Episode 6: Holy Week

Kristyn Russell and Fr. Kevin Maksym sit down to talk about Holy Week, and what we experience during the week of the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection.

Podcast Notes:

    1. Introduction:
      1. Kristyn & Fr. Kevin
      2. We are approaching Holy Week, so we thought it would be appropriate to talk about what to expect and hopefully allow you to enter more deeply into the mystery of Holy Week.
      3. This is the week that we remember the events of the final days of Jesus’ earthly life, and we begin on Palm Sunday.
    2. Palm Sunday
      1. We’re currently gearing up for Palm Sunday and this is quite the entryway into Holy Week.
      2. We enter into Holy Week in the same way that Jesus enters into Jerusalem.


  • What are some of the special things that we see at Palm Sunday?
  • Fr. Kevin to answer


      1. The procession that we walk in is a very Ignatian act of entering into the scriptures. As we process this weekend, put yourself in the shoes of someone who was there.
      2. We have the advantage/disadvantage of knowing the whole story. We know how the week ends, so despite the harshness of Good Friday, we know that Sunday is only days away. On the flipside, the disadvantage of knowing how the story ends is that we might skim the middle portions of the story. We’re all in for the beginning and end, but the middle is overlooked.
    1. Entering into the Triduum.


  • Why is it a Triduum aside from the fact that it’s three days?


        1. Fr. Kevin to answer?
      1. I think it’s important to remind people that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday really are one celebration
    1. Holy Thursday
      1. I love Holy Thursday. From the feet washing to the Eucharist it is one of the most powerful days evenings in the Triduum.
      2. In this liturgy we remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ gift of himself in the Eucharist.
      3. We also see the foot washing ritual– which reminds us that we are called to serve. Service is the call of Jesus’ followers. I think back a couple of years ago when Pope Francis went to a prison to wash the feet of the prisoners, so of whom were women, some of whom were non-Christians it is a great reminder of who we are called to serve.


  • Fr. Kevin what are the things that you look forward to at Holy Thursday?


      1. After Mass on Holy Thursday, the Eucharist is reposed and we have the opportunity to sit in the presence of the Lord. To be with him. To place ourselves in the garden with him.


  • The final opportunity is night prayer. Fr. Kevin what’s so special about night prayer?


    1. Good Friday
      1. And so we leave Holy Thursday and face Good Friday. I think Good Friday is the hardest of all days. As a society we want to avoid suffering at all costs, and on Good Friday we come face to face with the suffering that done on our behalf.


  • Fr. Kevin can you unpack some of things we do at Good Friday liturgy?
  • Laying prostrate
  • Veneration of the Cross
  • Why is this liturgy not a Mass?


      1. There’s a certain presence in the air on Good Friday. There’s a feeling of the ominous as you walk into church, the feeling that something terrible is going to happen. But there’s also this feeling of the numinous. The feeling that something holy, something mysterious is happening. I imagine that the world woke up to this same feeling however many years ago when Jesus the Teacher, Friend, the Christ, Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, King, was crucified for sins he didn’t commit, and overcame sin and death so that we might live. Those feelings of the ominous and of the numinous are appropriate on Good Friday. Those feelings you feel when hearing and participating in the reading of the passion of Christ are appropriate because they point to something else.
    1. Holy Saturday
      1. These feeling of uncertainty and darkness are appropriate because the Christ has been killed. He’s dead. Imagine what his disciples must have felt as they waited … for what? He said he would rise in three days, but would he really?  
      2. The Easter Vigil captures that feeling of waiting and that transition into realization.


  • Fr. Kevin– what’s your favorite part of the Easter Vigil?
  • The theological depth of the Easter Vigil is vast, but if there is one thing that you want people to know about the Easter Vigil– what would it be?


      1. These feelings that we feel during the Triduum: the silence, the numinous, the ominous, the waiting, the suffering, the darkness– they point us to something greater: a Love that overcame death some that we might have eternal life.
    1. Easter Sunday
      1. And with that we can rejoice on Easter Sunday. He is risen. What he said was true. He died and rose on the third day.


  • The implications of Easter are huge! Fr. Kevin why are we an Easter people?


      1. It’s a like a new year celebration– we get to try our hand at this discipleship thing again and anew.


  • Reminder of our baptisms


  1. Conclusion
    1. Thank you for joining us on this Holy Week podcast. We hope that you found it helpful and that it will deepen your walk during Holy Week.

Episode 4: Preparing for Lent

Lyn Pajk and Kristyn Russell discuss preparing for and understanding Lent, including some practical ways you can have a meaningful Lent.

  1. Welcome
    1. Introduce Kristyn & Lyn
    2. Been on hiatus because snow days
    3. Lent is coming up.
  2. Lent is the most demanding liturgical season.
  3. Pope Francis’ Lent 2019 Message:
    1. Reminds us that the journey to the Paschal Triduum is a journey of preparation. We prepare our hearts and minds to conform to Christ and to receive God’s gift of mercy.
    2. One thing I find interesting about Pope Francis’ message is that as we live as children of God, we are invited to participate in the redemption of creation. He says: “We benefit creation by cooperating in its redemption.”
    3. The Paschal Mystery is about harmony– it is through the Paschal Mystery that we are brought into harmony with God.
    4. That harmony is threaten on the daily by the power of sin and death.
    5. When we are out of harmony with God we are out of harmony with ourselves, with others, and all of creation.
    6. “Once God’s law, the law of love, is forsaken, then the law of the strong over the weak takes over.”
    7. The reality of our world is that we are all longing for redemption, we are all longing for harmony.
    8. Yet, there are so many stumbling blocks that keep up from this harmony. Lent is our opportunity to identify these stumbling blocks in our own lives. “Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.”
  4. Fasting
  5. Prayer
  6. Almsgiving
  7. Wrap up
    1. Pope Francis quote: Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy. Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.

Podcast Episode 3: The Value of a Catholic Education

Principal Patrick Bevier and Kristyn Russell sit down to talk about Catholic education, Blessed Sacrament Elementary School, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and it’s just in time for Catholic Schools Week 2019!

  1. Today we’re talking about Catholic education because we’re gearing up for Catholic Schools Week.
    1. Today we’re joined by Patrick Bevier, our principal here at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Elementary School.
    2. Get to know Patrick:
      1. What brought you into education?
      2. What is your favorite part of being an educator?
  2. The value of a Catholic education
    1. What is the value of a Catholic education?
    2. What sets an education at Blessed Sacrament apart from an education at a public school?
    3. Catholic education is an investment. What do you see being the return on this investment?

A Dozen Reasons to Choose Catholic Schools

1. We offer an education that combines Catholic faith and teachings with academic excellence.
2. We partner with parents in the faith formation of children.
3. We set high standards for student achievement and help them succeed.
4. We provide a balanced academic curriculum that integrates faith, culture and life.
5. We use technology effectively to enhance education.
6. We instill in students the value of service to others.
7. We teach children respect of self and others.
8. We emphasize moral development and self-discipline.
9. We prepare students to be productive citizens and future leaders.
10. We have a 99% high school graduation rate. 85% of our graduates go to college. 11. We cultivate a faculty and staff of people who are dedicated, caring, and effective. 12. We provide a safe and welcoming environment for all.

12 Reasons to Choose Blessed Sacrament Elementary School!

1. Small Class Sizes: Our class size averages 12 students per room.
2. Individualized Attention: Our student to adult ratio is 9:1 which equates to greater individualized instruction for each child.
3. Our Mission: Tenants are Living Christ’s Message, Academic Excellence, and Service Learning.
4. High Test Scores: Our academic assessment scores greatly exceed state and Diocese averages.
5. A Stewardship Program: No set tuition; families give what treasure they can, but also contribute time and talent.
6. STEM and Hands-On Learning: Project-based experiences in core subjects with emphasis in STEM topics and reading.
7. Significant Technology Integration: Over 70 devices (iPads and laptops) available for student use with one-to-one utilization common.
8. Christian Values are woven into many learning experiences.
9. Certified and Experienced Teachers: Our teacher’s average 16 years of experience.
10. Highly Involved Parents play an active role in school funding, functioning, and festivities!
11. Supportive Programming includes special needs services, music, band, art, PE, library, technology, and Spanish.
12. Pre-School and Extended Care programs meet needs of busy families. Partnerships with community services provide bussing, sports, and extracurricular activities for our students.

Elizabeth Ann Seton, Patron Saint of Catholic Schools. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first native-born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. She founded the first free Catholic school in America.

Podcast Episode 2: Discipleship

Lyn Pajk and Kristyn Russell sit down to discuss discipleship in depth. What traits does a disciple possess? What are some struggles to being a disciple? Thanks for walking the journey of discipleship with us!

Show Notes:

Episode 2: Discipleship


  1. What is discipleship?
    1. Encounter not a program
      1. We need to encounter God through Jesus
    2. Incarnation → why is it so important? Because Jesus makes God concrete, we as people we can relate easier to a person
      1. We need to be disciples of Jesus the teacher who teaches us about who God is and how we relate to God.
  2. Traits of / Stumbling Blocks of being a disciple
    1. Let’s look at the disciples of Jesus
      1. Mary– what makes Mary a disciple of Jesus?
        1. Her openness to God’s plan/will and her openness to learning from Jesus as he grows, from the manager to the temple to the cross to glory.
        2. For us, sometimes letting go of control and being open like Mary is a stumbling block
    2. Apostles– they left behind nets/ tax collecting to take a new path and they had to let go of the things they knew
      1. For some people letting go of those things were hard and they walked away sad — like the rich young man → it was hard for him to part with his possessions and he walked away disheartened
    3. Woman at the well– Jesus didn’t just call her once, he had a relationship with her. He talked to her. He was in Samaritan territory yet he went to the well at noon in the heat of the day and talked to this woman.
      1. Being a disciple takes us out of our comfort zones, sometimes we have to talk to people we wouldn’t normally talk to and sometimes it is physically uncomfortable.
  3. We have to cooperate with the grace of God
    1. We have to take on the teaching of the teacher
    2. We know what the mission is and how to practically live that out. Jesus told us, there’s no guessing.
  4. There’s a responsibility to being a disciple.
    1. Our gifts are just for us
    2. We can’t hide our light under a basket– Jesus says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.”
  5. Can you be a disciple without a community?
    1. Unpopular opinion: no, you can’t be a disciple without a community
    2. We are called individually but we are not called to live individually, even the earliest hermits understood that they were still part of the community and welcomed people to teach them the ways of prayer and discipleship.
  6. How is the Blessed Sacrament Community living out the call of discipleship?
    1. Open Door
    2. Adult Outreach team
    3. Y2Y

Thanks for Joining us!

Podcast Episode 1: The Journey


Show Notes:

Episode 1– The Journey

Welcome to the podcast

A church on the move

New endeavor

Recognizing the presence of God in your life


Why discipleship?

That’s a great place to start! We all know the story of Jesus… the angel came to Mary, Mary said yes, she and Joseph went for the census, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fled to Egypt, grew up in Nazareth as a carpenter and in his early 30’s he was baptized, he gathered a group of apostles and disciples, and then started his ministry. The Bible is filled with lots of great parables and miracles and we know about the Last Supper and the Death and Resurrection of Jesus and all of these stories tell us about the life of Jesus. We also know some other things ABOUT Jesus: Son of God, Son of Mary, Our Savior… but knowing ABOUT someone is something we do with our head, but really KNOWING someone requires our heart to be involved and that type of interaction where a friendship is formed, changes us!


I was thinking of an everyday comparison and FACEBOOK came to mind. I have lots of “friends” on FACEBOOK and I know little things about their lives and their kids’ lives and what they are cooking and what diet they are trying and where they are vacationing, BUT I don’t “REALLY know them! The people I really know I have lunch with and I talk with them in person, we go for walks, we watch movies, we hang out and we share the ideas and fears and joys that we have, and it changes me… makes me more compassionate, loving, open, forgiving and that’s why being a disciple of Jesus is so important. To encounter Jesus, to spend time in speaking with him and listening for his voice through prayer, to be his student and model my life after him is to know him and it’s transformational!!

The other thing about discipleship is that it calls us to community. Our Western culture, particularly the culture of the U.S. is very much about individuality and making a go of it on our own and excelling and being the best, sometimes at the expense of others, but to be a true disciple of Jesus you need to live in the context of community. I think about Jesus… son of God.. God with us… Jesus could have lived out his mission without help from anyone HOWEVER that’s not what he did. After he was baptized, he called his group of apostles, those 12 men who were going to be part of a new way of looking at and living in the world and it wasn’t long before there was a whole community of people, disciples, who were sharing and living the message that Jesus was sharing and living… people who encountered Jesus and were changed!!


A question that I often hear from people including some of my own family members is ***Why do people need to follow Jesus, can’t they just be good people??? What is the definition of good? It is an arbitrary standard. What I think is good enough might be a pale comparison of what others think is good… but with Jesus, there isn’t a doubt about what it means to be good… love your enemy, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked, forgive, forgive, forgive, be merciful and the list goes on. Knowing Jesus informs us how to make decisions about our resources and our choices… knowing ABOUT Jesus doesn’t do that


Tell us about the new initiative the journey: So Why the Journey

Right now there are many programs with the goal of teaching about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and how to share the good news of Jesus with others, but THE JOURNEY was the first one that I encountered that started with ENCOUNTER!! It is actually a three “legged” journey. Leg 1 which we start the week of January 20 is about our personal encounter with Jesus. The other two legs which we will offer at later dates are encountering the community of Jesus and encountering Jesus’ way of life. I love how it starts with us as individuals knowing Jesus, moves us into community and then into a way of life. To be a disciple is to know Jesus and within the context of community to help to build the kingdom of God by sharing and living the good news. THE JOURNEY  is structured to facilitate this process.


What should I expect?

The Journey is meant to be experienced in a small group setting so that as we are encountering and coming to know Jesus in a deeper way, we are also coming to know one another in a deeper way, not just a FACEBOOK friend kind of way. We are hosting two different formats for the process. On Monday and Wednesday Evenings we have parishioners who are opening up their homes to host a small group. On Tuesday afternoon, Kathy Doering has offered to host a small group at the parish center and on Tuesday evenings we will also gather at the parish center as a large group, but have small group table leaders who will facilitate our praying and sharing so that we still get the small group feel even in the midst of a larger gathering.


No matter which format you choose, the process is the same. We will always begin with time for checking in with one another about the events or our week. Getting to know each other little by little helps us to share a little easier about our faith experiences as we move farther into the lessons. Then we will listen to scripture and watch a short video. Each week we will encounter a person through the scripture and video who had a personal encounter with Jesus and was changed. Over the six weeks we will hear about the experiences of Mary, the woman who had suffered from hemorrhaging for 12 years and just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’s garment, the man who carried his paralyzed friend to Jesus, the woman at the well, the apostle Philip at the Last Supper and the Centurion at the cross. We will relate the experiences of these people to our ever day life experiences. And then we share from our different perspectives. When we do this we help one another to see and hear new things about Jesus. We have time for quiet, reflective prayer and then we pray together for things that we are thankful for and any needs that we would like to have the group pray for. Each session closes with a time of hospitality which includes snacks of course.


The great thing about the JOURNEY is that it is a program for everyone… people who attend Mass every week and are very active in their faith, those who come to Mass occasionally, those who attend other churches and even those who aren’t too sure about the whole “Jesus thing” or have been reluctant to join a church of any kind. The Journey is a wonderful opportunity to walk the road of faith together and to share our experiences of that walk.

How do people sign up?

Sign up begins Sunday, January 6 at Mass. There will be registration forms by the baptismal font and at coffee and donuts. Take one with you or fill it out and leave it in the box right then and there. The form can also be found on line to be printed out or you can register electronically. However you register, make sure you grab or print out an extra form for your friends and family members. Forms can be brought back to Mass and put in the collection basket the weekend of January 12/13 or dropped off in the faith formation office at any time. There is a $10 registration fee that covers the cost of the participant manual as well as the daily devotional booklet. The $10 can be paid by cash or check or on line or by using the mobile giving app. If couples are signing up, it is best if each has their own manual since there are journaling opportunities and questions to be answered.

Date, time, location

As we mentioned earlier all of the sessions begin the week of January 20 and there are several options for location and days. Currently we have…

***Read selections from the registration form

***If anyone is interested in hosting a small group in their home or being a table leader for Tuesday nights, this can be indicated on the registration form. If you are already part of a small group that meets regularly we would love for you to use the program with your small group and journey along with us.


Why is THE JOURNEY important?

I believe that THE JOURNEY is important for several reasons:

  1. First of all, it guarantees that for 90 minutes a week I will be spending time listening to scripture, praying, growing in my faith, coming to know Jesus and building community. I make time for about 180 minutes of exercise each week to improve my physical health. I play solitaire on my computer and watch TV easily 90 minutes every day for entertainment. My spiritual health is certainly worthy of a concerted block of time each week as well.
  2. Secondly and maybe more importantly, by being part of THE JOURNEY I am experiencing what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in the context of community. I could read all kinds of books and watch all kinds of videos about what it means to be a disciple or how to grow as a disciple of Jesus on my own, but as I am listening to scripture and hearing how others are impacted by the stories, I am forming a wider understanding of who Jesus is and the life he calls me to. Seriously, the world is a hard place to navigate, but it’s easier and better when we do it together. Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? We are here because God loves us and our purpose is to love like God loves and Jesus was the one who showed us what that looks like. It’s simple but not easy. Our world is crazy and divisive and conflicted and devoid of peace and alone I can do very little to change that, but together we can do something to change it, but it starts with us coming together and getting to know each other in a deeper way. The way that Jesus calls us to, as his disciples. I just love the quote from Saint Mother Teresa where she says, “If we have no peace it’s because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

We do belong to each other and we are to care for each other. We strengthen each other for the mission and then we go and be Jesus to and for others in the world… but that’s for the next leg of the journey!

Join our mailing list!

Stay up-to-date with everything happening in the parish by joining our Flocknote mailing list.