||Fr. Basil Atwell|
PO Box 870
Garrison, ND 58540
701-898-8884 Fr. Basil Cell
701-463-2327 Church Office
701-463-2538 Fellowship Hall
Church Office Hours
Tuesday and Thursday
8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Parish Council President
St Ann's Altar Society President
Knights of Columbus Grand Knight
Directors of Religious Education
A Message from the Pastor
My dear Parishioners and Friends,
It has been only six months since my arrival in last July. I write with a great deal of joy, albeit not without some sadness as well.
As Catholics around the world give thanks at every Mass for the great gift of our redemption, it goes without saying that so often many of us can thoughtlessly take our Lord Jesus and our Christian faith for granted.
As parishioners were having their photos taken for this parish directory, a study of global Christianity discovered that Christians were the most persecuted religious group in the world in 2016. Over 90,000 Christians lost their lives last year because of their faith. (Herein read Catholics and other Eastern Rite Churches allied with the Catholic Church.) This means that 1 Christian was killed in the world every 6 minutes last year. Currently, more than 500,000,000 Christians all over the world are now unable to freely and openly practice their faith. All this, while recent and unfortunate anti-Christian policies of our Federal government and well-funded fringe groups pressure believing Catholics into a kind of ghetto wherein the worship of the faith is allowed but not its open practice.
What is more, in our time, many of our baptized Catholic brothers and sisters have "fallen away," in the past thirty to forty years. There are many living within our own tri-parish boundaries who were once baptized into the Roman Catholic Church; yet, now, for one reason or another, seem to live lives estranged from their respective faith communities.
The fact is, there are hundreds of baptized Catholics in and around the Garrison, White Shield, and Max areas who need to re-establish their rights to the Sacraments and begin to live again the truths of their Catholic faith. Sadly, most of these perhaps do not know how to get back to the Church.
We, who continue to practice our God-given and life-sustaining Catholic faith, must seek to live out the Christian life faithfully. We must attend to our own souls and the souls of our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, as well as to all those to whom Christ calls us.
Recognizing that each one of us often fails in our attempt to live fully in Christ, we must be careful not to judge others who have strayed from the arms of His Church. Yes; the fact is we all fall short of the mark; and, as St. Paul puts it, “…there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23).
Recognizing our own weaknesses then, we are perhaps in a better position to witness to those who no longer attend to their own souls by making an offering of themselves at regular holy Masses; as indeed all of us should do daily. However, depending upon our willingness and upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you and I may be the one whom God calls in any given moment to assist souls who no longer receive the sacraments of the Church regularly. We must, however, be willing to step up when the Holy Spirit prompts us to be our Lord's hands and His feet and His kind words of comfort and forgiveness. We are God’s emissaries in those particular moments.
Like anyone who falls short of the mark, our lapsed Catholic brothers and sisters need our loving fidelity to Christ, our understanding of human frailty, and our sincere prayers. Truly, all of our friends and neighbors need our truest and most charitable example of a faith lived daily.
Many souls have forgotten about the gift of redemption which God has given to us in Christ. They need us to gently remind them. Some folks, because of poor catechesis, do not know, or have never experienced the joys of full communion in the Church. If we are not careful, you or I might be tempted to take our faith for granted and lose even our own souls and those souls to whom we have been called to witness daily. We must resist that temptation to take for granted so great a gift of our Catholic inheritance. We must resist for the sake those saints who have given their life’s blood for the Faith. Each one of us has been called by our Lord Jesus Christ to follow after Him. The only way we can help our brothers and sisters to take the slivers out of their own eyes is to recognize the planks in our own eyes first.
We need to set an example for others first by keeping the Golden Rule, which was set down by our Lord Jesus Christ, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Matthew chapter 7:12). By doing so, we will show a true Christian example, and we will witness to the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ does matter; and, that His Church, founded upon Peter and His Apostles and led by the Holy Spirit, is filled with the Sacraments that give life and meaning to every human soul. This charitable act is the truest way to attaining heaven.
May almighty God continue to bless all members, past, present, and future, of the Church of St. Nicholas, the Church of the Sacred Heart, and the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Fr. Basil Atwell, OSB