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By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 8/12/2018 12:00 AM

We so often talk about a parish being a family; and I continue to be impressed and humbled by the way these two wonderful parish communities truly display a familial spirit on a day by day basis. In fact, it is something that I hear regularly from visiting priests: ‘These parishes truly do care for each other!’ It is a true blessing to help shepherd this familial approach and to constantly strive to enlighten and strengthen the bonds of love that exists both in each parish itself; as well as between the two parish communities and the larger Church community as well.

Perhaps I am thinking about this familial approach this weekend in particular because I am unfortunately away, but due to family obligations. I am in Chicago celebrating the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary of my God Parents (who also happen to be my Aunt and Uncle (my mother’s oldest brother.)

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 5/13/2018 12:00 AM
Today, we honor and celebrate the most important person in your life: your mother. No matter who we are or what we do, there is a particular woman in our lives who originally gave us life, and we all owe her a particular debt and gift of gratitude. That unique bond that exists between a mother and her child is something to gaze upon in awe; as I remember seeing my oldest sister holding her new born child some 24 years ago; (that child is now a mother herself!) I knew that there was something special present and I was witnessing a particular gift and beauty right in front of me.
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 4/22/2018 12:15 AM

On April 11, my parents celebrated their 48th Wedding Anniversary. It is such a blessing and honor to be able to acknowledge this achievement as we slowly begin to make plans for two years down the road, too. It seems like we were all just around the dinner table as kids, and now all my siblings have their own children, and one even has a grandchild, herself!

In my time in the vocation office, I quickly discovered that not everyone was as fortunate to have such a family; but it was such a blessing to me to have the strong support of my family back home; as it made my discernment towards the priesthood much easier. There was a great deal of freedom and peace that came to me from them, and I am so very grateful for their support and the solid base they left me and my five siblings.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 4/8/2018 12:00 AM

Ever since Pope Francis called for the Year for Mercy a few years back, I continue to be struck by the number of times that ‘Mercy’ appears in the Church’s liturgical life. It seems that it is a few times a week, every week, that the word pops up off the page; either in the readings, the prayers for Mass, or the Liturgy of the Hours. And every time, it brings me back to that year and the focus on the Mercy and grace of God Who calls us His sons and daughters, drawing us always deeper and more profoundly into a relationship with Himself.

In short, there is a constant reinforcement that the Mercy of God is a deep reservoir of grace that can never be exhausted. We may tire of asking for it; but God will never tire in dispensing His Love and Mercy.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 12/24/2017 12:00 AM

What a beautiful time of year. Even this year, with the Fourth Sunday of Advent falling on Christmas Eve, it is one of the best times of the year to be a priest. We get to celebrate unique and tender moments in the history of Salvation, in the history of God working with His people to bring us back into a relationship with Himself. And it is such a joy to celebrate with the parishioners of these two excellent parishes.

Once again this year, I am struck by both the tremendous scope of what we celebrate and the incredible intimacy of the retelling of the events. Throughout Advent, especially in these later stages of Advent when we look to the birth of Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, the Church reviews all of the ancient prophecies that are fulfilled in this singular event. From the Garden of Eden, to the Kingship of David, to the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi; the weight of history is focused in a small manger, and how incredible it is.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 12/17/2017 12:00 AM

I want to thank everyone who has come out to the watch parties, so far, for the Great American Baking Show. It has been tremendous fun and I am glad I can finally share my little secret with you all. In this whole process, I have gotten many questions about the show, why I auditioned, what all happened while I was away, and of course, many ‘I didn’t know you baked!’ comments! I’d like to take this space to answer a few of those comments.

The application process started in either late February or early March. A friend on Facebook sent me a link with the comment, ‘You should apply to this!’ And it was the application to the show! I thought it would take a few minutes, maybe up to twenty; but I finally finished it an hour and a half later! An email receipt came in a few days later, but I didn’t hear anything until mid-April. A call out of the blue and a Skype interview the next day, and I was on my way. If you remember back over the summer months and there were times when I disappeared without much explanation, it was often because of the application process for the show.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 6/25/2017 12:00 AM
As we enter back into Ordinary Time, we leave behind us the Easter Season. Where does that leave us? We just finished the liturgical season whose profession of joy and hope, by the Resurrection of Christ, finds its meaning properly in light of the suffering and sorrow of the Passion. So does this mean that every season besides Easter, is a moment to be accepted grudgingly, merely as an unavoidable fact of life? Intuition tells us, No. Christmas time is also a time of joy and love. But Ordinary Time seems to pale in comparison to the immense power, love, and life found in Christ’s Resurrection. Even the title of the liturgical season seems to communicate a sense of the mundane. Even as a seminarian, I sometimes have to ask, what is its meaning again? Where, in Ordinary Time, is the excitement and virility of life that Easter professed with its start during “The Mother of all Vigils”? Even within St. John Neumann and Corpus Christi, the colorfully bright banners and flowers that once adorned the altar and the walls of the church, during Easter, are gone. It seems that after such a decorated time we now must embrace a period of sorrow, ambiguity and mundanity. What is the distinction to be made here?
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 1/8/2017 12:00 AM
This weekend, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord; the commemoration of the Magi from the East bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Lord as an offering for the New Born King of the Jews. Ancient prophecies of kings and queens from Sheba and points afar coming to welcome this new born king abound in the Old Covenant; again all those threads introduced long ago are being woven together into this new, beautiful tapestry that Christ continues to weave to our day.
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 12/18/2016 12:00 AM

As we come to the ninth and final chapter of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on Married Love, we find a lovely conclusion to the work entitled: “The Spirituality of Marriage and the Family.” What strikes me in this chapter is how needed this reality is, that there is intended to be a spiritual life at the heart of a Christian family, for only the family that prays as one will be able to face the trials and tribulations that come in the modern world with that grace needed to find life through those little daily crosses that are presented. Our Holy Father states:

“The Lord’s presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes. Living in a family makes it hard for us to feign or lie; we cannot hide behind a mask. If that authenticity is in- spired by love, then the Lord reigns there, with his joy and his peace. The spirituality of family love is made up of thousands of small but real gestures. In that variety of gifts and encounters which deepen communion, God has his dwelling place. This mutual concern “brings together the human and the divine”, for it is filled with the love of God. In the end, marital spirituality is a spirituality of the bond, in which divine love dwells. (AL 315)”

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/27/2016 12:00 AM

As we turn to Chapter 6 of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, ‘The Joy of Love,’ we start to see the theory of the earlier chapters left behind and now a stronger focus on the pastoral situations that are faced in the Church today. This is a long chapter (60 paragraphs long), so I will just be able to hit some of the highlights here and allow you to read the chapter in its entirety.

As has been stressed throughout this document, the Holy Father echoes the statements of the Synod Fathers that ‘Christian families, by the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony, are the principal agents of the family apostolate, above all through ‘their joy-filled witness as domestic churches.’ (AL 200)” It is in the family that the Gospel to be initially encounter. It is the task of parents to prepare the soil of their children’s hearts to receive the Gospel and have it flourish in their lives. This is certainly no small task, hence the length of this chapter!

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/20/2016 12:00 AM
As we turn to chapter 5 of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation ‘The Joy of Love,’ we begin an examination of ‘love made fruitful.’ Our Holy Father begins this chapter with a simple, yet profound statement: ‘Love always gives life. (AL 165)’ Going on to quote St. John Paul II, he expands on this concept in the very heart of conjugal love (the love proper to a husband and wife) does not stop with just the couple, but always expands outwardly.

For a married couple, this begins with the begetting of children and welcoming new life into the world. This first segment is a wonderfully pro-life segment, speaking of the beauty of bringing children into the world, the gift that is new life, and the sacrifices that are often made during a mother’s pregnancy. Yet, there is also this intimacy that exists between a mother and her child, as ‘a mother joins with God to bring forth the miracle of new life. (AL168)’ In his reflections, Pope Francis is really challenging us all, despite the advances of modern medicine, to cherish the mystery that is bringing new life into this world, and how this mystery can bring such joy and happiness into this world. He exhorts: ‘let nothing rob you of the interior joy of motherhood. (AL 171)’ In this, our mothers are a wonderful reflection for us of the love of the Blessed Mother for her Divine Son.
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/13/2016 12:00 AM

As we turn to Chapter 4 of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis turns to discuss the topic of ‘Love in Marriage,’ perhaps the school where love is most cherish, but often is it also most challenged. This is a long, and somewhat poetic chapter in which the Holy Father gives a lovely reflection of many years of preparing couples for married life and witnessing the joy and struggles of those families he saw around.

To begin this chapter, the Holy Father reflects on the popular reading for weddings: First Corinthians, chapter 13. In this selection, St. Paul lists the various attributes of love that define Christian marriage: patience, kind, not jealous, not inflated, etc. Pope Francis looks at each of these terms in their original Greek and gives a wonderful pastoral reflection on how that applies to love today. For just one example, under ‘bears all things,’ the Holy Father writes: “Married couples joined in love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weaknesses and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior attitude. (AL 113)”

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 11/6/2016 12:00 AM

As we turn to Chapter Three of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), we turn our gaze to Jesus Christ, ‘who is at the heart of so many love stories.’ (AL 59) This rather brief chapter is a summary of the Church’s teaching on Marriage and Family life. The Holy Father also mentions the discussions among the Synod Fathers as to what light our faith can bring in to the current situation of marriage and family life in the modern world.

Perhaps when looking at what Jesus brings to the Sacramentality of Marriage, our first stop must be the revision He brings to the Mosaic Law regarding the indissolubility of married life in Matthew 19: ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’ Jesus elevates the call of married life into something more than just a mere partnership between two individuals; in Him, married life is now covenantal, a sign of His love for the Church. As such, Jesus restores this teaching on married life back to the original intention of the Father in the Garden of Eden. Only in Jesus are a married couple able to truly achieve this grace. But we see in his appearance at the Wedding Feast of Cana that He pours out gifts in abundance to those who but ask for it!

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/30/2016 4:50 PM

This continues the series on Amoris Laetita (On the Joy of Love) by Pope Francis, today we tackle chapter 2:

 

I think a challenge that we face in the Church is that we often present the ideal picture, but yet we are not often always so aware of how to help those to whom we minister achieve that ideal. Because of Original Sin entering into the world, there are challenges and struggles present in our world, as we all know. Chapter two, entitled ‘The Experiences and Challenges of Families,’ of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia addresses this awareness.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/23/2016 12:00 AM

Last week, I mentioned I would be going through the chapters of Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, ‘On Love in the Family.’ This weekend, we shall take a walk through Chapter One, which runs from paragraph eight through thirty. You can find the document at www.papalencyclicals.net.

To begin his reflection on love in the family, our Holy Father begins by taking a look at the depictions of married love in the Scripture, for, as he starts, ‘The Bible is full of families, births, love stories and family crises. This is true from its very first page, with the appearance of Adam and Eve’s family with all its burden of violence but also its enduring strength to its very last page, where we behold the wedding feast of the Bride and the Lamb.’ (AL 8)

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/16/2016 12:00 AM
On October 5, all the priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati gathered for our annual Priest’s Convocation at Incarnation Parish in Centerville. We were blessed to have Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, NY, give us a reflection on Pope Francis’ recent Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, ‘on love in the family.’ (Church documents are known by the first two or three Latin words in original document, and are marked by paragraph, not page number.)
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 5/8/2016 12:00 AM
After my sister Tania had her first child, I was back home and had the opportunity to take our grandmother over to visit her newborn great-grandchild. When we arrived, Tania was upstairs sleeping, but her husband was around and both grandma and I were able to hold the baby while she slept as well. After about fifteen minutes, Taylor gave a little whimper as she stirred awake and my sister came flying down the steps shortly thereafter, ‘What’s wrong?!?!?!?’ Then she turned and saw me and our grandmother and looked perplexed, ‘When did you get here?’
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/11/2015 12:00 AM
We have been blessed this past month by the visit of Pope Francis here in the United States. His presence in Washington D.C. and at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia has left a mark on the hearts of all Americans. People look up to Pope Francis; he is easily one of the most loved public figures of the last several years. It is almost impossible to come across someone who doesn’t like Pope Francis. Why is that? The world would say it is because he is changing the Catholic Church, making her a more welcoming place of love and acceptance. They would say we used to be strict and close minded but that Francis has finally come along and fixed things.
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 8/24/2014 9:35 AM

As Alex and Elias moved to the seminary, they wished to pass along this note:

We send you greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Allow us to thank you so much for the love and care you have given us.  Your love, kindliness and generosity mean a lot to us.  You have made us feel at home in St. John Neumann Catholic Church since the time we arrived.  The greetings, smiles and good wishes you extended to us made us feel “we are in the right hands; we have found a home away from home”.

By Fr. Steve Kolde on Sunday, March 16, 2014

Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Archdiocesan Lenten reconciliation initiative, The Light is On for You, is an opportunity to reach out to parishioners and to those who have abandoned participation in the life of the Church and invite them to experience the love and mercy of Christ through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

By Fr. Steve Kolde on Sunday, February 23, 2014

Traveling during his term as Vice President, Thomas Jefferson requested a room at Baltimore’s principal hotel.  The Vice President was traveling alone, without secretary or servants; it had been a long trip and it showed in his clothes and appearance.  The proprietor, not recognizing his distinguished guest, refused him a room.  After Jefferson left, the proprietor was informed that he had just turned away from his establishment the Vice President of the United States.

The horrified innkeeper immediately dispatched his servants to find Mr. Jefferson and offer him whatever accommodations he wished.  A servant caught up with the Vice President at a small inn several miles down the road.  Jefferson sent the servant back to Baltimore with this message: “Tell your master I value his intentions highly, but if he has no room for a dirty farmer, he shall have none for this Vice President.”

By Fr. Steve Kolde on Sunday, October 13, 2013

They had been married only a few months.  Both had endured some hard blows in their lives: the death of his first wife after a long illness, her acrimonious divorce.  Finding each other this late in life – both were in their sixties – had been an unexpected gift and everyone they knew shared their joy.

But then one night, he suddenly went into cardiac arrest ...and he was gone.  At the funeral she was asked by friends how she was doing.  But instead of grief, she quietly and firmly said that all she could do was give thanks – thanks that she and her late husband had had each other for even the brief time that they did.

By Fr. Steve Kolde on Sunday, September 15, 2013
In her book Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ for My Journey Now, the poet, author and actress Maya Angelou remembers an acting lesson early in her career:  “One day my teacher, Frederick Wilkerson, asked me to read to him.  I was twenty-four, very erudite, very worldly.  He asked that I read from Lessons in Truth, a section which ended with these words: ‘God loves me.’  I read the piece and closed the book, and the teacher said, ‘Read it again.’  I pointedly opened the book, and sarcastically read, ‘God loves me.’  He said, ‘Again.’
By Fr. Steve Kolde on Saturday, March 24, 2012
The Chinese hold a special reverence for the lotus flower. The lotus grows from roots embedded deep in the mud of a pond. Slowly and tentatively the first tiny flowers push through the muck and the plant grows steadily toward the surface of the water, always striving for the light. And there it finally blossoms.

The Chinese see in the lotus a parable of how something pure and clean and beautiful can issue forth from the darkness and the mire. The lotus is a symbol of how we too can work through our darkest, most painful circumstances to be reborn to something new. Once it breaks the surface, the lotus flower is transformed. It has arisen through the mud to reveal its true identity in the glory of the light. (From “New Life in the Wreckage” by Margaret Silf, America March 16, 2009.)

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Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
I have been wondering about that. Thank you for explaining it.

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