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Rosary for Life

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will kick-off Respect Life Month by leading a Rosary for Life on Wednesday evening, October 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the large parking lot adjacent to the abortion clinic on Ironwood Circle in South Bend.

Young people and families are especially encouraged to attend, and the Office of Family Life will be giving away pro-life balloons, bumper stickers, brochures and other promotional materials on site.
Saturday of next weekend, October 4, is the Feast of St. Francis. Known for his great love of nature and God's creation, St. Francis is a patron saint for our pets. Anyone who would like to have a pet blessed is welcome to meet in the church upper parking lot on Saturday morning at 10:00.

On Sunday next weekend, the Knights of Columbus and St. Joseph Country Right to Life will sponsor a pro-life event. Mass will be celebrated at the RTL center on Ironwood Circle at 1:15. From 2:30-3:30, we will form a Life Chain, holding pro-life signs and standing in quiet witness along Ironwood Road. Everyone is welcome to join us.

Our own parish feast, the Feast of St. Therese, Little Flower, will also be celebrated next weekend. We encourage everyone to join us for a potluck dinner in the parish hall on Sunday from 4:00-6:00.

Last year, I forgot to schedule a blessing of animals on the Feast of St. Francis. My memory was jogged—too late—when I saw that our Episcopalian neighbors were blessing their pets. This year we are on top of things. The St. Francis blessing of animals will take place in the upper parking lot on Saturday morning, October 4, at 10 a.m. Feel free to bring any pets, big or small, in cages, tanks or bowls, leashed or loose. We will ask God's blessings on this beautiful part of creation.

A change in calendar: A parish is allowed to move the feast day of its patron saint to the nearest Sunday for a parish celebration. We will celebrate our parish feast, the feast of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, on October 4/5. Along with the liturgical celebration, we're planning a parish potluck. Because of that celebration, we will be moving the annual Respect Life Sunday forward a week, to September 27/28.

Ready for Pick-Up!

If you had your photo taken for the parish directory and missed picking up your copy when they were distributed, you can stop in the office during the week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. It's waiting for you!
This weekend you will note something unusual—a priest dressed in red. We are celebrating the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. This ancient feast doesn't often fall on a Sunday.

I offer words of thanks to everyone who had their picture taken or who volunteered for our Parish Directory. It took a lot of volunteers to organize the appointments, take care of mailings, and host people coming and going. I am especially thankful to Paula Giver and Tammy Golubski, who did most of the work of layout, proofreading, and organizing the effort. It is a fine directory and a good help in getting to know each other.

Next weekend, we will watch the new video for the Annual Bishop's Appeal and have a chance to make our pledges. We will follow the same format as last year. At the normal Mass time, we will begin the video. When the video is finished, we will have some time to prayerfully fill out a pledge card. The Mass will then begin. (No one is watching a clock, but with an ultra-brief homily last year, I think I recall that all of our Masses were still done within the hour.)

Monday, September 8, at 7 p.m., Little Flower Youth Lounge

Join us in the youth lounge (upstairs in the Parish Center) as we discuss the upcoming Sunday readings. It's a great way to prepare for Mass. We'll also determine our future meeting date and time.

All people in their 20s and 30s are welcome!
(Disclaimer: Though I am back in the parish following a vacation, you are reading a column written three weeks ago in order to meet bulletin deadlines before I left. There is no fresh news here. While away I wasn't connected with internet or a cell phone or any of those newfangled inventions.)

Our Religious Education program begins this weekend. We are very grateful for the catechists who offer so much of their time to teach classes. This is a real ministry of love. We are also very blessed to be so near Notre Dame, St. Mary's and Holy Cross. We have some fine college students who help with Religious Ed and with youth ministry in our parish who make wonderful role models.

As you read this bulletin, I'll be finishing a backpacking trek in the arctic circle, in the far north of Sweden. Temperatures are not expected to be too cold this time of year, but mosquitoes and biting flies are an issue. I have an over-the-head mosquito net that looks like beekeepers' gear. I'll be home Wednesday.

The US bishops have released a prayer in light of the crisis of unaccompanied children coming from Central America. It is beautiful.

Prayer for the Children

Loving Father, in your infinite compassion, we seek your divine protection for refugee children who are often alone and afraid. Provide solace to those who have been witnesses to violence and destruction, who have lost parents, family, friends, home, and all they cherish due to war or persecution. Comfort them in their sorrow, and bring help in their time of need.

As you read this bulletin, I'm on vacation with an old seminary friend who is a priest in Minnesota.

This weekend we are wandering with backpacks through mountain villages in Slovakia. On Tuesday, we'll be flying far north to the arctic. I'll be home the evening of September 3rd. I am grateful to the parish staff and to the visiting priests who are keeping the parish going.

Numbers are in on the Corn and Sausage Roast —we served 425 people. That is a wonderful turnout.

I also heard that our parish maintenance crew was impressed by the thorough cleanup afterward. We have a lot of good volunteers in the parish.

Our Parish Pastoral Council is beginning a new year with some new members. Our council now includes: Karen Billingsley, Bob Bramer, John Cavanaugh, Deacon Greg Gehred, Nancy Jones, Madelyn Martinec, Martha Ortega, Brian Peterson, Jude Phillips, Chris Reilly, Jeff Shafier, Colleen Wieber, and Tom Zawodny. After some time spent working on updates for our Parish Mission Statement, we are now working on Pastoral Priorities, plans for the future in our parish. Watch for more information to come.