1% Challenge

Each day a different staff shares with you a way to pray with the Scripture!

Read: Matthew 28:16-20

Today is the last of our 30-Day Kick Start, let’s finish strong!

A very powerful way to pray with scripture we know well is to break it down word by word, brainstorming what each word alone means, use a thesaurus if that helps. 

Let’s take one phrase and begin there:

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations”

Go – move, begin, start, leave 

Therefore – accordingly,

And – also, in addition to,

Make – form, build, construct, bring about

Disciples – followers, students


All – everyone, leave no one out,

Nations – land, kingdom, area,

Go back and read the phrase again. When you start to look more closely at each word do you start to see the whole differently? 

After you work through the part of the Scripture that sticks out most for you – where is Jesus calling you to be part of making disciples today?

This way of praying is extremely powerful with the Our Father or Hail Mary - it’s a great way to renew those prayers we say without thinking about.

Patty Mayer, Director of Adult Faith Formation

Jesus known in word and bread

Read: Luke 24:13-34

I felt them…

Tears welling up in my eyes as he broke the bread in silence before me.  The priest had signed the entire Mass, as service was a celebration for individuals with special needs.  I saw God in a different light that day.

I think my experience may have been a “taste” of what the disciples felt on the road to Emmaus before they could “see.”

How often do we fail to see God?

The disciples could feel God burning in their hearts when Jesus revealed scripture, but they couldn’t see.  Anyone who has held a newborn they love can tell you it’s pure joy, yet that infant doesn’t speak a word.  Nonverbal children with special needs also shout love.  This joy…this love…is Jesus! 

God is revealed in the body!

For those of us who struggle to see God, focus on tasting the love the life. God answers prayers in ways we least expect because God is more than we expect!You’ll feel Him in the love of your heart.

Mary Sankey, Assistant Director of Faith Formation, Grades PK-K and Special Needs

Read: John 20:1-18

I found an audio version of this text and played it on my 15-minute drive to meet with my spiritual director. She’s been known to say, “my minivan is my monastery,” based on a book by the same title, so I thought I’d try it out. It’s a good way to dedicate time to God and calm down the driving situation!

What a delightful pairing of Easter and Christmas this passage provides. I’m prepping liturgies for Mary, Mother of God on January 1. As we are thinking about the Son of God, the Only-Begotten of the Father, it is good to keep in mind the women who played critical roles in the story of Jesus.

This account of Mary Magdalene (who has been called “Apostle to the Apostles” because of this passage) arriving at the Empty Tomb, is filled with mystery and awe displayed by many figures in the passage. I’ve been spending so much time immersed in the Infant Jesus these past few weeks that it was remarkable to read about the relationships he developed as an adult. These are close friends and disciples who spread the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection. In this Christmas season, we still fix our eyes to the Cross and the Empty Tomb! Alleluia! Love is alive!

Kyle Lechtenberg, Director of Music and Liturgy

Jesus gives everything for you

Read: Luke 23:33-47

I am always drawn to the words of Jesus “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Forgiveness has been a theme in my life this last year. I’ve learned that forgiveness is not a once and done kind of thing, it’s a continual process of letting go. When I forgive someone it’s not reconciliation, it is releasing them from having a hold on my heart. When I forgive I regain control of my heart, my emotions and my actions. “I forgive you” is not to say everything is okay, but that I’m letting go of anger and bitterness tied to what you have done and I am choosing to not seek revenge. Will we go hang out after this? Probably not.  That would require reconciliation, which is very different. 

Who in your life do you need to forgive?

A side-note, as I read this scripture I am taken back to the last one I did – “Jesus doesn’t condemn” (John 8:1-11).  I see parallels here that I had not before.  Here Jesus is the one being condemned and sentenced to death.  Then there are the two criminals, one who condemns Jesus and the other who stands up for Jesus. The roles are switched, but the story is similar. Hmmm… I think this needs to go to prayer with me!

What drew your attention in this very packed reading?

Patty Mayer, Director of Adult Faith Formation

Surrendered to the Father's will

Read: Matthew 26:36-46

The Father’s Will.  Thy Will, in the words of the Lord’s Prayer.  I bring this struggle with me during every confession.  I want to trust in the Lord.  I know God to be right and just.  Yet I struggle to surrender.  To surrender seems weak.  It seems like admitting to failure and I do not like to admit to either weakness or shortcomings.

To surrender to God’s will in NOT a passive act.  I can feel Jesus’ struggle during this reading. Three times he wrestles with what God requires of him in this passage. Knowing that Jesus, God the Son, wrestled with surrendering to God the Father’s will does give me comfort. It allows me to go a little easier on myself – I still have work to do, but Jesus Christ is there with me in this, as in all things.  

So where am I struggling against God’s will? 

And would it look like to surrender God’s will?

These are the questions I bring with me during every confession.  They are the questions I ponder when I am examining myself carefully and honestly.  I don’t often receive a concise response, but I keep trying.   I encourage you to spend time with these questions as well.  To accept God’s will, to surrender to the greater glory and goodness of God. 

Abby Hendersen, Assistant Director of Faith Formation/Youth Ministry, Grades 6-8

Body given and blood shed for you

Read: Luke 22:14-20 Tom used the NRSVCE (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition)

We just celebrated the birth of Jesus yesterday with gifts, food, family, friendship and thankfully a safe rest for the evening.

Much sacrifice went into preparing for yesterday by just about everyone I know; dollars set aside to buy gifts, time set aside to clean house, and the talent it takes to pull off a big meal! Some even sacrificed in ways for those less fortunate.

Today’s verses call to mind the sacrifice of the tiny, vulnerable God-boy. The very substance of God that limited itself enough to become human to wrap itself in our broken and dis-eased condition, so that ultimately we might be restored in the hope that we remember who we truly are and were created to be…a sacred spark in the eye of that same God, who not only loved us, even unto death, but loves us enough to be one of us. Thank you Jesus for, well, for your love and sacrifice!

Tom Primmer, Director of Faith Formation, Grades 9-12

The call to humble service

Read: John 13:1-17

This reading immediately takes me to Holy Thursday and the ritual of the Washing of the Feet. I realize, however, how easy it is for me to focus on the traditions each parish I’ve been at builds around this ritual and lose sight of the message. At times like this, I like to dig in a little deeper. Read over different commentaries for different insights.

So instead of seeing our priest and deacon or other members of the parish kneeling down at designated ‘stations’ to pour water over a clean foot, imagine what this was really like in Jesus’ time—’Sandals did little to keep dirt off the feet, and the roads were either a thick layer of dust or deep masses of mud. At the entrance to every Jewish home was a large pot of water to wash dirty feet. Normally, foot washing was the duty of the lowliest slave. When guests came, he had to go to the door and wash their feet—not a pleasant task. In fact, washing feet was probably his most abject duty, and only slaves performed it for others. Even the disciples of rabbis were not to wash the feet of their masters—that was uniquely the task of a slave.’

And, then to realize, how human the apostles (these fathers of the church, saints and martyrs!) were, just like us. How often do I find myself saying, ‘Well, so-and-so should take care of that. That’s not my job.” Just so for the apostles—’As Jesus and His disciples all arrived in the upper room, they found that there was no servant to wash their feet. Only days before, Jesus had said to the twelve, "Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave" (Matthew 20:26-27). If they had given mind and heart to His teaching, one of the twelve would have washed the others' feet, or they would have mutually shared the task. It could have been a beautiful thing, but it never occurred to them because of their selfishness.’

And then, this final caveat for us—’In terms of sacrificing to serve others, there was never anything Jesus was unwilling to do. Why should we be different? Do you want to be blessedly fulfilled and happy? Develop a servant's heart... If Jesus can step down from a position of deity to become a man, and then further humble Himself to be a servant and wash the feet of twelve undeserving sinners, we ought to be willing to suffer any indignity to serve Him. That is true love, and true humility.” 

To this, let the Church say ‘Amen!’

Joan ‘Ski’ Sieczkowski, Communications Coordinator

Worthy of all honor

Read: John 12:1-8

This reading has, since high school, been one (of many) that confuse and frustrate me. I cry out with Judas, though from the perspective of caring for the poor and the lost potential of help for them. Over the years, I have learned the absolute value and necessity for paying proper homage to our King.  As Jesus says, he is not always among us in the way he was with Mary, Lazarus, and his disciples.  That Mary should wish to honor him as he ought to be honored should be my desire as well.

Has my heart grown cold and miserly that I cannot see the true gift of being extravagant for Jesus, not necessarily in money, but in my efforts, in how I love, in actions I undertake on His behalf?  The minimum is never enough for us as Catholics – we MUST love with ALL our heart, with ALL our mind, and with ALL our soul. 

This Advent, due to a work conference & family vacation calling me out of town for 10 days in the middle of December, I have been able to strip down my extravagance of preparation and focus on the minimum, not from a sense of doing less, but by pouring myself fully into the little bit I am doing, as opposed to doing a lot, though not necessarily well.  The shift has been wonderful.  The truly important actions & undertakings have risen to the surface and I am able to more clearly recognize the glory & honor of the coming of our Lord Jesus into the world. 

Abby Hendersen, Assistant Director of Faith Formation/Youth Ministry, Grades 6-8

Jesus identifies with the poor


Several years ago I went to a family reunion. It was around the time the church was changing the wording in parts of the Mass. This flabbergasted my Aunt Vivian. She was going on and on about how crazy the new wording was. I finally said to her that I did not let it bother me. It did not change my Catholic identity. Her next question to me was “Well, what kind of a Catholic are you then?” I told her I was a Matthew 25 Catholic. I visit the imprisoned, house the homeless, feed the hungry. I just do what Jesus commanded us to do. How do you carry out Jesus’ Matthew 25 proclamation? How do you feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked, visit the sick, welcome the stranger?

Mary Reichter, Bookkeeper

Read: Matthew 20:20-28

Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem.  He is well aware of what is going to happen when he arrives in Jerusalem.   Yet he is still trying to teach His disciples what it means to be a follower of Him.  The disciples are thinking about who is going to be first and have the places of honor in His kingdom. 

I can only imagine how frustrated Jesus was; but He continues to try to help them understand what it means to be His followers.

In our culture today, we can be very much like the disciples trying to have the places of honor, to be noticed by others, and to keep moving up the chain of command at work.   

What is Jesus asking of us as His followers?  Are we trying to be servants to others in our home, workplaces and with our friends?

Sr Susan Widdel, Pastoral Minister/RCIA

Jesus' forgiving Father

Read: Luke 15:11-32

This Bible reading never used to sit well with me.  I would joke, “God loves me, I’m just not a favorite child.” 

If Grace can’t be earned, why try?

Think of Mary.  Was Mary not favored?

·       Mary was asked to be God’s servant, live in poverty, and to give birth to our salvation.

·       She was judged, chased by a king’s army, and her son ran away for three days.

·       She watched people brutally kill her son, and sin everyday…yet she prays for us.

Mary’s life was not glamorous, and like the eldest son, life was not fair.  Mary said “yes” to God’s call.   I don’t need to be the center of attention at a party.  Rather, I want to be a consistent companion of the Lord.  That person the Lord can rely and call on when He has a need. 

God called Mary into a partnership with Him, and He’s calling you too. 

Mary Sankey, Assistant Director of Faith Formation, Grades PK-K & Special Needs

Jesus invites himself over

Read: Luke 19:1-10

“The higher we climb, the clearer we hear Christ’s voice.” - Blessed Pierre Giorgio Frassatti

We all desire to see and be seen by Christ, and who would pass up a chance to have dinner with Him? Scripture suggests Zacchaeus is short in stature and so he climbs a tree to get a better view of Jesus.  Like Zacchaeus we sometimes need to put ourselves in a position to be found by our Lord.  Remembering that it is Jesus who desires us, who invites himself to dine with us, are there some ways we are being called to change our perspective, our point of view, so that we can receive and respond to Jesus’ invitation?  Spend some additional time in/with this scripture, and after climbing as high as you need to, sit with these questions and listen for the voice of our Savior, calling you closer this day

Randy Hendersen, Director of Youth Ministry

What do you want me to do for you?

Read: Mark 10:46-52

I think Jesus does want us to name our desires to him.  My prayer time has lead me to believe that Jesus wants us to tell him everything – the proverbial good, bad and ugly.  The wants and desires, noble or not.  Jesus wants a relationship with each of us that is as much about the nitty gritty of life as it is about our more noble moments.  After all, he did come to teach us how to live life more fully.  So it is equally important for me to name my deepest longings as it is to express my gratitude for all that I have.  And then, after I have said my piece, like with any good friend, I sit back and listen to what he wants to say to me.  After I have had my turn, it is so sweet to just relax and think to Jesus, so what do you want me to know today?  And then open my heart and listen.  Precious moments indeed.  I don’t allow this to happen nearly often enough.

Becky Robovsky, Business Manager

Jesus doesn't condemn

Read: John 8:1-11

I often feel called to sit with this scripture:

Sometimes I am a Pharisee. Some days it’s easier to look at the sin and failures of others, to judge them and condemn them, rather than to look at my own sinfulness.  Throwing stones at someone else keeps me from looking at myself.

Sometimes I am the woman.  I am a sinful person and I know it, but even in my sinfulness I know Jesus loves me.  Because of His mercy I desire to change my ways.  Being accountable for my sinfulness, my actions, is essential in my relationship with Him!

Sometimes I am Jesus.  There are those situations in my life when I am called to step up for someone else.  To imitate Jesus in this story is to not condemn another for their sinfulness, but to have mercy which includes both loving them and accountability.  

During this last year as I have journeyed through my divorce I have cycled through these three phases of condemning, feeling condemned, and being called to extend mercy.  It’s been a spiral journey that keeps taking me deeper into conversation with God. 

What situation in your life takes you through this cycle and leads you deeper into relationship with God?

Patty Mayer, Director of Adult Faith Formation

Jesus raises the dead

Read: John 11:1-44

And Jesus wept.  As I sit with this scripture today, I am overwhelmed by the dichotomy of it all: Jesus loved Lazarus, yet stayed away upon hearing of Lazarus’ illness so that His disciples might believe.  Jesus reiterating eternal salvation and the promise of resurrection; yet, upon going to see where Lazarus was laid, he “wept”.  I struggle… Jesus loved Lazarus.  As a child growing up with this scripture, I often felt if you were loved enough by God, your prayers would be answered.  How often I have prayed that a life of someone I loved be spared.  Knowing beyond all knowledge –BELIEVING God could save that life, if he would just so choose.   More often than not, I have come away from the cave in grief, having witnessed no emergence.  Why Lazarus, why not the person of my prayer.  Why?  I look to the words repeated twice, once by Martha and again by Mary: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  What utter faith, not recrimination.  Pure acceptance of God’s will within their grief.  Jesus’ teaching of eternal salvation is our comfort, but I struggle…. Lazarus walked out of that cave.  Selfishly, I want that physical re-emergence.  Today I pray for God’s help to look beyond the physical pain and to the eternal glory.

Shelley Tegels, Director of Our Lady’s Little Learners Preschool

You need only one thing

Read: Luke 10:38-42

I didn’t immediately realize which reading I signed up to blog about but to discover it was the entry on ‘Martha & Mary’? Well, this has always been a difficult one for me because I am a ‘Martha’ to the nth degree. I was raised by a Mom with a strong German work ethic (one of those ‘do-push-ups-until-the-doctor-gets-here’ kind of work ethics) so I’ve always identified with the frustration of Martha and her whine of ‘don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?’ Ah, that note of self righteousness with just a touch of the martyr complex. Why, I believe I can even hear it said in my voice! And what is the Lord’s reply? ‘Just one thing is needed…and Mary has chosen the right thing.’ Really?! And yet, this is what makes the Bible so great to read. It still applies to us. It’s like Jesus is talking to us. Walking along and being that good friend who gently chides us to get over ourselves and get our priorities straight.

PS: It doesn’t help that my sister’s name is Mary!

Joan ‘Ski’ Sieczkowski, Communications Coordinator

Read: John 10:7-18

Of all the Scriptures, one of the most familiar and most often referred to is Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  I don’t think this happens by accident!  It truly reflects:

  • Who Jesus is.

  • What Jesus is about.

  • Why He came to us in the first place.

It is such a clear visual when we see a picture of holy card of a sheep, resting comfortably on Jesus’ shoulders.  There is an intense physical AND internal closeness there after the sheep has been found.

  • Have you ever been lost and the found your way back to Jesus?

  • If so, how did that “closeness” to our Good Shepherd feel?

Lastly, I love this passage as  it directly includes us-the Gentiles-when He says, “other sheep that do not belong to this fold.”  He is referring to you and me!

  • Are we grateful enough to be included in Jesus’ flock?

  • What can/should we do to stay in Jesus’ flock?

  • Do you find consolation and peace knowing Jesus will ALWAYS  be our Good Shepherd?

Let’s ponder these questions in our holy season of Advent.

Joyce Clawson, Associate Director of Faith Formation, Grades 1-5

Willing to give it all

Read: Mark 9:30-37

Tis the season of writing cards, baking, shopping, etc. It’s easy to get frustrated with the traffic, crowds and not enough time to get it all done.  By the end of it all we are glad it’s over.

This is a big challenge of mine. I’m a ‘check that off the list’ kinda person. I plow thru the work hoping to complete it so then I can finally put my feet up and relax, visit with family and even spend a few minutes in prayer. Truth be told, the work never ends.

If we keep up the business of our Holiday tasks soon the true spirit of Christmas ~ giving of ourselves; spending time with each other and with Jesus ~ goes out the window.

Even though baking, shopping and decorating are all wonderful things; don’t let that be your main focus.

Just like the disciples in the scripture, they got caught up in their own thinking and didn’t take the time to spend with Jesus; really listen to him. To give of ourselves requires us to take time away from our ‘tasks’ and give that time to someone else.

This season challenge yourself to spend TIME with family, friends, and Jesus ~ believe me it will be worth your TIME !

Amy Wall, Parish Secretary

The challenge of Jesus

Read: Mark 10:17-31

What must I DO?

How often is that our question.  What must I DO to accomplish this or that? The rich man “did” all that the law prescribes and yet Jesus, “looking at him, loved him and…” challenged him to something new. 

When have I felt Jesus look at me and love me?
When have I felt God calling me to something new, but I was hesitant to go there?

If you read the footnote you see that in the Old Testament wealth and material goods were considered a sign of God’s favor, so Jesus’ words challenged all present.  When the disciples asked “Then who can be saved?” Jesus responds “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.” So often we get caught up with what we need to do, and the image of the camel and the needle, we forget it’s not about me, it is about God’s love and grace. If I let go of the things in life that burden me and hold me back from God then I can freely follow him.   

What am I holding onto in my life that I think is of God,
but after closer examination realize it is not?
Do I trust in God’s grace?

Spend time reflecting on the words of this song: Your Grace Is Enough by Chris Tomlin

Patty Mayer, Director of Adult Faith Formation

Jesus walks on water

Read: Matthew 14:22-33

Are You Up For Walking On Water?

I love this story – I love the idea of walking on water, hands reaching out towards Jesus.  I can picture it so perfectly, the dark sky, the churning water, rain so thick I look like a drowned creature, thunder crashing.  In my imagination, I am not afraid.  I am exhilarated, I am giddy.  I picture the scene and feel like someone would feel riding an enormous rollercoaster.  And then I reach Jesus and we hold each other’s hands, laughing.  This is the Lord I trust in.  Truly, this is the Lord I love.

Becky Robovsky, Business Manager

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