Again, a reminder about the Year of Mercy from Pope Francis himself, taken from the Bull of indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, April 11, 2015:
I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.... How much I desire that the year [8 December 2015 – 20 November 2016] to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, and bring the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!READ MORE
Isn’t it funny how we get used to things?
We should never get used to Christmas. Today we celebrate the mind-boggling truth that God became man. When was the last time you really thought about that?
Why would the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity,do that? Why enter into a life of human limitation, fatigue and hunger? Why subject Himself to being misunderstood,hated and ultimately put to death? He could have comedown to earth as a glorious King and struck dead everyone who opposed Him with a wave of His hand.READ MORE
You have heard or read from me over the years about my hope that we discipline ourselves to participate, not anticipate. That being said, Catholics and people around the world are gearing up for a declared Holy Year of Mercy by our Pope Francis which begins this week. Before I comment on the upcoming months, it’s necessary to make comment on the Year of Consecrated Life which we just concluded. Perhaps the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life is a dim memory, or, maybe even these words being your first awareness of the past year. Whatever your reaction, know that, in summary, we have been taking time to recognize consecrated life. The particular vocation in the Church we recognize as men and women who embrace a new family of brothers, sisters, nuns or priests and live in community. Those communities typically pray often together, perform their apostolic work together and share their vocation together. We are continually inspired by their contemporary example coupled with countless saints of the Church who dedicated their lives to Christ and His people in the consecrated life.READ MORE
We are nearing the time of year when our churches are approached by local agencies to help others have happier holidays by donating funds and gifts for people who have financial struggles. As is our local custom, these programs will be communicated at some level in our parish cluster.
Along with that, we learned from the Office of Vocations in La Crosse that we are getting near the point of having 40 or more young men in formation for the priesthood for our diocese. Currently, we are just over 30 in formation. Because education is expensive, diocesan funding for this purpose is running dangerously low. The Office of Vocations, in conjunction with the Diocesan Development Office, will be embarking on a select fundraising campaign to raise funds for the purpose of seminarian education. Perhaps there is a special place in your heart for the priesthood and seminarians in formation? If so, be looking for this upcoming endeavor; and perhaps consider being in touch with our local Pastor so that you are included in this necessary project.READ MORE
Within the ruins of Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague, Czech Republic, Fr. Cyril recovered what remained of the infant Jesus statue which was given to the Carmelites who were the caretakers of that church. The year was 1638. The statue of the infant Jesus had a broken hand; and, determined, Fr. Cyril was somehow going to restore the statue to its original beauty. So, he did what most of us do when we face a challenge, he prayed. After some days, a message became quite clear to Fr. Cyril; a message from Jesus. “The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.”READ MORE
About three months from now we will be making reference to Santa Claus in town, and hopefully we are more excited about celebrating Jesus’ presence in town as we celebrate Christmas 2015. For now, we are excited about the visit of Pope Francis to our town, or at least to our nation. And we ought to be really excited by the fact that millions will gather to see him, and millions more will tune in to read or hear his message to citizens of our country and people around the world. I hope that we have taken the opportunity to listen to his messages and realize they are consistent with the Gospel that has been part of our Catholic ethos for centuries.READ MORE
A careful ear to current events receives information about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to our nation. The event is part of the Meeting for Marriage and Family Life. Pope Francis’ attention in the media has inspired many Catholics to reconnect with information about our faith. Among the other papal highlights is the announcement of the upcoming Year of Mercy which will begin later this year. However, I think its better to participate than to anticipate so its worth recognizing that we continue to be deep in the Year of Consecrated Life.READ MORE
Many of us are aware that in some way, shape or form we have returned to the work of forming our young people. Remembering that we intentionally form them according to the human, physical and spiritual standards; that leaves adults the arduous task of helping God make good people. Our Catechism, by way of reminder, teaches that parents are the first teachers of their children. Of course that means that human, physical and spiritual formation ought to be at the heart of parenting, and therefore be at the center of each home.READ MORE
Moreover, the goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable wherever they may be, even in their mothers' wombs. Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one's own human potential. This is the main thing; in the absence of such a vision, all economic activity is meaningless. Vatican City, June 17, 2013 (Pope Francis' letter to David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who will host the upcoming G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.)READ MORE