Restored through Service

May 12, 2022
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
As we complete the Sacraments of Initiation at SJB with 60 First Communions and 42 Confirmations over the last two weekends, we look to the Sacraments of Service. Christ gives the Church two Sacraments of Service, namely Holy Orders and Marriage. In these two sacraments, the grace received in the Sacraments of Initiation serves as the foundation and Christ builds on that to help us live our vocation. We celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage this weekend with an anniversary blessing and have many more later in summer. We are also two weeks away from the Ordination to the Priesthood where we have 5 men, including Deacon Joseph Nguyen, ordained to the Priesthood. This is a joyous time in the church. I am hopeful with the men being ordained, I will receive a Parochial Vicar. In three weeks, our teaching parish seminarian, Deacon Ben Snyder, will be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. He will serve in Iowa, but since he attended seminary here in St. Paul, he was assigned to SJB as a teaching parish for the last four years. I am grateful for his ministry the last three years. It has been inspiring to see him grow and become a confident young shepherd who will joyfully serve the people of Davenport.
These Sacraments of Service will benefit those individuals receiving the sacraments but they also serve and bear witness to Christ. Please pray for those preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage as well as those preparing them for marriage. Please also pray for those preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Orders and those helping them prepare. Here at SJB, we have many marriage mentor couples who help engaged couples prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. We also had a teaching parish committee made up of 9 parishioners that met with our teaching parish seminarian monthly the last four years and helped prepare him for the priesthood. He would lead a discussion about different topics and learn how to shepherd with their guidance. I also met with him on a regular basis and we processed various graces and challenges. We are blessed at SJB to be a place where vocations are nurtured and encouraged.
Looking ahead, we will have new priests with us for three weekends in June. Soon to be Father Joseph Nguyen will be here to preach and preside at the two morning Masses on June 12. I anticipate our new parochial vicar will begin his assignment here on June 15 and will preach at all the Masses the following weekend. Soon to be Father Ben Snyder will be here to preach and preside at the two morning Masses on June 25th. It will truly be a blessed month as along with the joy of seeing newly ordained priests, we also receive a partial indulgence when we receive their blessing. In the Sacrament of Ordination, the priest’s hands are anointed with Sacred Chrism and the tradition is to ask the new priest for a blessing as the grace of God is fresh in him. I look forward to these joyful celebrations with these priests and all of you!
Looking further ahead, we will celebrate our 120th Anniversary as a parish on July 16th with Archbishop Hebda! He will be here to celebrate Mass at 4:30 pm and we will have a reception after in St. Joseph’s Hall.
As the Father loves me, so also I love you!
Father Paul Shovelain