February 26, 2017, the Sunday before the start of the Lenten season, was officially dubbed “Fat Sunday” at Good Shepherd. No calorie left behind was the motto when the 2017 Confirmation students prepared and served a pancake breakfast in the parish hall following the 9 am Mass. It’s difficult to say who enjoyed the experience more—the students or the many people who came for the feast!
Welcome to this year’s Christmas pageant!
We all like Candy Canes, and most of our homes have them during Christmas. This year’s pageant, “A Candy Cane at Christmas,” explains how the candy cane tells a story about Jesus. We hope you will enjoy it!
Can you tell me what a LEGEND is?
Yes, a legend is a story handed down through many generations. It is believed to have a historical basis, although there is no proof. Can you give me an example of a LEGEND?
I have a legend to tell you about. It’s a legend about the CANDY CANE. A candy maker from Indiana wanted to invent a candy that would witness to Christ Jesus. Do any of you know what kind of candy that could be?
The CANDY CANE! That is right, it’s the candy cane. Mmmm Mmmm!
Let’s examine the candy cane and see how it is a witness to Christ. In Matthew 16:18, God said to Peter, “On this rock I will build my church, and the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Wow, that would be one strong church!
Yes, it is a strong church. It was founded over 2,000 years ago, and it is still going strong. Jesus made Peter the first pope, or leader, for that church. Isn’t that the same church we belong to today?
Yes, it is. Tradition has it that Pope Peter later went to Rome and was martyred there. The pope today is the successor of Peter. He is also called the bishop of Rome. The pope is the leader of the Catholic Church, and that is the Church we belong to today.
Pope Francis is our pope now. He is the new successor of Peter in the Catholic Church. But Jesus Christ remains the HEAD of the Church. And the bishops are the successors of the 12 apostles that once followed Jesus. There are many other religious who do the work of Christ in our Church too. There are Priests, Deacons, Brothers. Oh, yes, and Sisters, which are sometimes called nuns.
But, it takes ALL the baptized to serve in the Church. WE make up the Body of Christ. We all work together and are the hands, the feet, and the voice for Jesus in the world today.
That’s right, we ALL are called to play a special role in the Catholic Church.
So now tell me again about that candy cane. Just how is the candy cane like Jesus? The candy cane was made of rock-hard candy to represent the Church being built on a solid rock. God’s promises stand on a firm foundation.
It has to be rock-solid in order to last since the time of Christ!
The candy maker then made the candy in the form of a letter. What letter is that?
That’s right, the letter J. And, of course, the letter J stands for… Jesus! Salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
If you turn the J upside down, you have a … STAFF!
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
That’s right, the candy cane also represents a staff with which Jesus, the Good Shepherd reaches down to the lowly places of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.
The candy maker made the cane white to represent Jesus’ innocence. Jesus was perfect. He was tempted in every way, just as we are. Yet, he was still without sin.
This red stripe is for the blood Jesus shed for our sins on the cross. In Jesus, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Also, the flavor of the cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop.
Hyssop is an aromatic plant from the mint family. It was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice.
Jesus is the pure Lamb of God. He came to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world.
So that’s why candy canes are seen mostly at Christmas time: That is when Jesus first came to us, as an infant in the manger.
Yes, it’s when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who came to save the whole world. That an important message the birth of Jesus brings for us. It should be told to the whole world!
Wow, the candy cane is a great reminder of why Jesus came into the world.
Yes, in John 10:10, Jesus tells us, “I came so that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
Yes, Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He came because he loves us.
So next time you see a candy cane, remember this important message:
JESUS CHRIST, THE GOOD SHEPHERD IS THE SINLESS ROCK OF ALL AGES WHO SUFFERED AND DIED FOR OUR OUR SINS.
Thank you for coming today. We hope you enjoyed our pageant. Please join us in singing Joy to the World. Following that, we welcome you into the parish hall for refreshments—AND for some CANDY CANE treats!
TIME FOR SOME FUN!
Good Shepherd band and choir members helped celebrate the birth of Jesus and the spirit of love and healing he brought to the world with the beautiful music they shared with us at the 4:30pm Mass on Christmas Eve.
Letting the people of this community know about the Year of Mercy, and what those Works of Mercy are, was part of the reason for our parish float in this year’s Ice Age parade. The float contained a white cross with a big red heart at the center with the words, “Mercy Is…” Smaller posters were displayed on the float listing the Works of Mercy. Receiving mercy from God means we need to also extend mercy to others! Our thanks to everyone who helped with the parish float: Those who made signs, painted and put the float together, the Probst family for use of their pontoon, those who donated candy, Robert Matyka—our driver, and everyone who rode the float and threw candy. Very nicely done!
We are pleased to announce our 2016 Stewardship Award winner—
This lady is an exemplary example of sharing her faith, especially with the youth of this parish. She has served as a catechist for 27 years, and currently holds an Advance Level of Certification through our diocesan religious education program. She has helped with Vacation Bible School for the last 25 years, and served as coordinator for that program for most of those years. Velma has completed the Lay Ministry program offered through our diocese. She also is a reader and Eucharistic Minister at the parish. Currently she serves on the Pastoral Council and, has done so over the course of the years.
Outside the parish, she has served as a teacher until her recent retirement, but still substitute teaches in the area. She has also coached youth for a number of sports activities. Most days now, she is occupied with her grandchildren and it is easy to tell the amount of joy they bring to her life.
This lady has mentored a number of youth over the years, always encouraging them and working to build up their self-esteem. Youth often turn to her for guidance where they know they will receive a pat on the back or a high five for their accomplishments. She allows and encourages youth to express their minds and guides them in discussions that will help keep them morally on the right track. She is caring and considerate, and full of energy. One of her goals is to succeed in giving Father Otto a “gator ride,” as she asks him to go most times when she comes to the parish office! She is a convert to the Catholic faith and has certainly witnessed service to God, parish, family and community.
God bless you, Velma, for accepting the Lord’s call in all you do!
Sunday, April 17, 2016 was a very memorable day for our seven students in Grade 2. This was their First Holy Communion Day! May God bless each of them throughout their lives.
Front Row: Bonnie Schmidtfranz (catechist), Cole Bube, Emma Tlusty, Isabelle Gumz, Aidan Hause, Fr. Otto Bucher, O.F.M. Cap
Back Row: Nicholas Nikkila, Chris Krause, Clayton Bube
Photograph by Sara Matyka of Northwood Photography, Rib Lake, WI.