Silence and Scripture and St. Antony

04-30-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

St. Antony of Egypt is the most famous of the desert fathers, men who fled into the African wilderness in order to seek the Lord. The Life of Antony, written by St. Athanasius, includes an anecdote that I think bears an important lesson for us today.

Athanasius tells us that when he was about 18 or 20 years old, Antony was meditating on the lives of the Apostles and pondering how they left everything to follow the Lord. In the midst of these thoughts, the saint went to Mass and heard the Scripture passage where Jesus says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21). Believing that this was the voice of God directed to him, Antony did precisely what the Gospel invited him to do: he sold everything he had, gave the money to the poor, and began a life of poverty and prayer.


A Mercy Divine

04-23-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

On September 1, 1939, the German military invaded Poland and one of the darkest episodes in history ensued – what is now called the Second World War. We are very aware of the atrocities and violence that occurred at that time. Today, merely to mention the Nazi party and what they did evokes horror and revulsion. However, just before this greatdarkness God offered the world a message of hope through a young nun named Sister Faustina. She recounts in herdiary how Jesus appeared to her and asked her to announce a devotion to his mercy, which has today spread across theworld. She writes, “On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivablemercy... I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.”


ARRR(rrrrrrrrrrrrrr): How to Pray Like a Pirate

04-16-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

What if Jesus didn’t know anything about you except what you told him? Would you be able to have arelationship? The main idea behind this simple paradigm for prayer is that we can use our everyday, ordinaryexperiences as the springboard to relationship with God. Because we live in the world and live very active lifestyles, wecan use that nearly limitless trove of experiences as material for prayer. Here’s the paradigm:


The Centrality of the Paschal Triduum

04-09-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

Holy Week has arrived. We have ushered it in with palms and the Passion narrative, and now we embark withOur Lord on a journey to Calvary and beyond. As we approach the greatest mysteries of our faith in the Paschal Triduum,it might be helpful to pause for a moment and reflect on the meaning behind these upcoming days.


Aim Somewhere

04-02-2017Weekly ReflectionFr. Brian Jazdzewski

Some weeks have elapsed since I composed a weekend bulletin article. Samuel McCarty's presence has lifted this task from me for a short while. His presence has also lifted the spirits of many within our parish through the inspiration he provides through ministry and witness. Many have remarked how reawakened their senses have become knowing that a talented young man, like Samuel, and others around our diocese are responding to God's call to serve us in the Diocese of La Crosse. I continue to find myself being effected through his energy and idealism which can become clouded through the distractions of daily ministry. Continue to pray for him (us) as we all seek out God's gifts among us and also pray for more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.


The ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’ Lie

03-26-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

No doubt you've heard the phrase before, "Oh, I'm spiritual but not religious." Or, "I don't go to any church but I still pray." Once I heard someone say, "Well we might leave the Church, but we won't lose our faith." In today's culture there is a distinct animosity towards organized religion – the Catholic Church included. How do we respond?

First, it is necessary to remember that the Church, like Christ, bridges the gap between heaven and earth. This means that despite her divine origin and identity, she is populated by sinners like you and I. The ministers and members of the Church fail to live up to the Gospel and the standards that Jesus preached, and many of the 'spiritual but not religious' crowd have been turned away by our actions. This cannot be!


Quotes from God or Nothing

03-19-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

I've been reading the book God or Nothing by Robert Cardinal Sarah, and it has been really fantastic. It's clear that Cardinal Sarah is a deeply holy and courageous man, and his words have been both challenging and inspiring to me. (The book was published by Ignatius Press in 2015 and is subtitled "A Conversation on Faith with Nicolas Diat" if you want to find it.) Here are a few quotes that stood out to me – I hope you enjoy them!

"We understand, therefore, that in piercing the Heart of Jesus, the soldier's spear revealed a great mystery, for it went farther than the Heart of Christ. It revealed God; it passed, so to speak, through the very center of the Trinity." (p. 25)

"Man is great only when he is on his knees before God." (36)


Have You Cried Lately?

03-12-2017Weekly ReflectionDeacon Edward Wendt

I would like to introduce to you a very ancient reality that many people today experience and they don't know why? I can tell you there are no real answers to why some people have this ability. These are graces that have been given to those who need them, the Gift of Tears.

Tears hold a special kind of power to cleanse your mind, reconnect the head and heart and realign you with the power of your soul, but many people see tears as a form of weakness, as being "childish" or giving into negativity. We need to refuse to accept the worldly view of tears and embrace them as Holy.


The Warning and Witness of Eustace Scrubb

03-05-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

If you’ve read C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, then you’re familiar with the character Eustace Scrubb. He begins as really a terrible person: always complaining and making others around him miserable,believing himself to be the victim of circumstances, being arrogant and selfish. By the end of the story and in subsequent books, however, he becomes a man of great courage and self-sacrifice. There is an episode near the middle of the book that helps to explain this change. Eustace finds himself transformed into a dragon, and one night he follows the great lion Aslan to a spring in the midst of a garden. Although he longs to bathe in the cool refreshing waters, he is unable to shed the dragon skin that prevents him. At last Aslan himself peels off the foul scaly skin and allows Eustace to be renewed in the water. He describes the experience:


Sam I Am: A Biography

02-26-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

Born in Cleveland, OH, I have lived in Wausau since I was five. I was homeschooled through 7th grade and then went to Catholic School through high school. I applied and was accepted into the seminary in my senior year, and began at St. John Vianney College Seminary (at the University of St. Thomas) in fall of 2011, where I studied philosophy, Catholic studies, and classical languages. I'm now in my second year of theology studies at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, and am one year away from my transitional diaconate ordination and two from priesthood. I'm the oldest of five - three of my siblings are still in Wausau and one is in Ohio for school. What I like to do: nearly anything outdoors, camping and canoeing in particular, sports - especially basketball and frisbee, reading, watching movies, and I'm a big fan of road trips. My favorite saints form a list too long for today, but St. Therese, Pope St. John Paul II, and St. Peter are near the top. I like neither piña coladas nor getting caught in the rain.

Paradigm of Perfection: St. Peter and Everyday Holiness

02-19-2017Weekly ReflectionSeminarian Sam McCarty

Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.
—Leviticus 19

Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
—Matthew 5

The Scriptures for this weekend are bold. “Be holy, be perfect,” they say – a weighty demand. I want topropose that this holiness and perfection looks like something in our daily lives, and that it is something entirelyaccessible with the help of God’s grace.


The Rite of Election and the Rite of Reception

02-12-2017Weekly ReflectionDeacon Wendt

On March 5, Thomas Burrow and Dale Mc Donough, who are currently in the RCIA program, will present themselves along with others from around our diocese to Bishop Callaghan at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workmen in La Crosse. This is called the Rite of Election. At the heart of our Christian life is the understanding that each of us is called by God. We recall the words of Christ who said "You did not choose me, no I chose you". Not only does Christ choose, he calls us and knows us by name. Both of these are encapsulated in the Rite of Election which is celebrated in Catholic cathedrals throughout the world at the beginning of Lent each year.


Love and Healing

02-05-2017Weekly ReflectionFr. Brian Jazdzewski

Now that we have turned the page into February, we once again understand that time clicks along whether we like it or not. Transitioning into this month will mark countless events for us personally and collectively. We also need to become more aware that Lent is less than 30 days away: are you preparing to make the best Lent ever? Afford yourself some intentional prayer time asking the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer, fasting and almsgiving.


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

01-29-2017Weekly ReflectionFr. Brian Jazdzewski

There are some circles of thought which directed us to honor January 22 through 29 as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As I compose this article, its Tuesday morning. I'm awaiting my trip to the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL to receive training for Samuel's arrival. I'm also unfortunately missing out on the opportunity to participate in snow clearing following the "snowstorm of the week." I also am getting ready to celebrate Mass with the Staff and students at Saint Boniface Catholic School on this Memorial Feast Day of Saint Francis de Sales. In the midst of it all, I'm joining millions of people around the world observing President Trump's transition into leadership.


March for Life in Fact and in Spirit

01-22-2017Weekly ReflectionFr. Brian Jazdzewski

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! By way of reminder, the March for Life began in D.C. on the anniversary which legalized abortion in our nation. The date the Supreme Court legalized abortion was 21 January 1973. Since then, people of good will have been praying, speaking, writing and working to emphasize the dignity of human life from the moment of conception through natural death. No matter the language, human life will always be human life and needs to be treated as such.