend masses, we had a special blessing for Fathers on their special day. We also invited couples to renew their marriage vows. There were lots of smiles and heart felt memories.

May all be blessed as we enter into Summer on Wednesday!

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Congratulation Parties – Retreats - Picnics

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Now that June has arrived, so has 90 degree weather. Now kids can be happy going to the pool. Now vacationers and staycationers can be happy.

Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend saw several Graduation parties, Wedding Anniversaries and a couple of Post Baptism parties. That meant having my lunch in stages and finding more than enough to eat. Congratulations to all who were celebrating.

On Monday morning, I left bright and early to go to St. Mary’s in Panama, Iowa for their memorial Day Mass. Afterward, we went up to the cemetery for the blessing of the graves including my parents, grandparents and other family members. Afterward, I went to spend the day with my brother Tony, his wife Paulette and their son Chris. Great food!

Tuesday morning, the St. Luke the Evangelist Corporation had a meeting of its officers to pass the corporate resolution to order the rest of the Playground equipment. We anticipate that being installed the first weekend of August. Later that morning, I met with a parishioner to help with his annulment case.

Wednesday morning, I met with a couple planning a wedding at St. Luke’s in April of 2018! That seems so far away yet it is so necessary to plan early. They will be doing their preparation sessions in Kansas City. In the evening, there was a joint meeting of the Stewardship Committee, the Parish Pastoral Council and the Finance Council. We all listened to a pod-cast given by Fr. Lies at the April 21 Stewardship symposium. It was a good presentation and lots of discussion followed.

Thursday evening after Mass and Adoration, the Liturgy Committee held its regular meeting. We welcomed new member Karen Bishop. She will be working with the Eucharistic Ministers. The Environment for Pentecost was discussed. Their next meeting will be in August.

Friday morning, I celebrated the 8:30 am mass followed by the 1st Friday 9:30 am mass at Vintage Hills. With no meetings in the evening, I went home to the Rectory and watched the 5:30 pm News and had a grilled Iowa chop!

Saturday the Environment committee decorated the church for Pentecost. Lots of Red! That evening after mass, Elizabeth Ann, daughter of Alan and Jocelyn Brincks was baptized.

On Sunday morning at the 10:30 am mass, Madelyn Kay, daughter of Cody and Jaclyn Stamm was baptized. And after the 10:30 am mass, Verna Katherine, daughter of Ryan and Andrea Rock was baptized. Welcome Elizabeth, Madelyn and Verna!

Sunday also saw the regular Stewardship committee meeting at 12:30 pm. That afternoon, I went to Council Bluffs for my nephew Ben’s Graduation party. Following the party, I made my way down to Conception Abbey for the Annual Priests’ retreat.

Don’t forget our Parish Picnic at Big Creek State Park Shelter #1 at 12:30 pm today June 11. And plan as well for taking some time to pray on Friday June 16 during our 12 hours of Adoration from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. It is good to spend some quiet time with Jesus.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Lots of Parties - School’s Out!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Iowa continues to be a state of constant contrasts. Yesterday, May 27, it poured buckets of rain and by evening, it was clear leading to today’s glorious and blue sky day. Thank you Lord.

Last Sunday May 21, we held the Bike/Walk/Run from OLIH to St. Luke’s. There was a strong northwest wind and about 55 degrees - making the day challenging for all the participants. But there was a good turnout of hardy souls. Thanks to all who participated. A great time was had afterward with food and games in the gym.

Monday was a relaxing day for me - I took the bicycle in for a tune up and new tires. That evening, the Knights of Columbus held their regular meeting in the gym.

Tuesday after mass, I enjoyed breakfast at the “Original Pancake House” across from the south Hy-Vee. We all had Swedish pancakes. What a delight! Nice place. In the afternoon, I went for my monthly Spiritual Direction at the Emmaus House. That evening, the St. Luke’s School Board held its regular meeting. It was a time to do some brainstorming for what kinds of things can happen in the future with middle school coming very soon to St. Luke’s. We also reviewed committee reports and portions of the Parent Handbook.

On Wednesday, we had the privilege of taking Patsy Carlson out to lunch at District 36. It was a wonderful way to say thank you to her for all of her service to St. Luke’s in the last year and a half. Thanks Patsy. That evening, I was invited to read the gospel from John at the Ankeny Baccalaureate held at OLIH. It was a very spirited prayer and celebration.

Early Thursday morning, Bob Lickteig and I went down to rural Winterset to look at some mobile classrooms. We are in the process of securing four mobile classrooms for St. Luke’s. These looked pretty good. At lunch time that day, the Ankeny Ministerial Association held its monthly meeting at the Wig and Pen. We discussed how Ankeny could be more involved in the AMOS process. We agreed on hosting different months for the coming year.

On Thursday evening, the Social Concerns Committee held its regular meeting. Our study was the 4th Chapter of the book “$2.00 a day.” It describes what the very poor try to survive on right here in the USA. We also discussed possible Sister Parish relationships including Pine Ridge in South Dakota, St. Vincent de Paul in Des Moines.

Friday was the last day for School at St. Luke’s. The final school mass included recognition of the classes, perfect attendance and other recognitions. It is hard to believe that the school year is over already. Thank you Tonya Eaton and all the school staff for a wonderful second year of our school. After school was concluded the staff enjoyed a lunch from Smokey D’s. Great food!

Saturday included some graduation parties and then a baptism after the 4:30 pm Mass. We welcomed Colton Thomas Pope into our Catholic community and I enjoyed a nice dinner at his parent’s home.

At the 10:30 am Sunday mass, we baptized Catherina Rose Dvorjak, daughter of Daniel and Daniela. After mass, we celebrated the baptism of Victoria Therese Edson, daughter of Ryan and Maureen. Welcome Colton, Catherina and Victoria. Then more parties!

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Sun, Rain, Cold, Celebrating

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Iowa is being Iowa again! 45 degrees and wind? Not the best weather for our Bike/Walk/Run. We are in great hopes for improvement in these May days!

Last Sunday May 14th, I am sure that you gathered and honored your mothers. I had a chance to enjoy the Des Moines Symphony at the Civic Center. It was a great presentation that featured a video of Grant Woods with music composed for that presentation. Nicely done.

Monday May 15, the St. Vincent de Paul golf outing was held at Willow Creek Golf course. I enjoyed playing with Frs. Ken Gross, Greg Leach and Chris Hartshorn. We ended up even for the day - not bad for us!

That evening, St. Luke’s hosted the visitation and funeral for Joseph Crann, Jr. He is the father of Steve Crann also from St. Luke’s. A light supper followed. May he rest in peace.

On Tuesday morning, we had our regular staff meeting at 9:00 am. Wednesday, the area priests met for lunch. It is a great way to hear about what everyone is doing and to support each other besides getting some good food. That afternoon, I hosted the Semi-annual AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) board. A year end report was given and the budget for the next year was presented and approved.

Thursday morning, I met with a couple who are beginning their marriage preparation. It is a delight to help them prepare for their celebration of the sacrament of matrimony and to talk about their hopes and dreams. After mass that evening, the Faith Formation Council met for its regular meeting. We reviewed the steps that we need to take now to get prepared for our Fall Alpha series. We also reviewed the hiring of Peter Haack as our new Faith Formation Director. We thank Patsy Carlson for all the work that she has done with our students and adults in the past year. We are in a wonderful place because of all her work to transition into our new director.

Later that evening, the Finance Council held its regular meeting. The monthly Financial statements were reviewed. Reports about the Mobile classrooms were given as well as the update from the Strategic Planning committee. Three Architect firms who have presented design concepts will be interviewed soon. The proposed budget was reviewed and will be ready for approval at our next meeting.

Friday after the 8:30 am mass, I had a chance to give Fr. Adam Westphal a tour of the parish offices, church and school as well as the rectory. He is home after the completion of his spring classes and before the beginning of his last class to be held during June. He is taking a little vacation break. At Noon, I went into the diocesans offices for our regular Tribunal panel meeting. That evening, I had a chance to be part of Jimmy Becker’s surprise 30th birthday at his place of work. Happy Birthday Jimmy.

Saturday after the 4:30 pm mass, I celebrated the baptism of Grace Ann Kelly, daughter of Kyle and Laura. They had a nice dinner following in the gym.

Sunday morning, I enjoyed the French Toast and Cheesy Scrambled Egg breakfast provided by the Knights of Columbus. At the 10:30 am mass, we celebrated the baptism of Eden Rae, daughter of Anthony Larysa Losornio. Welcome Grace and Eden! Then on to the Bike/Walk/Run. More next week.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

May Glory, Funeral Resurrection, Transitions

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

We have been blessed with wonderful May days - I am sure the May flowers will be bursting out in their array. We thank God for his spring gifts.

Last Sunday April 30, we did have a wonderful 1:00 pm 1st Communion for 24 of our young people. It was a wonderful time to know that Jesus is touching the hearts and lives with His presence and joy.

On Monday morning, I concelebrated the funeral for Norma Pins, wife of Deacon Fred Pins and mother of Fr. Joe Pins at St. Augustin. May the Lord bring her to eternal resurrection life. In the evening, we had more interviews for our Faith Formation Director.

Tuesday 5/2 after the morning mass, I went out to St. Mary’s in Panama for the funeral of Ed Griener, the husband of my first cousin Rosie. In the funeral liturgy, their 8 children indeed celebrated his full and colorful life. That evening, there were more follow up talks with our potential Faith Formation Directors.

Wednesday evening, I joined one of our supper clubs for a wonderful meal at District 36. Thursday during the day, I visited one of our new born children who was back in the hospital. May God’s healing touch her. After our 5:30 pm mass and Adoration, the Liturgy Committee held its regular meeting.

At that meeting Deacon Fred presented a proposal for helping our Parish understand and take part in Eucharist Adoration and Exposition. This proposal will be further developed and scheduled in the very near future.

On Friday at the 8:30 am mass, students from St. Luke’s Catholic School received their 2nd communion. They came to school in their 1st communion clothes and joined in the May Crowning that took place after mass. I had the wonderful opportunity to join the St. Augustin Fr. James Polich memorial Golf Outing at Waveland golf course. Beautiful. The golf was fun too.

That evening, I joined Fr. Ken Gross at the Holy Family auction dinner prepared by Bishop Charron. It was a wonderful evening with the Bishop’s specialty pastas and other delights.

Saturday afternoon, the Confirmation candidates and their sponsors gathered for practice at 3:30 pm. We were then ready to celebrate with Bishop Pates at the 4:30 pm mass. It was a wonderful celebration and touch of the Holy Spirit in the 18 young people who received Confirmation.

At the weekend masses, I also had the privilege of announcing that Fr. Adam Westphal will be the new associate pastor for St. Luke’s beginning at the end of July, 2017. It will be my responsibility to help him grow in understanding what being a pastor means.

At the same, time I also announced that if all things work out, Fr. Westphal will become the pastor in the summer of 2018 when I retire. It is not this summer, but next summer! By then, Fr. Adam will have a good sense of the parish and have come to know a good number of you. Please welcome him when he arrives after he completes his degree in Canon Law from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Sunday morning, the Knights of Columbus were the Liturgical Ministers and music ministers. Thank you to our KC’s. We enjoyed coffee, juice and donuts after the masses.

May all of you be blessed as we continue celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Newness: Teachers, Directors, Communion, Confirmation

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

After such a nice week last week, then the Drake Relays are in session. And that means of course, cold, wind and rain as I am writing this letter. But there are promises for the spring and May weather to return.

On Sunday 4/23, I went down to St. Ambrose for the Drake combined choirs presentation of “Te Deum.” It was wonderful! Such marvelous blending of voices.

Monday 4/24, I concelebrated the funeral for Debbie Morlan, Fr. Chris Fontanini’s sister at St. Anthony’s. What a large and supportive community gathering for her visitation and funeral - there were lots of rows of chairs outside the church! That evening, I was hosting the Shelby County priests at the Rectory for Beef Ragot and Euchre. Fr. Ken Gross and I did manage to win the most games.

Tuesday after the mass, the study group gathered to talk about the various kinds of prayer, vocal, meditation and contemplation. I went to my Dermatologist for my annual visit in the afternoon. That evening, the RCIA met for its final session for this year. This “Mystagogia” session focused on the “Priesthood of the Faithful” and how new Catholics are invited to become active within the church.

After the RCIA, I attended the remaining part of the St. Luke’s School Board meeting. Sections of the Parent handbook were reviewed and approved for the coming year.

On Wednesday, I was part of the monthly Tribunal panel gathered at the diocesan offices. Then there were interviews for potential teachers for St. Luke’s Catholic School. Those interviews were followed by two interviews with members of the Faith Formation Council for our Faith Formation Director.

Thursday 4/27, I attended the Ankeny Ministerial Association regular meeting at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Following that meeting, I had may annual physical - it went well with good reports. After mass, the St. Luke’s School Fine Arts evening was held in the church and the gym. We had another interview for the Faith Formation Director and the Social Concerns Committee held their regular meeting in the library.

On Friday 4/28, I attended my priest’s support group at Christ the King Rectory. After the meeting, I stopped at the hospital to see one of our recently born children with some lung struggles. I came back to find the Knights of Columbus well into the Port Chop and Chicken dinner preparations. It was a wonderful meal—great dinner and of course nice Ice Cream and sauces.

Saturday morning, two 1st Eucharist practices were held. At 2:00 pm, one half of our young people celebrated their 1st Eucharist. On Sunday at 1:00 pm, the other half likewise had their celebration. Congratulations to all who made their 1st Communion over the weekend.

By the time you are looking at this letter, Bishop Pates will have confirmed our 18 young people at the 4:30 pm mass on May 6th. Keep those who have celebrated their 1st Eucharist and Confirmation in your prayers.

May flowers are in order after our April showers. Open your hearts to seeing the presence of God the creator as the new life of spring unfolds around us.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Resurrection, Mercy, Mystagogia, Eucharist

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

God has blessed us with a wonderful sun-filled 2nd Sunday of Easter. I would imagine that lots of farmers are anxious to be out in the fields these growing days. May the Lord be blessed for His gifts to us.

On Monday of last week, I stayed with my sister in Gretna, Nebraska. It was great to sleep in and have a leisurely day. We took a short time to attend the visitation for the husband of a 1st cousin of ours who had died of ALS after suffering for five and one half years with it.

Tuesday meant that we were back to work as we progressed through the Octave of Easter. After the morning adult study session, we had our regular staff meeting. That evening we began the “Mystagogia,” the RCIA reflection on the mysteries of what our new Catholics had experienced in the Easter Vigil. God always touches lives in the sacraments. It is good for us to reflect on that moment in our lives.

Wednesday morning, I met with a person who may be interested in our Faith Formation Director position. The area priests met for “Pastor’s Lunch” at Applebees.

Thursday evening after mass, the Faith Formation Council met for its regular meeting. We looked at what we would need to do when we conducted “Alpha” a second time. We also looked at various resumes that had been sent for the Faith Formation Director. We are hoping to do some interviewing on Wednesday 4/26 and 4/27. We looked at the resource FORMED and asked everyone to come up with ideas about how it could be used in many different ways at St. Luke’s.

Following that meeting, the Finance Council held its regular meeting. A presentation about the possible use of portable buildings was made. The council voted to proceed with the process steps in attempting to purchase these available buildings. We used a work sheet to review and comment on the formation of the budget. Step by step, the budget will be built and approved.

Friday morning, Kathy Lickteig and Reta Althaus traveled to Savior’s Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas for a Stewardship Symposium. It was being held on the 25th Anniversary of the US Bishop’s document “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response.”

Saturday morning, we celebrated the life of Doug Hamilton, Nancy Deranleau’s husband with visitation and funeral and lunch at St. Luke’s. So many family and friends came to be with Nancy and to share memories of Doug. A fitting gathering and celebration was held.

Saturday evening, Joss Matilda, daughter of Jayna and Andrew Beal was baptized at the 4:30 pm mass. Welcome Joss. On Sunday, Theodore Francis, son of Scott and Vicki Gilloley was baptized at the 10:30 am mass. Nathaniel Ryan, son of Ryan and Melissa King was baptized by Deacon Fred after the 10:30 am mass. Welcome Theodore and Nathaniel!

After the 11:30 am mass, our Potluck welcoming newcomers was held in the gym. Lots of good food and meeting new people were part of the gathering. Welcome to all our newly registered parishioners.

By the time you receive this bulletin, many of our young people will have received their 1st Eucharist. The rest of them will celebrate the 1st reception of Eucharist at 1:00 pm Sunday 4/30. Keep them all in your prayers and our Confirmation candidates as well. They will celebrate Saturday, May 6 at 4:30 pm with bishop Pates.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

The Holiest Week and Easter Joy

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

As I write this letter several days before Easter, we have enjoyed the 1st sunshine after days of wet and gloom. The sunshine warming the earth almost makes the grass and the plants burst out of the ground with new life. It is a fitting prelude to the celebration of Easter that is this very day.

Holy Week is a prolonged celebration of our salvation history. With Palm Sunday, we bless palms and imagine processing with those bringing Jesus into Jerusalem waving their palms and singing with joy. They proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, their king.

Yet how quickly the celebration and the joyful singing with palm branches gives way to shouts of “crucify him! Crucify him!” The drama of the suffering, death and burial become so real in the reading of the passion from Matthew. We found ourselves becoming part of both crowds.

Monday of Holy Week, there was time for private Reconciliation from 6:30-8:00 pm. It was helping us realize in that sacrament what Jesus was accomplishing for us on his way to crucifixion.

Tuesday evening, our RCIA session covered how our candidates for full communion could participate in the Triduum celebrations, Thursday, Friday and at the Easter Vigil.

Wednesday morning, we celebrated mass at 8:30 am for parishioners and for St. Luke’s school. The Strategic Planning committee and the Facilities committees had their meetings that evening.

Thursday evening, we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 pm. It included the reading from John’s gospel of the Last Supper. In that gospel, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and Peter. He invites them to do the same kind of service for others. We are called to continue being servants like the disciples were in their lives and ministry. As Jesus showed us, we too can “wash the feet” of those among us in need. After celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the mass, adoration continued until 10:00 pm.

Good Friday we listened to the scripture including the reading of the Passion according to John. Then we had an opportunity to come forward and reverence the wood of the cross - to remember that on a cross, Jesus died for us. Prayers and communion followed.

The whole character of Holy Week changes with the Easter Vigil leading to Easter Sunday and its celebrations. At the Vigil, the fire is blessed, the Easter candle is lit and brought into the church with the light spreading to candles held by those present. The “Exultet” is sung.

Several readings and responses are proclaimed. They give the sweep of salvation history through the scriptures. Finally, the gospel from Matthew about the resurrection is proclaimed. Jesus is risen, he is risen indeed is exclaimed. Candidates from full communion in the church are welcomed and they receive Confirmation and Eucharist. The joy of the Lord is at hand.

The Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations give us a chance to open our hearts to all that God is doing in the resurrection of Jesus. We too can now come to share in eternal resurrection life with Jesus Christ our Lord. We have every reason to celebrate and to let Easter Joy fill our hearts this special day.

Happy Easter!

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Getting Ready for Holy Week

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

It is amazing that we have come to Holy Week with today’s celebration of Palm Sunday. This week is the height of our Liturgical Celebrations for the Church year. I encourage all of you to take part in the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter celebrations. It will help you get in touch with all that the death and resurrection of Jesus is about.

On Sunday afternoon 3/26, I joined several other priests helping with confessions at the OLIH Lenten Penance Service. That evening, I took my tax information to the lady who does my taxes in Colo, Iowa. We enjoyed some wonderful pasta after discussing tax details.

Monday 3/27, Frs. Mark Neal and Ken Gross helped with our Lenten Penance Service at St. Luke’s. It was a good time to reflect on our lives and then receive the gift of mercy and forgiveness in this sacrament.

Tuesday 3/ 28, the Tuesday morning study group continued their study of “A Well Built Faith” while I went over to St. Francis to help with their school confessions. After my regular spiritual direction appointment, I attended the Priest’s Personnel Board as a board member. That evening the RCIA met at 6:30 pm and discussed the celebrations during Holy Week.

Wednesday 3/29 was a catch up day. I did meet in the evening with the president of the St. Luke’s School Board and the chairperson of our Finance Council. It was a good meeting to find more ways to help each other with the budgeting process.

Thursday 3/30 I attended the Rally for Life at the State Capital 10:00 am-Noon. Many speakers told of the progress being made to respect life with current legislation supporting life from conception to natural death. I went immediately to the Ministerial Association where AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) was discussed. Current work on Mental Health issues was highlighted by the OLIH parish AMOS group.

Later that day, I did some home visits to those who are sick. I welcomed Fr. Charles Klamut who is conducting our Parish Lenten Retreat. He celebrated the 5:30 pm mass, opened the 6-7:00 pm adoration and then gave a wonderful reflection using the Call of Matthew by Jesus. Confessions were available afterward.

Friday after the 8:30 am mass, I had a couple of appointments. The Lenten Retreat began again at 4:00 pm with 24 hour adoration, followed by the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Stations of the Cross a light soup supper, then a Witness talk, mass, a reflection and then again confessions.

Saturday the 24 hour adoration continued. The Lenten Mission began again at Noon with a Family Rosary followed by another meditation with a focus on Resurrection, Praise in Song with Adoration ending at 4:00 pm. Fr Klamut concluded the Lenten Retreat with mass at 4:30 pm. Thank you to Fr. Charles Klamut and Jimmy Becker for putting together and conducting this parish retreat.

Now we are approaching the celebration of the Triduum - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. It is a time of sadness at the suffering, death and burial of Jesus. We realize He did all that so our sins could be forgiven. We also celebrate His resurrection after three days into New and Glorified life now possible for all of us to share. We have great reason to look forward to this Holy Week and all it means for us.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Catch Up - Meetings and Lenten Resolutions

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

The gentle rain has come down, watering the earth. It means mud but also the grass is really starting to turn green - even at the Rectory! Maybe we can seriously look at getting the lawn mower ready and to putting the snow blower away.

On Sunday 3/19, I met with the Stewardship Committee for their regular meeting. We began study of Matthew Kelly’s book “Resisting Happiness.” It is an easy read but a serious challenge. We sent forward a proposal to the Finance Council based on chapter 10 of the study book “Rebuilt.”

Monday afternoon, I went out to the wake of Joan McLauglin at Missouri Valley. She and her husband were very active at St. Anne’s in Logan when I was assigned there. That evening, Cindy Shaw from the Emmaus Retreat House gave a presentation at St. Luke’s Church on God’s Mercy, a good refresher from the Year of Mercy.

Tuesday after the 7:45 am mass, the Tuesday Study Group continued their discussion of the 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Virtues from the Book “A Well Built Faith.” Beginning at 2:00 pm, St. Luke’s hosted Meals from the Heartland. The St. Luke’s School children packed meals for over 2,000 people. The shifts from 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm packed nearly 20,000 more meals. Thank you to all who helped organize, set up and to pack the meals. It is a great service project.

Later in the evening, the RCIA met for its usual session. We discussed the Beatitudes and the Spiritual and Corporal mysteries. We reflected on the gospel of the man born blind from John’s gospel. The St. Luke’s School Board also met later in the evening. Several portions of the teacher’s and parent’s handbooks were approved as well as the next draft of the school budget.

Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting with one of our Kindergarten classes. They told me what they knew about Jesus up until he was crucified. I then read about the Resurrection from the Children’s Bible. In the evening, Fr. Steve and I celebrated Reconciliation for our 9th grade and our 10th grade Confirmation students. The 6-8th grades then had a blessing from me at the end of their session.

The Priests of the Diocese held their Spring Study day at St. Francis on Thursday morning until 2:30 pm. We had a wonderful and informative presentation on End of Life Issues. After mass, in the evening, the Faith Formation Council held its regular meeting. Review of Alpha was given. Plans for our next faith formation events were discussed. Progress on gathering resumes from those interested in the Faith Formation Director’s position were shared.

After that Council meeting, the Finance Council meeting was held in Room 121. Members from the St. Luke’s School Board helped present the latest draft of their budget. Authorization to offer contracts to our teachers was given. Review of the current financials was held. The proposal from Stewardship was reviewed for further discussion. At the same time, the Social Concerns committee held its regular meeting. Lots of meetings!

Friday I met with my priest’s support group at St. Francis. On Saturday, I helped with confessions at the Men’s Conference also at St. Francis. That brought us right up to the 4th Sunday of Lent weekend with “Rose” vestments and our Lenten Retreat.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann