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Posted on: October 8, 2022

Thoughts on Abortion

Last week, in my article and my Sunday homily, I spoke of not being taken in by the confusing rhetoric surrounding the poorly written Proposal 3 which would enshrine unrestricted and unregulated abortion in our state constitution.

On Respect Life Sunday last week, I spoke of the reality of the procedures of abortion. They are not “pretty,” and they are not necessary, let alone the fact that this is intrinsically evil. The Fifth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.” An intention to end a life is killing, and morally speaking we cannot legitimately participate.

And, this is where the pro-abortion language can be confusing. They make it sound as if we have a right to take a life, or that taking the child’s life gives the mother her rights. This is just not true. Morally speaking you cannot do an evil to produce a good. In effect, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Myths and misconceptions abound around the issue and in
the rhetoric. For example:

Myth No. 1: Abortion is an essential healthcare service.

TRUTH: Abortion is never needed to secure the health of the mother. In difficult pregnancies, proper medical care can address both mother and child.

Myth No. 2: Restrictions on abortion are an intrusion on the relationship between a doctor and a patient.

TRUTH: Most abortion providers have no previous relationship
with the patients they see.

Myth No. 3: Unrestricted abortion access is necessary for providing life-saving care for pregnant women.

TRUTH: Elective abortion is not life-saving medical care. OB/GYNs will still be able to offer life-saving medical care to pregnant women. No laws on elective abortion will impact that.

Myth No. 4: Women with ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages
won’t receive the care they need.

TRUTH: These circumstances are entirely different than an elective abortion, which purposefully ends the life of an unborn child. The difference between a miscarriage and elective abortion is clear. In a miscarriage, the baby has already died, and therefore any treatment of a miscarriage would not be an abortion. The procedures and treatments used for miscarriage management are not prohibited by abortion restrictions.

An ectopic pregnancy requires removing an embryo to save a mother’s life so that both lives are not lost. This life-saving treatment is not prevented by any current law restricting or banning abortion. Claiming that it is only serves to confuse women and potentially cause critical delays in care.

Myth No 5: Maternal mortality will increase as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

TRUTH: The data clearly shows that restricting abortion does not lead to an increase to maternal mortality.

Myth No. 6: Placing restrictions on abortion will diminish care for women.

TRUTH: Abortion restrictions often improve safety for women.

Myth No. 7: Abortion does not have a long-term impact on a woman’s reproductive health.

TRUTH: Abortions increase a women’s risk of pre-term birth in a future pregnancy.

Myth No. 8: Chemical abortions are a safe and convenient option for women.

TRUTH: The dangerous push in recent years to dispense abortion pills through the mail or without a doctor’s visit presents a great threat to women’s health.

Myth No. 9: Restricting access to abortion will have a negative impact on women’s mental health.

TRUTH: Numerous studies show women suffer from worse mental health outcomes after an abortion.

These are myths and misconceptions around the argument for abortion. Don’t let yourselves be fooled. God did not give wisdom  and knowledge to doctors and nurses to eliminate life but to enhance it.

In the coming weeks, I will place more information from the Michigan Catholic Conference in The Pulse. Please get the message out! And don’t forget to vote on November 8th!

God bless all of you, Father Duane

Posted on: October 1, 2022

Update on Proposal 3

In a few weeks, the citizens of the State of Michigan will go to the polls and vote. In fact, due to the recent trend since the pandemic, “absentee” ballots have already gone out. Which means voting has begun! The electorate will choose their particular candidates which is complicated, even more so this time because of the critical issue of Proposal 3 which
would allow for unrestricted and unregulated abortion enshrined in our State’s constitution.

At the request of Archbishop Vigneron coupled with my own convictions based on sound moral and ethical values, not even mentioning the myths and misconceptions surrounding the medical issues associated with the abortion procedures, I have been and will continue to preach and write about the intrinsic evil abortion is.

I urge every one to vote NO on Proposal 3! But also I need your help to get this message out beyond the confines of our worship space, our church. We all need to be on the front line of this most important discussion. We have not had such a grave moral issue to decide on since the 1990’s with the proposal on assisted suicide. The Catholic vote made a difference at that time, and the legalization of assisted suicide did not become law in the State of Michigan. So many years after I think we can see the wisdom of our decision, and we as Catholics made a difference. The trend has dissipated, and we are on the right side of history and moral judgement.

It is right and good for us to have that same position on abortion. An issue that is looming large and trending as a “reproductive right.” When, in fact, that language is morally incorrect. The only “right” we have is to cooperate in God’s creation, a God-given “right to life!” For God said, “Go and multiply and fill the earth”, and he said “It is good.” Nowhere in the Scriptures do I read God said we have the “right to choose” based on
our needs or wants at the time.

We, as Catholics, are respected in the world for our high moral and ethical standards. We always have been since the beginning of the church itself in the First Century. For that reason, when we fail to maintain those standards, we are harshly criticized by culture at large. We cannot allow ourselves to lower our standards. We cannot allow ourselves to be accused of silence on this issue.

For this reason, I implore you to read and seek all the information
you can on this issue and vote with a conscience that stands firm and conforms itself to the high moral standards we profess. Invite others to do the same. Do not let yourselves be taken in by the rhetoric “my body, my choice,” or that we have a “reproductive right” to end human life.
Next week, I’ll write to point out some of the pitfalls that the proposal promulgates and warn against believing false or misguided rhetoric. The future of our State is too important to be apathetic on this issue.

Please vote and vote NO on Proposal 3. It is not good, it is not good for our State, and it is not good for our moral life. In the end, we will have to stand before God on our decision.

May God bless us, care for us, and pray for the people of the State of Michigan.

Posted on: September 24, 2022

Vote No on Proposal 3

As we approach Election Day, the citizens of Michigan need to fully inform themselves about the reality of abortion. I explained last Sunday during my homily that abortions are not only morally evil, but it is unnecessary in today’s culture.

We, as Catholics, should be on the forefront of getting that message out to as many as we can, so that people will vote NO on Proposal 3. I was intending to write a more in-depth article on this issue this week, but in the meantime Archbishop Vigneron sent a letter to all the faithful. In lieu of my comments this week, I would ask everyone to read the Archbishop’s inserted letter in The Pulse today. The Archbishop states it very well. Lest we become inundated, let us reflect and speak out on the Archbishop’s thoughts this week. I’ll keep writing to you or putting information in The Pulse in the weeks to come until the vote is takes place.

But it is important that Proposal 3 is not passed in our State. Otherwise, as I mentioned Sunday, we will be in the ranks with North Korea and  China as to our “liberal” abortion law.

Posted on: July 9, 2022

Updates from Father

I want to write today reflecting on both temporal and pastoral issues. First the temporal. As you can see in our 4th quarter Smiley Face report, we have a big smile to share. Remember this report is only focusing on the weekly Sunday collection. This is not a full financial picture. I will share a year-end report with you on Stewardship Sunday in September. But this report is very good. In fact, our overage in Sunday collections of
$25,597 is $5,000 more than last year at this time. To this I can only say thank you! You have put a smile on my face!

The weekly collection is the back bone of any parish’s finances. CSA overage, fundraisers, and extra donations are all good, and we need all of that to keep ourselves sustainable, but the Sunday collection is critical, and you have been so very generous. I pray we will be able to maintain
our success.

The reason this collection is so important is despite all our fundraising efforts and with the generous Sunday collections, we still need to call back money from our savings to “balance our budget” and pay our bills. In fact, we projected that we would have to call back $110,000 to meet our ’20 / ’21 budget that just ended June 30th. However, due to successful fundraisers and your Sunday generosity, we only had to call back $72,000 for operating expenses. Everyone is doing a great job. But the problem is fewer people are raising more money. The only way we can close our overall deficit and produce a balanced budget is to enlarge our Sunday attendance.

I am asking every one to make a concerted effort this year to bring a family or a friend to St. Matthew and try to get them to join the parish. I know there are a lot of people who have fallen away and don’t attend Mass anymore. We can be wonderful evangelizers and help to build up the community which in turn will make us stronger.

I know it is not easy, but it is a work that must be done. We want to continue to be a beacon of light and a sign of hope to help people grow closer to our Savior, Jesus the Christ. We can best start by having people experience the warmth of our community, the wonderful and prayerful liturgies, and to feed them on the Word of the Lord. The rest will work itself out. As we pray for vocations in this coming year, let us also add a request for new members. Again, thanks for the smile!

Now on a pastoral note, as you undoubtedly know, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. Although it is a step in the right direction, it does not seem to resolve the issue. Now every state in the Union will have to decide which way they will go. Will the state of Michigan retain
its default law as an anti-abortion state? Or will a new state law identify us as an abortion state?

There are petitions being circulated to further an initiative to “set in concrete” within our state constitution “a right to abortion.” Not only for Michigan Catholics but for all people of good will, this should be concerning. The ballot initiative proposal led by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union should not be signed. Know what you are being asked to sign before any action is taken.

The efforts to change our Michigan anti-abortion law will be great. But we can counter it by communicating our love, concern, hope, support, and encouragement to those who would seek such a procedure. To that end, I am enclosing an MCC Focus article on “How Catholics Walk with Moms in Need.” Fear oftentimes drives mothers to make decisions that may be inappropriate or regretful afterwards. We need to get the message out that there is hope and fear can be diminished.

The USCCB recently re-iterated our core focus related to abortion:

“As Catholics, we care about every unborn child and every mother. Our church has consistently witnessed in word and deed that life begins at the moment of conception. As the bishops shared in our statement standing with Moms in Need; we pledge ‘to re-double our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, and during the early years of parenthood, offering them loving and compassionate care through initiatives such as walking with Moms in Need and countless others.’”

Even our own local efforts in supplying Pregnancy Aid with much needed supplies supports life. Last week in The Pulse you saw how just this one agency that we work with walks with Moms; 532 Moms helped, 205 ultra-sounds, 358 cans of formula, maternity clothes, diapers, etc. It all brings hope to frightened moms in their time of need. I ask you to continue to pray that our state makes the right decision — “Right to Life.”

God bless all of you,
Father Duane

Posted on: May 21, 2022

Organ Concert Thank You!

What a marvelous day we had last Sunday at our Organ Dedication Concert! We estimate there were about 225 in attendance, mostly faces we hadn’t seen before. So the word through our publicity obviously went out. The performance by our three organists was superb. And the addition of the loft camera which allowed the hand and foot work to be seen on the screen in front of the altar made for a most interesting concert. The music program was framed in a liturgical setting; with congregational singing, a Scripture reading, a reflection, and, of course, the solemn blessing of the instrument.

Our Hospitality Committee did a wonderful job, and the auditorium looked great with a keyboard theme of black and white. It was just a wonderful day; as our announcement indicated, it was a unique experience. If it was missed, you truly missed a one-of-a-kind event.

A special thanks to the Committee, the volunteers who helped on the day, and to Patrick Lusch who guided us through the publishing of the commemorative booklet and the technology. Most especially to all who supported us through sponsorships, business ads, and donations.

I give thanks to God for all who made this day and the fundraiser possible.

God bless all of you,
Father Duane

Thank You's!

The Organ Dedication Concert It was AWESOME! St. Matthew’s beautiful church was truly filled with “the sound of music.” We are so grateful to our organists, Rob Abbott, Ron Prowse, and Joe Balistreri, who with their God-given talents brought to life the music of classical and contemporary composers. All the more exciting was the placement of a projector screen at the front of the church which allowed a camera to show the hand and foot movements of the musicians as they played their selections. What a wonderful experience, one never to be repeated.

The reading, reflection, and, of course, the blessing of the “King of  Instruments” brought a liturgical feel to the event. We were truly blessed that day!

The after-glow provided an opportunity for our guests to enjoy a beverage and a treat. The organists were available for a Meet and Greet. It was truly a moment of fellowship!

We thank all those who gave of their time that day and to the planning. Most especially to Patrick Lusch, who from his remote location, provided support and coordination producing the commemorative booklet and to
Joe Balistreri, who organized the musicians and refined the program.

The greeters included Lena Coen, Mary Anne Pilette, Sharon Mielke, Beverly Goll, Emily Petrylka, Joe and Mary Zainea, and Laurie Striebel. The ushers included Dennis Costello, Dan McBride, Bill Ridella, and Jerry Mielke. The ushers/greeters included Jerry Mielke, Michele and Ed Assad. Our parking lot assistants were Marty O’Neill, Parker O’Neill, David Gross, Andrew Petrylka, Alex Petrylka, and Dennis Hermann as overseer.

The clean-up crew included Mary Adams, Lynn Gross, Emily Petrylka, Andrew Petrylka, Alex Petrylka, Beverly Goll, Bob Lavoy, and Dennis Hermann.

A special thank you goes to Jennifer Khalifah who took charge of the treats; the cupcakes, the cheeses, crackers, fruits, dip, and coffee; to her helper, Kelly Bruno; and to the wine bar crew, Kathy Lozon and her fellow Saturday Mass choir members. Another thank you to the Planning Committee who made every meeting and also set up the decorations in the auditorium, Gerianne LaPratt and Donna Bolz.

And, as always, we owe a debt of gratitude to Father Duane, our biggest cheerleader and who keeps everyone on track.

God bless all who helped, who gave, who came, and
who prayed for our success!

Posted on: May 14, 2022

Organ Concert & Move to Family of Parishes

Posted on: May 7, 2022

CSA 2022 and Opportunity Scholarships

First let me wish all the Moms of St. Matthew’s a very happy Mother’s Day. As we remember and acknowledge them, we honor all they do and have done for their children.

As Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is their model, we let them know they are appreciated for all their sacrifices to raise, nourish, and form their children. May God bless them all! On this day, Holy Mother Church in Detroit, begins its Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). This year we return to
distributing the cards and other materials at the back of church. I ask you to please read my letter in the packet for a full explanation of the campaign this year. However, I will state again as in the letter, we will use the CSA to help raise much needed funds toward our overall budget. Again, this year, we are “Doubling Down” on our target of $18,500 and have set an internal goal of $36,000. This will help us balance our  financial picture at the end of the fiscal year.

Please read all the materials in the packet and do what you can, even sacrificially to help in our effort.

On another matter of importance beyond our parish, we are conducting a petition signature campaign this weekend to put forth state legislation that would enable public, private, and home schooled children to take advantage of OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIPS for low-income families
to access funding for children’s educational needs; tutoring, text books, learning materials, special needs, and to assist in tuition for Catholic or private schools.

Along with this first petition, a second petition establishes a dollar for dollar STATE INCOME TAX CREDIT for individuals and businesses who make a donation to scholarship granting organizations that distribute funds for opportunity scholarships. This petition drive will allow the legislature to consider this effort as it was vetoed last year by the governor.

You must sign both petitions for validity as there are two parts to this legislation. Our timeline is short. We only have this weekend to respond as the petitions are due to Let My Kids Learn (the organization that is sponsoring the petition) on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Please consider signing the petitions.

Remember next weekend is our Organ Dedication Concert. Please make every effort to attend. It will be beautiful, and we need you!

God bless all of you, Father Duane

Posted on: April 9, 2022

Easter 2022 and Lieselotte Auth

As we begin to celebrate the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection this Holy Week, I want to invite and encourage your full participation in the
Sacred Triduum; the three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday.

These days for us take the Pascal Mystery, the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord, what we celebrate every Sunday at Mass and spread it out over three days. It is so important for us as Catholic Christians to participate in these days. I know schedules have to be adjusted, time set aside, but this is the core of our faith and our religion.

These days should feel different because they are. To enter deeply into the death/resurrection is to spend time out of time and to allow the liturgies to wash over you and deepen your belief in Christ Jesus. It is a way to encounter the risen Lord truly at a mystical level when approached with a proper attitude.

So, I encourage you to attend all three days to experience the fullness of the Pascal Mystery. Indeed it is time well spent.

Another thought I have been reflecting on this week is the beautiful blessing we were able to share with one of our parishioners, Lieselotte Auth, who celebrated her 100th birthday this past Monday. As is my custom, I gift anyone turning 100 years old in the parish a dozen roses and a birthday blessing. Lieselotte who was in attendance on Sunday looked absolutely wonderful, and God has certainly blessed her with good health, and I’m sure she will be with us for awhile.

It reminded me that in my 33 years here at St. Matthew’s Lieselotte was the fifth centenarian I was able to give roses to. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the first woman to receive them, but I do remember giving them to her. Then there was Mr. Jim Bingham, a longtime parishioner and usher; Anne Laige, mother-in-law of our maintenance man, Ed Comiskey; Margaret Repp, grandmother to our parishioner, Linda Holster, who I anointed before she passed; and, of course, this past week, Lieselotte Auth, a parishioner; making a total of five.

God has certainly been good to these people, blessing them with long life. But, the length of our years is not as important as the way we fill those years, and what we do with the time God gives us. So take courage and inspiration from these centenarians and fill your years with the grace and goodness of God.

Posted on: April 2, 2022

Constitutional Amendment Ballot

It seems we may be at a critical point in our nation’s legal history and in the long struggle for the respect for life and the protection of unborn children. It is suspected that the Supreme Court will take up the issue of the constitutionality of Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision that allowed for abortion throughout our country. There is the probability that Roe will be overturned. However, this does not mean an end to the issue. In fact, it will bring the issue of abortion closer to home. That is to say, that the decision for or against abortion will lie with individual states.

The state of Michigan has on its books since 1846 a ban on abortion. If Roe is overturned, the state already has its law in place; but it is being challenged by the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Michigan Voices. Their goal is to enact a change in the Michigan constitution. In effect, making abortion legal and calling for a “fundamental right” in our state constitution to “explicitly affirm” unrestricted abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

This coalition is called “reproductive freedom for all,” and they are, since March 19, 2022, circulating a petition to put the constitutional  amendment on the November ballot. They have until July 11, 2022 to complete their task of obtaining 425,059 signatures to succeed.

At the behest of the Church, our Archbishop (see inserted letter), and people of goodwill, we ask you NOT TO SIGN the petition. If approached, please be aware of what you are asked to sign. It would be best if the proposed constitutional change would not be put to a referendum and appear on the November ballot.

If it does, we could have Michigan as a pro-abortion state set in concrete. We can have a positive force for life and truly make a difference in these changing times. All life comes from God, only He can decide who lives and who does not.

More information to follow in the future.