Letter to the Parishioners of St. Fidelis
I want to share with you the good news that the parish has received a bequest of approximately one million dollars. Most of it is in securities. However, I plead with you to maintain your present level of giving. This gift would be a tragedy if you thought your donations are not needed.
We have always administered the parish on what you have given. That will not change. There will be no extravagant use of this money.
Rather, it should be put to work on interest for the next rainy day. We are still in the process of completing very costly renovations. We have also inherited a very wonderful church, along with the obligation to maintain it. These are some priceless treasures. Responsible stewardship in all of this would dictate that we have reserve contingency funds to help with whatever might need to be done to maintain the church should there be an emergency.
Each generation of Catholics have their own obligation to shoulder the load of passing on our rich deposit of faith and the heritage we have received. Let us not drop the ball now. Please continue to support your parish as you have so well in the past.
God bless one and all.
Fr. James Moster, O.F.M. Capuchin
Our Diocesan Bishop Gerald Vincke has announced that beginning September 14, 2021, our own Fr. John Schmeidler is appointed as pastor of the Parishes in Phillipsburg and Logan.
Congratulations and best wishes Fr. John.
During the process of redecorating the interior of St. Fidelis Basilica, someone came foreword with a question about what is the meaning of the twelve small wooden crosses and candle holders placed around the walls of the church. The answer is that our church is specially consecrated by the bishop.
Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies.
On May 25, 1986, Bishop George K. Fitzsimmons of the Salina Diocese, set aside for Divine Worship, by special act of consecration and dedication, the new marble altar and church building itself for perpetual and exclusive use for worship. The altar and walls were anointed with chrism in twelve places, which were marked by the crosses. That was also the 75th anniversary of the present building. Fr. Gilmary Tallman, O.F.M.Cap. was pastor.
Those twelve candles may be lit for special worship celebrations. We hope to use them for this Easter.
In 2014, St. Fidelis Church was also designated as a Basilica by Pope Francis. In the Brief of Erection the Pope declares:
“We, by our apostolic authority . . . erect St. Fidelis Church to the dignity of a basilica and bestow upon it all the privileges which belong to the lesser basilicas of this our own cherished city (Rome).”
Let us pray for the return of Non-Practicing Catholics...
At present, during the COVID pandemic, Catholic bishops have lifted the obligation of attending Sunday Mass. This is particularly for those who are most vulnerable because of age or underlying illnesses, who perhaps should not attend and who might feel guilty about it. Each of us must make our own decisions according to our conscience. We all know what the Church ordinarily directs about how to keep holy the Lord’s day. That has not changed. No one can dispense us from following our conscience. Some real circumstances do mitigate our responsibilities, which we know through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that involve Charity toward self and others. Where our personal relationship with God is concerned, we must stand before Him in all honesty, who lives deep in our soul. We know we are right by our peace of soul. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7
God desires for all His children to find the security of being right with Him, and that we have the resulting peace of soul. Some of His own, through inattentiveness or neglect or whatever reason, have gotten away from a personal relationship with Him through the sure ways of His Church. Therefore, it is pleasing to Our Lord that we all pray for the return of non-practicing Catholics and for the conversion of sinners. Bishop Vincke has shared a prayer for this and has encouraged priests to say it after the intercessions at Mass beginning in Lent. We will be doing so here. This is the prayer:
Prayer for the Return of Non-Practicing Catholics
O Good Shepherd, you never cease to seek out the lost, to call home the stray, to comfort the frightened, and to build up the wounded.
I ask you to bring them back to the practice of the Faith, and to remove all obstacles that prevent them from receiving your abundant mercy, which flows sacramentally through the heart of your holy Church.
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph, their Guardian Angels, their patron Saints, and the ever-prayerful St. Monica, may you pardon their sins and unshackle them from whatever hinders their freedom to come home.
For you, O Good Shepherd, have loved us to the end and offered yourself to the Father for the salvation of all. Amen!