The Outreach Team is raising funds for their summer mission trip. They will be traveling to Tennessee this summer to build community and participate in home repair. Your support helps to offset the cost of this trip and allows students and their adult leaders to enter into the service of others fully. Thank you for being so supportive.
Easter Lilies, Daffodils, Tulips, and Hyacinths are available! Cost: $17 Order online, in the Faith Formation Office, or from Outreach Team Members after Mass on February 24 & 25.
President Eileen Foster opened the meeting at 1:30 pm by welcoming the 34 people in attendance. Prior to the meeting, everyone enjoyed 15 minutes of snacks and conversation. Snacks were provided by Janelle White, Connie Latuszek, Linda Graf, and Wendy Shields with refreshment table set-up by Dorothy Kociba and Aimee Kopiwoda. President Eileen then acknowledged and welcomed first timers Annette Clark (leader of Blessed Sacrament Faith in Action formerly known as Adult Outreach) and Norma Perry. Ladies were asked for prayer requests and then an opening prayer was said.
Ramona Lalka passed around a sign-up sheet for March refreshments. She thanked all the ladies who came before the start of the business meeting to enjoy refreshments and conversation. She also thanked all those who brought donations for “Aaron’s Gifts from Home”. We’re grateful for our event photographer Elaine Warakomski. Ramona then reminded everyone of our Spring Potluck Lunch on Tuesday, May 7th. Please put the date on your calendar and bring a friend.
Happy February birthday to Sherry Babcock (02/05), Carol Landis (02/06), Diane Kosal (02/24) and Jan Natonski (02/25).
Secretary Elaine White had copies of the January meeting minutes on all the tables. January minutes have been posted to our FaceBook page and to Flock Notes. Elaine encouraged everyone to take one of the LBS brochures that Kristyn Russell from the parish office made for us and to use the brochure to encourage other ladies to come to our meetings and special events.
Judy Kawiecki then introduced our first speaker of the day, Donna Clarke who is the Executive Director of Saginaw Emmaus House. Emmaus House now has five transitional living homes for safe, sober housing for up to 33 women. They only accept women coming out of prison, jail, or a 30 day rehab facility. They currently have a waiting list. Women must be sober in order to stay in one of their homes. They require all women to attend a daily 12 step meeting, meet with their therapist weekly, acquire a sponsor and recovery coach, and attend the church of their choice on Sunday. Because of this religious requirement, Emmaus House is not eligible for government funding. Donna talked from her own personal experiences. Drugs took her to hell and back. It is very difficult to get off drugs but it is even more difficult to stay off drugs. Emmaus House encourages their guests to stay with them until they are prepared to live independently. It’s a tough program where recovery comes before family at this stage of overcoming addiction. We thank Donna Clarke for updating us on Emmaus House and sharing her personal experiences with us.
Linda Graf gave an update on our funeral lunches. The parish has purchased white round tables that seat eight. We have purchased colored place mats to go on the white tables and new trays to hold the centerpieces. We’ll be looking into buying some new cloth tablecloths for the food and dessert tables.
Treasurer Tana Zemanek reported our current balance is $8855.95 as of the end of January. She has a complete report of income and expenses for anyone to view.
Tana Zemanek then introduced our second speaker Debi Bartley-Ullum, Director of Aaron’s Gifts from Home. Her son Aaron Ullum was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 and the family created this non-profit in his memory. This 501 (c) (3) organization is made up of volunteers who lovingly pack goodie boxes for our troops deployed overseas. Care packages are sent four times per year. Their biggest expense is postage for all the donated gifts.
Judy Kawiecki then closed the meeting with a team building exercise and an inspirational message.
Please come to our next meeting on Tuesday, March 5th.
Lent is a time of going very deeply into ourselves… What is it that stands between us and God? Between us and our brothers and sisters? Between us and life, the life of the Spirit? Whatever it is, let us relentlessly tear it out, without a moment’s hesitation. ~Catherine Doherty
Please consider joining us for prayer this season of Lent. Below you will find a list of prayer opportunities at the parish.
Wednesday & Thursday: 8:30 am Saturday: 4:00 pm Sunday: 8:30 am (livestreamed) Sunday: 11:00 am
Wednesdays at 6:30 pm
Stations of the Cross:
Friday, February 16 at 7:00 pm Fridays beginning February 23 at Noon
I try to make sense of life. I try to keep myself open to people and to laughter and to love and to have faith. – Sr. Thea Bowman-
At long last, Anne Boyd is back with another opportunity for us to tap into our creativity and faith.
On February 29, each participant will create an inspirational box decorated with paper, die-cut words, and a cross with thorns and roses. Please register below. All supplies are provided and there is a free-will offering to help to offset the cost of materials. The session will run from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.
There he hangs—pale figure pinned against the wood. God grant that I may love Him as a I really know I should.
I draw a little closer to share that love Divine And almost hear Him whisper, “Ah, foolish child of Mine!
If I should now embrace you My hands would stain you red.
And if I leaned to whisper, the thorns would pierce your head.”
And then I knew in silence that love demands a price, ’twas then I learned that suffering is but the kiss of Christ.
Embrace the opportunity! This is an opportunity to disconnect from your phone or computer and reconnect with the world. Enjoy nature. Focus on your prayer life. Enter into the silence. Practice mindfulness. Learn something new. There are many ways to fill your time where you might have been scrolling. See what Lent opportunities we have at Blessed Sacrament, and here are some other suggestions.
1. Focus on building positive habits
If you had to estimate – how much time do you spend scrolling on social media? 30 minutes a day? 1-2 hours a day? More? Did you know that it takes about 30 days to build a habit? If you give up social media for Lent, you can focus on cultivating positive habits like reading (or listening to) books for fun, going for walks, or practicing mindfulness. Lent is 40 days, so you could have a new habit or two by the end!
2. Connect with people in person
Do you know the names of your neighbors? Or what about the people who sit behind or in front of you at Mass? When was the last time you called a long-distance family member or friend? Take this time to reconnect with friends and family in person. Take time for face-to-face meetings or phone calls to strengthen those relationships. Introduce yourself to your neighbors at home or at Mass and ask them how they are doing.
3. Volunteer and give back
Find ways to give your time to worthy causes. Have you always wanted to volunteer at the Open Door? Now’s the time (Blessed Sacrament has a group that works at the Open Door regularly)! Find a cause you’re passionate about and give your time this Lent.
Start a Lenten journal to document your 40 days without social media. Or record your thoughts, experiences, and reflections during this period. If you’re interested in going deeper, check out the guided autobiography program, Everybody has a Story, with Ansley Dauenhauer beginning on February 21!
5. Read spiritual or inspirational books
Choose books that align with your spiritual or personal development goals. Do you want to learn more about spirituality, the saints, living your faith, or maybe you’re struggling with your faith, there are books out there that can help you with that doubt and insecurity. Check below for recommendations from Fr. Rob and staff.
6. Learn a new skill
With your newfound free time, you could learn a new skill. It could be anything from learning an instrument, or a new language, or practicing new recipes. The sky is the limit on this one!
7. Physical activity
You could focus on your physical health through regular exercise (not just working your thumb by scrolling). Take a hike at City Forest, go for a bike ride down the rail trail, walk around your neighborhood or to the end of the driveway if you’re starting small, or any other form of physical activity that you enjoy.
8. Digital detox
The goal is not to replace one screen with another, so you might consider a broader digital detox. Limit your overall screen time and take breaks from other digital devices as well.
9. Practice gratitude
Develop a daily gratitude practice. This could be the foundation of your journaling practice. Reflect on the positive things in your life and express gratitude for them either in a journal or through an action that serves others. Here are some prompts to consider:
What are three things you’re grateful for as you start your day?
Recall the best part of your day and express gratitude for that moment.
Reflect on small, everyday pleasures that often go unnoticed. What are you thankful for today?
Challenges Turned Blessings:
Consider a recent challenge or obstacle. How did it turn into a blessing or an opportunity for growth?
Acts of Kindness:
Write about someone’s kindness that you experienced or witnessed. Express gratitude for that person’s actions.
10. Spend time in nature
Take advantage of the outdoors. Spend time in nature, whether it’s hiking, gardening, or simply enjoying a quiet moment in a park.
Ready, Set, Lent
Lent isn’t just about giving something up, but cultivating ways to grow closer to God, deepen your faith, and become a better version of yourself, so on Easter Sunday we truly feel newly alive, like we too, have risen from the grave with Christ!
The Blessed Sacrament Knights of Columbus council recently held their Anniversary dinner at the parish social hall. Knights from our council, Assumption, and St. Brigid enjoyed a potluck dinner of Italian dishes. During the dinner, presentations were made to honor the “Knight of the Year” and “Family of the Year”.
We are proud to announce that this year’s recipients are:
Knight of the Year: Tom Zajac. Tom is a founding member of our Council. He has been a hard-working and reliable member of the council for many years. Tom has been very involved in the “Wood for Warmth” program benefiting cancer patients and needy people who heat with wood. He’s always there when we are cutting, splitting, and delivering the wood. You can also count on Tom to help make the Knight’s soup suppers a success. Tom also coordinates our council blood drives with Versiti Blood Center. He is there at every drive making sure things run smoothly.
Family of the Year: John and Margie Hollingsworth. John coordinates putting up and taking down Christmas lights around the church. John and Margie provide soup for the Knight’s soup suppers and John is there to help with other projects that the Knights have. John and Margie also serve the parish at mass with Hospitality and being Eucharistic Ministers. For many years, John has been a member of the Men’s Christ Renews Team.
Please join the Knights in congratulating Tom, John, and Margie for their service in 2023!
Fr. Rob Howe, Pat Regier, Pam Gandy, Dennis Thiel, Andy Pasztor, Judy Gross, Kevin Spencer, Kathy Fothergill
Reported by: Fothergill
Fr. Rob updated the Council on the status of the playground. We are in contact with an attorney (provided by the Diocese) who will advise us on the project. We may get some grants (possibly around $30K) to offset the funds we are putting into the project. We plan to add a new member (Cathy Ahearn) to the Finance and Asset Council in the coming months.
Financial Results as of September 30, 2023: Net Assets for the current fiscal year (which began July 1) increased by $20K as total revenue exceeded expenses. Total Revenues, however, were lower than Budget by $21K, due to a decrease in Weekend Collections. October collections have improved, and we expect to close the Budget gap by December. Other Income was slightly higher than Budget due to Interest Income. Our Total YTD Expenses were better (lower) than Budget across most categories, with the exception of Faith Formation programming expenses. Christian Service balance reflects emergency assistance claim payments which were slightly lower than in the prior year, although claims have increased in October. Later this month, a team of parishioners and Fr. Rob will begin the review of grant applications as part of our Christian Service outreach ministry. We received 53 grant applications, including applications from four new groups. We plan to award a total of $125K in grants this fiscal year. Over the past 40 years, we have distributed $3M in grants for Christian Service.
Christ Mission Appeal 2023 kicked off last week. Fr. Rob sent out a special message and video last week. Parishioners should have received a mailing from the Diocese. Our parish target, set by the Diocese, is
$273,030, which is a 9% increase vs. last year.
Work Completed – Installed shut-off valves to the former school building. Gym and social hall already have appropriate shut-off valves. The City Council has approved the playground replacement project. Work in Process – Conduct walkthrough of church and parish facilities. Continue to work with the City on playground replacement project including property transfer documents.
With the help of Dick Dolinski, we have applied for grants for the playground replacement project to community foundations and clubs including Charles Strosacker Foundation, Midland Kiwanis and Midland Rotary. Organizations have pledged a total of $40K at this time. Our first meeting with City officials regarding the expected process will be on November 1.
We are still looking for a High School Youth Minister Coordinator.
Our annual contributions to Christ Mission Appeal for the last two years averaged $208K. The Diocese has given us an assessment for this year of $273K. The participation rate of CMA (cards that have been returned) in the past few years has been around 25 – 29%. While the number of returned cards has dropped, the average gift has increased.
Our next Finance and Asset Council meeting will be held jointly with the Pastoral Council on December 13. Pat Lautner will be making a finance presentation to the Pastoral Council on November 8. Our Council members are invited to join that meeting for Pat’s presentation.
Lent is the perfect time for renewal. Please join us as we gather and open our hearts to reflect on Lenten scripture. While reading together, we respond to the Good News of Jesus and begin to change our thoughts and actions in our lives as individuals (LIFE), family members (HOME), parishioners (PARISH), and Catholics (WORLD). Each of these 4 areas will have reflection questions with optional sharing time.
There is an afternoon (1:30) or an evening class (7:00) on Tuesdays for your convenience. Class dates are February 13, 20, 27, and March 5, 12, 19.
Please contact Christy at email@example.com or call the parish center to register.