“Go in peace, honoring God by your life.” “Thanks be to God.”
The words “Go in peace” are not just nice words to nod our heads to because we agree with them in theory. To literally “go in peace” is an incredible challenge. As we reflect on what these words mean, we begin to realize just how transforming our liturgies are supposed to be. We begin to see that, because of our baptism as Christians, we are called to be different. We are called to be holy—a people “set apart.” We begin to realize that to “go in peace” means much more than to leave with a good feeling. It means that we leave church; after attending Mass, a prayer service or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, with the intention of making peace happen in our personal lives and in what happens around us.READ MORE
You may know that every now and again each of us needs to get away from our regular pattern of life. We take advantage of these holidays by vacationing somewhere, taking a trip of some kind, visiting relatives and the like. Sometimes, some of you admitted to me, that you take time away for spiritual purposes and make a weekend or longer retreat. Well, like most of you, priests regularly participate in similar patterns. All of this is to ask your prayer for me and my retreat master. We will be together Sunday through Saturday as I make a personal, private and guided retreat. And, to prevent your presumption that I’m going somewhere comfy and quiet, I’ll admit to you that I’m traveling several miles to the west and will spend the days in his Rectory. While there, I’ll do my best to avoid the distractions of his daily parish life including a Catholic pre-school through high school on his campus. I hope to find some quiet time in the perpetual adoration chapel in his parish church along with some quality prayer time in the private chapel in his Rectory residence area. Anyway, no need for you to act as a detective and figure out where I’ll be, I’ll just ask again for your prayers that these upcoming days will be quality time with the Lord.READ MORE
Each year we hear various amounts of news regarding the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. on 21 & 22 January. The concept has taken on an interesting progression as seen in Pro-Life marches which take place in local, state and regional government facilities throughout the nation. Many people, of all ages, religions, social status and the like come together on these days to stand for LIFE. The marches typically take on a very peaceful and prayerful demonstration to heighten awareness that life matters. We are talking about ALL lives matter!READ MORE
We are quickly coming to the conclusion of the Christmas season as we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Once again we are most grateful to those who offered support for our celebrations during the Christmas season. There were volunteers who decorated the church, people involved in ministries during the Masses and the like. On behalf of those who were blessed to have prayed in our church during these past holy days, thank you.
Then there are parish members among us who provide the prayerful support which aids our parish to keep growing in faith. You are one of those members who offered prayers for the mission of our parish, thank you for your past and continued prayerful support.READ MORE
We know there is an element of Catholic confusion this time of year as we celebrate Christmas, then finding Jesus teaching in the temple, then Epiphany, then the Baptism of the Lord. Each of those is intermixed with the secular observance of the holiday season including shopping, partying, New Year celebrations, school holiday and then back to school time. As if that isn’t enough occupying our time, we then toss in a dandy snowfall to help limber our backs and hone our winter driving skills. In the midst of all of this, we are continually encouraged to keep focused on matters of faith.READ MORE
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