Christ the King - St. Francis de Sales Parish
Save the Date
The Fall Bazaar will be on Saturday, October 26th from 10-3 in the Fellowship Hall. We are still accepting vendors. For more information please call […]Read More
Trunk or Treat
Join us for Trunk or Treat on Thursday, October 31st from 6-8 pm in the Fellowship Hall. There will be candy, hot dogs, doughnuts and […]Read More
myParish App Messages
January 11, 2020 Mother Nature wins. 😞 We will be cancelling the Minister training classes for this weekend. These are the meetings that...
January 09, 2020 There are training meetings for all liturgical ministers this weekend at CTK. They are scheduled for right after the Saturday,...
December 01, 2019 Faith Formation is cancelled for today, December 1st, due to road conditions. Be safe!
November 12, 2019 Details regarding the funeral for Sue Wahmhoff: Visitation will take place at Christ the King Church, Howard City on Thursday,...
November 12, 2019 We are saddened to announce the unexpected passing of parishioner Sue Wahmhoff. At this time, funeral details are still pending....
Faith Formation Files: Vol. 2, Issue 15 January 19, 2020
Have you ever done one of those optical illusion tests? You know, where you’re supposed to see either an old woman in a kerchief or a young, beautiful lady with a necklace. Or even the one where you ask, “Do you see the vase or the two faces looking at each other?” Yeah, and then once you see it, you can’t un-see it. Sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes it can be bad, like you can’t move beyond the not being able to un-see it. That’s how this week has been for me. Except that instead of being unable to un-see something, it’s that I am unable to un-hear something.
So you know one of my resolutions (and an ongoing quest for me) has been to work on my personal prayer life. I’m trying to do better at taking time to pray each day and to spend some quiet time with the Lord so I can hear him. I like to use the Word Among Us booklet (they’re free, in the back of church. Help yourself!) to help me pray. It includes all of the day’s Mass prayers and readings, plus it includes a meditation to jump start your reflection. Some of the recent readings and reflections have really spoken to me. Or should I say the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart through these. The Sunday, January 12 reflection revealed that like Jesus who went out into the world, I, too, am commanded to do so. I am really feeling God push me to do this more. The Monday meditation pointed out how even Jesus’ own disciples could have been invited by Him multiple times before they finally put down their nets and followed Him. I could feel God calling me again to this ministry. If Jesus’ best friends needed to be encouraged time and time again, why would it be different for me? I probably need just as much if not more reassurance that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Then on Tuesday we hear about Hannah and how she communicated “with God the way that most of us do, through prayer.” And the revelation to me was that it is through others that we most often can hear Him responding to us. I committed to taking some time right then to reflect on how I’ve heard God through others, as well as how maybe God has spoken through me. Another “hit home” for me from this reflection was that Hannah had been depressed. In fact, she claimed to live with “deep sorrow and misery.” But by giving it to God, asking her Creator for a reprieve from her despair, she “no longer appeared downcast.” And the lesson is to “take your worries to God in prayer, and be open to hearing him answer through someone else. A kind word, an attentive ear, or a gentle course correction- God uses all these and more to reach us. That’s why we can’t expect to hear God only in mystical experiences. We also need to listen carefully to the people around us.” (The Word Among Us, January 2020, pg. 35.) I MUST give my melancholy to the Lord. I need to learn to listen for Him to speak through others. And then on Wednesday, the meditation speaks of Eli’s mistaking both Hannah and Samuel’s situations and interpretations of what was happening. How many times have I done that myself, misunderstood or just didn’t hear His voice? But Eli did not give up, so neither shall I. I will continue to walk this path, this path with many detours and dead-ends, this path with help along the way…provided I listen for it. Now that I am listening better, I cannot un-hear His voice. And that’s a good thing.
Join us in Fellowship Hall each week after the last Sunday Mass for Faith Formation. There is so much richness in our faith. No one could ever know it all. Come grow with us!
Faith Formation Files: Vol. 2, Issue 14 January 12, 2020
One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”. The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?” The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!” ~adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
I love this parable! It is such a great way to recognize our repercussions on the world. Be they large or small, every action we make has an effect on others and the world around us. Another point to be made is that the boy was not doing this because he was told to do so; he did it because it was the right thing to do. Famed UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden is credited with saying, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” I really do try to live by this. The way it has morphed in my mind is that I am constantly living with a camera over my shoulder. I know there isn’t one really there, but I tend to think as if there was. That way when I see a piece of trash along my path or a grocery cart that needs to be returned to the store, I feel compelled to do the right thing, to pick up the litter, to return the cart. Likewise, I imagine that my interactions are also being viewed by someone else through some invisible lens. It can sometimes temper what I say or how I respond. Sometimes.
But that is how life is. Every action, thought (spoken or unspoken), or intention is seen by God. Psalm 139 speaks of how well God knows us- even better than we know ourselves! God has created us with free will. We can do (or not do) whatever we want. But that doesn’t mean we have free range to do anything. We must live with the consequences of our decisions. If we decide to spend our money wisely and pay our bills, we can have electricity in our home. If we decide we’d rather buy concert tickets than pay the light bill, we have to live in darkness for a time. But God has not just abandoned us to the world. He doesn’t expect us to innately know right from wrong. He has given us guidelines by which to live. Most importantly, and really a summary of the Ten Commandments, are the Two Great Commandments: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). The first Great Commandment addresses the first three of the 10 Commandments. The second Great Commandment summarizes Commandments four through ten. But these commandments are not rules to limit our world. Rather, they are the parameters within which we have all this freedom. We can decide if we’d like to attend only Sunday Mass or if we want to be present each day. We can decide whether or not to participate in Eucharistic Adoration, praying the rosary, or participating in the Stations of the Cross. We choose the words we use when we talk. They can be words that glorify God or they can be ones that blaspheme Him. We can take care of our neighbors by financially supporting various efforts initiated by the parish or diocese (or any number of other programs), by participating in service projects that allow us to use our God-given gifts to honor Him by helping others, or by doing what’s best for our families by being present, responsible, and living as a good example to our children. Or we can turn our eyes from the suffering of others. We have been told the expectations. It is our choice what we do with that information. I pray that I am doing my best. I pray that you are, too.
Join us in Fellowship Hall each week after the last Mass for Faith Formation. There is so much richness in our faith. No one could ever know it all. Come grow with us!
Faith Formation Files: Vol. 2, Issue 13 January 5, 2020
Where did 2019 go?????? How is it possibly 2020????? When I was a kid that was the year that was so far in the future that it meant the same as “a time that will never come.” Yet, here it is! I guess if we have to face this reality, I wish you the very best that this new year (and decade!) has to offer. As is so often the case, we take times like this to make a fresh start in life. It is also a good time to reflect. Last year I resolved these things:
• To continue to try to develop relationships with all those whom God brings across my path.
• To continue my own learning to better understand our faith.
• To devote more time and effort towards my personal prayer life.
• To help parishioners identify their gifts and provide opportunities where they can share them.
• To recognize and accept that quality is better than quantity, especially in regards to measuring my success in helping people on their faith journey.
In response to these initiatives, I feel like I did fairly well.
• I believe that I have developed and deepened relationships with several people within the parish and in my life. I try to approach all my interactions with an open mind and heart and am hoping that my intention to let God shine through me is apparent to others.
• I have completed all the coursework through the University of Notre Dame to receive my Certificate in Theology with an emphasis in Catechesis. I still have my final project to complete and submit before I receive the actual certificate, but I am much more confident in my understanding of content and therefore my teaching.
• There is always room for improvement in this area.
• I’m not sure that I’ve done the best job helping others identify their gifts. I have tried via checklists and questionnaires, but I don’t feel like I’ve had any substantial conversations that have resulted in individuals better understanding what their strengths and talents are and/or how to share them with others. I do think that I have made multiple quality efforts for people to share their gifts. We have had several Service Saturdays, however few have been successful. I was most pleased with the Tech Tutors day that we had last April and the work done on the RAVE house in Ionia which happened in May. Another success was when we packed Care Packages for our college kids. Other days which were planned but didn’t work out, sometimes because Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, included making freezer meals, yardwork, and the babysitting/gift-wrapping day. I would greatly appreciate input on ideas for future service projects. Please talk to me, send an email, call the office, or just drop a note in the offertory basket listing suggestions.
• I have accepted that quality is better than quantity. I am more sure of myself now and feel as though Faith Formation classes have improved since last year. I am happy to report that more people are attending and there is more consistent participation this year, though, too.
I think for 2020, I am going to continue to work on these same resolutions. For the ones where I made progress, I will celebrate my success and keep working to make even more growth. For the ones where achievement was less than stellar, I will reapply my efforts, look for alternate plans of attack, and seek assistance when needed. I ask for your continued prayers for my evolvement as the Director of Faith Formation and as a person.
Faith Formation classes happen every Sunday right after the 11 am Mass. We meet in Fellowship Hall. We have food, childcare, and classes for every age! Come check us out. Maybe you’ll learn something new. Maybe you can help someone else better understand our faith. We look forward to seeing you there!
Julie Gould firstname.lastname@example.org ...
Faith Formation Files: Vol. 2, Issue 12 December 22, 2019
This Advent has been challenging for me. It seems like I’d barely gotten my game plan together and was ready to start it, and here we are at week 4 already! I had decided that I was going to pick one of the Cardinal Virtues to focus on and better implement in my life. I chose fortitude. I wanted to stay the course, to keep my nose to the grindstone, to keep on keeping on. And in hindsight, I think I can claim victory. I have had to work hard this month to prepare myself for Christmas. I’ve been busy at work with Faith Formation classes, the Service Saturday event, participating in Howard City’s Christmas Parade, working with groups behind the scenes to make sure local families have food and gifts for their loved ones, among all the other things that go on in life this time of year. In addition to all these, I have worked to keep up with parenting and other family obligations. I’m not necessarily sure that my fortitude was a proactive decision on my part as much as it was a simple response to “life goes on” and I might as well try to keep up. (Imagine me holding one end of a rope tied to a wild dog sled team just let loose to run the Iditarod. That’s often how I felt; pulled along without any control or say in the matter.) So I’m not sure I can claim victory after all. Virtues are supposed to be purposeful and habitual. Mine was more reactive and complementary to survival.
But one thing that did really click this Advent for me was how I perceived the idea of “the birth of Christ.” I know that the first Christmas that happened over 2,000 years ago, did really, really happen. Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a stable (or some type of humble accommodations) and laid in a manger. Shepherds were among the first to hear of His arrival and to visit Him. So, I wonder, how do we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ? It’s not like he can be re-born. And we don’t celebrate Christmas as “just” His birthday, an annual recognition of His birth. So I thought about it. I questioned it. I tried to rationalize it. And I prayed about it. And what I came up with is that maybe we are not preparing for Jesus to be born again, as a baby to weary travelers far from home in a lowly lodging. Perhaps what is being born is the spirit of Christ within us? Maybe this season is a time to reestablish our relationship with Christ? Maybe we are to use this opportunity to rekindle the fire and intensity of our love for God? Maybe we’re supposed to reprioritize what gets our attention, out time, our effort, and our commitment?
If you have viewed Advent as just a liturgical season, the four weeks prior to Christmas when we hear readings about Noah, John the Baptist, King David and the prophet Nathan, the angel Gabriel, Elizabeth, and the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, maybe you’ve missed a great opportunity. We hear the directions to prepare ourselves, to be ready, to always be expecting the coming of the Lord, but are you really doing that? I know that I have not. But I have been given the gift of having my eyes opened to the possibility of what this season is really about. And so I’m giving that gift back to God for Christmas. I’m going to try hard to make sure that I am constantly growing in my faith. I’m going to attempt to ensure that the burning within me is fanned so that my light can spread. I’m going to make an effort to order my life so that God holds His rightful place in my heart. This is probably better than myrrh anyway.
There are no other Faith Formation classes for the 2019 calendar year. Please take the time to be with your families, to celebrate the real reason for the season, to nurture your domestic church, and to grow your relationship with our Lord. We will reconvene on Sunday, January 5th. Our topic for the month will be the Two Great Commandments: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). We will also take a closer look at the first 3 of the Ten Commandments. I hope that as you consider your New Year’s resolutions you will consider attending our Faith Formation classes as part of how you choose to better yourself.
I wish you and your family the very best Christmas yet! May all your wishes come true. And a very happy New Year to you, as well. Here’s to 2020 being an exalted year.
Julie Gould ...
I guess I haven't posted these to Facebook lately. My apologies. Enjoy!
Faith Formation Files: Vol. 2, Issue 11 December 8, 2019
When Kory and I were planning our wedding, I asked my friend, Sue*, to be one of my bridesmaids. Sue had been a friend of mine for years. I had been in her wedding. I wanted Sue to be in my bridal party because she represented a part of my life, my college days. She was funny and caring, and Kory and I had a great relationship with her and her husband. Sue was thrilled to be asked and to my joy, she accepted. But as so many of us often do, we make events like this into a reason to “improve” ourselves.
Sue very quickly began a strict diet. It wasn’t necessary for my benefit, but if it helped Sue feel better about herself then I was supportive of her efforts. Sue started a low-carb lifestyle. And when I say low, I mean it was really a NO carb diet. She didn’t allow herself any creamer in her coffee. She quit using condiments like ketchup or BBQ sauce. Sue lived on burgers, pork chops, scrambled eggs, and bacon. She refused to give herself “cheat days” and she NEVER consumed more than 20 grams of carbs per day. (A normal daily allowance of carbs is 225-325 grams/day.) I honestly don’t know where her self-control came from. And not only did she essentially quit eating carbohydrates, she began to work-out, too. She jumped on her elliptical machine every chance she got. Some days she’d rack up hours on that thing! Now I’m not saying this was the healthiest way to lose weight/get in shape, but in five months she dropped 60+ pounds and went down four dress sizes! Sue acquired some very stringent habits for herself that resulted in changes for which she was very happy. Sue has relaxed a little since then. She still limits her daily carb intake but allows up to 100 grams each day. She gives herself one “cheat weekend” per month, plus all holidays are “cheat” days. While her elliptical still holds a commanding presence in her living room, sometimes it now serves as a coat rack instead. But it was through Sue’s great desire to want to change her physical appearance that she developed and held herself to these new eating and exercise habits. Now, her drinking her coffee black and ordering her Wendy’s single without the bun is just a given. Neither she nor any of her family or friends even sees it as that big of a deal anymore. That’s just how Sue eats now. We could almost call Sue’s dieting a virtue.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines virtue as “an habitual and firm disposition to do the good…” (CCC, 1803) Her lifestyle changes were certainly both “habitual” and “firm” and she was doing it for her physical good. We should all strive to be so devoted to developing virtues in our own lives. The Cardinal Virtues govern our moral choices. They are acquired by human effort and perfected by grace. The virtues are prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. If you picked just one of these to work on during Advent, this period of hope and anticipation, just think how quickly it could become habitual. Consider the first virtue, prudence. Prudence involves using reason to do good and in the best way possible. How could you improve yourself if you started to be a little more cautious with your driving or your financial affairs? Could you do more good for others if you showed a bit more self-discretion or employed some foresight? What about virtue two, justice? This virtue demands that we “give their due to God and neighbor.” (CCC, 1807) All things come from God. We are called to be managers of God’s resources and gifts. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these varied graces of God, put it at the service of others.” And Proverbs 3:27 tells us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” Are you sharing your talents and gifts? How are you caring for your fellow man? The next virtue is temperance. This entails showing moderation in your life. Have you (or are you hoping to) go overboard in your Christmas gift giving? Do you limit yourself in regards to delicious foods, sweets, or alcohol? Set limits for yourself and adhere to them! Finally, let’s consider fortitude. You show fortitude when you persevere and when you show both mental and emotional strength in facing temptation or difficulty. What are your vices? Do you control them or are they in control of you? What about that one relative who you’re bound to see at the family Christmas party? How will you interact with him or her? I plan to focus on one of these virtues and develop it into a habit. My changes might not have any effect on the scales, but if I am as strict with myself as Sue was, I bet I would lose some of the weight of sin that hangs on me. How much do you think Satan weighs? *Sue’s name was changed.
Join us at Faith Formation every Sunday in Fellowship Hall from noon- 2 pm as we learn more about our faith and how to live it in today’s world. All are welcome!