eNEWS ~ Pax Christi Catholic Community
For the week of Sunday, April 11, 2021
The Catholic media has been abuzz lately over a recent statement from the Vatican that prohibits clergy from blessing same-sex unions among Catholics. There is much that can be said about this, and I will add my own two cents worth in another writing later. But among the issues that it raises are the matters of just what an official church blessing is, what it does, and what it's for. And whose blessing is it after all?
The first thing to be noted is that God is free to bless whoever and whatever God wishes to. Nobody in the Church is the gatekeeper for dispensing divine graces upon people and things. That seems so basic a premise that it ought not need to be said, but churches have a very sad and lengthy history of presuming to be the arbiters of who's in and who's out of God's favor.
A second thing to note is that a church blessing is not magic or superstition, though it can be easily confused with those things. The official
Book of Blessings
in the Catholic church runs to a few hundred pages and includes ritual blessings for everything from animals to farm machinery to furniture. What do we think we are doing when we impart a blessing on a piece of jewelry, such as a wedding ring?
Further, when blessings occur in the context of church, they are never the personal blessing of the person speaking. They are essentially acts of a whole community. As a priest, I never bless anything in my own name. (I'm not sure how much help that would be in any case!)
So, what exactly makes for an official church blessing? Well, here's my best shot at a definition. Similar to the seven sacraments (but not equal to them), a blessing focuses the minds and hearts of the Christian community upon a tangible, physical something/someone in order to pledge ourselves to use it for the greater glory of God and the benefit of that community. The object of a blessing is not transformed into something other than what it was before, but it is dedicated as a symbol to encourage prayer and to remind us of the One who is the giver of all gifts. A blessed statue is not something other than a slab of stone or plaster, but it now bears a certain kind of "depth" that allows it to be an entre into something sacred and transcendent for those who engage it.
Blessing prayers, like any others, become cheapened when they are seen as empty rituals performed without thought. It is good to ponder prayerfully exactly what they mean for us.
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PLEASE NOTE THESE MASS UPDATES
While we pray for an end to the pandemic, its rising rates of exposure and infection in Minnesota have caused us to apply some incremental changes to our gatherings. Until further notice:
The weekday Masses will have a limit of 25 people.
The Sunday 9:00am Mass will have a limit of 125 people.
You will notice that the Mass RSVP page looks different. While we are using a different platform, the essential nature of the sign-ups remains unchanged, with the exception that if a Mass is listed as “full” or at capacity, you will have the capability to place yourself on a “waiting list” and will be notified if spots become available due to cancellations.
You are urged to attend virtually on the Live Stream at 5:00pm on Saturdays -
, view it on the archive anytime after, or attend the noon Parking Lot Mass on Sundays.
If you need to come to the parish office, please call 952-941-3150 to notify us of the time you will be coming. If at all possible, please try to come to the parish between the hours of 8:00am-noon, Monday thru Friday.
We want to assure you that we continue taking all precautions to keep our building sanitized and safe. Your cooperation in doing your part to curb the spread of COVID-19 is vital to all for our well-being and health.
Preregistration is required for Mass on site. Use links below.
Tuesdays ~ 8:30am on site
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Wednesdays ~ 8:30am on site
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Fridays ~ 8:30am on site
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Saturdays ~ 5:00pm Live Stream
Sundays ~ 9:00am on site
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Sundays ~ 12:00pm Parking Lot Mass
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Fr. Mike will hear confessions at 4:00pm each Saturday inside near door #1. Those who wish to celebrate this sacrament can park near door #1, wait for the person who is celebrating the sacrament to be finished, and then come forward to receive the sacrament. Please wear a mask.
to view schedules, updates, and resources during COVID-19.
Thank you for your continued generosity!
Week of March 28:
Online Giving 5,498
Mailed Contributions 34,910
Total Week #39 40,408
YTD Actual 1,850,663
YTD Budget 1,793,000
YTD Variance 57,663
Your financial gifts make it possible for us to share the joy of Easter with our community and neighbors throughout the year. Thank you for your continued support to Pax Christi.
for online giving.
PAX CHRISTI CENSUS
Hey Peeps! Have you completed your Census form? If so, thanks! You're so sweet!
All the eggs are hidden but hopefully, you can be found, and we won't share your information, even with the Easter Bunny! Update your contact information at
, or call 952-941-3150. If you're not sure if you've already completed this, please give us a call!
for all upcoming events and registration.
AN INVITATION TO PAX CHRISTI COUNCIL LEADERSHIP
Nominations are open for Pax Christi Councils! We encourage you to nominate yourself or another member of our community. Click the compass on the Pax Christi website for Lay Leadership information and Nomination forms. Pax Christi Councils lead, serve, and work alongside our Pastor with a spirit of collegiality. We use prayer, reflection, and consensus, in making decisions. We are Christ-centered, mission-focused, inspired, and passionate.
Nominations are open from March 22-April 6.
to view the Leadership Nomination Form.
We will be holding a Meet and Greet with Fr. Mike on April 13 via Zoom.
to register for or to learn more about this event
If you have questions, contact Maura Schnorbach, Director of Development and Engagement at email@example.com or 952-405-7220.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY EVENT
Caring for our Common Home
Wednesday, April 7, 7:00pm via Zoom
Join us to learn about the process of talking with our Representatives and how to prepare ourselves for a legislative visit. You will also hear more about the upcoming visit the Climate Justice Action Team has scheduled with US Representative Dean Phillips to ask his support for bold climate legislation. As people of faith, we want Rep. Phillips to be a bold climate leader in 2021.
Want to be involved in a different way?
In anticipation of this meeting, the Environmental Justice Action Team is putting together a short story expressing why we, as a faith community, feel caring for our common home is important. You can also get involved by sharing thoughts and stories about this topic with the Environmental Justice Action Team in advance of their meeting with Rep. Phillips. These statements will be added to the EJAT’s statements and shared with our Representatives. Please send your short statements to Joan Howe-Pullis at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 9.
NEW VIRTUAL ART EXHIBIT
The Islamic Feminist Art of Hend-Al-Mansour
Available now through May 31 on the Pax Christi website
The Pax Christi Community was first introduced to the Art of Hend-Al-Mansour by her spouse, Dr. David Penchansky, a Professor Emeritus and biblical scholar from the University of St. Thomas. Dr. Penchansky was a lecturer on the Quran and the Bible for the Women with Spirit Bible Study.
Hend-Al-Mansour shared her thoughts and images for a “Morning of Reflection” retreat in 2019 on “The Three Faces of Mary” found in both the Bible and the Quran. Much interest was expressed in seeing Hend’s work at a Pax Christi art exhibit. We are pleased to present some of her spiritually based Islamic feminist art for the entire Pax Christi Community to reflect upon.
to view the virtual exhibit.
Living and Growing Through Loss
Mondays, starting April 12, 6:30–7:45pm, Via Zoom
The Southwest Grief Coalition is a partnership of seven local churches that are working together to provide faith-based support for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. New this year, participants must register to attend in order to receive the Zoom link to participate. Zoom is accessible by a smartphone, tablet, or computer. There is no cost to participate. Registration and additional information about sessions can be found by
and click on "Register Now." Questions can be directed to Jean Thoresen, Director of Care and Support, at 952-405-7211 or
JUSTICE SPEAKER SERIES
Environmental Justice is Racial Justice
Wednesday, April 14, 7:00-8:30pm via Zoom
Join us in hearing from Kathryn Hoffman, CEO of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy will speak to us about the impact of race and economic status on the environmental health of people and the planet. Kathryn graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2006 magna cum laude, and earned a Masters in Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute at the same time. After working in complex litigation in Zelle LLP in Minneapolis for four years, she joined MCEA as a staff attorney in 2010. She stepped into the CEO role in 2017, and she is proud of the way the organization has grown and changed since then. She has worked as adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School, and is also a former Chair of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Kathryn is celebrating 10 years at MCEA in 2020. The event is free.
to register and receive the Zoom invitation for this event.
SPRING VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB
Let Us Dream
by Pope Francis
Two four-week options:
Mondays beginning April 19, 6:30–8:00pm
Tuesdays beginning April 20, 9:00–10:30am
Pope Francis’ "Let Us Dream" contains a courageous and hope-filled vision that is needed in these days of pandemics, social injustice, etc. Utilizing the “See, Judge, Act” method of discernment to structure the book, he names many of the issues facing today’s world that have especially come to light during the pandemic, and he suggests practical solutions for overcoming them, both personally and systemically. This study will take place via Zoom over the course of 4 weeks. There is no cost to participate, though participants are responsible for obtaining a copy of the book.
to register online.
HELP, I'M A CAREGIVER AND I NEED SUPPORT!
The Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness serves seniors in transition and their family caregivers. The Center, in partnership with a variety of community experts, provides monthly virtual educational opportunities for individuals who are caring for a loved one. Please visit their website -
. In addition, there are monthly support groups by trained professionals, which are a great source of support to Caregivers. If you are interested in joining a group, please reach out to Mary Cordell at
YES, IT TOOK A VILLAGE
We have seen another example of Pax Christi members stepping up to make Triduum happen, not exactly as we have known it from the past, but a wonderful celebration of the high holy days never the less.
Thanks to all the musicians who recorded their single part for our virtual ensembles with special thanks to Tom Schiller who did the blending of voices and instrumentalists.
Thanks to the readers who prepared in advance to record the scriptures with the help of Joan Howe-Pullis and Evan Bierer and to Wayne Olson who shared his story with us on Good Friday. Thanks to Scott Brazil who prepared those who were initiated at the Easter Vigil.
Thanks to the Liturgical Environment Team who prepared the space so beautifully and with attention to every detail, enhancing our space for each day of the Triduum.
Thanks to our live stream crew who were behind the scenes long before Holy Week assembling all the pre-recordings.
Thanks to our ASL interpreter who broke open the word for those members who have hearing challenges.
Thanks to our ushers who have faithfully been present every weekend and throughout Triduum welcoming in-person attendees to their seats.
Thanks to the custodians who were with us from morning until evening making sure that sanitizing and arranging of the space was ready for all the various family groups who came to celebrate in person.
And a special thank you to Fr Mike, Deacon Al, Victor Susai, and all the liturgical ministers who were with us throughout the Triduum.
What a reminder that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts!
Easter Blessings to each and all of you!
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on Tuesday, April 6 at 4:34PM