St. Michael the Archangel’s Lenten mission rejuvenates faithful


SCHERERVILLE – Reading scripture, sharing Eucharistic miracles and playing guitar, Paul Koleske touched the hearts of many as he challenged them to grow in faith and be people of peace during a parish mission at St. Michael the Archangel.
Koleske, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, also armed them with concrete tactics to experience the light of Christ and bring others back to the faith during the March 3 - 5 “Igniting the Light of Christ” parish mission.
Father Martin Dobrzynski hopes that parishioners were inspired by the three-day event. “Every other year or so, we have a parish mission. It’s a reset for people; they get to hit the reset button this Lent. It provides encouragement to change, because all of us have to change, right? Retreats like this provide some tools, some insights that you have to apply to your daily life,” he said.
Priya Kedangan said the experience is helping her to change already. “It really did affect me a lot, I didn’t think it would,” said the 18-year-old parishioner. “Listening to him made me want to be a better Catholic, how I live my life and go forward. I want to invite others to the faith or back to the faith even if it is just by praying for them.”
“We are called to be prophets, we are called to keep the story alive,” Koleski shared during day one of the mission. He spoke for about an hour and a half each evening.
“The Catholic faith is the best prescription for sanctification and salvation of our souls, bar none,” explained Koleski, who has spoken at parishes in 122 dioceses throughout all 50 states, giving parish missions, concerts, retreats, reflections and workshops.
Parishioner Brenna Fanno was impressed to hear his talk. “We go to the doctor and get a prescription. Why can’t we get a prescription for our souls? It’s not just about our physical well-being, but our spiritual well-being.”
Eileen Wieser, who serves as an extraordinary eucharistic minister, said she liked Koleske’s talk about the importance of the Eucharist. “Can you imagine if everyone truly realized that it is Jesus’ flesh and blood that they are receiving every week?”
“Jesus is truly present at the holy sacrifice of the Mass; we must be truly present when we are at Mass," continued Koleske.
In addition to stressing the importance of the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, Koleske spoke about the importance of being a godparent and the commitment godparents make to protect their godchildren from Satan, and ensure their Catholic education and formation will guide them to continue practicing their Catholic faith.
“We are called to be beacons of light. When we do not recognize this, we are squelching the power of the Holy Spirit within us,” he said.
Koleske provided participants with articles to read and gave them a 10-point system to bring their loved ones back to the faith.
Don Doffin, who turns 85 this year, appreciated Koleske’s positive messages and musical prowess. “He is a good storyteller; he has good stories. This is so much different than the fire and brimstone missions back in the day.”
Koleske also spoke about his personal conversion, when he went to an apparition site in December 1993, and the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him while he was on pilgrimage. He said he experienced other miracles and went from being a lukewarm Catholic to “all in.”
At one point, he was “overcome with a feeling of unexplainable peace and happiness, and I began to sob like a baby, the entire front of my coat was wet. I just couldn’t stop crying. Finally, my weeping stopped, and it was the best cry I ever had. I was so refreshed and obviously touched by the Holy Spirit. I was in awe…and this became the beginning of my ministry.”
Kedangan said she was moved by his account. “I really believe apparitions are true,” she said. “It was great to hear about his personal experience. It reassures me and gives me the desire to be even more open to God’s message through Our Lady.
Koleske also shared ways to alleviate FEAR, which he said is actually “False Evidence Appearing Real. To experience the light of Christ, people should focus on the blessings they already possess and be grateful for them. “Worry is the dark room in which negatives are developed,” he said.
“I am an anxious person,” Kedangan said. “There is no need for me to feel that way, and it is wrong. I should be putting my trust in God. I should be at peace and give my anxiety to God and help him help me. I really think Mr. Koleske should be speaking at all the parishes in our area.”


Caption: St. Michael the Archangel parishioners and long-time friends Mary Jo Roth, John Roth, Gib Wieser, Eileen Wieser and Brenda Fanno enjoyed the three-day parish mission this month which inspired them to think more seriously about their Catholic faith. They want to find ways to incorporate the messages of speaker Paul Koleske into their lives. (Lynda J. Hemmerling photo)