Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – January 8, 2023

God in Man Made Manifest

A number of years ago, I first came across the custom of blessing chalk on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. I had never seen or heard of it in my first decade of life. For those not familiar, the custom is for each family to gather at the entrance of their home and pray for God’s blessings upon them and upon all who enter under their roof during the new year. The head of the household takes chalk blessed on the Day of Epiphany and writes on the lintel over the main entrance to the house and perhaps over other entrances or doorways, “2 0 + C + M + B + 2 3” while pronouncing (if possible) in his best Latin, “Christus Mansiónem Benedícat,” meaning, “May Christ bless the house.” The letters “CMB” also stand for the traditional names of the three wise men: Sts. Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The digits at each end are for the current year.

In many Eastern churches, the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated with even more festivity than Christmas. The Epiphany, from the Greek word for “unveiling, revelation, manifestation,” recalls the visit of the three magi and the first revelation of the Christ Child to non-Jewish nations, whom the magi represent. Many Christians still exchange gifts on the Feast of the Epiphany since that’s when the magi brought their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Besides the visit of the magi, there are two other moments from the life of Jesus connected to this Great Feast: the Baptism of the Lord and the Wedding Feast at Cana. Jesus being baptized by John in the River Jordan is often considered the first clear revelation of God as a Trinity of Persons: the Father manifested in the voice from heaven, the Son Jesus standing in the river, and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him bodily like a dove. Unlike most other baptisms where the water is used by God to make the one being baptized holy, when Jesus was baptized, He actually made the waters holy. Some Christians still practice the Epiphany tradition of taking a dip in a freezing lake to recall the Lord’s Baptism and one’s own baptism. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying it around here.

The changing of water into wine at Cana is regarded as Christ’s first public miracle, the manifestation of His divine power. By the grace of the Lord’s Epiphany, may we always make Christ more manifest, better known throughout the world by our own words and actions.

This entry was posted on January 6, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – January 1, 2023

Top 10 of 2022

Not sure if I’ll get individual thank-yous written this time, but please know of my gratitude to you for all the great Christmas cards, gifts, and prayers. As we reach the end of the year and the start of another, it’s important to also give thanks to God for His countless blessings. I hope this has been a blessed and memorable year for all of you, even if there have been trials. Here are some of the highlights for me, in Fr. Schmidt’s Top 10 of ’22:

10. Replacing the awning over the front door of the Hoven rectory, although it might still drip in a couple places.

9. Attending a priest retreat in June at the Abbey of the Hills for the first time. It was good, although it seemed to be mostly attended by older or retired priests.

8. Having an archbishop serve Mass for me. Following the Chrism Mass this year, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson let me celebrate Mass in Sioux Falls and was kind enough to serve at the altar.

7. The ceiling restoration in the church in Hoven, completed much more quickly than expected. Very grateful to members of the altar society cleaning afterwards to have Mass back in the church so soon.

6. Fr. Timothy Smith becoming a resident student priest inBowdle for canon law. We had served together at the cathedral in Sioux Falls, and he knew this part of the diocese from his time in Ipswich.

5. Hosting the Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (LIHM) Sisters for a Confirmation retreat and later in the year, Fr. Brian Eckrich who helped with a wedding.

4. St. Augustine T-shirts for the religious education students in Bowdle. Hopefully, they’ll wear them around and continue to learn about this patron saint.

3. Having Fr. Michael Griffin provide the narration at the Christmas on the Prairie concert this year along with having Governor Kristi Noem and some of her family as special guests.

2. Attending the Wake of Bishop Paul J. Swain and reflecting on his many years of ministry in the diocese and as the bishop who ordained and assigned me.

1. Continuing as pastor of two of the greatest parishes in the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

This entry was posted on December 30, 2022.