Spirit on 7th Street
October 13, 2021 My Path to the Seminary by John Rumpza
Life is full of surprises. Growing up, my little brother loved going to church – as a toddler, he would raise his sippy cup and mumble baby words during the consecration. Naturally, my family imagined him as the future priest of our family. Meanwhile I was on the other side of the pew, bored out of my mind! I was much more concerned about sports and about getting to know the young ladies in my class. I chuckle to remember this. My brother is now happily married with kids, and here I am on the path to priesthood.
The way God called truly did surprise me. However, the seed of this priestly calling was planted long ago in 4th grade, when my humble father took me aside one day, explaining it was time to begin discerning my vocation. He encouraged me simply to ask God what He wanted me to do with my life and to listen. He told me that God’s response might not be audible or immediate, but would come as a growing desire and peace in my heart over the years as I continued to ask. Dad instilled in me a simple trust that I would be happiest seeking God’s plan, even if it was surprising. I didn’t sense a call or a desire for the priesthood, but simply kept this question open as I grew.
The surprise of the calling is encapsulated in 3 particular instances. The first surprise was after college, when I became profoundly unfulfilled in the workforce, even in positions where I should have excelled. I had the kind of business career I had always wanted, but it seemed like the more I tried to succeed and press forward, the more my goals slipped out of reach. I also was dating during this time, looking towards a future with wife and family. But I ran into a similar block here. Things would begin wonderfully, but the closer we got, the more my heart would begin to feel restless and uneasy. I was asking myself…why was nothing working out?
The second big surprise happened in 2015. I had moved to San Diego for work, and soon after experienced a corporate restructuring which eliminated my position. I was now frustrated and discouraged, but couldn’t forget my dad’s words from 4th grade. I began praying and searching all the more. Little did I know, the searching itself was changing me and preparing me, and after some months, there was a moment of piercing clarity, where, to my amazement, I understood that God was calling me to be a priest! (there’s another full story behind this part...) I was very surprised, and a bit nervous – it would mean giving up my dreams of a career and marriage. I was also worried that the life would prove too difficult. But, thanks again to that 4th grade conversation with dad, I decided to give God everything. I took a deep breath, said “Jesus, I trust in you,” and applied to the seminary.
And this was when the third big surprise came: From day one of seminary, I experienced an entirely new kind of peace. A new creativity and joy began flowing out of my heart. Painful difficulties became treasured opportunities for God to bring increased healing and joy. My deepest fears and heartaches were no longer something to hide, but something to pour out to Jesus, where I began receiving His strength and courage to overcome them. Life was changing and deepening, and through all the trials and joys, it was becoming a rich adventure!
Even though I had always trusted my dad’s words, it still surprised me to find that in giving up what I thought I wanted most to follow what God wanted for me, I am more bursting with life and joy, more myself than I could have ever imagined.
So my encouragement is this: Give God permission to be a part of every aspect of your life. This adventure will cost you everything, but you will receive incomparably more in return!
September 3, 2021 New PPC Members
I had been thinking of a way that I might be able to serve the church and my fellow parishioners. The Parish Council is a great way to be a ”sounding board“ for Father Barnes and represent the Parish.
My goal is to go out of my way to meet more members of our Parish. My hope is that this will allow me to be the best representative that I can be when meeting with other council members and Father.
The Parish Council represents the St. Henry’s community. We work to meet people as we can. But I would encourage each parishioner to reach out to any of us. We will take issues and comments to the council but I would love to hear about what you like also.
I am excited to become a member of St. Henry’s Parish Council. I look forward to learning about our parish and how we can grow as a community.
Growing in my personal relationship with Jesus is a daily focus. As a Parish Council member, I hope to help other’s increase their faith as well. I hope to do this through community relationships, youth programs, and individual growth.
My husband and I grew up in Monticello and are now raising our three daughters in this beautiful community. I am a small group facilitator, volunteer with baptism and have taught faith formation over the years. Being involved in different ministries is a great way to give back to our parish.
After attending CHRP (Christ Renews His Parish) here 10 years ago, God placed on my heart things like First Saturday Devotion, life-size statues and votive stations etc. I honestly never knew who to take my questions and concerns to other than our former Pastor, Father Tony. Well, now I learned it's the role of the Pastor AND the Parish Council. Our Catholic Faith is so rich and I'd love to see us enjoying more traditions so we can expose our kids to them. I love taking my kids to the celebrations done by our Hispanic family like Our Lady of Guadalupe and Good Friday's Passion. It helps my kids understand the Church history, tradition and culture that exists while being enjoyable and engaging for them.
I accepted this role to be a resource for someone like you to bring your concerns and desires to, that you have for our church. Let's create a church home together, from your input and feedback, that we will be excited to come to together and invite others to join us!
How can you say no to God :)
As a new council member I'd like to learn more about the working parts of our parish. I hope I have something to offer to make our parish even better if that's possible.
I feel so blessed to be a part of the St. Henrys' community and I will do my best to keep us thriving.
July 22, 2021
Despite the lingering smoke and the heat, we had a small but enthusiastic group join Father Barnes at Montissippi Park. A beautiful blessing on our bikes followed by a scenic ride through the park was topped off with the sighting of a deer. Our youngest rider, at just 6 years old, completed his longest bike ride of 2.5 miles!
July 14, 2021 NET Ministries
Hello! Heather Bruley and I (Cecilia Kemmetmuller) will be serving with NET Ministries from Mid-August 2021 to May 2022. As missionaries with NET our main goal is to “Challenge young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church through youth retreats and parish discipleship”. There are 175 young adults that will be moving across the United States with NET Ministries in groups of 8-14 people to proclaim the Gospel to Catholic youth. For us, this means that we will be leading retreats for young Catholics where we will witness to them and to the Catholic faith through fun games, inspiring talks, and, of course, through prayer.
Over the years, Cecilia and I have been heavily involved with the youth ministry at the Church of Saint Henry and the love this parish has poured out to us is something we wish to pass on to others. This ministry gives us a unique opportunity to do this around the United States by truly being the hands and feet of Christ. The mission of NET however isn’t solely about reaching those we serve on retreats, and isn’t simply run by missionaries such as ourselves. Before missionaries even make it to the NET Center, our goal is to reach out to others and have them join our cause financially and spiritually. To spread the mission of NET and to build support, we are all asked to reach out to our family, friends, and parishes to help us raise around $6,000 of support for ourselves and NET. We ask all to consider joining our mission and praying for the youth we will serve, and the NET missionaries this next year! All donations are accepted and needed to reach our goals! As part of our team, you will receive updates throughout the year from us as we serve thousands of youth and hear how you are making a difference! Thank you all for your generosity, we thank God every day for our St. Henry’s family and can’t wait to start this next chapter with you.
Heather Bruley and Cecilia Kemmetmueller
June 17, 2021 The Year of Saint Joseph Click on the image to view the PDF article.
June 11, 2021 Christina's Story: They Story Beyond the Crucifix as told to Tracy Hinkemeyer and Jim Sidla
The next time you visit the chapel at Saint Henry’s, please take notice of the crucifix. And, if you’ve already seen it, after reading this article, most likely you’ll not see it in the same way ever again.
Poland, mid 1930s
World War II was in its early stages, and Germany had taken over Poland. Hitler needed people to work in his factories. One of Saint Henry’s parishioners, Christina Thielen, lived in a small village in Poland at the time, with her mother, father, sister and brother. One night, by the order of Hitler, their home was raided, and Christina was forced to leave her family home; she had just turned 16 years of age.
“My father and mother were begging them not take me away,” Christina said. “They said we had 10 minutes. Having no time, my mother gave me her only shoes and coat, and put a prayer card in my pocket.” Hitler’s troops took Christina that night, and this would be the last time she would ever see her family. They never knew if she had lived or died.
Christina, with many other young women from the area, was trucked from Poland to Germany, where she was forced to live and work in a prison labor camp called Opladen. There, she worked 12 hours a day making military garments, including parachutes. The factory living quarters were cold and wet, with only straw bedding for sleeping. Food rations were extremely small. Their allotment consisted of a piece of bread for three days for breakfast, and they ate from a room-sized kettle of bug-infested vegetables.
“A man with an SS emblem on his uniform was very kind to me”, Christina recalled. “Somehow God touched his heart and he became a friend. He gave me extra rations. But, if anyone knew he was helping me, both of us would have been killed.”
Christina lived in the forced labor camp for four years, and what she witnessed and experienced was horrifying – atrocities we won’t depict here. With tears in her eyes, Christina said, “I prayed unceasingly. Our Lord brought me through.”
Post War Time
After years of living in the forced labor prison camp, news was spreading that Germany was going to lose the war. By this point, people at the camp were starving and neglected. “We learned we were all going to be poisoned so we couldn’t leave.” Christina said. “We didn’t eat for fear of this threat.”
After a bloody battle between the Germans and Americans, the Germans were defeated and fled. “We were just sitting and waiting in the basement, wondering what was going to happen to us,” Christina said. Fortunately, American troops arrived at the camp and rescued the prisoners. “Many spoke Polish – it was the sweetest thing!” she said. We hugged, sang and danced.
From there they were trucked to another city in Wetzlar, Germany, to a large camp for displaced persons of the war. The accommodations were not pleasant, with only straw to sleep on, and men and women were camped together.
Soon after, Christina and a friend, Maggie, were successful in applying for and securing a job, serving Polish military personnel at one of their German base camps. “We had a nice room, rugs on the floor, and a mattress! I was in charge of the dining room; it was a good job”, she said. Later this camp moved to Darmstadt, Germany.
During this time, Christina said many had an opportunity to go back to Poland. However, she reported that she was afraid to go, because, at this point, the Russians had taken over the country, and it was not safe. Communism was not for her. She had a good job, and was being treated well for the first time.
Beginning of a New Life
One fateful night, Christina met the person who would become her husband. Richard Thielen (Dick) was an American soldier, stationed near where Christina lived. “I attended a dance on New Year’s Eve, and that’s where I met Dick,” she said.
Christina reported there was musical instruments, chocolate, and coffee at the dance. At one point, everyone watched as the door opened and two Americans entered. “One of them walked across the dance floor, grabbed my arm, and didn’t let go!” she said with a laugh. “Dick pursued me every day, and I kept putting him off, until my friends finally said to give him a chance!” The rest, as they say, is history. Dick, who is originally from Melrose, MN, and Christina were married 9 months later in Darmshtadt, Germany that year.
Dick and Christina eventually made their home in St. Cloud, MN. They raised eight children, with the youngest child, Grace Janssen, also a member of Saint Henry’s.
Grace discovered 15 years ago that a fund was set up for survivors of the Polish holocaust by the Polish and German consulate. The funds were set up as reparation for the harm, suffering, and atrocities committed against the prisoners of WWII. Grace was able to produce all the documentation needed and Christina, as a holocaust survivor, was awarded a small amount of funds from this account.
“When I received this money, I knew I wanted to put it to good use.”
So, when Father Tim Rudolphi, who was the pastor at Saint Henry’s at the time, was looking to raise funds for a new crucifix, Christina was planning to support the fundraising efforts. “I was going to donate a part of it, but later that night God moved my heart and I thought, ‘OK Lord, let's go for it all.”
Christina went on to say, “When I look at that crucifix, I see Him . . . all the suffering Jesus experienced. I see myself with Him there. In the paradox of suffering, sorrow and pain which led to the resurrection and glorious freedom from captivity and death. What a privilege to be able to donate, as a gift of thanksgiving, this powerful, bittersweet and beautiful crucifix in honor of our Lord and for the people of Saint Henry.
God was always with me during this time, and I want to always be right with Him.”
June 4, 2021
The Upper Room Retreat
May 28, 2021
Clarity with Clergy
Last night was a second offering of Clarity with Clergy, held this time in the Gathering Space instead of electronically on Zoom. We had a nice turn out of 15 people. Ten questions were submitted online and were answered by Father and Deacon, as well as several from the attendees. Topics ranged from Purgatory to Christ calling his mother Woman, from forgiveness of sins to music selection and more. Those in attendance agreed that they had each learned something and were glad they attended.
"Purgatory is like a really nice car wash." -Father Barnes
The Month of May Honoring Mother Mary
As Catholics, we have honored Mary, mother of Jesus, during the month of May since the 13th century. Traditions have included praying the rosary each day, a “crowning” of Mary event, and special readings, devotions, and prayers.
Here are few ways we invite you to celebrate Mary’s special month:
- Visit our own gardens. We have the Mary Garden with a chime, complete with a beautiful statute of Our Lady of Grace, brought here from the front of the Convent at the old church. The Sorrowful Mother garden area where another statute of Mary resides. This statue was brought here from the cemetery where she was blown over in the strong winds of the 1997 tornado, the statues of Joseph and Jesus that had accompanied her were destroyed. The Rosary Walk garden area is full of flowers, as well, planted around a boulder where the Crucifix rests.
- Pray the rosary each day in May, whether at church, in your home, or within the Mary Gardens.
- Create your own Mary Garden: Visit Flowers of the fairest: How to plant a Mary garden | CNA (catholicnewsagency.com) or simply plant flowers that have historically been matched with Mother Mary. According to author Vincenzia Krymow in her book, “Mary’s Flowers – Gardens, Legends and Meditations”, a Mary Garden is a garden dedicated to Mary, which can be as small as a clay pot, or as large as a city block. A statute of Mary will be surrounded by herbs and flowers, which have special significance, through legends or naming. Historians believe that the first gardens honoring Mary were cloister gardens in monasteries. They contained flowering plants and herbs used for medicinal purposes, as well as vegetable and fruit trees. Plants for the first-time could Mary gardeners include:
- Madonna Lily
- Forget-Me-Nots – representing the eyes of Mary
- English daisies – referred to as Mary-Loves
- Bachelor’s Button – Mary’s crown
- Marigolds – Mary’s Gold
- Violets – Mary’s Humility
- Alyssum - Mary's Little Cross
- Lily of the Valley - the tears of Mary
- Geranium - Lady Beautiful
- Impatiens - Our Lady's Earrings, Mother Love
- Bleeding Heart - Mary's Heart
- Petunia - Lady's Praise
- Zinnia - The Virgin
- Canna - Rosary Beads
- Fern - Our Lady's Hair
- Hosta - Assumption Lily
Suggestions of places to purchase your very own statue of Mary.
St. Patrick’s Books and Gifts 25 Birch Ave S in Maple Lake www.stpatricksonline.com
Leaflet Missal 976 W Minnehaha Ave in St. Paul www.leafletonline.com
Click on the links below to view past newsletters.
Spirit on 7th Street Summer 2015 Newsletter