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.

Journeys of Life: St. Luke’s; Msgr. Joe’s; Ours

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

I had an opportunity to talk to Dave Harmon who farms the St. Luke property. They “no-till” planted the seed corn on Saturday, June 8. They simply could not wait to be able to work the ground first as is often done. May the Lord bless our crop and may it thrive.

Over last weekend, June 8-9, we invited St. Luke’s parishioners to complete their commitment cards for our “Together We Build” capital campaign after our masses. Then the Community Gifts committee went out to visit those who were home who had not yet completed their cards. As of June 17, we have pledges of $1,475,000. May the Lord bless all of you who have been generous and have taken this step to lay the foundations for St. Luke’s future.

On Monday, I was able to get the bike out for a nice ride. That evening, I went to Tom and Charlene’s home for a going away party for Jerry, Ann and Barb Arndorfer who have moved to Missouri. Later that evening, I attended the current RCIA session at OLIH. St. Luke’s has three candidates in this class. We had a nice discussion of Sacraments in general. Keep these three in your prayers.

Tuesday evening, June 11, the Recruitment and Welcome Team met for its monthly meeting. We discussed the next newcomer welcome that will be held this fall, the parish picnic to be held July 21 and other potential parish events.

On Wednesday, I met with a family to plan the funeral for their son and nephew to be held on Saturday, June 15. They were people that I had come to know at St. Theresa’s. That evening, the Strategic Planning Team met with our architect and contractor to begin the process of the specific plans for the 1st Phase. We are in the process of forming a working team of architect, contractor and Strategic Planning Team so that plans can be made with agreed upon direction and costs.

On Thursday I attended the Wake for Msgr. Joe McDonnell. I gave the homily at the very well attended Vigil service. The next day I was concelebrant at his funeral Mass. Msgr. Joe was a man of deep prayer, a great sense of humor, sincerity and pastoral zeal. I delighted in being part of the same priests support group for the last 40 years. Msgr. Joe discovered his cancer last August with his hospitalization for pneumonia. With that sickness and discovery, he was forced into retirement. He said it became an 8 month long retreat - with time for daily Mass, prayer, the rosary, spiritual reading and good rest.

With his family, with us in his support group, he studied about, talked about, and prayed about heaven. His journey there was very real and very immediate. It gave me lots of reason to reflect on heaven as well. What will it be like? How will the passage from this life to eternal life be experienced?

One of the thoughts that has come to me when reflecting about heaven is the people who will be there. There will be a person to person meeting with God the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, with angels, with saints from the time of Jesus till now, with family members we are confident that are already there. Imagine the stories. Imagine the joy. Imagine the understanding of what has happened in history.

Msgr. Joe’s journey to heaven gives me motivation to look at what I want to and need to do in my journey to meet the Lord. No matter how long I may live, that journey is much shorter than before. I want to spend more time with the Lord in prayer, reflection, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, service to those in need.

What would be more important for you and me? We may not get an “eight month retreat” like Msgr. Joe. May we be filled with gratitude for all the blessings of the Lord to each of us.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann