Father Larry's Letters

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

March Nature - Easter Joy

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

The joy of the resurrection of Jesus unfolds before us with our Easter Masses. This year, God’s gift of nature doesn’t seem to know about the joy of this blessed day. We have rain, snow, cold, wind and March sort of days. May we be blessed with April sort of days now.

Easter is such a time of rejoicing. As we have reflected on the condemnation, suffering and death of Jesus in the Triduum, we can be filled with remorse. We realize that all that happened to Jesus was to enable each one to be forgiven the sins of our lives. Each one can move away from the pain of our own poor choices. God so loves us that He would not leave us in that sinful condition.

That is why Jesus came to this earth. He did not come in just a spiritual way. He came as fully human, in every way that we are, except sin. He did not cling to what it meant to be God when he became one of us. He did not say - I am God after all and the scourging at the pillar, the crown of thorns, the crucifixion on the cross, they don’t really hurt. Wrong! In every way, Jesus endured these painful human experiences.

Why would Jesus, the Son of God do all this? God so loved us. God would not abandon us to our own chaos. God would not give us what we deserve. God sent Jesus to us - to have the fullness of the human experience - as human and as divine. In so doing, Jesus came through suffering, death, burial to rise from the dead after three days.

In that rising from the dead, death was conquered for all of us. We can now share in that gift of eternal life. We can now have our individual sins forgiven. We can be touched this day with the Joy of Jesus Christ rising from the dead.

May your lives be filled with this joy as we celebrate Easter here and throughout the world.

On behalf of all the Staff here at St. Luke’s may you and your families bask in the glow of Easter joy. May God’s gift of nature catch up with our joyful celebrations.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Holy Week - From Death to Life

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

On Saturday 3/17, I woke up to at least 3 inches of new, wet snow! Winter is still with us! But by the time you read this, Spring will be here. Maybe we have to let the weather forecasters know about the change of seasons.

With our masses today on Palm Sunday, the Holiest Week of our church year has begun. We rejoiced with the people joining in the procession with Jesus into Jerusalem. They declared him the messiah and king. They sang joyful songs and waved palm branches. We had our procession and took our palms as well.

The whole mood of joy and celebration quickly changed when we then read the passion according to Mark. I am always struck by how quickly all of this happened. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, it was likely 9:00 pm on Thursday. He was betrayed by Judas, arrested and tried at the High Priest’s courtyard. Friday morning the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate also tried him. He was sent to crucifixion by 9:00 am - suffered until 3:00 pm when he died and then was buried before dark.

The whole thing was over in less than 24 hours! Think of any 24 hour period of our own life - what significance did it have? This 24 hour period with the resurrection of Jesus in only a few more hours - accomplished our salvation—our forgiveness of sin - the end of death forever - our now being able to share in eternal life. These sacred hours are truly astounding. May we celebrate them as we come to the Triduum this Holy Week.

The 1st day of the Triduum is Holy Thursday. We will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday at 7:00 pm. You and members of your family are invited to sign up to have your feet washed after the homily. We will process with the Eucharist throughout the church and bring the Eucharist to an altar of reserve in the Narthex. You can stay in prayer and adoration until 10:00 pm that night.

The 2nd day of the Triduum is Good Friday. There is no mass that day but the service is a combination of several elements. The readings include the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of John. It is followed by a short homily. Then the Solemn Intercessions conclude the Liturgy of the Word. All are then given a chance to participate in the Adoration of the Holy Cross. It is then followed by communion from the Eucharist in reserve from Holy Thursday.

The Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations are the 3rd day of the Triduum. At the Vigil we will welcome our 6 candidates for full communion in the church as they receive Confirmation and Eucharist. In our Easter celebrations, Alleluias ring out proclaiming in joy the resurrection of Jesus from the Dead. We truly have reason to celebrate and to know joy in our hearts.

I invite you to take part in this Holy Week beginning with our Holy Week Mission Palm Sunday evening, March 25 at 7:00 pm. Our Mission speaker is Jon Leonetti who is the author of several books working with Matthew Kelly. He is the Iowa Catholic Radio host on the 7-8:00 am time slot. He is a speaker at parish missions throughout the USA. Please plan on coming Sunday and Monday evenings at 7:00 pm in the church.

Don’t forget to turn in your Annual Diocesan Appeal pledges. We still have a long way to go. If everyone makes a pledge or gift, we can meet and surpass our goal. Please be generous.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Wind, March and Stewardship

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

The entry ways of the church are collecting corn husks from our fields from the strong north and south winds these days. March is blowing in right on schedule.

On Sunday 2/28 the Stewardship Committee had its regular meeting followed by the KC Spelling Bee. I had a chance to go to visit friends in Harrison County that evening and Monday morning. On Monday evening, the parents of our 1st Eucharist students had their meeting in the church while the Knights of Columbus were enjoying their Benefits Dinner in the Gym. Great food!

On Tuesday, I helped with Confessions at St. Francis. In the evening, all kinds of things were at hand. The Social Concerns committee hosted the OLIH AMOS presentation in meeting Room #1, the RCIA Session was held in the Conference Room and the School Board was meeting in the Art Room. That kept us all busy.

On Wednesday, I helped with confessions at Dowling Catholic HS. Fr. Adam and I visited with the 4th grade RE and talked about the sacrament of Holy Orders. In the evening, we enjoyed Pizza with the Supper Club at Tom and Margo Gates’ home.

As we welcomed in the new month of March on Thursday, Fr. Adam, Tonya Eaton and I joined in the Catholic Schools Planning Process that began at the Catholic Pastoral Center in the afternoon. It is the beginning of a long range process that will enhance all dimensions of Catholic Schools for our Diocese.

On Friday 3/2, twelve hour Adoration was held. I attended my priests support group in the afternoon. The Family School Association held a Family Lenten Feast with games for the students in the Gym.

My brother Tony and his wife Paulette came to visit on Saturday and Sunday. We enjoyed the time together, telling stories, playing cards and finding good food.

This last weekend, we joined the parishes of the diocese in the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Most all of you should have received a letter from Bishop Pates with a brochure describing the Appeal, what it covers and a pledge card. Hopefully you have filled it out and returned it. If not, you can return it to the office or drop it in the collection basket on the weekend. Our goal is up for this year by $9,000 more than we collected last year. We ask each family to find a way to do a bit more for this Appeal this year. If everyone makes some gift, we can meet and surpass our goal. Any over our goal comes back to the parish for our needs.

I encourage you as well to attend one of our ongoing Capital Campaign Dialogue Events. These events are gatherings where a short presentation about the campaign will be made and then lots of time for any questions you may have about what this campaign will cover. It is a good time to gather and “dialogue” about this next step that St. Luke’s is taking.

Our Lenten journeys continue. I encourage you to remember to use your “Mass Journals” each weekend. Put them in your pocket or purse and take a moment during or after the mass you attend to jot down a thought that struck you. It is a great way to help listen to the whole Lenten Liturgy.

Keep our six Candidates for full Communion in the Catholic Church in your prayers as they approach the Easter Vigil sacraments. And remember our Penance Service Sunday March 18, 4:00 pm.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

From Gala to Lent

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

I am late in getting this letter to Sue and this Tuesday am, there is ICE covering things - school is cancelled and there are few meetings! Keep safe if and when the weather covers us again.

Saturday evening, I enjoyed the St. Luke’s School Green Gala. What a wonderful evening of food, music, auction items and even dancing for those staying later on. Congratulations to all who worked to make it unfold.

During Lent we do not do baptisms but the last Sunday before Lent we did. Nate and Alison Meier brought their twin daughters, Vera and Hazel at the 8:30 am 2/11 mass. Nicholas and Elizabeth Cline brought their daughter Lydia Rae as well. Congratulations, Vera, Hazel and Lydia. Welcome.

That evening I enjoyed time with part of the Confirmation class at Ryan and Meg Schon’s home. Keep the whole class in your prayers as they approach this sacrament.

Tuesday 2/13, the RCIA session focused on The Creed and the Stations of the Cross. We also spoke about the Rite of Election they would be celebrating at St. Ambrose Cathedral 2/18.

Ash Wednesday was celebrated 2/14 with the Mass at 8:30 am, Noon and 6:30 pm. The great numbers receiving ashes tell of our inner need to repent, to turn from the sin of our lives, to return to the Lord. May all open their hearts to God’s grace these Lenten days.

Thursday 2/15, the Ankeny Ministerial Association met at the Wig and Pen. We heard from an Ankeny Police representative about a variety of topics. Good discussion. They were able to find blood from me at the OLIH blood drive that afternoon. In the evening, the Faith Formation Council and the Finance Council held their meetings. An update on the St. Luke’s School budget was presented. Further work is anticipated.

Friday noon 2/16, Bishop Pates hosted lunch at his residence for a number of priests. He will host all the priests over several weeks telling of his time here in the diocese and his plans for retirement.

Saturday 2/17, I attended a birthday party for 2 year old Gianna Rafferty. Happy Birthday Gianna! Sunday 2/18, the Knights of Columbus hosted a 2nd and 3rd Degree ceremony for the area at St. Luke’s. While they were at that ceremony, I went with the RCIA Candidates for full communion in the Church to the Rite of Election at St. Ambrose. Those being welcomed by Bishop Pates included: Cole Collis, Abbey Hutzell, Ashley Kitzman, Anthony Losornio, Brandy Oberreuter and Audrey Pins. Please keep them in your prayers as they approach the Easter Vigil sacraments.

Last weekend, we encouraged you to pick up a “Mass Journal,” a small pocket journal. We ask that you bring it with you at each weekend mass. Take a moment at the mass and write down one thought that struck you during the mass. Date the entry. You will be surprised after a few weeks what God may be saying to you. It is a great way to focus your time with the Lord at our masses.

Fr. Adam has begun his series of masses on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm with a focus on one of the sacraments each week between now and Easter. You are encouraged to attend. Mark your calendars as well for the Healing mass with Fr. Ubald on Wednesday 3/14, 6:00 pm. Jon Leonetti will speak at St. Luke’s on Palm Sunday evening and Monday of Holy Week both at 7:00 pm.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Vacation Time Leads to Lent

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

The roller coaster of what Iowa is in the winter continues. It is 40+ one day and then back in single digits and wind that makes our flag stand straight out.

On Tuesday January 23, I attended the funeral for Don McEntee at St. Theresa’s in the morning. That afternoon, the Capital Campaign Management Team gathered for its 2:00 pm meeting. Thorough plans were made for the evening meeting with volunteers from the parish. At 6:30 pm, nearly 50 people met in our Meeting Room #1 to hear about the campaign and to volunteer to be on one of 6 teams for the work of our capital campaign. The 6 teams with leaders and team members met to discuss their tasks and next steps. What a wonderful turn out of helpers. Thank you so much. At the same time, the RCIA met in our Conference Room.

Wednesday morning, the parish staff met at 10:00 am. At 6:30 pm, the Facilities Committee held its monthly meeting. They reviewed repairs, maintenance and plans for physical needs for our parish campus. They started plans for next year’s facilities budget.

On Thursday evening, the Social Concerns Committee held its regular meeting. They finished their study of the book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. They reviewed plans for the 2/27 meeting at St. Luke’s for the presentation of the Ankeny Needs Study compiled by the OLIH AMOS committee. Further investigation of the possible sister parish arrangement with Sacred Heart parish at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota were discussed.

Friday at 5:45 am, I left with 3 other friends to go for a week’s skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado! We had a safe trip out and arrived about 12 hours later. Friends of mine have a condo on the ski slopes. It is wonderful to go down to the end of the hall, put on your skis and go to the lift. Same thing coming home. We had 6 days of great skiing. The snow was OK with a few inches of new snow the day we arrived. We had a great time. It is so nice to have relaxing days in the mountains.

I returned at 7:00 pm Friday evening 2/2. Saturday 2/3 after mass, confessions and adoration, I met with a couple whose wedding will be at St. Luke’s in April. That evening after mass, I had the privilege of baptizing Roland Joseph, son of Curtis and Nicole Kallal. Welcome Roland!

Following the Baptism, I enjoyed attending the Phase I Capital Campaign Thank You dinner held in our Gym. It was tastefully decorated with a nice chicken/pork chop sit down dinner served. I had a chance to share some stories about the founding of St. Luke’s and to thank all for their generosity in our original campaign.

Sunday morning the Knights of Columbus served their Fellowship Breakfast of Caramel Rolls and breakfast tortillas. Great food! At the 10:30 am mass, we celebrated the baptism of Molly Ann Thein. Welcome to Molly Ann! After that mass, Deacon Fred Karpuk, uncle of Emily Haack, baptized Samuel Haack. Emily’s husband Pete is our Faith Formation Director. Welcome to Samuel!

Thank you to all who helped with the Phase I Capital Campaign Thank You dinner and for the wonderful Knights of Columbus Fellowship Breakfast. Your hard work enables us all to celebrate. May you be blessed for your generosity.

Get your plans for Ash Wednesday 2/14 and Lent underway. It is a great time to draw closer to Jesus.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

New Year Off and Running: Snow and Cold!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Ice fishermen are happy! This very well below zero temperature and a little snow will make their ice completely safe. I hope the fish are biting.

On Sunday 1/7 at the 8:30 am Mass, the Knights of Columbus provided all the Liturgical Ministries. Thank you Knights of Columbus for being present to us at Mass and for all the ways you help St. Luke’s.

On Monday 1/8, I attended a presentation sponsored by the Diocese on the latest offerings of RENEW International. They are offering two programs “Be My Witnesses” and “Arise: Together in Christ.” Both have a focus on Missionary Discipleship following the lead of Pope Francis. The framework is 6 small group meetings in the Fall and in Lent over a two and one half year period. Our Faith Formation Council will consider these offerings.

Tuesday 1/9, our Staff met in the morning and the RCIA met in the evening studying the sacrament of Holy Orders. Wednesday 1/10, I met with a family from St. Anthony’s to talk about the funeral of their mother. Then the Tribunal had its monthly meeting at the Chancery. That evening I met with the three 3rd grade RE classes to talk about Holy Orders and what a priest does. They had lots of good questions. In spite of the snow, wind and cold, I celebrated the funeral for Mary Rose Cardamone at St. Anthony’s. May she rest in peace. That evening, the Parish Pastoral Council held its regular meeting. They reviewed the two extra meetings held with their Council, Finance and the School Board especially with discussion about the Feasibility Study results. The possibility of setting up a Sister Parish relationship with Sacred Heart parish in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was discussed. A report will be given from the Social Concerns committee at our next meeting.

On Friday 1/12, the Capital Campaign Management Team of Fr. Adam Westphal, Jenifer Mulcahy and Bill Cordaro who did our Feasibility and myself met for our 1st meeting. Initial plans for the Capital Campaign were discussed. Action steps were outlined and the first meeting for the following day were put together.

Saturday morning 1/13, parish members were invited to be Team Leaders of the different committees for our Capital Campaign. The committees include: Public Relations, Spirituality and Prayer, Dialogue, Children and Youth, Calling and Thanks and Recognition. These leaders are looking for others to join their teams at the 1/23 6:30 pm meeting. All are welcome.

Ryan and Meg Schon have agreed to be our Capital Campaign Leadership couple. Ryan announced the beginning of the campaign at all the masses and invited everyone to the 1/23 Volunteer meeting. Thanks Ryan and Meg for agreeing to lead us in this effort.

On Sunday 1/14, Drake Nicholas Liedahl, son of Luke and Raechelle, was baptized after the 10:30 am mass. Welcome Drake as our newest Catholic and member of St. Luke’s faith community. Our Stewardship Committee held its regular meeting on Sunday afternoon. Plans for the fall Ministry Fair were begun. This committee will be cooperating with the Capital Campaign and Fall Tithing Appeal.

Can you believe that Lent is less than a month away? Ash Wednesday is 2/14. Easter is 4/1. Be thinking and praying about how to grow closer to Jesus when the special days of Lent come to us. Jon Leonetti will have two special talks on 3/25 and 3/26. Save the dates.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

New Snow; New Cold; New Year

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

This letter is being written with wonderful sun shining, new snow on the ground and everything frozen with well below zero temperature. We are catching up with the last hours of December as we look to the New Year.

On Saturday December 23, I had a chance to share a little pre-Christmas joy with my sister Anita and her family. It is great to see the excitement of the young ones as we approach Christmas.

December 24 was our celebration of the 4th Sunday of Advent at our morning masses, then followed by last minute decoration of the Church. The Christmas Eve mass at 4:30 pm meant a very full church and gym of those gathered to rejoice in the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Children were invited to place ornaments on one of our trees as they arrived. The Children’s Choir led us in song and their full voices were wonderful. The 3rd and 4th graders with a kindergartener played their parts of the Christmas story as I read the gospel from Luke. Thank you “Gospel Players.”

The 6:30 pm mass was very well attended with those celebrating Christmas. And our Christmas day masses had lesser numbers but joyful celebrations. May we always focus on the one whose coming into our world as God become human has made all the difference.

In the days of the Octave of Christmas, things at the parish were pretty calm. The carpet layers continued to finish the school and the office floors. We definitely have a finished look with these additions.

Jenifer and I were treated by Bryan Freund from West Bank to a marvelous lunch at District 36. Thanks Bryan.

The Social Concerns Committee held its regular meeting on Thursday 12/28. They reviewed the Angel Tree project, looked forward to Meals from the Heartland this spring, and decided on the Tithe of the Tithe allocations for the month. They were planning with the Faith Formation Council for a presentation by the OLIH AMOS committee of their comprehensive study of the needs of Ankeny. That presentation is scheduled for February 27 in our Gym. More information later.

On Friday, I visited some of the residents at Journey. We have a growing number of Catholic residents there. We are in the process of having a weekly communion service for them.

On the weekend, we celebrated the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. A good number of folks were out in spite of the cold. A family blessing was given at the end of our masses. That Sunday 12/31, I traveled to Gretna, Nebraska for our Family Christmas. It should be fun if we all survive the cold.

To all of you, may you be blessed as we continue into the New Year. May your faith in God grow as you welcome 2018 with all your loved ones.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

God’s Love Comes to Us

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

Greetings to all of you as we gather to celebrate the Birth of Jesus this week. It is a time of great joy for families with children. The anticipation of gifts yet to be opened grows day by day. Families gather sometimes from other states to be together and share their love for each other.

But we know the reason for the gathering and for the gift giving is that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus. It is a time that we recognize that God sent his Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus - God, to be born as a human being. Why did God do that? God has loved us so much that in the course of time, He saw that human beings were wrapped up in sin and there was no way they could get unwrapped by the effects of that sin.

So into the world God’s son was sent to make it possible to be freed from that surrounding sin. The power of God, the Holy Spirit, came to Mary and she became the one through whom the Son of God, Jesus, was to enter into our world. God’s love came into the world as a person - a baby, born in Bethlehem.

God becoming human in Jesus, made all the difference. The whole life of Jesus, from those first moments born in a stable, to his public ministry, teaching, healing, suffering death and resurrection, to his sending of the Holy Spirit - his whole life with us enabled us to be forgiven. The power of sin in individual lives could be taken away. We could now share in the very resurrection life of Jesus in eternal life. That’s how much God loves us.

May we remember the reason for our gatherings to celebrate the birth of Jesus - God’s great love for us. May we return that love as we touch the lives of family, friends and everyone we meet these special days.

In the weeks before Christmas, like most of us priests, I have been helping with Advent Penance services. St. Pius X, St. Francis, OLIH and St. Luke’s saw many people taking advantage of the forgiveness of sin offered in Reconciliation. It is a chance for the love and mercy of our God to touch individual souls.

On Monday 12/11, I concelebrated the funeral of Trevor Schwager, 17 year old Dowling Catholic High School senior, who died in a traffic accident. Fr. Zach Kautzky was the main celebrant and gave the homily. We motioned to the very large crowd gathered in the DCHS gym - near 2,000 people, saying that this gathering was evidence that a village is involved in the life of one life, Trevor. He listed the many lives that touched Trevor and the lives that he touched.

In reality, that is true of each person. We are touched by so many people and we touch the lives of so many. As we continue our celebration of the birth of Jesus, may we all recognize that Jesus is reaching out to touch us through so many different persons and in so many different ways. God is persistent and will never stop reaching out to our souls with His love. During these special days of Christmas, let us open our hearts and lives to that love and presence in Jesus our new born Lord and Savior.

Merry Christmas to each of you and to your families.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Advent Watching and Waiting Continue

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Several Phase II Video Moments Plus…

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

November Winds and Prayers

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Fall Colors and Celebrations

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Rain, Sun and Hospitality

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Fall Really Has Arrived!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Fall Beginnings and Colors

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Beginnings and Blessings

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Vacation - Even in Iowa!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Celebrations - Summer is Here!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

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

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann

Congratulation Parties – Retreats - Picnics

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Larry Hoffmann