The Pope in Africa

Catholic News from home and abroad:

Full text of Pope Francis' powerful, unscripted talk with Kenya's youth An impassioned Pope Francis went off-the-cuff in a vast, widespread speech to Kenyan youth, touching on challenging topics such as how to stop youth from being recruited to terrorist activities.

The encounter fell on the Pope’s last day in Kenya. His Nov. 25-27 visit to the country was part of a larger African tour that will also take him to Uganda and the Central African Republic later this week.

Before meeting the youth, Francis traveled to Nairobi’s slum-neighborhood of Kangemi, where he praised those he met for their strong emphasis on community and relationships and condemned what he called a vacuous, “unbridled consumption” that often plagues the West. Read More...

Pope off-the-cuff to priests, religious: indifference makes God vomit Pope Francis tossed his prepared remarks aside for a meeting with Kenyan priests, religious and seminarians, telling them that if anything disgusts God, it’s the attitude of indifference.

He also gave some practical advice, such as keeping the Lord at the center of their lives through prayer and the sacraments, and stressed that the Church is not a business, but rather a mystery intended to serve others.

“Remember Jesus Christ crucified. When a priest or religious forgets Christ crucified, poor person. He has fallen in an ugly sin, a sin which God detests, which makes the Lord vomit,” the Pope said Nov. 26. Read More...

Pope to Kenyan Families: ‘Radiate God’s Love’Pope Francis Thursday praised Kenya’s traditional family values, particularly their respect for children and the elderly. He also made an appeal for the youth to use these values as a guide to ending discrimination and injustice in the future.

“The health of any society depends on the health of its families,” the Pope told Mass attendees at Kenya’s Nairobi University Nov. 26.

“Kenyan society has long been blessed with strong family life, a deep respect for the wisdom of the elderly and love for children,” he said, and noted that families are important in the plan of God.

2 Powerful Examples of God's Mercy

Last week we began looking at how God is merciful and saw that He "tirelessly" pursues us and wants us to be in right relationship with Him. While God judges us according to our deeds, He actively seeks out the lost sheep and does all that He can to bring us back into the fold.

This week we will look at 2 powerful examples of God's mercy as found in the Bible. These real-life stories showcase a God who does not remain "in the clouds," but is active in the lives of His people.

1. Peter the Denier - Peter was a faithful follower of Jesus throughout his life. Ever since Jesus called him out to be a "fisher of men," Peter followed Jesus wherever He went. Jesus recognized his devout faith and even went so far as to change his name from "Simon" to "Peter" and to establish the entire Church on his leadership. However, when it came to following Jesus unto death, Peter denied Him. Not once. Not twice. Three times. As we read in the Gospel of Mark, Peter denies that he even knows Jesus saying, "I know not this man of whom you speak" (Mark 14:71).

Shortly thereafter the cock crows and we read how "the Lord turning looked on Peter" (Luke 22:61)Seeing Jesus' face Peter weeps bitterly and recognizes his sin.

After Jesus' death and resurrection, Peter's repentance is tested and Jesus extends His mercy to him by asking Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Peter responds affirmatively and Jesus asks him to "feed my lambs" (John 21:15).

While Peter was the "prince of the apostles," he was not perfect. He needed God's mercy and for Jesus to pursue him in order to become the "rock" of the Church. Even though he denied Jesus in His hour of greatest need, God did not abandon him, but sought him out.

2. Saul the Persecutor - Shortly after Christ ascends into Heaven we already see Christians being persecuted. One of the primary sources of persecution was Saul, a devout Pharisee who made it his mission to root out the followers of Jesus. We read in the book of Acts that Saul, "persecuted [Christians] unto death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women" (Acts 22:4). Saul truly believed that he was serving God by capturing believers and destroying the Christian religion.

God had other plans for Saul and showed His mercy by pursuing the zealous Pharisee. While Saul was on his way to Damascus for another round of arrests, God revealed Himself to Saul in a vision of light and spoke to him saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?...I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting." (Acts 22:7). Saul was struck blind and continued on to Damascus, but repented of his sins. He finally realized the error of his ways and then devoted himself entirely to the Gospel and following Jesus of Nazareth.

Saul went from one of the greatest enemies of the Church to become one of the greatest saints.

What does all of this mean for us? 

It is very simple. No matter how much we stray from God, He will never cease pursuing us. Even if we persecute the Church or deny Him before others, God will not stop trying to bring us back.

However, the key in these two stories is that while they both committed grave sins, they allowed God to bring them back.

Will we allow God to pursue us and let Him into our lives?

No CCD This Week, Thanksgiving Day Mass & More!

No CCD This Week

There is no CCD next week (11-25-15) because of Thanksgiving. Classes will resume next week (Dec. 2).

Thanksgiving Day Mass

There will be a Thanksgiving Day Mass this week at 8:00 AM.

Rorate Mass Next Week

A “Rorate” Mass will be held on Dec. 1st at 5:15PM at SS Peter and Paul Church. The Rorate Mass is a Votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Mother for the season of Advent. Check the bulletin for future dates of the Rorate Mass. 

Neighborhood Table

Sts. Peter and Paul is sponsoring The Neighborhood Table on December 17th. Please call 715-423-1296 to donate 2 hours of your time to feed the hungry. They feed about 300 people every meal. It is at United Methodist Church. Call me and I will answer any questions about this program. Coordinator, Mary Grace Schliesman

Saint Peter's Basilica a Potential Terrorist Target

Catholic news from home and abroad:

US embassy: Saint Peter's Basilica a potential terrorist target - Rome, Italy, Nov 19, 2015 / 04:13 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- St. Peter’s Basilica tops the list of potential targets for terrorist attacks in Rome and Milan, the U.S. Embassy in Rome said Wednesday, in the wake of Islamic State militants’ Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. “Terrorist groups may possibly utilize similar methods used in the recent Paris attacks. The Italian authorities are aware of these threats,” the embassy said in a Nov. 18 security message. Read More...

Stretched to its limits, US military archdiocese appeals for more priests - Baltimore, Md., Nov 19, 2015 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Timothy Broglio is begging for more priests for the Archdiocese of Military Services, saying that he soon may be “unable to provide Catholic priests for the military.” During his address at the U.S. bishops’ general assembly in Baltimore, Archbishop Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Services, which serves United States military personnel and their families all over the world, said that even though many dioceses across the country are stretched, military service members and their families must not be forgotten. Read More...

Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica uncovered as Jubilee nears - Vatican City, Nov 19, 2015 / 06:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month...According to a Nov. 17 communique from the Vatican, after the cardinal presided over a procession and brief prayer service, workers began to remove the wall brick by brick, beginning with the extraction of a small zinc box containing mementos from the Jubilee of 2000. Opened with a type of blowtorch, the box held several documents of certification for the closure of the Holy Door in 2000. It also held the keys with which Pope Francis will open it Dec. 8 – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – when this year's Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy officially begins. Read More...

How is God Merciful?

In preparation for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has asked us to be "Merciful like the Father." This is the "theme" for the upcoming Holy Year and is drawn from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus says, "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36).

But how is the Father merciful?

It is best to talk about God's mercy in light of His justice. Pope Francis explains,

"These are not two contradictory realities, but two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love. Justice is a fundamental concept for civil society, which is meant to be governed by the rule of law. Justice is also understood as that which is rightly due to each individual. In the Bible, there are many references to divine justice and to God as 'judge'. In these passages, justice is understood as the full observance of the Law and the behaviour of every good Israelite in conformity with God’s commandments....justice is conceived essentially as the faithful abandonment of oneself to God’s will" (Bull of Indiction, emphasis added).

We are then judged by God on how faithful we are to His commandments and how much we have abandoned ourselves to His holy will.

However, God's justice does not end there. God desires that all of His people be brought into right relationship with Him and He actively reaches out to them. He is not a cold judge who scorns those outside of the Law. Instead, His justice requires Him to seek out the lost and to make every attempt to bring them within His precepts. As the Catechism states,
"Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person" (CCC 2567).
Pope Francis restates this same reality and connects it to God's Mercy. He says,
"Mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe" (Bull of Indiction).
God even revealed this type of mercy in the Old Testament through the Prophet Ezekiel when He said,
"Is it my will that a sinner should die, says the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23).
Mercy does not negate the Law in any way, nor does it make it superfluous. God maintains that we should remain faithful to His commandments and we are judged accordingly. However, God is not a stationary being, or even a Zeus-type figure who sends lightning bolts on poor sinners. Instead, He seeks out the lost sheep and places them on His shoulders to bring them back to Him.

Unfortunately, we often reject God when He comes knocking at our door. We reject His attempts to bring us back to the sheep-fold and when we do so, we remain outside His loving embrace. The more we reject Him, the harder it will be for us to accept Him when we are face-to-face with Him at the end of our lives. The good news is that He will never stop trying. No matter how far we are away from God, He will always seek us out. It is up to us to accept Him into our lives and allow His love to envelop us.

So how is the Father merciful? Pope Francis summarizes it perfectly,
"God does not deny justice. He rather envelopes it and surpasses it with an even greater event in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice.
Mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe" (Bull of Indiction)

Blood Bank Donation Next Week

Here is your weekly preview of upcoming parish events:

Little Servants of St. Therese Girls' Group 

Little Servants of St. Therese Girls' Group will meet on Thursday, November 19th from 6:00-8:00 PM. We will meet in the Church basement. All girls ages 8-18 are invited. **Please RSVP if you plan to attend. ** Contact Maggie Kosloski or call the office at 715-423-1351.

CCW Meeting on Thursday

St. Patrick’s Unit 6 of the Catholic Council of Women, CCW, will be having their monthly meeting on Thursday November 19 at 9:30 a.m. in the school library. We will be signing the Christmas Cards for those at the Nursing homes so don’t forget to bring some cards. We usually get out over 300 cards.

Any of the ladies of the parish are invited to attend to see all that we do as a group. Dottie Jirschele will be the hostess.

Community Blood Bank

Aspirus Riverview Blood Bank staff would like to thank you for your past blood donations to the Riverview Hospital Community Blood Bank. Your donations have provided the gift of life to patients in our communities. The next donation from Sts. Peter and Paul is Monday, November 23rd & Tuesday, November 24th. Please go to Riverview Hospital and donate blood these days. Thank you. 

Download SS Peter and Paul's myParishApp!

Download Our New Parish App!

Our new SS Peter and Paul app is now available to download for iPhone and Android smart phones. Stay connected with our parish throughout the week with instant notifications, an easy-to-access event calendar, and the ability to quickly reply to or share messages via Facebook or Twitter. Also enjoy a bunch of additional features like prayers, daily readings, helpful reminders to silence your phone before Mass or Confession, and much more.

Help foster a stronger parish life at SS Peter and Paul and better engage the New Evangelization.

Download our app today at or search your phone's app store for myparish.