January 13, 2021
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
One of the main goals of my 100-day sabbatical is to be restored to life in Christ through deepening my relationship with the Lord through prayer and study. I have been able to do that these first three weeks of my sabbatical by celebrating daily Mass and praying more regularly the Liturgy of the Hours that priests are asked to pray on behalf of the church. I have also completed the “Faith over Fear” series on the Gospel of Mark from Formed and have been working through some Evangelical Catholic Training videos. A couple of highlights of my time so far include celebrating Mass in a fish house on Upper Red Lake and catching a nice walleye shortly after Mass ended! I also celebrated the Mass of Epiphany with my family and my 8-year-old niece and 12-year-old nephew played Christmas music on the piano for Mass. I was able to take a 5-day retreat in Tallahassee, FL at the John Paul II Healing Center. It was a very moving retreat and the Lord was able to reveal some lies that I believed about myself and He gave me a sense of my real identity rooted in His love and delight.
It was great to be able to be at the Journey to the Inn and share the experience of praising God for his presence among us in the live nativity scene. I also celebrated two Masses at my home parish as we remember the Baptism of the Lord. This week I went out to Madison, WI to visit the headquarters of Evangelical Catholic and meet with their leaders. They help us facilitate our Reach More small groups and helped me to better understand the importance of personal apostolate and evangelization. A personal apostolate is something we all have, namely the area or people in our lives where we are called to build up Christ’s kingdom. A personal apostolate for me is my Reach More Small Group. This weekend I will be up north with them for an ice fishing retreat. We will pray and play together. Pray that all of us will grow to be the men of God we are called to be.
As the Father loves me, so I also love you,
Father Paul Shovelain