Father Adam's Articles

Tolkien, Paul and Barnabas

On Monday I had the opportunity to go and see the new Tolkien movie that was released last week. While it probably won’t win any awards, it gave a fascinating interpretation on where Tolkien began to form the world of middle earth. There is a scene (spoiler but not really) where Tolkien and his friends make a pact to form a brotherhood, one that will change the world. The exuberance of youth led the companions to dream of doing big things in the world, and also to stand by one another through thick and thin.

While Tolkien was the only one of them to achieve international renowned, the bonds of friendship he formed with his small group propelled him forward into adulthood.

Similar bonds of fellowship propelled the early disciples, with none of them being capable of making the disciples’ journey alone.

Paul and Barnabas resolved to do great things for God, and as they formed their brotherhood they brought about amazing changes in the lives of those they encountered.

We have a new fellowship forming here at St. Luke’s, not only with the new members of the parish who are joining our ranks, but also among the staff. This week we welcomed Annette Bailey as our new Bookkeeper, and we are looking forward to having her as part of our team. Welcome Annette! We are happy to be making progress on the positions of principal and several teachers for next year. I pray that these new members of our fellowship will bring about as wonderful an encounter with the Holy Spirit as did the relationship of Paul and Barnabas in the city where they ministered- Ankeny is large, and needs to know the good news of Jesus Christ!

Let us change the world!

Changing gears slightly, I will be gone on retreat this week. I have the opportunity to slip away for a few days of prayer and relaxation, and I am going to enjoy it! The retreat follows the Ignatian method of prayer, and will be directed by a friend of mine from my days with Kerygma teams. Pray for me, I will be praying for you!

Blessings to you all,
Fr. Adam

Mother's Day

My Dear People,

Every year at this time, I am reminding of a job posting that appeared a number of years ago. It is below:

Operations Management: Director of Operations
Area of Talent: Managers/Directors/Administrators
Position Type: Full-Time
Location: Rehtom Inc.
Shift: Full-time, 24/7 on call
Salary: Pro bono/unpaid

Position Summary:
Rehtom Inc. is seeking a Director of Operations for its long-term development department. The primary responsibilities of the director are to provide day-to-day management, leadership and support to up-and-coming development associates.

Essential Duties & Job Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the overall day-to-day success and development of all associates. They are fully dependent on you.

  • Provide appropriate solutions to satisfy all associate needs, including but not limited to comfort, security, support, growth, knowledge, well-being, structure, consistency, discipline, acknowledgment, preparedness, safety, mobility, capability, facility and tranquillity.

  • Track daily, weekly and monthly associate development against assigned goals and expectations.

  • Process high volumes of incoming and outgoing projects, deliveries, requests, complaints, feedback and special orders from associates and corresponding outside vendors.

  • Provide operational leadership to multiple associates at once.

Requirements:

  • Must be able to work 135+ hours a week

  • Ability to work overnight, associate needs pending

  • Willingness to forgo any breaks

  • Work mostly standing up and/or bending down

  • Must be able to lift up to 75 lbs. on a regular basis

  • Ph.D. in psychology or real-life equivalent

  • Crisis management skills a must

  • Ability to manage a minimum of 10-15 projects at one time

  • Ability to communicate at all levels (basic to advanced)

  • Ability to improvise

  • Proficient in handling sticky situations (literally and figuratively)

  • Ability to coordinate multiple, often conflicting, schedules

  • Ability to make independent decisions on behalf of others

  • Ability to work with associates with minimal ability

  • Ability to work in a chaotic environment

  • Frequent travel; minivan driving experience a plus

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative approach

  • Flexible when it comes to surprise requests

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in negotiating, counseling and culinary arts

  • Unlimited patience

  • Understanding of social media, mobile devices and video games

  • Understanding of finance

  • Understanding of medicine

  • Selflessly driven

  • Valid driver’s license, CPR certification and Red Cross membership

  • Ability to wear several hats, professional and domestic

  • Positive disposition at all times

Benefits:

While no health or dental insurance, no pension and no paid holidays are offered, this job provides infinite opportunities for personal growth and rewards. Emotional fulfillment and extraordinary impact on associate success provides a lifetime of purpose and meaningful connection.

24 applicants interviewed for this position, and most of them thought that this sort of job must be illegal. Anyone to take it would be crazy, right? It turns out that there are many people who have already taken the position. These people are our mothers.

To all the mothers out there, and to my own mother, thank you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

My Dear People,

We have much to be thankful for today! I am thankful for the 21 confirmands who received the sacrament of confirmation, and for the 73 R.E. and School second graders who will be making their first communion this weekend.

Our students went through much preparation, prayer, and reflection, guided by their amazing catechists and teachers. Congratulations to our students, and thank you for all the hard work of the leaders and parents as they led these children through their formation.

Our Easter liturgies were exceptionally beautiful, and many thanks goes out to those who helped with making these liturgies a resounding success. Our 8:30 Masses were packed, our 10:30 Mass had overflow into the gym of over 100 people, and the vigil and 6:00 p.m. Masses were bigger than expected.

A few updates:

We continue to interview candidates for the position of business manager, and we are making progress on hiring a principal.

We are working on a transition plan as we move from one pastor to another; Fr. Ken has been active in the hiring process for both the business manager and principal. Tom Green will be working with us to help our parish transition, and we are working on what the scope of his involvement will be.

Our building committee and finance councils met on Tuesday with representatives from the Diocese in order to plan and discuss the best way to move forward as a parish into our bright future. More details will be forthcoming soon.

At the moment, our parish needs to come together in a spirit of prayer as we discern together the path into the future. Please consider spending some extra time in prayer before or after mass, or making a visit to the church during the day. I will leave out a couple copies of Sacred Scripture, and I’d recommend praying especially the psalms.

Please pray for me, know of my prayers for you!

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

Happy Easter

Dear People of St. Luke’s,

There is truly joy in the resurrection, for life has conquered death!

This message of joy comes to us shortly after the agony of Holy Week, even in the midst of the sorrow and suffering of the disciples of Jesus Christ. On the Resurrection Morning, the faithful women brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus - an act of mourning. Yet, joy struck when it was least expected.

It is a message we can take to heart, and hope in the joy of the resurrection at Easter!

After the death of a Christian, joy awaits. How profound the joy; it is enough to make the sufferings of our individual experiences of the Passion seem as nothing but a speck in the ocean of God’s Love.

When we face the seasons of life that call us to die to self, and eventually rise with Christ, let us remember the story of the mustard seed - a seed dies, it is buried, and it becomes new life.

Death to self, when led by the Spirit, produces a fountain of grace and love in the world.

As you have no doubt heard, I am being reassigned to Creston in July. The death to self that came from this decision has been a hard road for me, but one that already I can begin to see the fruits of. The death of plans, the death of aspirations, the death of dreams, all leads to a rebirth into the reliance on Christ that is so paramount for Christians. The supreme will of Christ is one of love and trust; there is no goal higher for any Christian than the total acceptance of that most Holy Will. Pray for me as I make the transition, I pray for you.

I’ve also reached out to Tom Green of Gateways Pastoral Resources, an organization that helps pastors transition to new roles. I saw that Fr. Michael used this resource in December to transition to pastor of OLIH, and my goal now is to setup a plan so that your new pastor, Fr. Ken Halbur, has all the tools he needs to make a smooth transition into his ministry at St. Luke’s. This will also help me as I transition out of the role of your pastor.

We have 3 months together, and while the future is in the hands of God and Fr. Halbur, we have much to do to make ready for the transition. The most important thing is to ask the will of God to be done. We need to pray! St. Luke’s is going through a period of dying and rising, and we need to hold fast to the one reality that will never change - God loves this Parish, and he has a plan for this Parish.

As we pray, let us be led by the Spirit to the heights of Easter joy.

Also, in the next 3 months, I have some parting favors to ask of you. Two for now.

First, Get involved in Discovering Christ. One of the unique gifts God has given me for the sake of ministry is a connection to evangelization initiatives across the globe; Discovering Christ is the best manifestation of that gift that I can give to the parish before I leave. Sign up now at www.slte.org/discover. There will be a meal, prayer, a teaching, and then discussion over desserts.

Second, if you are a Catholic Man, then I’d ask you to join the Knights of Columbus here at St. Luke’s. Our Knights Council is wonderful, the members are solid men with generous hearts. Membership in the Knights is a great way of showing your support for our parish, and also of staying involved in the many activities (and keeping up to date on news) which are happening here. Our parish is alive! There will be a 1st degree (the initiation ceremony) on May 5th at 11:40 at the Church. Please come and show your support for this great organization, and your support for my wish to leave Fr. Halbur an even stronger, ever more vibrant, and a renewed and refreshed Knights of Columbus council.

Thank you all for the many gifts, talents, experiences, and treasures that you bring to St. Luke’s. It has been an honor getting to know you and working with you. The future of St. Luke’s is indeed bright and filled with the joys of Easter; let us embrace the future the Lord has for us, and know that all is truly in the hands of God.

Blessings to you,
Fr. Adam Westphal
Pastor, St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church

Three Elements To Prayer

I don’t know how many of you have had the opportunity to watch the movie, “The Dark Knight”, featuring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, but it is a film with some amazing acting talent. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of “The Joker” is second to none, with people acknowledging that he gave life to the character in a remarkable way. In acting terms, he embodied “the method”, a technique of acting in which an actor aspires to complete emotional identification with a part. This method brings about a vibrancy to the character that people can see.

As we enter into Palm Sunday and Holy Week, as we look forward to the Resurrection, let us embrace some of the style of “method acting” and allow ourselves to enter fully into the story. Let’s be honest, Hollywood wasn’t the first place where this method took root. I’m not sure what the first example was, but St. Ignatius of Loyola gave us an example of it in the method of prayer he developed.

He suggests three elements to prayer (as found on www.ignatianspirituality.com/25924/three-ways-to-pray-ignatian).

1. Put yourself in a Gospel story.

Just choose which character you’re going to be, and walk right into the scene where Jesus heals someone, delivers a teaching, or feeds thousands. You can be a main character in the story, or you can be a bystander or friend that you simply invent for this prayer. Don’t get distracted by trying to be historically accurate—this is not about you interpreting Scripture in a scholarly way. The point is to encounter Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide this very spiritual function, the human imagination, to where you need to go.

2. Pray as though you are having a conversation across the dinner table or in your living room.

In the Spiritual Exercises, this is called a colloquy, but it’s just conversational prayer. You speak to Jesus as you would a close friend. You speak to Mary, his mother, or to God the Father/Creator, or to the Holy Spirit who is comforter, or to one of the saints, who can be part of this conversation with the Divine. Sometimes, when we pray the way we talk, it can enable us to be more honest. Probably the only danger is that we become flippant or casual, but this isn’t much of a temptation when we remember who it is we’re talking to.

3. Do the Examen.

At the end of the day, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your memory over the day’s events and conversations. Give thanks for the blessings of the day. Ask God’s forgiveness if you have wandered from Jesus’ path of truth, compassion, and kindness. Ask God’s help with any negative patterns you see in your life, or for strength and wisdom to deal with upcoming events or issues. You can do this prayer once a day, twice a day, three times a day; the important thing is to develop a pattern that’s best for you.

As we conclude our Lenten Journey, let us enter fully into the mystery of Christ’s Passion, seeing in it our own redemption. Let us pray for the grace to have the experience of actually being there, present; knowing that our Lord is working in us and for us the greatest of all wonders- human redemption.

Blessings,
Fr. Adam Westphal

The Sin of Gossip

My dear People,

This past weekend I challenged our community to spend the Lenten season working to oust a particularly prevalent and commonplace fault, one that has its roots in the depths of our hearts: The sin of Gossip. To aid us as we examine our hearts, I’ve included one resource I found helpful to me in identifying the roots of this fault in my own heart and which has prompted me to begin more thorough examination of when and when not to speak, of what and what not to say. Below find Part I of an article written by Msgr. Charles Pope called “The Sin of Gossip”. The full article may be found at www.aleteia.org. May God Bless your Lent! Fr. Adam

Msgr. Charles Pope | Jan 16, 2015

Idle chatter about others can bring about great harm.

One of the more under-rated categories of sin are the sins of speech. There are many ways we sin, but perhaps the most common way is by speech. Too easily, almost without thought, do we engage in gossip, idle chatter, lies, exaggerations, harsh attacks, uncharitable observations and remarks. With our tongue we can spread hatred, incite fear and maliciousness, spread misinformation, cause temptation, discourage, teach error, and ruin reputations. We can surely cause great harm with a gift capable of such good!

And not only do we sin by commission but also by omission. For frequently we are silent when we should speak. We do not correct when we should. In our age the triumph of evil and bad behavior has been assisted by our silence as a Christian people. Prophets are to speak God’s word but too often we fulfill Isaiah 56:10 which says, Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.

Well did James say: Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect! (James 3:2) And too easily do we dismiss sins of speech as of little account. While it may be true that not every sin of speech is serious or mortal, it is possible to inflict great harm with speech and thus have the matter become very serious, even mortal. Jesus warns, But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken (Matt 12:36)
With this in mind, it may be of value to focus in on one aspect of the sins of speech commonly called “gossip.”

In defining gossip in a general way, the term can merely apply to talk of a personal or trivial nature. But the sin of gossip is more specifically considered to be idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It usually involves uncharitable or inappropriate conversation about others not present, and has a reputation for the introduction of errors and variations into the information transmitted. St. Thomas includes it in his treatise on justice (II, IIae 72-76) in the “Summa” since, by it, we unjustly harm the reputation of others, through either lies or truths shared inappropriately. The Catechism of the Catholic Church includes gossip under its treatment of the 8th Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Part II to come next week!

The Gift of Snow

My Dear People,

I was looking for the quote online that talks about how if you are angry with the snow, then you will be unhappy and still have the same amount of snow. I couldn’t find the exact quote, but I did find the following quotes:

“The very fact of snow is such an amazement.”
Roger Ebert

“When snow falls, nature listens.”
Antoinette van Kleef

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky - unbidden - and seems like a thing of wonder.”
Susan Orlean

“Snow provokes responses that reach back to childhood.”
Andy Goldsworthdy

“Snowing is an attempt of God to make the dirty world look clean.”
Mehmet Murat ildan

After every snowfall the world looks new- and similar. A perfectly groomed lawn and a horribly unkempt lawn both look the same under a snowfall; mud paths and paved roads look the same; there is an equalizing force behind snow, and all radiates the same beauty under the snow. Snowfall is a reminder that all the works of man, all that we are, is under the protective blanket of the blessings that fall from heaven. It is majestic, and it is humbling.

There is beauty if we accept the blessings from heaven. Sometimes the gifts of heaven are somewhat difficult to accept. Like the Israelites who complained against the bread from heaven because they had tired of it, we can often neglect the miracles that happen daily if we become accustomed to them (and dare I say, bored with them). Let us look afresh on the blessings of God that come to us unbidden; let us look for the joy that he gives us so abundantly; let us find beauty in the gifts surrounding us, giving us new perspective as we open our hearts to receive all the good things the Lord wishes to give us. The world God created is beautiful, if we are open to his redeeming work.

As we finish out winter, may we find joy in the many gifts God gives us from heaven.

Epiphany and the Annual Report

As I mentioned in the homily last weekend when we celebrated the three kings coming and worshipping Jesus, we are providing to you this weekend the annual report. The trend of our parish is towards growth in all areas. We are blessed! We have the opportunity to do even more, and as we expand our facilities we anticipate that more and more people will discover the wonderful community we have here at St. Luke’s Parish.

As we go forward, as we continue our journey following the star, let us look to come and experience the power of Christ together. Let us seek the light of Christ together, and let’s plan to come to the manger again next year. The Wisemen took two years to plan and follow the star and reach a place where they could give kingly gifts. The Gold covered the practical expenses the Holy Family encountered as they fled to Egypt, the Frankincense provided some comfort to them while they were in the stable, and the myrrh looked to the future that Jesus would face. They planned for the journey into the future. I’d like to challenge you, and I’m going to take the challenge as well- to plan your journey of giving your gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh much like the wisemen did. What I’m asking us to do over the next year is look at the way in which we give. Do we plan before hand, saying “I’m going to give this much?” Do we find something here, a star guiding the way you worship, teach, or care, and think “I’m going to give to help that be successful”? I’d invite you all to look to next epiphany, next time we see the star, and make a commitment now, saying to yourself, “Next year at this time I’m going to have presented the gift I’m being called to give, I’m going to follow the star and see where it leads.”

Any gift you give will help our church to go forward pursuing the star that has appeared, right here in Ankeny. And what is more, you will see the fruits. You will watch us grow. You will see our impact spread. You will see more lives touched, more people reached. We are over 580 registered families now, we have 162 students in our school now, we have 345 students in R.E., we have so many wonderful examples of Christ working in the world taking root right here- thanks to you. Thanks again for all that you do to make St. Luke’s great, and to fulfill our mission, to worship Christ, to teach Him, and to care for Him in the poor. We truly couldn’t be successful without everyone following the star, following the path to epiphany. Next year, as we approach this feast, we will be able to measure the impact of our work here, and know that we are truly enriched in heart and mind as we go into the future.

The nobility of work

The Christmas Break has come to an end, although the Christmas season continues! We continue to meditate on the mystery of Christmas as we return to the daily activities, the daily work of our ordinary lives. The mystery of Christmas should give us a fresh perspective though. Jesus became one of us. We just had in our readings the story of his birth and early childhood, and the story of when he was 12 and remained in Jerusalem when his parents were returning home, but after that we don’t hear about his life until he is in his 30’s. For 18 years he spent time doing ordinary things while praying about his mission in life. He worked, side-by-side with Joseph doing everyday, ordinary things, and he grew in wisdom.

The USCCB, when writing on stewardship, notes the following:

“Development of this world through noble human effort—physical labor, the trades and professions, the arts and sciences. We call such effort "work." Work is a fulfilling human vocation.

The Second Vatican Council points out that, through work, we build up not only our world but the Kingdom of God, already present among us. Work is a partnership with God—our share in a divine human collaboration in creation. It occupies a central place in our lives as Christian stewards.”

It is through our daily activity that we have the possibility of participation in the mystery of work. If we seek to Master our trade, and then move from Masters to Artists within the trade, we will encounter God. Louis Pasteur is often quoted as saying, “A little science leads away from God, but much science leads you to him”. The same could be said of Philosophy- a little of it, especially focusing on modern thinkers, leads one away from God- but much of it, especially following the history of philosophy, leads back to God. St. Thomas Aquinas, after a lifetime of brilliant study in the discipline of theology, had a vision of heaven and afterwards stopped writing, saying, “All I have written is straw”.

The three Kings, whom we reflect on this weekend, found God in their knowledge of the stars. They studied, knew the paths of the stars, and saw one star that brought them all to the same conclusion- something Great was happening in the West. And they came from the East to find Jesus.

There is an invitation for us to follow their example- not by turning to astrology, but by becoming so proficient in our crafts that we marvel at the depth of the mysteries therein, that we find God there.

As we return to our ordinary lives and ordinary time, let us remember that after the Incarnation nothing can truly be ordinary, and let us seek out God in the ordinary work we do day after day

Blessings,
Fr. Adam Westphal

Installation & To Jesus through the Holy Land

This past weekend we celebrated my installation as your Pastor.  Thanks to everyone for all the congratulatory remarks and warm wishes, for the reception after the Masses, and for showing our Bishop that we are thriving together!  Many good days lay ahead, and we will see together the wonderful gifts God has in store for us.

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We also had our communal penance service this past weekend, and I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Fr. Larry and the Bishop for helping to hear confessions.  Fr. Larry and I were texting about how wonderful it was to have so many people come!  Next year we will be adding additional priests as the service grows. 

This weekend at Masses we welcome Fr. Greg Friedman.  He is a Franciscan Friar, serving the custody of the Holy Land. He and I had the opportunity to get to know one another while I was out in D.C. studying canon law, and he will bring to us this Advent a wealth of experience of world events and especially the happenings in the Holy Land.  Please join me in welcoming him to St. Luke's!

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Lastly, I’d like to invite you all to consider joining us for Discovering Christ this January.  This process of encounter with the risen Lord and with each other promises to be a fun event for all adults.  For a full menu of the dinners we are serving, please go to slte.org/discover.  If you would like to know more about Christlife, please go to christlife.org.  We are working on childcare options, and would appreciate feedback via a survey we have at www.slte.org/discover.  Thanks for your input!

Blessings,
Fr. Adam

Free Insta Pot

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.