7/8/2020 Message from Father Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

Next time you see Father Williams, I invite you to ask him for his priestly blessing.  Special graces may be gained by receiving the first blessing of a newly ordained priest.  Such first blessings are customarily given after the First Mass or Masses celebrated by the priest, up to a full year after ordination.  It has also been customary that one would kneel down before the priest (such as at a kneeler or Communion rail) to receive the blessing and kiss the palms of his hands, recognizing the sacred character of his priesthood and reverencing the hands that would be conferring the sacraments.  I know there are some or many among us that would have no problem doing this, given the circumstances of the current pandemic.  However, if you felt more comfortable to stand at a six-foot distance and not kiss Father’s palms, I think the blessing would still take :-).

In Christ,

Fr. Jesse Burish


7/1/2020 Message from Father Bursh

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

The topic of racism in our country and protests about it continue to make headlines.  When hot button issues such as this make the news, some often feel that the Church doesn’t say anything, or does not say enough in response.  A few weeks ago, I sent a link to a YouTube video done by a couple Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  I also recently came across this great article: “Can Catholics Support Black Lives Matter?”

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/can-catholics-support-black-lives-matter-92926

This article put out by Catholic News Agency gets the perspective of well-known black American Catholics and addresses the complexities of the movement and organization.

For those of you interested in diving into this topic of the Catholic response to racism a bit more, I’d like to share with you some of the many communications/resources put out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/index.cfm

God bless you!
Fr. Jesse Burish

P.S. Here is a link to the Dynamic Catholic Prayer Process I mentioned in my homily this past weekend.

https://dynamiccatholic.com/learning/the-prayer-process


6/24/2020 Message from Father Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

It was with great sadness and disappointment that I heard the news about Fr. Charlie Richmond, former chaplain at McDonell and associate at St. Charles Borromeo and St. Peter’s. Fr. Richmond was charged in Chippewa County Court with repeated sexual assault of a minor during his time at McDonell between September 2016 and May 2017. In a relatively small community like our own, this kind of thing affects everyone.

Reiterating a point Fr. Kizewski made in his letter to MACS families, it is so important that we be vigilant in speaking out about sexual abuse when it has occurred, or whenever we suspect something is not quite right — in our community, in the Church, and in our families. We should talk to a trusted authority about it and/or go to the police. It is the responsibility of all of us to create and maintain a safe environment, especially for our young people.

There is very little that I know about this situation concerning Fr. Richmond. Between what I have read in the news and heard in the community, I’ve been unable to make any clear judgment on the matter. Please join me in praying that justice is done for all parties involved, and that healing occurs where it needs to occur. Pray for all victims of sexual abuse, and pray for priests, both of whom endure great spiritual warfare.

May God bless you,

Fr. Jesse Burish


6/17/2020 Message from Father Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

Several weeks ago, I joked that under the lockdown, a lot more time was being spent in the Jacuzzi and Netflix binging at the Rectory.  Well, as many of us are now returning to something that more closely resembles previous routines and schedules, I imagine there are many others who are still spending a good amount of time at home… and probably watching Netflix or other streaming services.  These entertainment resources aren’t inherently bad.  In fact there are a lot of great things about them — but they can often have entertainment that doesn’t inspire virtue or help us on our way to heaven.  It’s good to know that there is always other “entertainment” resources out there that can.  This might be one:

A parishioner recently passed onto me a recommendation to check out a relatively new TV series called The Chosen by VidAngel Studios about our Lord Jesus Christ.  I located the first episode on YouTube and I believe it is available on other streaming services.  It can also be watched for free on its own app: www.thechosen.tv/app.  It was produced by an Evangelical, Dallas Jenkins, whose father produced the Left Behind series — although it seems to be very different from that.  Admittedly, I have not viewed much of this yet, but I’m intrigued by it, as it seems to have many positive Catholic reviews.  It does not seem to be based on a rigid fundamentalist reading of the Scriptures, but it does seem to be faithful to the Scriptures while proposing additional elements not explicit in the Scriptures that serve as a sort of “Ignatian meditiation” (“Ignatian,” referring to St. Ignatius of Loyola, who provides the prayer Tradition of the Church with a wonderful model for using our imagination when meditating on the Scriptures).  Feel free to check it out.  If it is good, it will serve to edify and point us to higher things.  Shouldn’t all our entertainment and recreation do that?

God bless you!

Fr. Jesse Burish


6/10/2020 Message from Father Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

Last week I spoke on keeping a Catholic and biblical worldview in light of the protests and violence stemming from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While I have seen in media circles debates about whether or not this particular incident was really one of racism (as opposed to just police brutality… of course, it could’ve been both), it has certainly brought to the forefront the issue of racism in our country. Living and/or growing up in our diocese in west-central Wisconsin — which is still largely racially homogeneous — I think it is difficult to weigh these issues. I just came across this YouTube video from Ascension Presents done by two Franciscan Friars of the Renewal which I think offers a good Catholic perspective:

What Can Catholics Do to Overcome Racism?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6uyz2vBSgg

God bless you,

Fr. Jesse Burish


6/3/2020 Message from Father Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

I’ve been struck by how much the news over the last few days about the protesting and rioting in Minneapolis and other cities has affected people with whom I’ve spoken recently. A lot of us tend to get very frustrated and despairing about our world today. These are serious issues and they are disheartening.

However, I’d like to offer a word of caution. If and when we find ourselves becoming so frustrated and disheartened by the state of things in our world, it might be good for us to step back and consider who or what we are letting shape our worldview. I think often without even realizing it, we let the media and popular culture do this. But shouldn’t our Catholic faith and the Scriptures do that first and foremost? Christ is risen from the dead and offers the promise of life eternal — a new heaven and a new earth. He has also given us the gift of the Holy Spirt to discern the truth and his presence amidst these times of confusion and darkness. Remember before all else that Christ meant it when he said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Isn’t that especially true now in our own context?

May God bless you!

Fr. Jesse Burish


5/27/2020 Message From Fr. Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

Last week, you may recall seeing or hearing a news report about Chippewa Falls area churches releasing a joint statement saying that their doors will remain closed for the time being to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, despite the ending of the Safer At Home order. The group of pastors that developed the statement I know well and consider friends. In fact, many of us have been meeting for lunch about once a month at the Goldsmith Coffee Bar (i.e., before the Safer at Home order began). Since the publication of the statement, the question has been raised as to why our Catholic parishes did not participate in or sign this joint document.

First of all, I can say that the group recognized that many other area pastors had differing directives coming from superiors in their own denominations. There was no pressure to sign, and there was a general understanding that many would not be able to do so.

Secondly, there is unique urgency that we have as Catholics have to return to public worship. While it is great that we can make available the possibility of watching Mass on TV or live stream, or listening to it on the radio, this is far from ideal. As I stated in a recent bulletin column, the Catholic Church is a sacramental church. In other words, Christ’s presence and his grace are transmitted to us chiefly through the means of the sacraments. Certainly, Christ comes to us in other ways, but the sacraments are the sure and primary way, and the sacraments require the physical presence of persons and personal contact. We believe this is how Christ set it up, and this is evident in the actions of Christ and the apostles in the New Testament. For this reason, the Catholic Church cannot simply “shut down” or stop what she does, for that would be in violation of Christ’s command. To do so would be prioritizing mere physical health over spiritual health. This is why the total shut down of Catholic churches in some parts of the country was such a scandal for many people.

As Catholics, we reopen with the intent of making more available the sacraments through public worship, but at the same time, reasonably attending to the rigorous safety precautions recommended for preventing the spread of disease. As many of you will return to Mass this coming weekend for the great feast of Pentecost, I ask that you be diligent in respecting the directives given to us for a safer gathering in church, as described in my bulletin column this past weekend. I look forward to seeing you back!

May God bless you!

Fr. Jesse Burish


5/20/2020 Message from Fr. Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

There are a couple things I thought I’d share with you this week. First, last Thursday, I took the opportunity to have an online conference call meeting with all our parish’s staff and office volunteers (about nine persons) as a sort of “touch base” in the midst of the pandemic. I regret not having thought to do something like this sooner! As a parish staff, we rarely (if ever) see each other all in one place and at the same time, as many in the group are part-time, and some have been staying home to remain safe. Sadly, we don’t always get to know each other very well.

We took time to go around and tell the group how things were going in our lives and families, particularly under the current pandemic circumstances, and then to bring forward to the group any personal prayer intentions that we had. It was beautiful. I was so edified. We have wonderful people working here at Notre Dame, and my hope is to continue building up an even greater culture of prayer and spiritual fellowship. Through this I was reminded again of the importance of having a group of spiritual friends in our life to accompany us on our own journey with the Lord.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that we are still in the month of May — a month dedicated to Our Lady. With the feast of Our Lady of Fatima this past May 13th, we are reminded that Mary our mother calls us to regular prayer and acts of penance. Penance — as in offering our daily inconveniences and crosses up in union with Jesus on the cross, and prayer — especially the Rosary. Below is a link to a great article I came across on reasons for praying the Rosary.

In prayer,

Fr. Jesse Burish

Five Reasons for Praying the Rosary:


Return to Mass Message from Fr. Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

I have happy news for you! In accordance with Bishop Callahan’s letter of May 14, 2020, we are now making preparations for the return of public weekend Masses. We are hopeful this will be the weekend of Pentecost, May 30-31. Although these Masses will be public, attendance will be limited to keep necessary social distancing. There will be no public Mass before the weekend of May 30-31. Please keep checking the parish website for updates.

Although we hope to begin public Mass at the end of this month, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains dispensed until further notice. As Bishop Callahan states in his letter, “at this time I encourage those over 65 and particularly those with underlying health conditions to stay home.” Notre Dame will continue live streaming the Saturday 4:30pm Mass.

Be assured of my continued prayers for you, and I look forward to seeing you again soon, if at all possible, at Mass. God bless you!

Fr. Jesse Burish

See also: https://diolc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Letter-to-all-faithful-May-14-2020.pdf


5/13/2020 Message from Fr. Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,

As I alluded to in my homily, this past Sunday’s Gospel really spoke to me. After Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me,” Thomas says, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way.” To be completely honest, as the pastor of a parish, I often express a similar concern to the Lord in prayer. “Lord, I do not know where I am going.” I hope you’re not too shocked or scandalized by that… or, maybe it’s just something that has become obvious to you by now ;-).

If there has ever been an occasion for any one of us to add those words to our prayer, “Master, we do not know where we are going,“ it would be now. I have been praying for many of you whom I know are out of work, or dealing with uncertainty regarding finances, uncertainty about schooling, uncertainty about taking care of a loved one in poor health, or loneliness, etc. As the pastor of this parish, many have been asking questions about our next steps going forward and the return of public Masses, and many other things connected to parish life. Waiting for directives from our Bishop and Diocese while variables are always changing, I have had to live with not having an answer — to the great frustration of some, including yours truly.

What I’ve learned in my experience as a priest so far is that the Lord provides in time, and that he allows periods of ambiguity, confusion, and uncertainty. The feeling that I need to have it all figured out right away is not from God. To follow him, the Lord often asks us to step out into the darkness and believe him when he says, “I am the way the truth and the life.” God loves our radical trust when we can’t see very far in front of us.

Fr. Jesse Burish

A favorite prayer from St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you.
All things are passing. God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.


5/5/2020 Message from Fr. Burish

Dear Parishioners of Notre Dame,During this Easter Season, I invite you to take time to read the Acts of the Apostles. One could say it’s the earliest history of the early Church. Throughout the season of Easter, we hear passages from Acts in our first readings at Mass, both on Sundays and throughout the week. Objectively, you will see, the Church endures a lot of serious struggles during this time. Jewish leaders persecute Christians in Jerusalem (beginning with the martyrdom of St. Stephen), and this leads many Christians to flee the city.

However, for St. Luke, the inspired author of Acts, these events are not really seen in a totally negative light. Instead, we’re given a picture of the working of God’s Providence. The faith of the early Church remains strong, and with that, God brings to it greater blessings through the trials it experiences. Acts also tells the story of Saul who had a hand in the death of St. Stephen. But through Stephen’s intercession, Saul comes to conversion and would eventually become known as St. Paul, the apostle. The early Jewish Christians who fled the persecution in Jerusalem would also bring about a greater spreading of the Faith.

In Acts of the Apostles, we are shown the pattern of God working in the face of evil and bad situations. As we continue to celebrate the Easter Resurrection of the Lord in the midst of all the uncertainty, frustration, and anxiety of this pandemic, may we strive to see the pattern of God in the working of it all and not give into discouragement or despair, limiting the possibilities of God. That’s Easter faith.

Please continue to keep me and your fellow parishioners in prayer during this time, and know you remain in my prayers as well.

Fr. Jesse Burish