Bulletin – 3rd Sunday of Lent

  • Mass on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 10 A.M. Masks are still be worn for everyone’s safety. Thanks for your understanding.
  • Please never hesitate to call, 507-429-3616 or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com if I can help in any way.


Dear Friends,

With this Sunday, we have come to the mid-way point of our Lenten journey. The Scriptures continue to challenge us to be our best, by not “hardening our hearts,” but by “growing” “hearts of flesh.” Let’s keep our eyes on our brother Jesus to know the best ways of doing this.

Come; be with us this week.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy



  • Exodus 17: 3-7
  • Romans 5: 1-2, 5-8
  • John 4: 5-42


Homily – 2nd Sunday of Lent

My friends, today’s Gospel passage that I just proclaimed gives us the beautiful story of the Transfiguration.  This event was a special grace given to Peter, James and John because they would later need this knowledge and the accompanying strength that it gave to truly proclaim to others, especially in times of doubt, that their friend and brother, Jesus of Nazareth, was and is, the Christ—the Anointed One, the Messiah, whom their people had so long awaited. 

   Peter, the impetuous one, who many of us love for that very reason, speaks with abandonment, the joy he feels in this moment: “How good it is that we are here” –a sentiment perhaps, for life in general.  He further expresses his joy by wanting to make it more permanent—wanting it to last: “With your permission Master, I will erect three booths, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah!”

   But Peter, like us, must be reminded that the time for this “more permanent joy” is not to be realized now, but must await a time, in the future, when the work of bringing justice for all is accomplished—a challenge I definitely felt as I finished reading, Subversive Habits, by Shannen Dee Williams, documenting racist treatment of black women within white Catholic orders of sisters, an action that was reflected in the general culture of our country, unfortunately.  

  The gift that Peter and the others received was intended to help them more effectively share Jesus’ message with the people—for them as for all others who will receive Jesus’ call to serve, it was and is, never just about the person receiving the call/gift.  What the three experienced on the hillside was a theophany—Jesus’ self-revelation as God.  James, John, and Peter shared something very special and with all such things for which we are not worthy, and have done nothing to deserve, as Paul speaks of in the 2nd reading today from Timothy, there comes a responsibility to use the gift for others.  The three were entrusted with a special gift and Jesus’ expectation was that they would take the “good,” and use it for something even better–to draw many to follow in his path. 

   In the early days of my own priesthood, there were those hierarchical folks within the Church who accused me and other women priests of being after “the power,” and I could always answer truthfully that it was never about power for me personally, but about service for those who felt unserved within our Church, me included.  My prayer then, and now, has been that I could always serve in this role with humility, knowing that the gift and privilege is not at all about me, or for me, alone.  My hope in these disagreements with others, especially male priests, is that they would likewise shine their light of introspection upon themselves with regard to power, and strive going forward, to work with all who called to serve, for the greater good of the People of God.   

   You will recall from last Sunday’s homily the work of Sister Sandra Schneiders in defending her sisters in religious life against the investigations of their lives and missions in the world in 2010.  She said the same to the powers-that-were, at the time, basically looking at women Religious and their lifetimes of dedication and reflection upon ministry, and the renewal asked of them by the 2nd Vatican Council, challenging the hierarchy of the Church to focus their attention upon themselves instead of upon women who were earnestly trying to live prophetic lives in the footsteps of their brother, Jesus. 

   This brings us to our first reading today from Genesis.  Here again we see the theme of this entire Lenten Season—God’s gracious goodness lifted up for us in the exchange between God and Abram.  When we see what is being asked of Abram, who will later become, Abraham, we realize that there had to have been a strong relationship already between him and God—why else would Abram be so willing without any question or argument to pick up family and basically leave all that he knows for a strange land and situation?  Even so, given the already existing relationship, it couldn’t have been easy for Abram to do.

   It is good for us to remember that what God asked of Abram was momentous in the culture within which he lived. A person in this culture was closely connected to family—one’s people.  The place from which a person originated was seen as paramount—one didn’t leave that place lightly.  God was basically asking Abram to leave his past, present, and possible future behind! And Abram said, “yes.” 

     This theme of God continually bestowing blessings on the Chosen People, which we really should see as all of us, is one that continues through all the readings today. Paul in his letter to Timothy speaks of this “lovingkindness” as pure gift, and as I said above, not because we have deserved or earned it.  Paul uses a Greek word, to further explain this pure goodness—charis, which translates as grace.   Paul then moves us into the 2nd theme for this weekend, which is, a new beginning.  Through God’s magnanimous gift of Jesus we have the hope of new life.

  Our humanity is raised up and made perfect by Jesus becoming one of us and it is Jesus who calls us to holiness, to being our best selves Paul tells us. Our choosing to walk in Jesus’ footsteps is the final theme for this weekend—in fact; choosing to follow Jesus is what we should always be about in our lives as Christians.  It is what Sister Sandra was challenging the “accusers of wrong-doing” with regard to women religious, to look at.  She and the Religious she was defending had to 1st follow the call of Jesus, even if, and especially if, doing so, went against Church law. 

   Coming back then to the Transfiguration, it is an event that is good for us to reflect upon on several fronts.  First off, if we needed something to confirm for us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, there is much here to confirm it.  Jesus, knowing the culture and beliefs of his time, would have been aware that he needed to choose a high place for such a revelation. “Location is everything,” the realtors tell us—high mountains were thought to be places where gods dwelt. 

   Most scholars now believe that Jesus’ purpose was indeed to reveal himself as God while he was yet on earth—to help these first believers to know truly who he was.  Appearing glorified in the presence of Moses, the lawgiver, and Elijah, who represented the prophets, and himself, who completed the equation, of all that the people had waited for, had to have been a tremendous strengthening of faith for James, John, and Peter!  Jesus shows himself to them as God incarnate.

   These followers of his, clearly can’t take it all in—how could they?! Peter speaks out of his compulsive nature— “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!” Yes, Peter, it is, but you can’t stay yet—this is a respite— a time away, to become solidified in what you are being called to and for.  God then instructs them further— “Listen to… Jesus’ words.” 

   So, my friends, coming back to this time of Lent, taking the readings for today, and trying to make sense of them, we must at least come to the conclusion that times such as the 40 Days of Lent are not meant for looking down on ourselves, pounding our breasts, and feeling guilty, but more so, about realizing the gift our God has given us in Jesus—not as One sent to die for us, but One who came freely, to live for us, to show us the way. And while true that following in his footsteps, may lead to our own, “crucifixions,” as it did for him, that was never God’s intent in sending him!

    With the knowledge that, “we are loved” by our Creator, rather than a God determined to have reparation for human failings, even including the death of Jesus, we will be much more strengthened and prepared to love others—to in fact use this one tool—yard stick, as it were, to measure the “rightness” of any action we ever question doing in life.  Is this about love?  If not, we have our answer. 

   Paul tells us, “Do not be ashamed…of God” and Jesus reminds us that we have nothing to fear.  So Lent, then, my friends, is intended to be a special time to look at how, “each of us is” in our world—to check if our actions are, “just about us,” or are we, in addition, “about others” in our world?  Amen? Amen!

Bulletin – 2nd Sunday of Lent

  • Mass on Sunday, March 5, 2023 at 10 A.M. –masks are still in use for everyone’s safety.
  • Women’s History Month is celebrated in March –think about all the women who have touched your life over the years and advocate for their rightful place in our society and Church.
  • Please never hesitate to be in contact if I may help you in any way–507-429-3616, or aaorcc2008@gmail.com.


Dear Friends,

We continue our Lenten journey following in our brother, Jesus’ footsteps, seeking out those practices that may make us stronger to be our “best selves” in a world that truly needs the goodness we have to share.

Come; ponder all this with us this week.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy



  • Genesis 12: 1-4
  • 2 Timothy 1: 8-10
  • Matthew 17: 1-9


Homily – 1st Sunday of Lent

My friends, in preparing for today’s homily, I found that much of what I shared with you three years ago is what I would advocate for today, so I will start there and just update some of the examples to present day.

   As we begin the holy season of Lent, I am sure that within some of you, there is a sigh, an “ugh” feeling, or maybe for others, a sense of, ah, a new start for me to get right with myself and God.  For those of you who have the “ugh” sensation, that is understandable as the readings for this 1st Sunday of Lent direct us to our sinfulness.  They also direct us to God’s graciousness, but those who have put together these readings seem more intent on lifting up our “sinfulness” than they do God’s graciousness and mercy. 

   Take the first reading from Genesis today—did anyone other than me think it strange that we start out with the “earth creature” whom we assume from other translations to be Adam, enjoying the beauties of the garden that God has created, and then the jump of a chapter to introduce the woman just in time to bring “sin” into the world? 

   Granted that, “our sinfulness” is what is trying to be lifted up throughout the readings, but I also suspect that the ages-old tendency, “to blame the woman” is afoot here as well.  And it is a subtle thing in a patriarchal culture, but it is one to note just the same.

   Interestingly enough, I am presently reading a small volume by Sister Sandra Schneiders, theologian, known to some of you perhaps as the writer of the America magazine article some 25 years ago, “God is More than Two Men and a Bird,” who in this volume, which is a collection of articles she did in 2010 for the National Catholic Reporter, documenting and perhaps trying to explain the investigation of women Religious by the Vatican.

   Throughout these several well-resourced articles, she makes clear the frustration of so many Sisters as to the “why” of these investigations. Through discussions with many of her counterparts, the only reason that seemed plausible was that a very small group of hierarchy and unfortunately some very conservative Sisters wanted to return religious life to pre-Vatican II days when the Sisters had a more “controlled” life, or we might say, “were more controlled by the hierarchy. It seems that they really didn’t want these perpetually-vowed women living their lives following their consciences, and the memory of Jesus of Nazareth, which remarkably was often against the agenda of the powers-that-be. 

   Again, she notes, that if “something was wrong” with the lifestyle of the Sisters, why were the orders of Brothers and Priests not also investigated, as they lived similar lives?  In a patriarchal culture, the Sisters were always a prime target, she concluded.  Speaking of Jesus, with relation to women Religious living according to their consciences, and being persecuted for it, Sister Sandra makes the very valid connection to his life in Palestine and the “why” of his death—he was advocating justice for the common folk which was against the agenda of Rome and the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem.

    Continuing then with the Scriptures for this week, pointing to our collective “sinfulness,” it seems that in the reading from Romans, Paul protests too much. His intent in preaching to the Romans who knew little or nothing of Jesus, was no doubt to have them get a clear picture of who he was, but I for one, object to the picture he is portraying here.  Why does the act of making a human choice have to be carried on through all of humanity and their history? This is faulty reasoning if we are to believe in the graciousness and mercy of God. 

   It is probably this reading where the notion of original sin comes from, and the need for God—and not a loving God, at that, to be appeased through the death of Jesus.  This so-called “theology” is so flawed, as it makes God so small-minded, so small-hearted, as Sister Joan Chittister would say of such theology, so vindictive—more like us than God, who in other places—we are told, “is all-loving and all-merciful.”  Sister Sandra speaks of Jesus’ God, thus, “God was not only compassionate, but compassion itself.”  We can’t believe both narratives—that of a vindictive God and that of an all-loving, all-understanding God—as the God of the “Prodigal,” a story of over-the-top love which we will read later on in Lent. 

   The Good News that we should celebrate this Lent and every year at this time is not that Jesus died for our sins— “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa”—or as a friend recalls feeling, “I am scum, I am scum, I am really scum,” but the fact that Jesus came and lived for us to show us the best way to live.  Granted, his advocacy for the poor and down-trodden, kept in place by the powers-that-were in his time, and his demand that these same powerful ones do the right thing, caused his death, but certainly, not because our humanity needed reparation.   

   Why would a God who made humanity imperfect then demand reparation for their flawed natures? No, it makes no sense that a loving God, wanting only the best for these creatures, enough so to be humbled in Jesus, living among us, showing us the way—the best way through life, death and resurrection would then demand the life of Jesus to appease God’s vindication. 

   Even the terminology that we use in the ritual of distributing ashes, “Remember, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return” has the wrong tone.  So friends, when I distribute ashes today, I will remind each of you and me that instead of remembering that we are “dust and will one day return to such,” I will instead let us know that we,  “came from the good earth and will return there one day.” The true intention in marking us each year with ashes should be to simply help us know our place in relationship to our loving God—that we have been gifted with life from our good earth and all that this entails—no more, no less. 

   In the past few weeks, I have come to appreciate anew, “good health” and when my body works properly.  I have acquired a new, persistent pain in my R knee and while on our cruise around Greece, I had a doctor on board look at it, and as a result, he told me to see an orthopedic surgeon when I got home as I most likely have ligament damage.  Old age? Perhaps, as I am not aware of having injured it.  I have added a cane to my life, which helps getting around, only it is humbling to have to admit that I need it. But being in relationship with this “good earth” and life, in general, brings all of this.

   Coming back then to today’s Scriptures, the Gospel from Matthew is all about Jesus’ preparation for ministry—anyone called to leadership will always be tempted by the power that can come with the role.  Jesus is aware of this and thus tries to make himself strong through fasting and prayer, in order to avoid this very strong temptation and keep focused on his mission. 

   Fasting from food has its place in our lives if it prepares us to better focus on moving out of ourselves to see the needs of others, to in fact be better people.  Even the confidence that comes naturally with good health, that I mentioned above, is something to be aware of, and balance, in appreciation of that gift.  Also, with this comes the need to appreciate that our “personal goodness,” our worth, extends beyond physical health. 

   I personally tend, as you know, to shy away from fasting as prescribed by the Church during Lent as I can’t seem to separate it from the notion of “dieting” and this conundrum was validated for me a few years back in a piece that I read in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) on fasting and the different take that many women have on the topic.  Of course this article was written by a woman!

   Because many women have grown up with the false impression, created by our male-centered culture, that women are only acceptable if they have a certain body type and shape, fasting takes on a whole different notion for women than it does for men, the writer said.  There is a reason friends, why more women than men, in our culture, suffer from anorexia and bulimia.

   The men in charge say that you can’t unite the two, that is, using a time of fasting to lose a few extra pounds, the writer continued.  And that is why I have stopped trying.  If I happen to be dieting during Lent, (when am I not trying to lose those extra pounds?!), I call it “dieting” and forget about fasting, for what that is worth.

   So, my dear friends; I see Lent as a gift our Church gives us to grow closer to Jesus and we will—if we keep our eyes on him.  If fasting from food helps you to do that, I am not discouraging it, but if it simply leaves you with an “ugh” feeling, then you may want to “fast” in a different way:  you can fast perhaps from nagging a loved one, or from using your sharp tongue or tone to denigrate another, a personal fault I have been reminded of recently, or from selfishness with your time, or from judgmentalism, or snobbishness, or the need to have things done your way, and the list can go on.  This discussion always makes me think of someone in my extended family that did a perfect job of fasting and abstaining from food during Lent but might have been better served, herself and her immediate world, if she had instead, fasted from her negative ways. 

   I think if we don’t come out on the other side of Lent knowing that we are mightily loved by our God, then, I would think we had missed something important.  When you really look at Jesus’ earthly life, you have to conclude that he was a really astounding fellow—to follow in his ways—actions and words—we certainly could do worse!  He was one who saw the goodness of his Abba in all he met and continually worked for the good of all—he saw all as, “his Body and Blood—the eucharist, in the best sense of that word…and so should we.

   So, let us pray for each other during these days that each of us can more fully follow our brother Jesus’ ways in gratitude to our God who has given us this awesome opportunity of 40 days to become more of whom we are called to be! Amen? Amen!

Bulletin – 1st Sunday of Lent

  • NO SERVICES TODAY–ASH WEDNESDAY–ashes will be available on Sunday.
  • Mass on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 10 A.M.
  • Please never hesitate to be in touch if I can help you in any way–507-429-3616 or aaorcc2008@gmail.com


Dear Friends,

Today begins the holy season of Lent–a time that gives us the opportunity to grow closer to our brother, Jesus; to learn again, perhaps, how we might more fully follow him in our present time. This doesn’t need to be a “negative” time…

So, come; ponder all this with us on Sunday.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy



  • Genesis 2: 7-8, 3: 1-7
  • Romans 5: 12-19
  • Matthew 4: 1-11