These are worthwhile sources of reflection:
U.S. Bishops Concerned about Racism and Xenophobia
The pastoral letter of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on Racism can be found at: Open Wide Our Hearts
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Recent Statement by the Josephite Fathers and Brothers (The Josephite Fathers and Brothers have had the ministry of working with African Americans.)
Statement from USCCB on Recent Shootings
Friday, August 9, 2019
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
· supporting programs which assist the poor and vulnerable
· providing a humane and secure immigration and refugee system
· promoting a culture of giving by expanding charitable giving to all Americans.
Together, we give a voice to the vulnerable.
Together, we give a voice to the vulnerable.
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Monday, March 18, 2019
There was a story on the local news last night that there are fake emails from Catholic institutions and priests asking for a favor, meaning money. These are not authentic--they are a scam, mostly directed to the elderly.
I have heard that there is an email from an address with rev. and my name (spelling correctly!). This is NOT FROM ME.
DO NOT RESPOND TO THAT EMAIL.
Friday, March 8, 2019
Lenten Message of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades
Jesus’ words in the passage from the Sermon on the Plain, which we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 6:39-45), offer us important counsel as we begin the season of Lent.
First of all, Our Lord says: “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” Lent is a time of training, training in virtue and holiness. Isn’t that why we pray and fast and give alms? Our Lenten resolutions should be things that will help us to become more like our Teacher, more like Christ. It’s good to think of what we can do during Lent that will help us better imitate Jesus.
Lent is also a time to remove the wooden beam from our eye. Jesus called those who want to remove the splinter in their brother’s eye without noticing the beam in their own eye “hypocrites.” The Greek word “hypocrite” means an actor who plays a part on a stage. We’re hypocrites like the Pharisees when we judge others’ faults while ignoring our own faults.
How often we’re tempted to accuse others, to point out their sins and shortcomings, not in order to help them, but to put them down, sometimes to their face or sometimes behind their back to other people. This is the sin of detraction, and it can be a mortal sin if it causes serious harm to another – disclosing someone’s faults and failings to others without an objectively valid reason. Detraction can destroy another person’s reputation and honor and is a sin against justice as well as charity. There are also other sins of the tongue like calumny, in which one says false things about others, harming their honor and reputation. And the sin of rash judgment: assuming as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor.
Oftentimes gossip involves these sins – malicious talk about other people. When we rob people of their honor and reputation, we are doing harm to them. Pope Francis preaches a lot about this and calls Christians who gossip this way “killer Christians.” He says, and I agree, that this is an evil and a sickness in the Church. It sows division in parishes and even hatred towards others. Pope Francis has used even stronger language, saying that “to make gossip is terrorism.” He once said: “Whoever gossips is like a terrorist that throws a bomb and if it goes off, destroys, destroys with the tongue.” He says they’re not suicide bombers, because they protect themselves in the process.
We must resist the temptation to speak ill of others and learn to bite our tongue when we are tempted to commit these sins of the tongue. We must learn to bridle our tongues. Or bridle our hands, since these sins often are committed by writing uncharitable, even hateful, remarks in letters, tweets or blogs. When we think about giving something up for Lent, it’s much more important to give up the sin of gossip, to give up detraction or slander, than candy or desserts. When we are tempted to speak ill of others or to write derogatory things about others, we should try to hear Jesus saying to us: “You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your own eye first.”
We must stop thinking that sins of the tongue are of little importance. Though not every sin of speech is a mortal sin, such sins can be, depending on the harm that is intended or done. Jesus once said: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).
I am speaking about this topic because sins of the tongue like detraction, calumny and rash judgment seem to abound in our society today and even in the Church. There is a lot of uncharitable and malicious speech. Social media is filled with these things – reviling others, name-calling, and backbiting. Some social media forums delight in these things. Polarization in both the Church and in society is caused or worsened by this constant speaking negatively of and attacking others. Many don’t think twice about robbing people of their honor or reputation.
What do you do when you are in a situation where you begin to hear this type of harmful speech from someone you are with or when you are in a group? St. John Vianney said: “If something uncharitable is said in your presence, either speak in favor of the absent, or withdraw, or if possible, stop the conversation.”
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit,” Jesus says in this Sunday’s Gospel. In Lent, we should examine the tree of our lives by examining the fruits: our words, our deeds, our conduct. Do we find good fruit, the virtues? Or do we find rotten fruit, vices, sinful words and deeds? If we’re honest, we probably find both. We need to get rid of the rotten fruit by going to confession. We can produce good fruit, with the help of God’s grace, through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Most important, of course, is the tree – our lives and what is in our hearts. All our external Lenten practices should be aimed at interior purification, true conversion.
Jesus says: “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil.” A good person has an interior store of goodness, and from that store produces good conduct, just as a good tree produces good fruit. Good or evil flows from one’s inner self. When there’s something rotten in the tree, in our hearts, we will bear rotten fruit. We need to pray with the repentant King David: “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me” (Psalm 51). In His mercy, the Lord will hear and answer this prayer if we offer it with true repentance, which means we humbly recognize the beam that is stuck in our own eye.
These are the last words of Jesus in the Gospel today: “for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” The mouth expresses what the heart contains. If our mouths are filled with harsh attacks on others, detraction, rash judgments, calumny and harmful gossip, there’s definitely something rotten within us. That rot is sin. If our hearts are purified, our speech will be purified.
The goal of Lent is to become like our Teacher. As Jesus said, “when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” We all need this training. That’s what Lent is about. It is a time of prayer a time to more deeply absorb Christ’s teaching. It is a time of mortification and selfdenial, following the example of our Teacher who fasted in the desert for forty days. It is a time to heed our Teacher’s instruction to take up our cross and follow Him along the way of selfgiving love. Almsgiving is an expression of this love.
May the disciple most like the Teacher pray for us during this season of Lent! That disciple is Mary His Mother. May her example inspire us to grow in virtue and holiness as true disciples of her Son!
Saturday, February 16, 2019
St . Michael Parish
612 North Walnut Street
Plymouth, IN 46563
Rev. John S. Korcsmar, C.S.C.
February 16, 2019
We know that it is a sacrifice for you to help cover the expenses for your child(ren) at St. Michael. We are grateful that you are willing to sacrifice for your child(ren) to be in a faith-filled, Catholic educational environment. It takes a lot to provide for the salaries, books, equipment, repairs, and utilities that we need.
However, this is also a major sacrifice for the parish and would be difficult to sustain in the long run. Just as your sacrifices mean that you cannot afford some things, the sacrifices from the parish mean that we are not doing repairs, upkeep, and the programs we should. It is currently costing $7,000 per year per student to operate the way we are. We cannot spend 70—80% of our collection on the school and effectively maintain both church and school.
We need to be very intentional about our expenses and our income. To keep the school at the level it is and to maintain the parish buildings and programs, we need to:
1. Understand and communicate what it costs to operate at this level,
2. Understand and be selective in methods to raise the needed income,
3. Use our resources as carefully as we can so that we can help those families that need assistance in an objective and fair way.
We cannot simply go on the way we have been, hoping that the necessary funds will appear. We have to identify ways to meet our costs. The plan is to charge more closely what it really costs and provide help through scholarships and other plans. We move more closely to providing the assistance on a needs-based basis.
Through discussions with the Parish Finance Council, the Pastoral Council and the School Board we have concluded that we need to move in a direction where the financial support of the parish St. Michael School is more need-based. We want to be able to help people. But we need to do it on a case-by-case basis. We plan to implement best practices determined through discussions with other parishes and schools and diocesan guidance.
With that in mind, we are setting the tuition rates for the school year 2019-2020 at:
Non-Catholics, non-active Catholics: $5,600 per student
o Active Catholic families: 1 student $5,600
· 2 students $10,304
· 3 students $14,112
· 4 students $17,696.
In order to register for next year, all current tuition must be paid in full. Registration is not complete until you receive a letter from Mrs. Baca from the church office.
In addition, in order to support families and reach our goals of covering the actual cost of education we will use the following resources:
1. Choice Vouchers through the State of Indiana (Families must apply and qualify.)
2. S.G.O.’s. These are set up through the diocese and are needs-based scholarships to families meeting federal income standards. We have asked parishioners to donate to this fund. The diocese scholarship organization grants the funds to the school upon the recommendation by St. Michael School.
3. Income tax rules now provide for use of a 529 plan to pay for elementary school tuition. Please consult your tax preparer for more information.
4. Parish financial assistance. This is money set aside by the parish. One must apply through the FACTS program.
5. The Bishop D’Arcy Scholarship for large families.
6. Scrip can be used as a means to obtaining credit towards tuition.
Learning from the experience of many other parochial schools in our diocese, we use the F.A.C.T.S. program as a way to determine which families need financial support and how much. It gives us an objective and fair guideline that is not solely based on family income level but does consider other aspects of family situations.
We encourage families, individuals, and businesses having the resources to consider using the S.G.O. program or a direct donation to St. Michael School to provide assistance for financial aid for those who need it. We are developing a FAQ sheet which explains ways in which families can have to the assistance that they need.
I am aware that these things are not easy, but they are necessary in order to keep the school and the parish at their current levels.
Rev. John S. Korcsmar, C.S.C.