From Milk to Solid Food

If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us that it is dangerous to try to get to heaven without the Bread of Heaven.
— St. Jerome, 347-420

Dear friends in Christ,

As we recall and commemorate Our Lord’s glorious Ascension into heaven, we come to a most sacred day as a parish. We rejoice with our nearly fifty families who gather this Sunday at the 9:30 am Holy Cross Mass to receive Holy Communion for the first time. Each year Eastertide is punctuated by the happy moments of Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination and Holy Communion, but no less by the more somber moments of souls preparing for death through the Sacraments of Anointing and Penance. While some are preparing for their first Holy Communion others are preparing for their last viaticum, but for all who receive the Eucharist in living faith, there is a pledge and promise that He will go with us and strengthen us along the path to heaven.

In a very particular way, Our Lady watches over these young people as they approach the gift of the Lord’s Body and Blood as true food and nourishment for a lifetime. May they do so with reverence, devotion and gratitude, never taking the gift of the Mass for granted. The great desire of our earthly mothers—as well as our heavenly mother—is to see children growing and thriving. St. Paul expresses this instinct and desire for the growth of his spiritual children to the full stature of Christ in one of the optional readings for today’s feast, explaining that the purpose of the Church is achieving maturity: “until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature to manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13). As much as a mother delights to breastfeed her child and provide nourishment that her child may grow, she knows that eventually the child must take more solid forms of sustenance than milk. She does not resent this truth, but rejoices in it. How true this is as a mother (or grandmother) points her children towards the substantial and spiritual food which is the Body of Christ. The Eucharist is the food of grown-ups, those who know they need true and hearty nourishment to live.

Our First Communion ‘class’ gathers two groups into one: students from our Wednesday evening Faith Formation program and students from our school, St. John Paul II Catholic Preparatory School. Some of these students have affiliation with other parishes, but we are blessed that we can witness the day of their First Holy Communion with them. We urge them on to stay close to the Eucharist and to come to Holy Mass with their families Sunday after Sunday. ¡Felicitaciones y Feliz Domingo a todas las familias juntas para la nuestra celebración de hoy! Congratulations and a Blessed Sunday to all the families gathered for our celebration today!

Looking back and looking ahead, here are some things to watch for:

+ Blessings to our Polish Community who celebrated Polish Constitution Day as well as our Dolina Dancers and others who participated in the Festival of Nations this past weekend. On May 20th, the Polish Committee invites all parishioners to their Polish Independence Day kickoff lunch. The fundraiser is to benefit Poland’s Independence Celebration on November 10th. Preparations have already begun to commemorate the centenary of Polish Independence. See pg. 6 of our bulletin for more event details.

May Crowning at our three campuses this past weekend was a beautiful way to honor Our Lady as a parish. It was also splendid to have a family represent our parish at the Archdiocesan Family Rosary Procession from the State Capitol to the Cathedral this past Sunday. A special word of gratitude to Madeline Favorite who carried the flower crown and placed it upon Mary’s head in the Cathedral! Let us cling to the Rosary in this month of May. We will continue praying the Holy Rosary one half hour before each weekend Mass.

+ There has been plenty of buzz going around at the Holy Cross Campus and St. John Paul II School in light of the exciting news of a new playground. The playground equipment itself has largely been installed but there is a way you can help. The school is organizing a day on Tuesday, May 15 for volunteers to come assist with spreading mulch and other projects. It will take many able bodied workers from the hours of 7 am to 5 pm. You can still reach out to Margaret Conroy at mconroy@ascensionmpls.org or 763-760-3928 to help. Thank you for your generosity. It will be a great blessing for our school community, our parish and the broader neighborhood to have a playground again!

+ Come Holy Spirit! ART-A-WHIRL ® 2018 is approaching as quickly as Pentecost and the grand finale to the Easter Season: next weekend, May 18-19-20 at St. Clement and throughout Nordeast. It is sure to be a blast! See the flyer inserted in this weekend’s bulletin for an overview of the activities. Among the highlights are Luke Spehar (lukespehar.com) and Nate Reinhart in concert on Saturday, May 19 at 7 pm; artists displaying throughout; live Jazz session music on Friday night; ethnic food and food trucks; church tours and opportunities to meet new people. Free parking is available in the lot on Lowry Ave. St. Clement is open; let’s rally there for Pentecost weekend! Bring a friend—or ten!

+ We join Fr. Stan Poszwa in giving thanks for thirty-five years of priestly ministry. The anniversary of his ordination is Thursday, May 17. He will celebrate Mass in Polish at Holy Cross at 7 pm on that evening followed by a simple reception at 8 pm in Kolbe Hall, open to all. May the Lord continue to strengthen him in his priestly call. Ad multos annos! Sto lat!

+ Speaking of the Sacrament of Holy Orders: May is traditionally the month for ordinations in this Archdiocese. Four men were ordained to the Diaconate this weekend at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Four men will also be ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Saturday, May 26—the feast of St. Philip Neri, the patron of our Oratory endeavor. Note that on that day, our morning Holy Hour and Latin Mass will be suspended to allow attendance at the 10 am Ordination Mass. If you have never witnessed an ordination, consider coming. Early arrival is encouraged due to the crowds.

+ Lastly, consider joining me for a bus day trip pilgrimage with parishioners to some holy and historic sites in Mankato and New Ulm on Friday, June 1. We will visit Sr. Beverly Fries, pray along the way, celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of New Ulm, catch a glimpse of Herman the German and take in a meal at the famous Kaiserhoff. See pg. 6 of this bulletin for details. It will be a splendid day on the road and an opportunity for deepening friendships across campuses.

Happy Mother’s Day! God bless our mothers and God bless you,

Fr. Howe