Surprise Announcement

I know that many people were surprised by my announcement a couple of weeks ago that I will be moving to St. Joseph, Winterset, and St. Patrick, Irish Settlement on July 12th. To tell the truth I was a little surprised when Bishop Pates called and asked me to consider taking a different assignment. I placed it all in the hands of Our Lady and said a prayer that “If the Lord wants me to move, then my Lady, you will make it all work out.” When I wrote to the Bishop I expressed my happiness at being the pastor of St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s and would gladly like stay here, but the Bishop decided he would like me in Madison County. So how does the Bishop make priest assignments? Bishop Pates utilizes the Priest Personnel Board when working on assignments. Currently, priests in parishes are assigned to a 6-year team, with the possibility of 6-year extension. Every spring all the priests receive a list of parishes which are coming “Open” either because a priest is retiring or they have come to the end of their term or they are moving early. Any priest in the diocese is welcome to send in a letter applying for a particular assignment. The Bishop, in consultation with Board, determines if a priest applying for an assignment will be a good fit. He is trying to match a priest’s abilities with the needs of a parish. However, at times, the Bishop may have in mind a particular priest for a particular assignment. He then calls that priest and invites him to apply for that assignment. At other times priests on the Personnel Board may suggest a priest for an assignment. Finally, the openings are filled for the most part and announcements are made by the priest moving before it is published in the Catholic Mirror. Over these 27 years, I can honestly say that I have never gotten the assignment that I thought I wanted, but I have always received the assignment where God wanted me to be. Each assignment has been filled with challenges and wonderful faith-filled people. I have enjoyed these eight years here and I pray that I have made a difference in your lives, and know you have made a difference in my life. Blessings, Father Dooley

First Communion

This is indeed a very special day not only for our second graders but also for the life of the Parishes. Whenever we see our young people approach the Altar for the first time to receive our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion it reminds us of that special day when we first received Him in Holy Communion. The dresses and veils, the white shirt and ties that we wore were outward expressions of our love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

To watch as these wonderful young girls and boys receive our Lord we should be filled with joy as they now fully share in the promise of Christ. John reminds us in his first letter, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called Children of God.” You see our Heavenly Father desires to share with us the Joys of Heaven, but He doesn’t wait until we come to Him at the end of our Life. No, He shares with us the Life of Christ Jesus hidden in the veil of the Sacrament as a promise of Heaven, right now, today. The Eucharist is food for the journey to the Kingdom, it is Christ Jesus abiding with us. This is why it is so important for Catholics to receive Holy Communion regularly and worthily. To partake in the Body and Blood of Christ is to share in the life of Christ Jesus now and forever.

In the Catholic tradition, only those individuals who profess the Catholic Faith and are free from serious sin may come forward to receive Holy Communion. Our Second Graders have been preparing for this day for the last several months and they have made their first reconciliation as well. They know that it is Jesus who is coming to them in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is also a bond with the universal church guided by Our Holy Father, Pope Francis. I can only ask that all our guests and visitors from other faith traditions to pray for the day that all God’s children will break Eucharist Bread together.

May the Lord of Life, The Eucharist Lord, come and abide with each of us this special day.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Do I still have the excitement when receiving Holy Communion? Do I believe the Host is the body of Christ? What is my prayer for these young people coming to Communion for the first time?

Annual Diocesan Appeal

I would like to use this bulletin column to reflect on the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Everyone should have received from Bishop Pate information about this year’s appeal. There you will find the many different works that are carried out through the financial gifts given to the Appeal each year. The Bishop is inviting us to share in the work of the diocesan church through our gift to the Annual Appeal. This year’s goal for each parish is based on a three year average of our income and that amount is a percentage of the total budget of the diocese, which gives us the percentage of the Annual Appeal Goal of $4,314,659 million. The goal for St. Mary’s is $20,840 and St. Patrick’s it is $9,192. It is the perfect time for us who belong to the Diocese of Des Moines to make a sacrifice of our treasure to ensure that the good work of the church will continue. Bishop Pates is working hard to raise up future vocations and to make sure the needs of the poor are assisted through Catholic Charities. We must not forget needs of the retired priest who have served our parishes as well. I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider a pledge to the ADA. All gifts are important, large and small. Any sacrifice an individual or family make will be rewarded, for God will not be outdone in generosity. I would like to also say thank you for your commitment to the parishes by the sacrifices, prayers, and participation at Mass. Together we can achieve much and together we will make an effort to help the Kingdom of God be revealed through the good works of the Annual Diocesan Appeal.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION What is my responsibility to help the Church? Am I a good steward of my time, talent, and treasure? What more is there that I can be doing? What sacrifices am I to make for my family, my parish, my diocese?

Feast of Divine Mercy

Today the Church universal celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy. It is relatively new to the Church’s calendar placed there in 2000 by St. Pope John Paul, The Great. It is celebrated the Sunday following Easter and it reminds us that we are all in need of God’s Mercy.

But what is Mercy? The simplest way to think about mercy is to remember that it is the loving kindness shown to those who have offended. CCC p.888 Parents show mercy to their children all the time. God, whose name is Mercy according to Pope Francis, shows mercy to us sinners all the time, especially through the death and resurrection of Christ and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

In a vision to St. Faustina, a Polish nun, Christ revealed that He wanted the faithful to turn to His Mercy and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on their rosary beads. He told St. Faustina that souls perish in Hell in spite of his passion. But the most disturbing thing about sin is that it can lead to eternal separation from God in Hell. A sinner should seek God’s forgiveness, which is always available and unconditional and experience God’s mercy. The Savior is offering them the last hope of salvation through the Feast of Mercy. Diary, 965. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores the soul to its beauty when it is full of sanctifying grace. Christ’s mercy is a big deal because our sins are a big deal. He wants to incinerate our sins with His love. Our sins are as a drop of water compared to the ocean of his mercy.

St. Patrick’s in Neola will be celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy today, Sunday, April 8th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Rosary and Chaplet will be prayed and Confession will be available. Please consider joining me in Neola. To live mercy one follows the A,B, Cs of mercy which are – Ask for mercy in the Confessional, Be merciful to those who have offended you and, have Complete Trust in Jesus. “Jesus I trust in you.”

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT What has been my experience of mercy in the confessional, with my children, with my neighbors? Do I believe in a place called Hell, separation from God forever? Do I trust Jesus?

Holy Week

This is Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The procession recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna. It is during Mass that we hear the Passion Narrative according to St. Mark. In it, Mark tells us how Jesus is the suffering Messiah. He has come to save the people. When questioned about being the Messiah by the High Priest Jesus’ response is “I am.” For Mark, Jesus’ identity is fully revealed on the Cross.

Throughout Lent, we have been following Christ to Jerusalem towards the Cross. Holy Week marks the Church’s annual celebration of the events of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This final week of the journey becomes a time of intense prayer and leads us to solemnly to celebrate the Sacred Triduum; the holy three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

On Holy Thursday at 7 p.m. we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in which we remember the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood given for us and we clearly see the connection it has to service through the washing of feet, the Mandatium. After the Mass, we are invited to spend time in quiet adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, just as the disciples were asked to keep our Lord company in the garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday follows at 7 p.m. We again read the Passion Narrative, this time from the Gospel of St. John. Then we venerate the Cross on which hung our salvation. There are no celebrations of the sacraments on this day, Communion is received having been consecrated at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the evening before. It is a solemn and somber time when we remember that the Christ died to save us from sin.

Finally, we come to Holy Saturday and the Celebration of the Easter Vigil at 8 p.m. In the darkness, the light of the risen Christ shines out. We hear the ancient biblical stories of God saving His people. Then we hear about the empty tomb. It is a great moment in the life of the Church. Christ has conquered and the Glory of God shines brightly. All this leads to the joys of Easter Sunday Morning and scriptural account of the Resurrected Christ.

I would like to personally invite you and your family to come to the events of Holy Week. The Sacred Triduum this year will be at St. Patrick’s in Walnut. If you can not attend please consider reading the scriptures for those days and enter into the spirit of the week.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT: What does Holy Week mean for me? How is Jesus my savior? Do I have a sense that Christ suffered for me personally? Am I looking forward to new life, the spring or maybe eternal life?

Sacrament of Reconciliation

“Father why are you so insistent that people get to confession?” I answer that with, “Because we are sinners and Jesus Christ came to save sinners and the way he does that it through the use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as confession.” There is the old saying that “confession is good for the soul.” There may be more wisdom in that saying than originally intended. I have heard that prior to the early seventies, when many Catholics were in the habit of going to Confession, the level of those Catholics seeking professional counseling services (psychologists and psychiatrists) were relatively low compared to non-Catholics. However since the habit of going to confession is at an all-time low the rate of Catholics seeking counseling services has risen matching the levels of all other people.

Now I am not saying that there is no need for professional counseling services. But the weight of sin can be lifted and guilt removed by privately confessing to the priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When the burden is lifted and we hear the words of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness our view changes and just maybe we will receive counsel from the priest that will change our lives for the better.

I have tried during Lent to provide ample opportunities for you to get to Confession. Saturday afternoon from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Sunday morning from 9:30 to 10:15, just before the 10:30 a.m. Mass. I have tried to be available following all the Masses. We then have special times throughout the busy Lenten Schedule. Please take advantage of this beautiful Sacrament and be prepared to fully enter into the Mystery of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection at Easter.

Blessings, Father Dooley

QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Am I embarrassed to tell my faults to a priest? Do I trust in God’s mercy? Am I weighed down by sin? After confession haven’t I felt uplifted?