Easter Season Reading

Easter Season Reading

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Easter season!  Yes!  Season! Our culture celebrated Easter and is now on to the next thing. We continue to celebrate and focus on the Resurrection of our Lord for 50 days until the Solemnity of Pentecost which is May 20th. Then we return back to Ordinary Time in Week seven. In the meantime, we will hear a healthy dose of the events that followed the Resurrection via the Acts of the Apostles, both in the weekly readings and Sunday readings at Mass. I recommend reading to that entire book at home so as to get a sense of continuity and the amazing faith of the Apostles and new Christians. Remember that this is our heritage. We have with us the successors of the Apostles today in our bishops and we celebrate the same Sacramental life that they did. You will also see who they held each other closely in their hearts.  You will read how powerfully the Holy Spirit moved in their midst. But, you will also read that they still had many trials issues and were persecuted. And while they had their own personal struggles with each other, they focused their energies at spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. While you read the book, here’s some questions to ponder:

  • What role did the Apostles play in the first Christian communities?
  • How did the Apostles get along with each other?
  • What power/authority did the Apostles demonstrate?
  • What are some of the issues the Apostles had to face?
  • What events paralleled things from Jesus’ life?
  • How did the Christian community help each other?
  • What fears/hardships were present in the Christian community?
  • How did they receive new-comers/strangers?
  • What healings/miracles occurred?
  • What healings do you see today? 
  • What cities were visited?
  • Who were converted?
  • Who did you relate to the most?
  • What does your reading call you to do?
  • How has your reading changed your view of the first Christian communities?

May this Easter season help raise your hearts and minds to the things beyond this world.  Despite the challenges of our own time and in our personal lives, I pray that this Easter time remind us all of the great things that went on in the early Church and still do today.


Fr. William Holtzinger

Easter Is All Around Us

Easter Is All Around Us

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! It is possible because Christ first suffered, died, and rose from the dead, making possible eternal life for us all. This process of suffering, death, and resurrection is also called the Paschal Mystery in theological terms. If we look about, it is all around us.

First, look at nature. Winter is officially ended (though maybe someone needs to remind Mother Nature), and from the places where dead plants and leaves once were, the first shoots of flowers are peaking through the soil and buds are clearly seen on the trees.

Look at our new church being built. This journey for our parish is not one simply of human hands, but of prayers, and most of all God’s blessing.  Despite our doubts and disbelief, God has made it possible.  But, we all had to make the journey of suffering, death, and resurrection: suffering in the sacrifice of financial giving to make a new church a reality, death to the old building as it was being demolished, and now we are experiencing the resurrection clearly seen by gazing at the bright yellow shell of a new building coming out of the ground.

Most importantly, look at our lives. All of us have come to us this Easter bearing the burdens of many sufferings and deaths. Loved ones have died since we were here last year. Close friends have moved away or we moved away. Some marriages have been struggling, or worse, broken apart. A new sickness or physical issue has made itself present. The faith of someone who is close has been shaken or abandoned. Again, all of us have come with suffering and death.  But, remember that this is not the end of the story. We must remember that our sufferings and deaths can be redemptive if we join the to that of Christ’s. As much as these things hurt, we must bring them to Him! How? Let him know of your pain. Just tell him. But, also listen and be open. Allow Jesus to touch that pain, so to begin the healing. Let Jesus into the death that has occurred so you can rise from your ashes. We must remember that our Lord desires to heal us. It is for this reason he came. He wants to give us a joy that is beyond our understanding and circumstances. We just need to let him in. By doing so, we can experience an Easter of our own, not despite our sufferings and deaths, but through them.

If you have been away from your Faith and the Church due to some kind of suffering, please return.  Know that our Lord has not abandoned you, but wants you to share your sufferings with him. He knows all of it. He walked that path before you. And he opened the way to rise above it. But, it requires letting go of control, anger, hurt, resentment, addiction, unforgiveness, fear, and past sins. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Confession) is a good start. Regardless of what has kept you away, know that you are welcome to come home to your Church, your Faith, your Lord who is waiting for you with open arms.  If you’ve been away for so long that you are unsure how to return, we have a wonderful gathering that begins this Tuesday at 6:30 PM in room 1 of our Parish Center.  We call it, “Welcome Home Catholics,” and it is an informal way to explore the things that you may have forgotten or just need to be encouraged about. This Easter, come home.  Do not let anything get in your way. This may very well be the beginning of a new start of joy and meaning by reconnecting with your Faith.

Easter is all around us. It is in nature, our church, and deep in our lives.  A new beginning is before us. Through Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, new possibilities of life and joy abound. Easter is a time to rejoice in this gift of Salvation. So it is right and just that we lift up our hearts and voices in praise, knowing that Christ has made all things new.  And we know that God wants us all to experience it, for Easter is all around us. Alleluia! Alleluia!


Fr. William Holtzinger

Invite Others Home

Invite Others Home

Dear Parishioners,

Blessed Palm Sunday!  May the passion of the Lord bring a renewed appreciation for what Jesus did for us. May all our pain and suffering transform us for the salvation of souls.  In that same vein, I want to encourage everyone this week to consider others who are suffering, especially those who have been away from the faith. We know true happiness because of faith.  But, many do not see it the same way. For many, someone within the Church has hurt them.  Others have hidden suffering which they prefer to hide and they think going to church will make the hurt all the worse. For some, it is more of a matter of just getting out of the habit.  Regardless of the reasons, I want to encourage you to seek out your friends and neighbors and invite them to join you for Easter Mass. If they are so interested, consider inviting them to Holy Thursday and Good Friday. For some people, all they need is a loving invitation. Let them know which time you will be going and even consider driving them and invite them to sit with you at Mass. Remove any barriers that may cause them hesitancy. You may be nervous to make the invitation, but just consider it a risk worth taking. Helping others come home for Easter may be the greatest thing you could have done for them. Helping them come home may have eternal consequences.  


Fr. William Holtzinger

Holy Week

Holy Week

Dear Parishioners,

Some very special and holy days will soon be upon us. Here’s a short summary of these amazing days.

Chrism Mass
To start off these events, the Church will celebrate, here in the Archdiocese of Portland, the Chrism Mass. This Mass will assemble nearly all of the priests serving our archdiocese at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, the mother church, the place where the “cathedra,” the chair of the bishop is located, the sign of the authority of Archbishop Sample. At that Mass we priests will renew our promises and join with the archbishop in prayer for the blessing of the Holy Oils (Oil of the Sick, Oil of the Catechumens, and the Oil of Chrism). From that Mass we will return to our respective parishes where these oils will be presented before the community on Holy Thursday.

Palm Sunday
This coming weekend, we celebrate of The Passion of the Lord, also known as Palm Sunday. In this Mass, we begin, in earnest, “Holy Week.” We will be given blessed palms which will be used as signs of remembrance of the the triumphant entry of Christ to Jerusalem. We will listen attentively to the Gospel’s account of the Passion of our Lord in a interactive way, as is our custom. I recommend everyone to wear read that day.

Holy Thursday

Later in that week, on Thursday the 29th, we begin the Triduum, the three holy days that start with Holy Thursday. At that Mass, we hear about the Last Supper and how Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles. After the homily, the priest will wash the feet of people from our community who represent our different ministries. The Eucharist will be received as per usual at Mass, but the conclusion of the Mass will differ. Instead of just ending the Mass, we will offer a period of time (until 10 PM) for people to stay and be present to Christ in the Eucharist on the altar.

Good Friday
On Good Friday, March 30th, all are invited to go to the First Christian Church (305 SW H St.) for an ecumenical Good Friday Service. I have been asked to preach. Later in the evening (7 PM), St. Anne will offer our Good Friday Service where the presider will enter in silence and prostrate himself at the altar. Then we will listen to an extended and interactive narrative of the Passion of the Lord. There will be special intercessions followed by the popular Veneration of the Cross. Lastly, Holy Communion will be offered, and all will leave in a solemn silence.

Easter Saturday and Sunday
On Saturday evening, all are invited for the pinnacle of the Church’s celebrations: The Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday. This Mass will begin outside with the lighting of the Easter Fire, blessing of the new Paschal Candle, and procession into our gathering space (this year our Parish Center). The deacon will proclaim the “Exsultet.” Then the community feasts on a large portion of the Scriptures reflecting on the history of salvation. After this, the Elect come forward to be baptized. Then they join the Candidates to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This celebration culminates in the reception of their First Holy Communion. The next day, on Sunday, St. Anne will hold all the Easter Masses in the Gym across the street at Lincoln Elementary School. The celebration of Christ’s glorious Resurrection is the reason for our hope. It is the goal for which we long. It is the reason for the season  and the days that follow.  

I hope that you will be able to find time to be part of every moment of these holiest of days ahead.


Fr. William Holtzinger

The Scrutinies

The Scrutinies

Dear Parishioners,

As we continue our journey through Lent, there are some very special rites we celebrate for those seeking to enter the Church via our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).  I am speaking of the “Scrutinies.”  Often I get raised eyebrows when people hear the name of these rites. They sound quite dramatic, and we actually hope they are for those participating in them.  But, they are not something to fear.  It is my hope that they build up the hope and strengthen the faith of those experiencing the Scrutinies.  

The actual rite comes from antiquity and is celebrated on the third, fourth, and fifth weekends of Lent. So, this week, the Scrutiny was held at the Saturday 5 PM Mass and will move to the Sunday 8 AM and 11 AM Mass respectively in the coming weeks.  Originally, these rites were the ways the early Church assessed the readiness of those who desired to be baptized and, thus, become Christians. Over time, the rituals changed and eventually disappeared along with the whole process of the Catechumenate as it was once called. It was after the Second Vatican Council that the call was made to restore the RCIA and all of its rites and adapt it to modern times. In our case, we use a combined rite for the elect (those to be baptized) and candidates (those already baptized).

What does the rite consist of?  It begins with bringing the elect and candidates with their sponsors before the community. Then there is an invitation to prayer and a period of silence.  The Elect are asked to kneel and the Candidates are asked to bow their heads, both as a sign of inner repentance.  What follows are intercessions for the elect and candidates. A prayer of Exorcism and laying on of hands or hands stretched over is made by the presider. The rite concludes with a dismissal so that they can leave and take part in a deeper reflection on the Word of God already proclaimed at Mass.

The purpose for the elect and candidates at each of the scrutinies is to 1. to uncover, 2. to heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful, and 3. to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. (cf. RCIA 141).  In the big picture,, “the scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ.” (ibid. 141).

So, I hope you will be able to witness and prayerfully support our elect and candidates in the Scrutinies. Personally, I find them to are very moving and powerful for all involved, including myself.


Fr. William Holtzinger

101 Spiritual Ideas for Lent

101 Spiritual Ideas for Lent

Originally created on March 1, 2009 (Updated Feb. 17, 2010 and again Feb. 18, 2018)

A scarcity mentality can darken our joy and blind us to the abundance that is before us. We need to break through the chains that captivate us in selfishness. Certainly, God is the first one whom we need to seek. In addition, we can do some spiritual and concrete things which will remind us of the joy which God wants us to have. 

In addition, Lent provides us with a particularly focus time to explore ways that we can give God the glory, love others, and care/love ourselves. Instead of focusing on giving up things, there are many things we can do, things that could reawaken our sensibilities to the amazing things God has done in our midst.

Therefore, I would like to offer my list of 101 concrete ways to combat our culture of scarcity in which we now live. All these things, while seemingly small or even trivial, can be very spiritual and concrete actions that can help us from day to day. I am not endorsing any particular companies nor attempting to advertise any businesses, but simply referencing local ideas that may serve to help you discern how you may be able to accomplish some of these ideas. Maybe you can create your own 101 ideas and act on them.

1. Pray. 

2. Pray.

3. Pray some more. 

4. Read the Gospel of Mark 

5. Vacuum the floor 

6. Concentrate on paying off a debt (start with the smallest) 

7. Clean the work bench in the garage 

8. Take someone out for dinner 

9. Get rid of clutter around a specific area 

10. Turn off the evening news on television 

11. Compete your tax return 

12. Smile at someone and wish them a good day 

13. Mop the kitchen floor 

14. Join a menʼs or womenʼs faith sharing group 

15. Clean out that junk drawer 

16. Walk around the block noticing things around you 

17. Give out socks to the homeless 

18. Clean up that mess on your computerʼs desktop 

19. Attend Mass during the week 

20. Donate unused clothes to a local charity 

21. Read the Acts of the Apostles 

22. Read a book about the faith 

23. Wash your clothes 

24. Clean the inside of the car 

25. Serve at a soup kitchen 

26. Make a random donation to your favorite charity 

27. Go to Confession 

28. Watch an uplifting TV program 

29. Eat some chocolate 

30. Wash the car of a family member without letting them know 

31. Serve once at Coffee and Donuts on Sunday 

32. Take up a new hobby such as photography or woodworking 

33. Start playing your favorite sport 

34. Mail $20 to someone anonymously 

35. Open the drapes/blinds in the house 

36. Go on a retreat 

37. Clean up your e-mail on your computer 

38. Visit some children 

39. Attend Evening Prayer at Mount Angel Abbey 

40. Go camping as a retreat… bring a bible and a journal 

41. Adopt a pet from a shelter

42. Exercise 

43. Watch an old favorite movie that you haven’t seen in a long time

44. Write a snail-mail letter/card to someone who may need it  

45. Start a Facebook account and connect with friends

46. Go on a homeless immersion retreat with JOIN  

47. Do something “green” (ie. use a recyclable bag when shopping, unscrew one light bulb in the house, turn off unused lights, avoid using plastic bags)

48. Go to the Zoo, OMSI, or Evergreen Air & Space Museum 

49. Make an effort to tell someone what yo appreciate about them 

50. Take a Sunday drive 

51. Visit St. Rita's Retreat or the Trappist Abbey or other retreat Center

52. Go on a wine-tasting tour with a friend

53. Go to/rent an uplifting or thought provoking movie 

54. East some popcorn with butter 

55. Mow the lawn 

56. Offer your time as a Eucharistic Minister or Lector at Mass 

57. Go to the coast or mountains for a day 

58. Paint something 

59. Go for a bike ride 

60. Drive the scenic route 

61. Share a funny story about yourself with someone and laugh at yourself 

62. Listen to your favorite (uplifting) song 

63. Curl up with your spouse 

64. Look at funny animal pictures on the Internet 

65. Go watch some live music 

66. Go fishing 

67. Go to see some amazing waterfalls (Multnomah, Silver Creek, etc.) 

68. Clean the siding of your house 

69. Do an online retreat: ie. Creighton University or Sacred Space or Loyal Press

70. Work in your garden 

71. Try a new food 

72. Go skiing, sledding, or tubing, thankful for God's gift of recreation

73. Take someone to a play performance 

74. Go to bed early and get up early 

75. Read about the Lives of the Saints 

76. Build a model 

77. Go garage-saling or window shopping instead of regular shopping

78. Enroll in a class that you've always wanted to take 

79. Send flowers anonymously (or not) to someone who may need them 

80. Pray the rosary

81. Clean the garage 

82. Learn to play the guitar (maybe lessons?) 

83. Take a class to use your computer better 

84. Spread good news about someone behind their back 

85. Lounge in a hammock in the backyard, weather permitting 

86. Go on a Marriage Encounter Weekend 

87. Read the Book of Lamentation 3:21-24 

88. Go Geocaching with a friend 

89. Turn off your cell phone for a day

90. Let someone cut in front of you in traffic

91. Instead of watching television, read a book about the Faith

92. Go for a walk picking up garbage as you go 

93. Pay for the car behind you in the drive thru 

94. Go tent camping in your backyard or living room 

95. Spend an hour in silent prayer listening (not talking) to God

96. Help a neighbor with a project 

97. Wear Shorts, flip-flops, and a Hawaiian Shirt all day 

98. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

99. Walk around your town's center plaza (ie. Waterfront Park and Pioneer Square in Portland)

100. Take a day trip to Mt. Ashland, Mt. Hood, Mt Shasta, Mt. St. Helens, or a nearby mountain

101. Write your own list of 101 Spiritual Acts in a Culture of Scarcity


'cause I just couldn't stop, here's some more... 


102. Rent a canoe or kayak and take it to your favorite lake 

103. Make an inspiring music video or slide show 

104. Crank up an uplifting song in your house and dance 

105. Hug a friend 

106. Go for a helicopter ride 

107. Watch a silly movie with a friend 

108. Call a person on the phone with whom you haven't talked in a long time 

109. Donate money to a charity 

110. Babysit a relative's child so they can go on a date 

111. Drive someone to Mass 

112. Take a day off from work and spend it doing goo deeds for others

113. Thank someone for something they've done, and mean it.

114. Listen to someone and don't talk

115. Thank God for all you've been given

116. Volunteer to tutor someone

117. Create your own "Bucket List". Watch the movie of the same name 

118. Accept others where they are at and not where they should be

119. Make breakfast for dinner

120. Rearrange your furniture

121. Volunteer at your Church

122. Give a lottery ticket to someone

123. Post a positive comment on someone's blog/web page

124. Stay local during Spring Break and enjoy God's creation in your own zip code

125. Give a phone card to a homeless person

126. Write a thank you to someone who has made a difference in your life

127. Visit a animal shelter and pet the dogs and cats

128. Powerwash the driveway

129. Whistle a happy tune while walking around

130. Invite friends over for a car washing party

131. Go skydiving

132. Donate blood

133. Fast one meal and give a sack lunch to a homeless person

134. Tell your parents how grateful you are to them

135. Bring cookies or sweets to share with your coworkers

136. Submit an editorial in the newspaper about how great life is

137. Praise a fellow employee to their boss

138. Take flowers and a get well card to someone in the hospital who has none

139. Leave an anonymous note on the windshield of someone's car wishing them a great day

140. Share your concessions with those around you at a sporting event

141. Buy a gift certificate for a dinner for two and anonymously mail it to someone you know

142. Donate stuff or time to a fundraiser

143. Help someone with their homework

144. Donate food or money to the St. Vincent de Paul

145. Donate blankets, sheets, towels, socks, and toiletries to a homeless shelter

146. Volunteer at a Special Olympics Event

147. Volunteer to do simple work at your church's office

148. Clean out your refrigerator

149. Volunteer to pet-sit for a neighbor or friend

150. Create a web site for a non-profit group

151. Volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity group

152. Sing along to the radio or a CD playing your favorite Christian song

153. Search the Internet for "stories of hope"

154.  Visit an art, history, or nature museum

155. Get a Twitter account and follow your favorite people

156. Paint your mailbox in a creative way.

157. Get a massage

158. Visit someone in a nursing home

159. Hike the nearest mountain

160. Go for a scooter ride.

161. Give yourself $1 to feed yourself all day

162. E-mail someone whom you haven't communicated with in a while

163. Go on a homeless immersion retreat with JOIN

164. Volunteer at your church

165. Go to a park and photograph wildlife

167. Sleep in your guest room or living room floor instead of your own bedroom

168. Volunteer to help clean someone's home who can't do it themselves

169. Volunteer to go shopping for someone who is homebound

170. Rent an inspirational movie

171. Drive slower and notice the things around you

172. Anonymously mail some money to someone who needs it

173. Take someone to lunch or dinner

174. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Make sure to say hi to everyone you meet.

175. Write and mail a greeting card to someone who could use some support

176. Go to the library and seek out an inspirational book

177. Invite someone to go with you to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. confession)

178. Pray for someone you dislike

179. Pray Morning Prayer 

180. Drink a glass of water, thankful to have clean water

180. Join a prayer chain

182. Clean your bathroom

183. Choose to fast for a day

184. Go visit the local Pet Shelter/Humane Society

185. Read a book about a Saint

186. Lock up your credit card and pay down your debt

187. Read a Psalm of Praise such as Ps. 104 or 145 or 150... find your favorite

188. Clean out unused or old food in your kitchen

189. Go bird watching

190. Create a list of things for which you are thankful

191. Attend a youth sports game

192. Go to a lily farm

193. Ride the local bus system from one side of the metro area to the other. Notice things around you.

194. Give up music for a period of time

195. Fast from carbon by giving up your electronics

196. Go bowling or play putt-putt-golf with a friend

197. Go to your local Farmer's Market or Flee Market (ie. Saturday Market in Portland)

198. Tell others how thankful you are about the weather (a.k.a. don't complain about the weather)

199. Listen carefully to the person with you before talking about your own stuff

200. Pray that God will do what is best for the politician you dislike the most

201. Find out what a dollar will buy in a 3rd world country.

202. Make someone laugh

203. Call mom and/or dad every day and tell them that you love them

204. Site quietly for 5 minutes and listen to your breathing

205. Buy a couple of bags of groceries and give it to a needy family

206. Donate money to your local Catholic or faith-based School

207. Join a choir

208. Make your bed

209. Take a neighbor's dog for a walk

210. Unplug your TV and put it in the garage for a month or two

211. Do some spiritual reading online

212. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours

213. Use our FORMED subscription to do an online mini-retreat. 


Ideas from Busted Halo.com

214. Make a commitment to read the Sunday scriptures before you go to Mass.

215. Sign up or just go spend an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. 

216. Think about what you usually spend your money on. Do you buy too many clothes? Spend too much on dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent, and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity.

217.  Commit to 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.

218. When you first sit down in front of your computer at work, or at the very end of your workday, try a 10-minute guided prayer from Sacred Space based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.

219. If you don’t have a cross in your house, buy a simple one and put it in your bedroom.

220. Artist: Spend time each day drawing or taking a picture of something that reminds you of God’s love in creation. Maybe post it on your social media account to share with others.

221. Read the entire Gospel of Mark in one sitting.

222. Attend the Stations of the Cross. There are many online versions as well.

223. Get some friends together on Friday’s and have a simple meatless dinner

224. Unplug from your iPhone or turn off your car radio on your commute. The silence may be jarring at first, but you may find that you are able to concentrate better and will be more observant of your surroundings.

225. Buy a book of daily reflections and keep it by your bed.

226. Think about a habit that has kept you from being whom God is calling you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent.

227. Spend at least one weekend or evening volunteering during Lent. Cook a meal and give it to someone who is on the streets. Visit the elderly. 

228. Make a commitment to fast from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping or going down the Twitter rabbit hole.

229. Participate in a small faith sharing group.

230. As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty). Give money to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person.


Guidelines at Mass During Flu Season

Guidelines at Mass During Flu Season

Dear Parishioners,

We are now at the peak of the flu season.  Last weekend, I shared that we are trying to be sensitive to this health issue. Similarly, many parishes have been concerned and have asked for guidance from the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship. Here are their guidelines which they offered:

1. While communion under both species has “a more complete form as a sign when it is received under both kinds,” [GIRM 281], it is not always necessary or advisable.

2.  It is left to the prudent judgment of the pastor whether communion under both kinds should be offered during a period in which there is a high incidence of colds and the flu.

3. If Communion under both kinds is retained those who are not feeling well should refrain from receiving from the chalice, and should receive Holy Communion under the form of bread alone to avoid transmitting any illness.

4. Due to the fact that our hands are often transmitters of the cold and flu, care should be taken that:

a. No one should ever be permitted to self-intinct (dip) the consecrated host into the Precious Blood. The practice is prohibited by law and its result can be the unknowing transmission of illness.
b. In place of the regular way of offering the sign of peace a nod of the head and a verbal greeting of peace rather than the shaking of hands during this cold and flu season may be used.
c. Holding hands during the Our Father should be discouraged.

5. Those who are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in the parish church or those involved in ministry to the homebound should take special precautions. They should heed all health directives by frequently washing their hands and avoiding contact with others, especially those most susceptible to illness.

6. Catholics who are ill are excused from Sunday worship out of respect and concern for their fellow worshipers. Catholics who are ill may make a spiritual communion during the time of their illness.

So, I believe it prudent during all Masses to refrain from offering the chalice, discouraging shaking hands at the Sign of Peace, as well as from holding hands at the Lord’s Prayer.  It is my hope that fewer people will communicate the flu virus while at Mass.  Thank you for your understanding and patience, as this may be a source of sacrifice, especially for those for whom the chalice is the only way they receive communion due to celiac disease.  In these cases, a blessing and spiritual communion is the best that can be offered. These practices will be in place through the end of February where we expect to return to our regular practices.


Fr. William Holtzinger

Mini-Campaign - Thank You - Church Dedication

Mini-Campaign - Thank You - Church Dedication

Dear Parishioners,

This past week, we held our annual min-campaign for the continuing process of our Honoring Our Past - Building Our Future Capital Campaign. This process will continue annually through five years. The goal is to steward our pledge sources so as to ensure the stability of the campaign while also attempting to make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate. We are very aware that each year there will be parishioners who move, have a reduction in pay or hours, lose a job, get sick, have an unexpected change in finances, and even pass away.  This can destabilize a percentage of pledges. On the other hand, each year new people move into the area and join our parish, others get a new job or a raise, others come into a new-found financial prosperity, and others have completed their pledge and desire to continue to help financially. It is for these and many other reasons why the campaign program calls for an annual process.  

So, I want to thank all of you who generously made a pledge or renewed your pledge this past week. I also want to thank the crew of dedicated parishioners who came each evening to the church and made phone calls to prospective donors.  If some folks didn’t make a pledge, it was still important to reach and let them know that they are an important part of our parish and that we truly appreciate all their prayerful support. 

This is an exciting time.  I called the office of the Archbishop and got a tentative date for Archbishop Sample to come and dedicate our new church.  At this time, we are looking to September 1st.  Pencil that date in our calendars, but be prepared with your handy eraser too. As the completion date gets closer, I will make sure to let us all know with more certainty the date and time for our first Mass and dedication.


Fr. William Holtzinger

Thank You!

Thank You!

Dear Parishioners,

Merry Christmas and happy new year!  As I look back on 2017, I have much to be thankful for.

This year is one that has been dominated by our church building project, a project that has continued to amaze and inspire me. With the guidance of our Design Committee and Finance Committee, what was going to be a simple building with mostly reused items has now become a design of true noble simplicity and beauty. The capacity to make this happen is due to the faith and amazing generosity of parishioners and friends of St. Anne’s.  We set many goals that most of us doubted could become reality.  Yet, we now stand with over $4 million in pledges and donations. Some of our basic or simple ideas have blossomed into things we didn’t think were possible.  I am talking about the addition of a daily Mass chapel, bathrooms which meet code and ADA standards, a new statue of Mary which matches the St. Joseph statue, a new image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, beautiful doors throughout, new padded pews, a new altar and ambo, carpet and tile throughout the major parts of the building, confessionals, a children’s cry room, and… wait for it… stained glass windows!

Besides the financial and physical aspects of the building project, it is fair to say that most everyone involved have gotten to know more people in our parish. Having Mass in the Sky Room has brought us closer together. We have been more focused on that which is most important. For me, Mass and preaching have been so much more rich. Being so close to everyone at Mass has brought an intimacy that is akin to our mission churches. Sharing the Eucharist in our smaller space has brought a focus about the most important things and a detachment about those things that are less so.

I am thankful for all that God has been doing in our midst. It is beyond my full comprehension, but I am so glad to be part of this community at this time in our history. I pray that you and yours have experienced joy amidst the changes ongoing in our parish this year. Thank you for all you have and continue to do to make St. Anne Church what she is!


Fr. William Holtzinger

If It’s All About Sunday, Then What About Christmas? Part II

If It’s All About Sunday, Then What About Christmas? Part II

Dear Parishioners,

Last week, I wrote about how, as Church and evangelization, it is all about Sunday Mass.  Sunday Mass brings in the most people at any discrete time which leverages the potency and ability to evangelize, not just ourselves, but those who are new, visiting, or passing through.  No ministry of our parish does this, nor can it. The Liturgy, the Mass, is the “Source and Summit” of our faith according to the Second Vatican Council. So if it is true that it is all about Sunday, what does this mean about Christmas? Well, let me ask a few simple questions. Isn’t Christmas the single most attended set of Masses in the year? Doesn’t it bring in more people than any other time, many of whom we don’t know? Doesn’t Christmas also bring people to us from other Christian traditions, others who are not Christian, others who are seekers, others who are broken-hearted, others who are mourning, others who are in need? Doesn’t this time draw our family members to Mass with us, and even some when they would not otherwise attend Mass? The answer to these questions is, “YES!”  And because this is so true, all the more we should be mindful of our calling, as Church, when they come on Christmas, to put forward our best efforts to be hospitable, kind, generous, open, and loving. Of course, we should be this way all the time, but at Christmas, this is the most potent time to share the Gospel. Remember, we are called to be an alter cristus, “another christ” to our neighbors.

So, if it is all about Sunday, then in terms of evangelization, it is all about Christmas! Christmastime needs to be our focus and we should be thinking, “All Hands Aboard!” This is why we have so many Masses. Sure, we could cut down on a Mass or two and everyone might still fit. It would be very efficient, reduce our workload, and get us home faster.  But, this is what is called, “church-think.” We employees or leaders of ministries are most prone to this way of thinking. Church-think puts the focus on ourselves, the minister, volunteer, or dedicated parishioner in the pews, and not on others who are new or in need. It pays no attention to what is best for others nor considered the situations in which they live. It is essentially selfish and antagonistic to what it is to be Church, that is evangelizers who desire to share and spread the Good News. We could have one single Christmas Eve or Day Mass by renting the largest space possible which would hold all who will come to that Mass, but that would be evangelical suicide. By having only one time, one door, so-to-speak, for people to come to our Christmas Eve Mass, we are very likely going to lose many people who couldn’t make that one small window of time. In our mission of St. Patrick of the Forest, the same applies. We could have one Mass and the community could likely all fit, but then they would miss out on this potent chance to share the Good News with those who couldn’t make that singular time. In fact, by having two Masses, they double the chances to proclaim the Good News to the newcomer. Another way of looking at this can be seen in the words St. John Paul II spoke when, at his first Mass as pope in 1978, he challenged the Church to, “open wide the doors to Christ.” He challenged us all to get out of our shells, our narcissism, our fears, our tribalisms, and any other things which keep us, and the Faith, to ourselves. He challenged us not to fear. He asked us to help him to serve so as to help humanity know what its true calling is. And what is it?  What is all our calling? To be saints! We are being called to put our Lord first and proclaim the Gospel.

So what are some ways we can put this into practice? Here are some thoughts and recommendations. Consider parking further away than normal so that newcomers will be able to park closer. Sit in the center of a row instead of at the edges so that new people will more easily find a place at Mass. Thank someone for letting you sit next to them. Be willing to move aside to help someone else sit down. Give up your seat if you see others standing, especially those with physical issues and sacrifice yourself by standing at Mass. If you are a liturgical minister, make sure you sign up for a slot, show up early, and even consider helping out at an additional Mass since we will all be stretched thin in this regard. Do not complain or gossip about others. Guests hear this and make judgements very quickly as to what kind of community we are or are not. Smile even if it kills you. Be the first to apologize if there is a misunderstanding. Introduce yourself by name to anyone you don’t know sitting near you. Be gracious while in the parking lot or walking to and from your car.  Wish others a blessed Christmas. Bring some, pre-signed, Christmas cards with you and give them to others, especially those whom you don’t know. Thank others for their presence at Mass, especially if don’t know them. Compliment someone for their good singing. Pray for the person who appears distressed, or otherwise struggling. Be nice to the priests, for they have fourteen Masses to cover from that Saturday night to Christmas Day. Share how happy you are to be part of this faith community. Don’t share your personal pet peeves… honestly, nobody wants to hear them. Wish those around you a blessed Christmas. And I’m sure there are many more ideas each one of us could come up with, right? Please let me know if you have some creative ideas in this regard.

So, remember, in terms of parish evangelization, it is all about Christmas.  Do not give into thinking about yourself, rather be other-centered. Love, laugh, smile, and encourage. Nobody can challenge honest joy. And may this Christmas be one that gives God the glory for his faithful will have lived out out their calling. I look very much forward to celebrating this time with you all!


Fr. William Holtzinger