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Relationships with our Children
Beware!
The Catholic Hipster Handbook
Our pride vs. God’s will
Another Great Festival!
God's Creation
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New Evangelization
Church History: the Protestant Reformation
Muslim Heritage ~ Northern Africa

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By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/15/2017 12:00 AM

On the evening of October 5, I gave a presentation to the parents of children in the preparation for First Reconciliation on the perils of pornography. At the start of the talk, I wanted to make sure that I was clear as to why I was leading this talk, as it is such a sensitive topic.

To be clear, this talk was not in response to a particular incident or event.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to attend a four-day intensive training seminar sponsored by Integrity Restored. This seminar was focused on the widespread impact that pornography has had (and is continuing to have!) in our society; and it was very eye opening for me to attend. At the end of that conference, I resolved to bring that information back to the two parishes in order to be pro-active in responding to this crisis.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/8/2017 12:00 AM

Unfortunately, all too often moments of great need also provide opportunities for those with ‘less than pure’ motives to take advantage of others. It can seem so simple, an email hits your inbox with an easy link, ‘click here to donate!’ button… Or someone you know sends an email out of the blue about needing some financial help because of something off the wall happened. And all of a sudden strange information starts to be requested…

Simple advice comes into play here: if it seems odd, it likely IS odd; pay attention to your gut feeling. And it is always a good idea to verify requests for money via a second source or an alternate means of communication, say a text of phone call, for example.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 10/1/2017 12:00 AM

About a year ago now, I was given an opportunity to contribute to a new effort at evangelization by several friends who are all organized around twitter and other social media platforms. What started as a website run by Tommy Tighe blossomed into a full-grown book: “The Catholic Hipster Handbook: Rediscovering Cool Saints, Forgotten Prayers, and Other Weird But Sacred Stuff,” which was just published by Ave Maria Press out of Notre Dame, Indiana.

Admittedly, the term ‘Catholic Hipster’ needs a bit of an explanation, eh? From the book blurb: ‘Being a Catholic Hipster is all about an attitude--an attitude grounded in being part of a countercultural community of believers dedicated to something bigger than themselves in a world dominated by self-centeredness. It's about yearning to learn more about the faith by seeking out "Catholic cool"--overlooked saints, forgotten prayers and feast days, and traditional practices long set aside by mainstream believers.’

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 9/24/2017 12:00 AM

Come on now, let’s be honest.  This week’s Gospel parable tells us that God is far more gracious and generous than we are.  But, you know that a lot of people think - that’s not fair – the way the workers were all paid the same wages and not working the same hours.

Too often we hear that employers aren’t fair! Teachers, referees, coaches, judges, our government isn’t fair!  Parents aren’t fair - the Church isn’t fair!  God isn’t fair!  Good gosh where does it end?

It’s encouraging for us to realize that we don’t have the right to make either judgements or comparisons of others.  We’re taught to be fair, to play fair, and work hard to get fair wages for a fair days work.  We think of work as a necessity.  We need a paycheck to pay our bills, buy the necessities we need, and a little left over for some relaxation.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 9/17/2017 12:00 AM
On behalf of the entire St John Neumann staff I would like to thank our festival committee, booth chairs, everyone who worked or helped out during the festival, setup and cleanup crews, scouts who helped with parking, our sponsors, and our entire staff who worked to make our festival a success.  The one thing we can always count on is a tremendous team effort and that certainly was the case this year.  The weather challenged us again this year with the remnants of hurricane Harvey basically raining on the festival all night on Friday.  But that did not stop the committee from moving as much as possible into Daniel Hall and helping to salvage something on what otherwise would have been a wash out.  We came back strong on Saturday and had a tremendous Sunday with absolutely beautiful weather Sunday.  How well we do financially is only one metric for measuring success.  Our festival succeeds on many levels including family fun, fellowship, safety, good entertainment and great food.  We also had some firsts this year including selling all 500 grand raffle tickets and conducting a very successful mega split the pot (over $2200)!  Congratulations to our grand prize winner who presented the winning ticket on Tuesday.   It is impossible to do this without the dedication of so many parishioners who in many cases work tirelessly the entire weekend --- thank you!!
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 9/10/2017 12:00 AM

The past several weeks we have seen some awe-inspiring displays of God’s majesty revealed in creation. I’m sure many of us stepped outside a few Mondays ago to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse. And now we are seeing some awesome displays of power down in Texas with hurricane Harvey. These events, while very different, have had similar positive effects on our country.

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper or scroll through your Twitter feed nowadays without seeing some new controversy sweeping the nation. Recently the debate has revolved around statues. From confederate soldiers, certain Catholic Saints to even regular old Jesus Mary and Joseph statues inside Catholic schools, there never seems to be a way to please everyone. But despite this division, humanity still finds itself at the mercy of God’s great power.

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 9/3/2017 12:00 AM

This weekend, we celebrate Labor Day here in the United States, celebrating the achievements of the American worker.  And on Labor Day, here in the US, many Catholic churches offer mass for the sanctification of human labor, though this is a government holiday.  (Mass this year for our pastoral area is being celebrated on September 4th at 10am at Corpus Christi).

We have many special days and celebrations throughout the church year as well. The first to come to mind would be Christmas and Easter.  Or maybe you think of other Holy Days of Obligation, such as the Feast of the Assumption we just celebrated on August 15th, or All Saints Day on November 1st.   

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 8/27/2017 12:00 AM

As we have progressed deeper into the third Christian millennium, we have moved further and further into what Pope St. John Paul II called (and many other Christian thinkers agreed with him) a ‘Post Christian West.’ This was the heart of Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial ‘Regensburg Speech’ that rippled throughout the intellectual world.

In response, every Holy Father since Pope St. John XXIII has called for a ‘new evangelization’ of this post-Christian west. But whenever we talk of the ‘New Evangelization,’ the inevitable question arises: what is ‘New’ about the ‘New Evangelization’?

By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 8/21/2017 2:27 PM
In our pursuit and understanding of the Church’s missionary efforts, we have reached a critical stage in Church History: the Protestant Reformation. Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, a disgruntled Augustinian priest, nailed his 95 Thesis on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and unleashed a firestorm of dissent and confusion across most of northern Europe and chaos across the entire continent as the Catholic Church struggled to respond. In short, we were ill equipped to answer his challenges in a thoughtful and respectful manner, and the Church suffered dramatically because of it.
By Fr. Kyle Schnippel on 8/13/2017 12:00 AM

Last week, we walked through the history of the Early Church up to about the year 600 AD. By that time, the Roman Empire in the west was experiencing major challenges from the barbarian hordes, but there was another looming threat to Christianity that took everyone by surprise: the rise of Islam across northern Africa and into modern day Spain.

As we look to northern Africa now (the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea), it is all predominantly Muslim in heritage. But it was not always so. Some of the great Early Church fathers who were staunch and strong defenders of the Faith were also from Northern Africa: St. Augustine is from Hippo, St. Anthony of the Desert lived in Egypt, St. Cyprian was from Carthage; among many others. They were some of the best and brightest thinkers in the Early Church and laid the theological foundations for so many who would come after them.

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Deacon Ron answers your questions.

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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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