Monthly Archives: September 2012


Now, you may hear me say this again and again, but it is an exciting time to be Catholic. Take for example my recent trip to Bolivia. I would think that every Catholic in the Diocese of La Crosse is simply filled with joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude for the work of our wonderful priests in Santa Cruz.

The Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz sure loves them. I had the opportunity to meet and greet the Cardinal for a little while before the last Mass in the old church. As we stood together in the new church – a magnificent and appropriate house of worship – he spoke in beautiful Spanish about Fr. Bob Flock and Fr. Ed Penchi. I listened mostly at that point, but through the interpreter I was able to carry on an intelligible conversation. I announced to him my news from the Holy Father that Fr. Bob Flock is now Monsignor Bob Flock. By the time you read this, however, that will be old news.

The ceremony to dedicate and consecrate the new church was held that Sunday with all three of the auxiliary bishops joining in the celebration. It was a grand affair and, of course, there was a fiesta afterward that included a raffle – some things are just universally Catholic.

The weather was hot and humid coupled with incredible winds that rustled up the dust and dirt to rival the stories of the Dust Bowl, however on the Wednesday we left Bolivia it poured rain! Monsoon type rain! Our flight was delayed two and a half hours and we missed our flight (and any other in Miami) to get back to Chicago. It was a miserable end to an extraordinary time of grace and blessing. I guess when I get some rest, I’ll probably find some blessing in the botched up homebound trip. Always reminds me that “man proposes, but God disposes.”

I’ll close with another good reason to be Catholic – you can support the mission our priests have built in Santa Cruz. Yes, of course, by your prayers; we could also use a donation for the work to the Mission Office of the Diocese. I hope you’ll read all about our trip in the current issue of The Catholic Times ( and you can see what I’m talking about. In the meantime …

… I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.


I was once told that an old Chinese curse was: “May you live in interesting times.” One may certainly consider the nuggets of Asian wisdom and mystery in such a saying – not to mention the truth.

We have just concluded two of the most “interesting” weeks in American history. The drama of national political conventions does provide one with a sense of the philosophical and social tugs-of-war that draw up sides every four years. These days were really quite extraordinary. Economic questions and solutions, policies and protocols made some of the strong head starts in the battle of wits and words; but it was the social structures, raked over and redefined, that call for reflection and attention.

I’ve walked away from these weeks with a renewed sense of some things.

First of all, God exists, whether we are willing to “allow” Him to or not – inconclusive votes notwithstanding.

Secondly, all life is sacred. No one may choose who may be born or how long he or she may live.

Thirdly, poor people exist and they need and deserve our attention. It often seems that the poor and marginalized always become the “soft middle” where these quadrennial tugs-of-war are played.

Fourthly, actions have consequences. People need to take responsibility for their own lives – for their real choices.

Shakespeare once compared life tragically to a poor player on stage (Macbeth Act 5); So many people have been blinded by the media, the sad metaphor may now have real believers.

Thus, we have these past weeks – “interesting” though they were …

But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope:

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent;

they are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.

My portion is the Lord, says my soul;

therefore will I hope in him. (Lam 3: 21-24)

… and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!