Father Adam's Articles

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My Dear People,

Even though the fields have fallen asleep and the trees have entered their winter slumber, we at St. Luke’s are continuing our growth.  Our school has begun early registration for new families, and we are gearing up for a special evangelization initiative following our Christmas Masses.  Evangelization is an important part of Stewardship. From the United States Conference of Bishops:

Disciples as Stewards

Let us begin with being a disciple—a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. As members of the Church, Jesus calls us to be disciples. This has astonishing implications:

  • Mature disciples make a conscious decision to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost.

  • Christian disciples experience conversion—life shaping changes of mind and heart—and commit their very selves to the Lord. 

  • Christian stewards respond in a particular way to the call to be a disciple. Stewardship has the power to shape and mold our understanding of our lives and the way in which we live.

Jesus' disciples and Christian stewards recognize God as the origin of life, giver of freedom, and source of all things. We are grateful for the gifts we have received and are eager to use them to show our love for God and for one another. We look to the life and teaching of Jesus for guidance in living as Christian stewards.

A new initiative begins this January at St. Luke’s, and you are invited.  It is a process by which the work of evangelization comes to fruition in the hearts and minds of believers; it starts with Discovering Christ. 

Please consider registering for Discovering Christ at:  www.slte.org/discover

The event is free, and the leadership and I are praying for you!  For more information, there will be a handout available on the table in the narthex, next to the Phase II donor tree.

As we continue to grow together, I encourage you to get to know one another.  If you recognize someone you don’t know, please introduce yourself.  Friendships start with a name and grow from there. 

If you have been looking into St. Luke’s, or are new to the area, consider making this your parish home!  We are encouraging new people to register in the month of December.  Registration is encouraged for anyone wanting to get involved in the many activities, family fun events, service projects, and faith formation groups we have at St. Luke’s.  Registration is required for the sacraments of marriage and baptism at St. Luke’s.  As an added bonus (‘BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!”) any new family that registers between now and December 21st will be entered into a drawing for an Instapot!   

Have a Happy Advent!

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

Happy New Year!

My dear people, as we begin the new church year, we look to new beginnings and prepare for the renewal of the world that happens every year when we celebrate the birth of Christ. In December we will have our annual Christmas party, we will celebrate my installation as Pastor, we will have Fr. Friedman joining us for our Advent Mission, and we will be welcoming new members into the Church as part of our revised RCIA process.

We also inviting people to join our community by becoming fully registered members of St. Luke the Evangelist. Registration is easy, and is now online; but there is more that is required for becoming a member of St. Luke’s. In order to experience St. Luke’s to the full, we ask that everyone get involved with at least one ministry- From Knights of Columbus to Religious Ed, from Social Concerns to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, from volunteering with the school to serving as one of the ministers of Mass. Involvement is the only way to experience to the full the wonderful gifts God has given us here at St. Luke the Evangelist, and He has blessed us so richly! Please consider getting involved this new Church year.

On another note, you may notice that this year we have some new vestments for Advent and Lent. These vestments were made possible through your generosity. Over the course of the past year, I’ve performed a number of baptisms, weddings, house blessings, and even a few funerals (not at St. Luke’s). Often times people are moved to be generous at these events, and even though it isn’t expected or required, people sometimes include a small amount of money in a thank you note. I’ve put all of this money into a fund at St. Luke’s, and together with the Mass stipends (the money that is donated for the saying of a Mass for a specific person) we were able to cover a significant portion of the cost of these vestments. These vestments are now part of St. Luke’s heritage, and will add to our already beautiful liturgies. Every year I plan on using gifts given to me from exercising my priestly role and from Mass stipends to purchase another set of vestments until we have matching sets of all the colors of the liturgical year. Thank you for your continued support of all that we do here at St. Luke the Evangelist. May God Bless you richly in this new liturgical year!

November 15, 2018

On November 9, 2018, on the feast of the dedication of Saint John Lateran Basilica, we made a huge step! After a resolution supported by all 5 members of our corporate board (Bishop Pates, Fr. Larry Hoffman, Fr. Adam Westphal, Wayne Johnson, and Kathy Lickteig), and after the approval of the Phase II building committee, we are excited to announce that we have signed a contract with Invision Architecture, LTD for the designs of our Phase II facilities expansion! As we enter the design phase of our building, your thoughts about what is needed would greatly be appreciated. Right now, please reach out to the office with your thoughts and suggestions. As we go forward, we may form a special advisory committee that will work with the building committee to make sure the voices of everyone at St. Luke’s have ample opportunity to be heard. After the design phase, the designs will be presented to the Diocese for final approval before we hire a general contractor and begin construction. Thanks to all the members of the corporate board, the building committee, and Invision Architecture for their dedication to our expansion and to our Parish. Thanks to all of you who have supported the Phase II campaign, without whom this would not be possible!

In one of the most popular stories of our time, a young boy named Harry Potter discovers that he is part of a mythical world of magic. As the world of J.K. Rowling was unfolding around us, I was finishing high-school and entering university. I recall many friends of mine dressing up and going to parties as they eagerly anticipated the release of the next chapter of the story. There was such excitement and enthusiasm as each book was released, so many people eager to experience the next twist, the next development, the next step in Harry’s (and his friends’) fight against evil and their coming of age.

I was hesitant to get drawn into this world as the excitement frothed and boiled over with each new book. I was hesitant because at the end of every great story, every great tale, there is inevitably a let-down. The story either ends on a high note, with the author realizing that any more development would prolong the story and wound the world he or she has created, or trying to milk the story for everything it is worth and the story drags on, becomes stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread, until it withers and fades into oblivion leaving a sour taste in the mouths of everyone who had previously savored its delights. Either way, at tale’s end there is always a sadness, a let-down in the hearts of the readers. Some readers launch into the world anew trying to find the next great story, some stop the search because we think that no greater story can ever be found. Such is the inevitable outcome of all stories, save one.

The story that is written on the redeemed human heart, renewed daily by God’s Grace, is a story that never ends, never has a let-down: it goes on forever, and there is always a new twist, a new turn, to keep the story alive. God is infinite, and the discovery of him is equally as infinite.

At St. Luke’s School, we help our students encounter a realm that is not magical, but mystical. In communion with the Saints crowned with the glory of heaven, we strive to encounter the infinite God daily in the way we pray, the way we learn, and the way we serve. The kingdom of God becomes present in the way our students learn. When they approach every activity, from STEM classes to music, to art, to P.E., they don’t approach with muggle minds, but with mystical minds- centered on the reality that our story begins here and carries us all the way to heaven.

This weekend we are having an open house for our school, and we ask that the whole community come together in prayer for those who may be considering a Catholic Education in Ankeny. We do not offer an ordinary education here. We are here, with the cooperation of parents who are the first teachers of their children, to open up a new world to those entrusted to our care, so that they may learn to be citizens of two worlds- the earthly and the heavenly, this life and the next.

Your prayers are an invaluable part of opening up a new world to the next generation, and we appreciate them greatly. If you know of anyone who could benefit from Catholic Education, please ask them to come to the open house. Give them the invitation to come and speak with Tonya Eaton or myself. We are eager to show all the benefits of St. Luke’s school, a truly wonderful, and mystical, place.

Thanks and Blessings,

Fr. Adam

October 30, 2018

I had a rather fun morning as I was preparing to write this bulletin article. I was looking for a quote by Fulton Sheen, or at least I remembered it being a quote from Sheen. As I perused the vast library of Mr. Google, I had a harder time than I expected tracking down the quote. One page said the quote has been attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, one to G.K. Chesterton (although under a slightly different form), and other pages to a host of other people in history.

The consensus of the majority attributed the words to the pages of a book written by one particular author, someone I’d never heard of.

Quotes are meant to stick out in our mind, to stay with us, and they become something we can reflect upon as the days unfold and our lives carry on, even if we can’t remember them exactly. The quote I was looking for wound up not being important for today’s reflection, but there is one important quote for today’s reflection that we hear from our readings this weekend:

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength. Take to heart these words which I command you today. Keep repeating them to your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your arm as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

By the time we get to Jesus’ day, people know the essence of the quote but may not present it exactly. The Gospel writers all have different accounts:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” — Matthew 22:35-40

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” — Mark 12:28-31

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live. — Luke 10:25-28

While the words are slightly different, the essence of the quote is the same throughout. If we follow the most important commandment, loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and follow the second commandment, love our neighbor, we will be guided to the very threshold of heaven “You are not far from the kingdom of God”.

If we keep this quote always in our minds, and seek to live it out, we will be drawn ever more closely to the throne of God in heaven.

Let us draw close to God with love that we may experience the kingdom here on earth and for eternity in heaven.

Blessings,

Fr. Adam

October 28, 2018

My Dear People,

As we close out the month of October, I am looking back over the last 30 days and am filled with joy. We’ve had a busy month, and it was amazing!

We started off the month with our first movie night at the Parish, showing Chronicles of Narnia- we had about 35 people come out and enjoy the show. Special thanks to those who provided food and drink, and special Narnia Coloring books!

We had our annual Par-Tee event, and many people braved the frigid temperatures and wind and rain to support our school. Thanks to St. Luke’s FSA for all their hard work making this event a wonderful experience.

We had our first annual Oxtoberfest festival, and it was INCREDIBLE! We had 120 people sign up for the 5k Stampede and the mini-stampede. We had hundreds of people come in and enjoy Gemütlichkeit, sharing the experience of Parish fellowship with each other and taking part in so many wonderful festivities we had throughout the day. To close off the evening, our auction was extremely successful.

Thanks to all the volunteers, the sub-committee leads, and most especially to the leadership team that brought this wonderful event into existence this year and made it successful. I had one parishioner say that the food was so good that her sister went into labor and had to go to the hospital! I had another person tell me that she has been checking out St. Luke’s and has seen how welcoming, vibrant, and fun we are and has decided to join the Parish! Good work to all who have opened their hearts to all the new people coming in and who have brought a great level of joy to St. Luke’s Parish.

Oxtoberfest was first and foremost an opportunity for the whole Parish to celebrate our patron saint, and the celebration was truly sublime. It is also a fundraiser, and while the numbers are still coming in, we have already well exceeded the amount we raised last year. A final total will be forthcoming, but the initial numbers show an increase in revenue of almost 30% over last year. This money will greatly help our marketing initiatives for the whole Parish. We are going to be looking into rebuilding the websites for our Parish (both the Church and the School).

Friday we had our Trunk Or Treat, continuing the great tradition of having fun while welcoming families into our faith community. Thanks to all who participated and took the time to plan and dress up. I am amazed at the level of creativity that goes into the Halloween event.

I am blessed to be a part of this Parish, and I look forward to all that the following months bring.

Please mark your calendars for our November events:

November 1st- Holy day of Obligation, we will have 3 mass times.
November 2nd- Family Game night- bring your favorite game, and enjoy! This event is free.
November 9th- Financial Peace University
November 16th- Fast Five Trivia-
November 23rd- ELF MOVIE NIGHT! - Free event; we will have some food and beverage items available for a donation.
November 30th- Fr. Adam’s choice- we are looking at a special event for this Friday Night.

Blessings! Fr. Adam

October 21, 2018

"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

As I mentioned in my homily on the 13th and 14th, I recently attended a conference on Stewardship. It was one of the goals of St. Luke’s to be a Stewardship Parish. There are four steps in the process of Stewardship. The first is hospitality. The second is prayer. The third is formation. The fourth is service.

The path of Stewardship is the path of every disciple. We are called by Christ, and until we’ve seen him looking on us with love it is impossible to truly be his disciple. That love radiating from the face of Christ calls us to share that same gift of love, to become a gift ourselves. This involves surrender to the will of God calling us to transform our society.

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Mother Teresa

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you snippets from the USCCB’s document on stewardship. Please pray over the next few weeks about how you and your family are being called to be a gift for St. Luke’s Parish, and through St. Luke’s to the greater city of Ankeny.

May God be with you.

In Christ,

Fr. Adam

October 6, 2018

My dear people,

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Fall Priest Workshop in Kansas City. Below are a couple of photos from the week.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in St. Michael’s Lent and the Eucharisitc Processions. More photo’s below.

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October is going to be BUSY!

October 5: All day adoration in the Church.

October 5: MOVIE NIGHT!: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the gym.

October 6: The Green Par-Tee

October 6: Catholic Worker house outreach (Signup in Narthex)

October 7: 1st Sunday of the Month, so our office will be open! Come learn how to use the handbid auction app that we are going to be using for both Oxtoberfest and our Green Gala.

October 8: is the last day to register for the 5K and mini-stampede to ensure that we have a t-shirt for you! If you register after that date, we may not be able to get a t-shirt in your size.

October 12: Fast Five! Register at slte.org/events. This Trivia event supports CHRISTLIFE at St. Luke’s. Last time we had 4 teams- our goal is to shoot for 6 teams this time around!

October 19: Meeting #2 of Financial Peace University- Contact Douglas Jones at douglas.jones@slte.org to register. WE have had one class so far, but there is still time to register. Childcare is provided.

October 20: Oxtoberfest- You may now register online for The 5k Race, the mini-stampede, the Oxtoberfest Dinner, and even your own alpine gear!

October 26: Trunk or Treat

September 30, 2018

My dear people,

As we began St. Michael’s Lent I referenced St. Francis of Assisi, who was given a task by God: “Rebuild my Church.” He took the message to heart and spent his life in devotion to our Lord, working diligently to rebuild the church of his day. Rebuilding the church in our day has been the focus of the last month. We begin to rebuild by praying and fasting, working with diligence to refocus our hearts on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. Just as a doctor or nurse, who are healthy, work to apply remedies to someone who is ill, so we too, who do not share in the heinous acts of a number of clergy, through our prayers seek to bring healing to victims and the purification of our church. This is part of the rebuilding process in which we take an active role.

Ultimately, the salvation of our church hinges on a personal encounter with the risen Lord. Each and every member of our parish, each and every person in Ankeny, Polk City, and Sheldahl, deserves to hear the words of Jesus, to see him looking with love upon them, and to experience the greatest gift that he gave us- new life in him. By allowing ourselves to be more configured to Christ, who himself fasted and prayed, we are opening our hearts and our parish to being a bridge that connects our community with Christ and with the gifts his Holy Spirit brings.

We are ready at St. Luke’s to extend that invitation to all in our Parish; to our neighbors, to our friends, to our coworkers- our hearts are ready not only to receive Jesus, but to receive the people he sends to us so that we can show them the love that God and the Church have for them.

But we have to get the word out.

We’ve done much already to get the word out, and now it is time to take one more step into our future of rebuilding the church. To that end, I’m asking for volunteers to help form a Parish Marketing and Outreach team. The team’s mission will be to extend the invitation to check out St. Luke’s to our community. There are so many new faces in our boundaries, and it would be wonderful to see them connect with the vibrant atmosphere of our parish, to share with them the love of Jesus, and to invite them to join the Kingdom of God made manifest here at St. Luke’s. Some days the task of the team will be as simple as hanging posters in various public places. Some days the team will help with video projects, or with reading contracts for advertising, or with working with vendors to make sure our invitation is hitting as many homes as possible.

This is only one step, but an important one, in making sure the mission of St. Luke’s is indeed successful.

If you are interested, please contact me at fradam@slte.org.

Thanks in advance for your help in rebuilding (and building afresh) the Church in Ankeny. Many blessings to you!

Fr. Adam

September 23, 2018

On Friday, September 28, anticipating the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, we are going to close this Lenten season with a Eucharistic procession around our building. It will begin at 6 p.m. and we will pray the chaplet of St. Michael, printed below, during the procession. We will conclude the procession with benediction back in the church. Later in the evening we will do simple reposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 9 p.m. Thank you to everyone who has made this Lenten season fruitful for St. Luke’s and the kingdom here in Ankeny!

The Chaplet of St. Michael

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father…

[Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]

1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.

Amen.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.

Amen.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.

Amen.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.

Amen.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.

Amen.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.

Amen.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.

Amen.

Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

Concluding prayers:

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

(Concluding prayer by priest)… Through Christ Our Lord,

Amen.

September 9, 2018

Dear Families and Friends of St. Luke’s,

We as a Parish, and now as a Diocese, have entered this time of prayer and fasting, and I’d like to share with you an experience I had the other evening. As I was saying my evening prayers, I felt the consolation of Christ come, and a little voice said to me “the whole parish is praying!” I was very uplifted by knowing that so many people have engaged this penitential season. Truly, prayer can move mountains!

We’ve had a number of people express their support for this time of reflection, prayer, and penance. There has been a “spiritual alert” sent out to the whole body of Christ, and the Church is praying! More parishes, more dioceses, and more people throughout the world are answering the interior call that the Lord has issued.

We are planning on finishing St. Michael’s Lent in a strong way here at St. Luke’s. We are opening up adoration from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. all the Friday’s of September, with benediction ending the evening. We need help with this, though, and will be sending out a signup genius with the new times so that we can make sure all the hours are covered.

We’ve also added adoration before the 6 p.m. Mass (from 4:30-5:30).

We’ve expanded our confession times: Saturdays from 9-10 am, and again from 3:30-4:00 p.m. Sundays from 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursdays from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

Now is a time to engage our religion more deeply, seeking to rid ourselves of all that holds us back from God.

In Hosea 11:4, the Lord speaks to his people through the prophet saying, “I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one, who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.”

The word Religion comes from the Latin word ligio, which means “to bind”. The cords of love the Lord talks about are religion, and by engaging our religion we are accepting the bonds of love the Lord has for us.

Contrast that with the people of Psalm 2:3- "Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us." The end of those who cast off the bonds of love God has given us is not a happy one. Let us pray then to be drawn by the cords of love the Lord has given us, and let us finish this Lenten fast so that through our prayers our beloved religion may flourish in our world today.

St. Michael the Archangel, Defend us in Battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray. And do thou, oh prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast in to hell Satan and all the evil Spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Dear People of St. Luke’s,

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., joining with several hundred thousand people to show support for the unborn. For 45 years the March for Life has called on congress and the whole of the United States to resist abortion and protect human life in all its stages. There were many powerful testimonies given during this event, and for the first time in history a sitting president addressed the pro-life rally.

One powerful testimony I would like to share with you. It was told to us by one of the sisters of life, and it shows how the power of love is overcoming the culture of death. One day, as the story goes, a lady was riding in an elevator on her way to her OB/GYN, and beside her was a much younger, and obviously pregnant, woman. The lady strikes up a conversation, and begins talking about the gift of life. The young woman is distraught, and says, “I’m going to have an abortion. I just can’t handle it.” After a brief pause the lady responds, “No, you’re not going to have an abortion, you are going to have a baby girl and you are going to tie her hair in pigtails and watch her grow into a woman. And if you need a name for the baby girl, my name is Raquel, and my middle name is Jasmine. When your little girl asks where she got her name, you can tell her that you met a lady in an elevator one day and she changed your life.” At this point the elevator opened, and Raquel guided the young mother to her own OB/GYN, saving the young woman from choosing death over life.

The power of love for life wins over hearts every day, and the story above resulted in lives being saved; the story does not end with the elevator dropping off the two ladies at the OB/GYN. A number of years later Raquel was visited by that young woman, who wanted to thank her for her words of encouragement and show her that she was at least partially right; the young mother did indeed have a daughter, but not only one. With tears in her eyes the young mother introduced Raquel to her twins, baby girls, whose names were Raquel and Jasmine.

Our society’s viewpoint on the gift of life is indeed changing. We are becoming more and more a culture of life, and it is important that we as Catholics continue to teach our young people that life, while possibly a hard choice, is always the right way to go. With prayer and with commitment to love we can overcome the horrible decision of 45 years ago, and once again become a nation that supports life.

This week, say an extra prayer for young mothers who are struggling with their pregnancy. #whywemarch #lovesaveslives

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

January 16, 2018 - The New Year is off to a great start!

Dear Family and Friends of St. Luke’s,

The New Year is off to a great start!

Capital Campaign Announcement:
At a meeting of parish leadership on January 4th, the combined members of the School Board, the Finance Council, and the Parish Council reviewed the results of the recent feasibility study. At the end of an in-depth discussion, a motion was made that we, as parish leadership representing St. Luke’s Parish, move forward with a Phase II Capital Campaign with the goal of expanding our facilities to better fulfill The Mission of St. Luke's: We Worship. We Teach. We Care. The motion was seconded and all present said “aye”. In the coming weeks we will be rolling out plans for our expansion, and we hope that everyone will take time to get involved. Exciting things are planned for the New Year, and whatever we do together as part of this capital campaign will increase the ability of St. Luke’s to fulfill our mission. Thanks to everyone who participated in the feasibility study, and thanks in advance for your prayers and support.

Sunday Evening Masses:
During Advent, I gave a homily series focused on the 4 Marian dogmas as part of a Sunday evening, 6p.m. Mass. The number of people who came to each of the Sunday evening Masses was truly impressive. In fact, the Masses were such a resounding success that we will do them again during Lent. All of the Sundays of Lent and Easter Sunday we will have a 6 p.m. Mass (7 Sundays total), and the homilies of each of the Masses will focus on one of the seven sacraments. More details will be forthcoming.

School Registration Initiative:
In December we held an early registration initiative for our 2018/2019 kindergartners. The initiative brought us 30 kindergarten registrations, which is a great start! Working with our marketing committee, we’ve increased our Online Presence and have many more initiatives planned for January and February. Say some prayers for us as we work to make sure that everyone in Ankeny, Granger, and Polk City knows about our wonderful school.

Thank you all for all that you do to make St. Luke’s such a remarkable place to be! I am looking forward to a great 2018, and to getting to know you all better over the coming years.

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

December 30 & 31, 2017

My Dear People,

As one year turns into another, there is a natural tendency to look back and meditate on where we’ve come and to look forward to see where the new year will take us.

I’ve been at St. Luke’s for 5 months now, and in that time much has happened. I’ve done 37 house blessings, getting to know many of you (I’m still willing to do more!). We’ve added about 20 families since I started, we’ve begun to hold Masses on some Sunday evenings with the homilies focused on particular topics in theology and these Masses are growing. We’ve added adoration times, added extra daily Masses, started groups like CFM, started using the Formed catechetical tool to expand our understanding of the Catholic faith; I could go on for quite some time about the wonderful things which happen here at St. Luke’s, but other people will most likely want some bulletin space.

One thing we’ve done is run a survey and a study to learn what everyone thinks about how our growing community is doing. Based on the responses of the survey, the strategic planning committee completed a review of our facilities and came up with a design to give us sufficient room for growth over the next 5-10 years.

The feasibility study conducted in the parish, along with the parish survey we sent out earlier in the year, gave us ideas as to how we can better meet the immediate needs of St. Luke’s Parish. The biggest suggestion we’ve had from the house blessings, a suggestion echoed in the survey and feasibility study, was that we do something with the sound in the church. People are having a hard time hearing. As part of a multi-tiered approach to addressing the echo in the church and school, we have installed new carpet in our facilities. We had a sound study done in the church to determine if sound panels would help the acoustics in the church, and we are working with the installers of our HVAC system to see if there is a way we can get the HVAC to turn on and off, as the “always on” feature adds 15 decibels of sound during our Masses. We’ve also begun investigating a sound system which would allow us to lend out hearing assisting devices, which would enable people to use an earpiece to hear directly what is being said into the microphones. The carpet is the first step of a number of steps we will be taking to help create an environment where everyone can get the most out of Mass.

2018 is going to see us grow even more! Already, we’ve run early registration for the 2018/2019 kindergarten class. At the time of writing this article, we have 29 kindergartners registered for next year! We will open normal registration next month, and we anticipate receiving even more students. The number of students enrolled in our school will continue to climb as we open up our upper grades and turn St. Luke’s Parish School into a k-8 facility.

Who knows what 2018 is going to bring, but I’m sure we will continue to grow! I look forward to watching St. Luke’s continue to expand and grow closer to one another and to God. It has been a wonderful five months, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring.

Thanks to everyone who has given me so many wonderful memories in my first 5 months, and thanks to all who will continue to make St. Luke’s a great place to Worship, Teach, and Care.

Blessings and Happy New Year,
Fr. Adam Westphal

November 28, 2017

Fr. Adam’s Articles

During Advent, we will be having an extra Mass at 6 p.m. on Sunday. I will be offering a series of homilies on the four Marian Dogmas of the Church at these Sunday Evening Masses. The order of the Dogmas covered will be:

December 3rd: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

December 10th: The Immaculate Conception

December 17th: The Assumption

December 24th (at 6:30 p.m.): Mother of God.

Since the birth of Christ, theology concerning Mary has been hotly debated and often contested. The debates have flared up at certain times during our history, especially by our separated brethren who follow in the traditions of the Protestant movement. Perhaps some of you have friends or family who have asked questions about Mary, and haven’t been able to give a response. These homilies are introductions to the four Dogmas, that is, the four declared teachings of the Church that are Divinely revealed and ought to be held by all faithful. The homilies will give a few talking points for you to use should someone ask you about Mary.

All are welcome to attend.

These Masses will also begin to gauge the desire of St. Luke’s parishioners for a Sunday Evening Mass with themed homily series; depending on the response, we may do this again in the near future!

"On another note, Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the feasibility study online survey. If you haven't had a chance to do so, please go to our website and follow the link that says, "Take the St. Luke's Survey Here". We look forward to building in the future, and we need everyone to share their thoughts about our current and upcoming projects."

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE UPDATE

St. Luke the Evangelist parish is our family, our community, our connection to the universal body of Christ, and a place of encounter with God and one another.Our parish provides a means of encounter through Catholic education for youth via our RE program and our parish school, and through support for home schooling families, and through our faith formation programs for the adults of our parish.Developing our Catholic faith across all ages strengthens the domestic church and nurtures the character and values of our parishioners as we live our faith by serving God and others. We are one parish, united in one common mission.

Part of expanding our mission involves expanding our facilities.Thank you to everyone who participated in the Strategic Planning survey that went out in recent weeks.Thanks especially to the people who offered constructive criticism with regard to our current facilities; we began to take steps as soon as the surveys were received to address issues that surfaced in the comments.We will be doing some minor work on our facilities to make our spaces safer and friendlier with regard to acoustics.

The Strategic Planning survey was one part of a larger plan which is being developed to guide our community into the next phase of our growth.We are looking into expanding our facilities soon.Many committees are involved in the development of the next phase, but there is a specific Strategic Planning Committee tasked with coming up with a plan for making the next stage happen.The Strategic Planning Committee continues to discuss and assess the needs of St. Luke’s, and we are even looking into hiring a demographic research firm to provide concrete statistics which we will then use to further guide and mold our discussions.

With the conclusion of the surveys and incorporating the comments contained therein, we are working with the Invision Architecture firm to tweak the initial architectural concept.This architectural plan which we are developing will help guide us as we start the fundraising portion of our expansion.We are in the opening stages of selecting a capital campaign company to guide us through the next capital campaign.We are also planning on starting a feasibility study to see if the next steps are viable now and, if so, how much is possible to build in the near future.

All the discussions of the Strategic Planning committee thus far have involved adding classrooms for the parish school and parish RE to use and general meeting rooms which will be available to the whole parish.At the heart of our discussions is how to best provide enough space for everyone at this stage of our growth.We realize space is limited, and the next step will give us some breathing room. In addition to discussing rooms for everyone, the conversations have always included more parking and more storage, two things we desperately need here at St. Luke’s.

Thanks to you all for making this parish a place of community and encounter, and thanks for your generosity and most especially your prayers as we continue to plan for future community growth.

Sincerely,
The St. Luke’s Strategic Planning Committee

September 12, 2017

When the Inklings, gathered together in the small English town of Oxford, began discussing their stories and their faith journey as a group of friends, none of them could predict that they would build a literary corpus which promises to impact a dying Western culture almost a century after that group first gathered.

At the heart of their lives stood the Cross, and as their works flourished through a process of critique and growth within the group, the members each understood that the others had a unique perspective on the mystery of faith, something to share, that helped achieve mutual growth. Tolkien was a master linguist, Lewis a philosopher with a rich imagination, Barfield a dramatist, Charles Williams a poet; many others came and went in this wonderful group of scholars, and all contributed to what became the common goal of defending the Christian faith, taking eternal truths and sharing them in a new light. Their writings and poems and plays, coupled with the even more sublime story of their life together, continue to inspire people of faith today, encouraging them to find new ways of encountering the Cross in the midst of the Christian community. While these men didn’t always agree (to put it mildly), they were men of prayer with an eternal vision.

At St. Luke’s, we recently conducted a survey of parishioners regarding the future of our Church and School. The responses, given by roughly 115 people, exemplify marvelously the various diverse viewpoints which are present in our parish community. These differing viewpoints are essential and show that each has something to offer in the great goal of building our community together. Each has a unique perspective. We will face challenges in the years ahead as we try and build a greater community together, one that can truly respect varying viewpoints, but the success (or failure) of our time together will be determined by whether or not we strive to bring out the best in the other members. The ministries at this parish are manifold, and they will only increase. All of us has something we can learn from one another, and something we can contribute, and as long as we remain a people of prayer with an eternal vision, open to growth along the way, then all the growing pains of the upcoming years will result in a stronger and more united community, under the sign of the Cross. It is going to be an amazing road we walk together, and may the road lead to a deeper encounter of our Christian religion for all of us, just as it did for those wonderful Inklings nearly a century ago.

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

August 22, 2017

I recently decided to conduct a social experiment and offered, via our Saint Luke the Evangelist account on Facebook, to do house blessings.  At first, the view rate was a little slow for social media, so I stepped up my game with the help of Fr. Larry, who was able to get this amazing photo before we were caught and run off the property.

Accompanied by the above photo, my last offer on Facebook reached over 3000 people 48 hours after posting it, and I booked up the intended day (and, subsequently, the two days following) with 22 house blessings.

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Given the immense popularity on Facebook, I have decided to extend the offer of a house blessing to the Parish once again, this time through the bulletin and through announcements at Mass.  I will be offering two dates:  First, September 9th. While I know it is the ISU vs. Iowa game (the one and only sporting event I watch every year), I consider it of utmost importance as part of my sublime pastoral duty to visit your parties, bless your houses, and make sure the provender you provide at your festivities is fitting for those who have the high honor of being part of the lay faithful.  It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

For those of you who are unavailable or attending other parties on the 9th, or for those of you who do not wish to endure my unflagging, zealous, once-a-year loyalty to the Cyclones (Go State!), I will also be available all afternoon and evening on September 10th. 

In either case, drop me an e-mail at fradam@slte.org to schedule a time. 

I have made it a personal goal to meet outside of weekend Mass all of the 480 registered families of our parish by August 15 next year.  I am off to a good start, and it has been wonderful to get to know you all a little better in my first month here.  Know that I am praying for you.

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

August 08, 2017

It is hard to compete with Fr. Larry’s letters. The title above, and this article, are my first crack at taking over a wonderful custom started by our dear Pastor Fr. Larry.

As I write this I am coming up on one week officially assigned to St. Luke’s, and have enjoyed getting my first taste of the parish. Coming from DC to Ankeny is almost as great a shift as Dorothy coming from Kansas to OZ, and I could have sworn for a brief moment that I had come to munchkinland when I held up the collection plate for the kid’s collection for the first time. Prudence kept me from singing my own rendition of Gelinda’s “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are” during this part of the Mass.

I love the energy this parish has, and I’m excited to welcome the teachers and students back for the academic year so I can get the full St. Luke’s experience. I myself attended Catholic Schools my whole life, from Holy Trinity in Beaverdale to Dowling Catholic, then to the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I earned my B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Theology, afterwards earning my M. Div. at St. Paul seminary, and finishing up my academic studies (God willing) with a JCL from the Catholic University of America as soon as I complete my thesis.

I’m looking forward to putting myself at the service of the parish and to helping this community to grow closer to Christ and one another. If I can be of assistance to you or your families, or if you want to meet for coffee/tea or dinner, or for pranking someone or shenanigans or other fun social activities, the easiest way to get ahold of me is through e-mail. fradam@slte.org