Renovation Update

05-29-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

I’d like to give everyone an update on our progress on our renovations. The concrete foundation as well as the posts for our altar rail have been laid. We’ve also had the ceiling and back wall painted to match the theme of the artwork that will be installed in our sanctuary. Construction should be completed late this summer. We’re running into supply chain issues affecting the delivery of our marble and other materials. These setbacks have a cascading effect into other areas of the project which is delaying the completion of this project. What remains is the delivery and installation of the marble for the sanctuary, carpeting, the decorative woodwork, the altar rail, and final cleanup.


My Journey to Catholicism

05-22-2022Weekly ReflectionParishioner Jake Hesse

Why are you here? I mean two things when I ask that. First: why are you here at church? Second: what is your purpose in this life? It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that those two questions have very little to do with each other. After all, why go to church every week, or even only on certain days like Christmas and Easter, if it is not important? For most of my life, I only had to worry about the second question because, for about 24 years, I was not a Catholic.


May Crowning

05-01-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Did you know that May is a month dedicated to Our Blessed Mother? To celebrate her intercession in our life it’s an ancient tradition to crown our Lady on May 1st as a way of asking her to intercede for us and to share in her joy in Christ risen from the dead. Today’s insert features that rite so that you can pray along with us as we crown Mary during our 9:00am Mass. You can also adapt this rite if you’d like to crown an image/statue of Mary in your own home.


Divine Mercy Sunday

04-24-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday! Today the Church invites us to celebrate the beautiful devotion to celebrate the infinite, undeserved outpouring of God’s Love for us. This devotion is a powerful one and one that’s quickly gained popularity in the life of the Church. The Divine Mercy devotion comes from a series of visions and locutions that Jesus gave to St. Maria Faustina Kowalski during the 1930’s and 40’s in Poland.


Easter Greetings

04-17-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Hello St. Mary Magdalene,

Happy Easter! On this joyous day we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. Our joy is made perfect in Him as He rises to new life showing us that we too are made for Heaven and eternal union with Him. Easter and Christ’s Resurrection becomes the lens through which we view the events of the past three days (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday) and we see God’s great victory as He speaks His final word: Life!


“Domine, non nisi Te.”

04-10-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Towards the end of his life, one of my favorite saints, St. Thomas Aquinas, was praying in front of a crucifix when Christ spoke to him, praised all his great writings given to the Church and promised Thomas any gift of his choosing. Thomas replied back “Domine, non nisi Te” (Lord, nothing but you) indicating that he already had everything he needed in that experience with the Lord. Thomas wanted only the love of God.


Our Temporary Altar Backdrop

04-03-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Over the past few weeks I’ve been getting lots of questions about our backdrop. Thank you for your interest and for engaging with the sacred art. One of the great historical means the Catholic Church has used to teach the faith is through sacred art (murals, frescoes, stained glass windows, etc.).


The Annunciation and Mary's Response

03-27-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

I hope you had a great Solemnity of the Annunciation! Did you know that the Annunciation liturgically is celebrated as a solemnity (meaning equal to a Sunday)? This means that on such solemnities, one is dispensed from Lenten disciplines such as no meat? That means Friday the 25th, you could have had bacon (and I hope you did, because I sure did!!!). The reason first for this solemnity is that it’s nine (9) months until Christmas. So, you now have a little less than 9 months to get your Christmas shopping done. Nine months before Christmas, that means that March 25th the Church celebrates that this is the day when the Archangel Gabriel came to visit Mary and Announce to her that she was to become the Mother of God!


Feast of St. Joseph

03-20-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Hello St. Mary Magdalene,

Happy feast of St. Joseph! What a beautiful time to celebrate and reflect on the universal patron of the Church, he who cared for, watched over, and protected St. Joseph. Because of his role in welcoming Jesus and Mary into his life, he’s the patron saint of the universal Catholic Church. He’s also a role model for us too as we strive to make room for Christ more and more in our daily life.


Sanctuary Theme: the Heavenly Jerusalem

03-13-2022RenovationFr. Chris Axline

My dear parishioners,

How exciting that we’ll be starting renovations on our sanctuary tomorrow, March 14th! I know that this season of construction will include inconveniences for our community, and I thank you for your sacrifices while we beautify our sanctuary for the glory of the Risen Lord and the edification of our parish family. Over the next few months during this project, we will have weekend Masses in the hall (set up as a temporary sanctuary), with overflow seating outside. It’s a good idea to arrive early if you hope for indoor seating, and to bring your own chairs, sun protection, and water bottle if you’re sitting outside. Please be considerate of others in our temporary, pared-down space.


Construction Begins on the Sanctuary

03-03-2022RenovationFr. Chris Axline

As we begin our Lenten journey this year, what a great opportunity to resume articles in our bulletin! It is with great joy that we’ll have regular articles in our bulletin with me being a regular contributor (that’s probably the only downside is hearing more from me, lol). This Lent we’re again invited to do some community penance as we now only have half a church! So, as our renovation project progresses, please keep its success in your prayers. Our construction is also a great time to practice patience and charity as there are a lot of moving parts to consider and our indoor seating is limited. One small, penitential act of charity could be made by offering your seat to someone and either standing or sitting outside. This is just one way, let the Holy Spirit guide you!


Fall 2021 Renovation Update

10-08-2021RenovationFr. Chris

Dear parishioners,

I know many of you are eagerly awaiting an update on the status of our sanctuary renovation project. In my last update (in July via Friday Flocknote video), I shared that we were working through several delays. Many of these same challenges continue, but my team and I are navigating through them. Some of the factors contributing to these delays include fluctuating costs in material production, availability of materials, and construction shortages. Progress is being made—though much of it is behind the scenes—and the project does continue to move forward despite the challenges.

I am happy to share about two recent developments: through the support of generous donors, we have ordered a new tabernacle and a statue of Saint Joseph, which will be part of a new side altar design. (See images below). If you are interested to see the rendering of what the overall sanctuary design will look like, you can visit or look for the poster in the narthex.

We are currently looking at a post-Christmas start date for actual construction, with anticipated completion by early April. Lord-willing, this will put us worshiping in the renovated sanctuary in time for Holy Week and Easter! During the anticipated three months of construction, we will have daily Mass in the adoration chapel and convert the back half (hall) of the main church into the weekend worship space, along with outdoor overflow as needed. These arrangements will allow us to keep our program offerings as well have sufficient space for daily and weekend Masses.

I want to thank you all for your ongoing prayers and support. I continue to be overwhelmed by the community’s excitement for this project and I intend to start providing monthly updates in the bulletin and/or Friday Flocknote videos. Make sure you subscribe to “St. Mary Magdalene Gilbert” on YouTube and our Friday Flocknotes (text smarymag to the number 84576) so that you don’t miss the updates.

Delays are never easy, but this is a opportunity for us to turn to the Lord, practicing perseverance and trust during what can be an arduous process toward something beautiful. We continue to pray and work so that this renovation phase (and those that come in the future) may progress day by day to successful completion, for the glory of the Risen Lord!

God bless, Fr. Chris

Spring 2021 Renovation Update

09-08-2021RenovationFr. Chris

Hello St. Mary Magdalene,

First, I want to say thank you all for your support on this project! This addition to our space is possible because of your prayers, support, gifts, and sacrifices. We are doing something truly beautiful for the Lord and that does present its own challenges. For example, we have hit some delays on our start date due to backlogs in both materials and labor resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. I am working with the construction team to overcome these challenges and, while I cannot give a specific start date, I can say that we are still moving forward. Progress is slow, but contracts are being drawn up and we are exploring what options are available to us.

I want to thank you too for your patience as we move forward slowly. It is frustrating and tedious but progress is happening and I am hoping that we can start within the next few months. Once everything is ready, we will begin construction which itself should take roughly 4 months to complete.

I will continue to update you on the progress as information becomes available.

God bless,
Fr. Chris Axline