Congratulations!

We extend a special congratulations to all the students who received their first Eucharist and were confirmed over the summer! Please join us in continuing to pray for these students!

Volunteer Opportunity

Because we can’t gather in groups for any of our faith formation programs due to Covid 19 restrictions, we are doing things a little differently this year. At least through December, the faith formation team will be sending easy and engaging lessons out to families via Flocknote and through home delivery of activity packets.  We are currently looking for volunteers to help fill and deliver the 400 activity packets. Anyone interested can contact the faith formation office at 835-6777 or by emailing lynp@blessed-midland.org.

 

Crop Hunger Walk October 4

Men’s Morning of Reflection

Men’s Morning of Reflection

Blessed Sacrament Parish
October 17, 2020

Guest Speaker

Fr. Patrick Jankowiak presenting “The Face of God in a Suffering World”

Note: The event will take place in a safe environment or virtual to be determined closer to the date.


Register online below or by calling the Parish Center at (989) 835-6777.

LOVE WORKS when…

July 5—

Back  in  February,  before  there  was  Covid  19,  and  floods,  and  race  riots,  the Faith  Formation  Team  had  settled  on  the  theme, LOVE  WORKS for  the 2020/2021  catechetical  year.  Who  would  have  known  how  appropriate  that theme  would  be?! During  this  time  when  EVERYTHING  is  different,  it  has become  abundantly clear  that LOVE still WORKS, even  when  nothing  else seems to:

  • When we  wear  masks  in  public spaces  to  protect  the  lives  of  the vulnerable, LOVE WORKS.
  • When we  carry  the  flooded  lives  of  friends  and  strangers  to  the  curb, LOVE WORKS.
  • When we  wash  laundry  and  cook meals  for  people  without  appliances  or power, LOVE WORKS.
  • When we march in a Black Lives Matter demonstration, LOVE WORKS.
  • When we  examine  our  hearts  and  attitudes  for  traces   of  bias  and prejudice, LOVE WORKS.
  • When we pray for justice and healing, LOVE WORKS.

We aren’t certain what parish programming will look like when September rolls around because we can’t be certain that the old ways of doing things will be safe  and  appropriate.  But  maybe  that’s  OK.  Maybe  it’s  time  to  once  again examine who we want to be as Blessed Sacrament Parish and how we get there over  the  next  few  years.    As  of  now  we  have  all  of  our  favorite  traditional programs   on   the   calendar   and   we   are   looking   at   adding   some   new opportunities  as  well:  “Financial  Peace”  A  program  to  help  with  money matters, “Cherish”: a marriage enrichment opportunity, “Love Does”: a study of what it would look like to boldly show love and grace to everyone.

July 12—

Another way that LOVE WORKS in our parish is when we are welcoming and inclusive. Sometimes this requires us to step out of our comfort zone. Sometimes it requires us to learn something new or to examine the unconscious biases that we have.

July 19—

In keeping with our theme, LOVE WORKS, I would like to continue talking about how LOVE WORKS in a parish. With everything happening in our world and community these days, it has been easy to showcase LOVE at WORK and invite you into that experience. So far we have highlighted 2 ways.

LOVE WORKS IN A PARISH WHEN:

  • We serve others and share the stories
  • We are welcoming and inclusive.

This week I would like to focus on a third way that LOVE WORKS in a parish and that is by celebrating Mass together EVERY Sunday unless we are sick or out of town. I saw this love at work on July 5 when we had Mass outdoors. People were so incredibly happy just to be together and catch up with each other face to face though of course it was “mask to mask.” I had the honor of being a Eucharistic Minister and people literally had tears in their eyes when they received. Some folks hadn’t had the opportunity to receive the Eucharist in 4 months and to see how moved they were brought me to tears. So many people said “thank you” after saying “Amen.” It truly felt like Thanksgiving dinner!!! After all, Eucharist means, “thanksgiving”. And if we approach every Sunday as an opportunity to gather with the family of faith that we love around the Thanksgiving table, where we also welcome the stranger and include the marginalized, think about the joy we will receive and be able to share in the world. We are filled with the love of Christ to be the love of Christ. That’s how LOVE WORKS when we gather each Sunday for Mass.

July 26—

In keeping with our theme, LOVE WORKS, let’s continue talking about how LOVE WORKS  in  a  parish.  With  everything  happening  in  our  world  and community these days, it has been easy to showcase LOVE at WORK and invite you into that experience. So far we have highlighted 3 ways.

LOVE WORKS IN A PARISH WHEN:

  • We serve others and share the stories
  • We are welcoming and inclusive
  • When we celebrate Mass together every week

The  fourth  way  that  LOVE WORKS  in  a  parish  is  when  we  embrace  new opportunities  to  grow  in  our  faith  and  relationship  with  Jesus  Christ  and  to talk about  those  experiences  with  others.  From  3  year  olds  to  103  year  olds there    are    opportunities    for    everyone    at    Blessed    Sacrament.    These opportunities vary in length and content. They could be occasional like a Men’s Morning  of  Reflection  or  Theology  by  the  Glass.  They  might  look like  a Scripture Study that lasts for 6 weeks or an on-line book club where you read and chime in when you have time. And just maybe it’s a small group where the relationships  built  last  a  life  time.  Check  out  our  offerings  for  youth  and adults  on  our  website  and  in  the  bulletin.  Jesus  wants  to  be  in  a  personal relationship with each and every one of us. How might Jesus be calling you to grow in your faith in him and your love for him?

August 2—

keeping with our theme, LOVE WORKS, let’s continue talking about how LOVE WORKS in a parish. With everything happening in our world and community these days, it has been easy to showcase LOVE at WORK and invite you into that experience. So far we have highlighted 4 ways.

LOVE WORKS IN A PARISH WHEN:

  • We serve others and share the stories
  • We are welcoming and inclusive
  • We celebrate Mass together every week
  • We grow in our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and share our faith with others

The final way we want to look at how LOVE WORKS in a parish is when we support the mission of Jesus Christ through the generosity of our time, talent, and treasure. When we spend time in prayer or participate in liturgical ministries (hospitality, lector, homebound…) or lead a small group or become a catechist or give of our financial resources, we are living out our special role in building the Kingdom of God right here, right now. We are so grateful to the members of our Blessed Sacrament community who have continuously supported the work of Jesus Christ with their generosity. A heart felt “thank you” to each of you.

For the past several weeks we have looked at our theme LOVE WORKS in relation to how love works in a parish setting. Here is the list we came up:

LOVE WORKS IN A PARISH WHEN…

  • We celebrate Mass together every week
  • We are welcoming and inclusive
  • We serve others and share the stories
  • We grow in our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and share our faith with others
  • We are generous with our time, talent, and treasure to help in building the Kingdom of God?

We want to hear from YOU! We want to know how you think LOVE WORKS in a parish. How can our parish family help to support the mission of Jesus Christ in our little corner of God’s vineyard and in the world?  How can we be more inviting and inclusive? How can we better support one another on our faith journeys? How would YOU like to see LOVE WORKING at Blessed Sacrament Parish?

Share your thoughts now!

Acts of Service – Being the presence of God in the community

“He chooses them, inspires them, motivates them to act, makes them live in solidarity, pushes them to activate networks, to create virtuous ties, to build bridges and not walls…We must not be afraid or feel inadequate for such an important mission. Let us remember this: God does not choose us because of our abilities, but precisely because we are and feel small.” ~Pope Francis

Just Mercy Reading & Discussion

Just Mercy Book Reading & Discussion

We are inviting everyone to join us for our first ever Summer Book Club offering: JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson. “Bryan Stevenson was a gifted young attorney when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he didn’t commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.”

Please consider joining us. Grab a copy of the book (e book, hard copy or audio book)! Join the Facebook group by clicking here.

See below for the reading breakdown. Discussion questions will be updated each week.


Week of July 19 Reading: Intro, 1 & 2

  1. As you read the book, which details of Walter McMillan’s case are the most difficult for you to accept? Is it difficult to believe that this could really happen? Why?  
  2. What is your reaction to the fact that Walter’s case took place in Monroeville? How could the very residents who romanticized Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird stand for (or, worse, contribute to) Walter’s trials? 
  3. Critics of social justice initiatives complain that too many excuses are being made for those who have done wrong. What relevance might this opening line from The Great Gatsby have in the debate over this issue: “whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”? 

Week of July 26 Reading: Chapters 3-5

  1. Was Ralph Myers a reliable witness? Why were the authorities so willing to accept his changing testimony? How did the justice system use Ralph Myers, Bill Hooks, and Darnell Houston to convict Walter McMillian and keep him on death row? How do you feel about this?
  2. Walter McMillian was both poor and black. Do you think his story would have played out differently if he had been poor and white?
  3. In Chapter 4 we learn about Herbert Richardson’s case. He was given the death penalty for creating a bomb that kills a young girl. Alabama’s capital punishment statute requires that murder be intentional in order for a defendant to be eligible for the death  penalty. Why is this relevant in Richardson’s case?
  4. Herbert Richardson remarks on the frequent offers of help from the prison staff during his final day. What do you make of these offers?

Week of August 2 Reading: Chapters 6-8

  1. Stevenson structures his book with alternating chapters of Walter’s case and details of other cases. Why do you think he does this?
  2. In Chapter 7 the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Stevenson’s appeal. How did that make you feel? At the end of the chapter, Stevenson and his team have discovered a significant amount of new evidence. Do you feel any more hopeful that Walter will be released?
  3. What evidence did criminologists have in 1991 to support their “super-predator” theory? What do we know about the validity of these predictions?
  4. In what ways has the judicial system failed to protect Charlie (chapter 6), Trina, Ian, and Antonio (chapter 8)?

Week of August 9 Reading: Chapters 9-11

  1. In Chapter 8 Bryan talks about children and the prison system. In Chapter 10 he talks about the relationship between mental illness and the current prison population. How does lack of medical care for people with mental illness or with addiction issues relate to systemic problems in our justice system and abuse in our prisons?
  2. The story of the guard in Chapter 10 was especially poignant. How did Bryan’s point about “mitigation” change his life? How did the guard experience conversion? If the prison guard’s heart could change, what does that say about the people who are in prison?
  3. In Chapter 11, Bryan expressed concern that national press coverage of Walter’s case might be detrimental. Why? What were some of the things that the local press had falsely said about Walter? Why did they do that? How does injustice like this traumatize the entire black community in the area? What role does “hope” play in situations like this?

Week of August 16 Reading: Chapters 12-14

  1. In Chapter 12 we learn the story of Marsha Colbey. How did the justice system fail her? In what ways are female inmates more at risk than male?
  2. In Chapter 13 we get a look at Walter’s life after being released from death row. How does he continue to be “punished” even though he was completely innocent of any wrong doing?
  3. Chapter 14 tells the story of a 13 year old boy named Joe Sullivan. There are so many sad and unjust parts to this story. Are adolescents always capable of behaving rationally? Why or why not? What does this have to do with the sentencing of juveniles? After reading this and some of the other chapters in the book, how do you feel about “life in prison without parole” sentences for kids 13-17 years of age?

Week of August 23 Reading: Chapters 15-Epilogue

  1. One of Stevenson’s persistent talking points is that the question is not whether the condemned deserves to die but whether we deserve to kill. How does he explain this? Do you find this compelling?
  2. What does it mean to be a “stonecatcher”? What are the implications, both positive and negative?
  3. Consider the title. What did you take it to mean before you read and/or what does it mean to you now?
  4. The title appears specifically in two passages (p. 294 and p. 314). What is the context? Why “just” mercy in each instance?

These questions are from 2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission. 

Anti-Racism Resources

Anti-Racism Resources

Prayer for an End to Racism Prayer Service Outline

US Conference of Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letters/ Documents

All of these documents and more resources are available on the web or at the USCCB website: www.usccb.org

  • Racism: Confronting the Poison in Our Common Home, USCCB: Dept. of Justice, Peace and Human Development, January, 2016
  • The Racial Divide in the United State: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015, A Pastoral Letter, Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Belleville, IL, January 1, 2015
  • Statement of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, of Louisville, KY, President of the USCCB to the Spring General Assembly, June 10,2015
  • 25th Anniversary: U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism, October, 2004
  • In God’s Image: Pastoral Letter on Racism, Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN, September 12, 2003
  • Created in God’s Image: A Pastoral Letter on the Sin of Racism and a Call to Conversion, Most Rev. Dale J. Melczek, Bishop of the Diocese of Gary, IN, Aug. 6, 2003
  • Dwell in My Love: A Pastoral Letter on Racism, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago,IL, April 4, 2001 (33rd Anniv. of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • On Racial Harmony, A Statement Approved by the Administrative Board, National Catholic Welfare Conference, Aug. 23, 1963
  • Brothers and Sisters to US, US Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, 1979
  • The Ghost of the Legacy of Racial Inequity Continues to Haunt Us, Bishop Michael Pfeifer, O.M.J.
  • Diversity and Racial Justice Resources, www.wearesaltandlight.org 
  • Resources on Racism for Youth Ministry Leaders, http://www.nfcym.org/racism.htm

Books

  • Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, Bryan Massingale, S.T.D. (a must read!)
  • America’s Original Sin, Jim Wallis
  • Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation, Jennifer Harvey
  • Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Justice: 15 Stories, Eddie Moore, Jr, Ali Michael, Marguerite W. Penick-Parks, Editors
  • Understanding & Dismantling Racism, Joseph Barndt
  • The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
  • Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
  • Between The World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Nobody, Marc Lamont Hill
  • Why Race Matters, Cornel West 
  • The Cross and The Lynching Tree, James H. Cone                                            
  • White Like Me, Tim Wise
  • Waking Up White, Debbie Irvin
  • Witnessing Whiteness, Shelly Tochluk
  • Race is a Nice Thing to Have, Janet Helms
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen
  • People’s History of the US, Howard Zinn
  • Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, Paul Kivel

Movies

  • 13th XII (on Netflix)
  • Loving
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Help
  • Selma
  • Birth of a Nation
  • Hidden Figures
  • Just Mercy (free on streaming platforms for the month of June)
  • American Son (on Netflix)

Articles

  • Still Separate, Still Unequal: White Catholics and the Perduring Sin of Racism, America Magazine Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2016
  • Breaking Silence on Racism, America Magazine Nov. 30, 2015
  • Editorial: New Dialogue on the Old Problem of Racism, National Catholic Reporter March 24, 2016
  • As Church Demographics Shift, Catholics Urged to Address the “Sin of Racism.” National Catholic Reporter Nov. 10, 2015
  • Blind Spots: Reckoning with Racism, Commonweal Magazine Oct. 5, 2016
  • Racism: Will We Ever Overcome?, U.S. Catholic Magazin, July 13, 2016
  • Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack  (A classic in literature about race,) Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D. nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack
  • Race/Related: New York Times – weekly email newsletter, NYTimes.com/race-related
  • When Whites Just Don’t Get It: Parts 1 -7, Nicholas Kristof, New York Times Sunday Review, 8/30/14; 9/6.14; 10/11/14; 11/15/14; 11/29/14; 4/2/16; 10/1/16
  • Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist?, Nicholas Kristof, New York Times Opinion Pages, Aug. 27, 2014
  • Why Talk About Whiteness: We Can’t talk About Racism Without It, Emily Chiariello
  • Teaching Tolerance: www.tolerance.org/whiteness, Summer 2016
  • Confronting White Privilege, Katy Walwell, Teaching Tolerance Fall 2012
  • Can We? A Brief History of American Racism, Melissa Harris-Perry, The Nation Sept. 1, 2009
  • Black as We Wanna Be, Matthew McKnight, The Nation Sept. 15, 2016
  • Embrace Race: Raising Kids in a World Where Race Matters, www.embracerace.org

Speeches

  • YouTube: What I Didn’t Tell My White Friends Jim Crow Explained – Keith Hughes
  • Ted Talks:  Talks to Help You Understand Racism in America (9 talks)
  • Ideas.Ted.Com: My Hopes, Dreams, Fears for My Future Son, Clint Smith May 1, 2015
  • The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander speaking at Union Theological Seminary, www.utsnyc.edu
  • Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University, www.ferris.edu/jimcrow

Resources courtesy of Pax Christi USA.

Earth Day

As the 50th celebration of Earth Day is upon us Lyn Pajk shares some excerpts from Pope Francis’s letter to the world, Laudato Si: on care for our common home, and what they mean for us as disciples of Jesus.

Community-wide Easter Egg Hunt

Community-wide Easter Egg Hunt

Please share with your friends and neighbors– the more the merrier!!
The Coronavirus can’t stop us from celebrating Easter with the traditional Easter Egg Hunt! Blessed Sacrament is inviting Midland churches and the entire community to participate in this germ-free Easter Egg Hunt! Here’s how to participate:
  1.  Decorate or color paper Easter eggs at home with your family. Be creative! If you’d like one ready to color, click here or here.
  2.  Tape them on your front door or in your windows before you go to bed on Saturday, April 11! (You can do as many as you like!)
  3.  Walk or drive around Midland anytime from Easter Sunday to Sunday, April 19, and see how many Easter eggs you can spot!
  4.  Want to be eligible to win an Easter prize? Please post a picture on the Blessed Sacrament Facebook page of your family hunting for eggs and how many you found or submit them through the form below. Three families will be randomly drawn from all of the participants. We’ll contact winners by Monday, April 20.
Happy Hunting and Happy Easter! 

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