Parish Life Gearing Up

Big Fires and No Fires

From last week’s article, I related that things are hotter and dryer than in past vacations at St. Catherine. An additional difference from the previous twenty years is that “smoke” has been in the forecast several days. You read correctly “smoke.” The smoke is coming from forest fires in Canada and is especially prominent when the winds are from the northeast. Thankfully, by Jesus’ grace, I’m healthy, and a couple of days of poor air quality has not hampered fishing or any of my other activities. An additional dimension of the drought is that, in the state park, fire danger is especially high and campers are not permitted to have fires. In solidarity with them, and not wanting to set the woods around the rectory on fire, I have not had even one campfire this year. Somehow I must have intuited this because I remember deciding not to get fixins for s’mores when I was gathering provisions for the trip, figuring I could buy them up north.

Trips into towns
While in Minnesota I visited local towns to get provisions and see the sites. Three of those towns included Bemidji, Park Rapids and Walker. In Bemidji there are two huge statues by the lake, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. See the selfie I took with them! I invited Judy Shrupp, a member of the volunteer committee, to a show at the Chief Theater in Bemidji. I have made it a tradition most years to catch a production of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, usually a standard musical. Judy is one of the people I try to check in with every couple of months. Her husband, Ken, who died about ten years ago, did much to act as a guide for me on many of the local lakes. This year I made it to three lakes, George, Itasca and Ozawindib. Judy and Ken’s son, Dan, and his family were visiting during my time here. In fact, five years ago I presided at the baptism of his oldest daughter, Alice. See the picture attached. Dan and I were treated to a beautiful experience when we were fishing on Ozawindib. There was a pair of Trumpeter Swans on the lake, sounding their clarion call. Even better, they were quite active and flew by the boat several times. They are the heaviest bird in North America with the longest wingspan of any bird alive, up to eight feet. It takes them a minute or so of flying close to the water to gain enough air speed to climb above the water.



Guests over and as a Guest

It was a joy to eat out once and to be invited over to three different homes for supper. As a consequence, I missed out on making two or three of my favorite recipes. Therefore, I used the fish I caught for those meals to make a fish chowder on Sunday. I froze it in a  couple of batches and will take some home to mom!

An Unbound Opportunity in Two Weeks                                                                                                                                                                

Once a year, in addition to our Mission Cooperative Plan speaker, which is sponsored by the Mission Office of the Archdiocese, it has been my custom to welcome one other recognized charity to speak to Incarnation parishioners. This year, on August 21-22 we will  welcome Unbound. Unbound is a top rated charity which partners people or families in the United States with a child, young adult or elderly person in a third world country. Their aim is to help empower “them to become self-sufficient and to fulfill their desired potential.” I have had several matches with Unbound over the past fifteen years. It is a wonderful experience to be able to connect with a person far away, sharing some general details about our lives. Through Unbound, a $40 monthly donation (the equivalent of a meal out for two or three,) can do much in a third world country to provide some basic needs and opportunities which improve their lives. Fr. Michael Rieder will be with us to preach the Masses on August 21 and 22. There will be more information about him and Unbound in next week’s bulletin.

Parish Life Gearing UP
Please read the bulletin carefully to see how things are gearing up in parish life. For example, please pray for PREP and Incarnation Day School as catechists and teachers make preparations for a new year. Note especially that we are still searching for catechists for PREP. Be sure to consider helping to kick off PREP and School and celebrate the end of summer with the outdoor Mass scheduled for August 29. You can read about other opportunities for prayer and involvement in the bulletin and on social media; these include RCIA, GriefShare, That Man is You, and a new and exciting ministry, Incarnation Marriage Ministry. Thanks to those who participate in these opportunities . Many Thanks As vacation ends, thanks to staff members and parishioners who worked harder than usual to cover for me. That was a wonderful blessing!   

Sincerely and with Love in Christ,
Fr. Pat