Monthly Archives: February 2014


I’m proud of the many young people who are actively showing the tremendous effects of the pro-life teaching and pro-life philosophy that is present in the current generation. We have so much to be inspired by in our own Diocese. This year we sent off over 230 young people to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. All across the nation we are beginning to see a greater understanding of the reality that is life in our midst. We are speaking more clearly in more places and with more conviction that life begins at conception. We are more intelligent about the growth of a baby in the womb. We know that within 18 days of conception there is a fetal heartbeat; 42 days, brainwaves are detected; 8 weeks, all body systems are present. In 11 weeks little fingernails are present; 12 weeks vocal chords are developing and the new life can cry; and at 20 weeks the baby can feel pain.

Abortions, sadly, are still performed up to 20 weeks (5 months) after conception. In some cases, legal arguments are being heard and cases being made for late term abortions where a child will be nearly born and then killed before exiting the birth canal. Despite these practices, our understanding is getting better and this generation of young people has so much to do with that progress. Science and technology are finally sounding off about as loudly in many instances as theology and the basic facts of life!

A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference of Bishops in Milwaukee. Gathered were all five bishops from the state of Wisconsin. We all reported strong attendance and support from many young adults for the Washington March. We also noted that there is support rising from doctors who are taking a stronger pro-life stance throughout Wisconsin. There is, however, still work ahead—much work ahead—even in our own Catholic hospitals. In all situations there seems to be a strong sense of attempting to do the right thing by protecting life at its most vulnerable stages.

So many of us believe that this new generation of young people will be the generation that ends abortion and restores the gifts of children to loving and responsible mothers and fathers.

I urge you to remain faithful and strong in prayer. We believe that with prayer many hearts can be changed and many babies can be saved. I also urge you to support the doctors who uphold the Church’s teaching on this vital matter. Please pray for them as they endure resistance even in the midst of so much clear evidence to support life.

I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!


Nature has a sublime, often stunning, approach to renewing herself. These days of sub-zero temperatures and wind-blown snow, hill and vale covered in a white blanket gently peppered with those indomitably strong evergreen trees. The earth is sleeping, quiet and calm.

We, on the other hand, often find several things swirling around in our brains during these days. Simply put—death and taxes. We no sooner finish cleaning the house of all the residual glitter of Christmas decorations, managing to rearrange the storage area to refit every last one when, behold, it’s tax time and we are genuinely reintroduced to the staggering vision of the material world and its complex demands. Well, yes, we must “render to Caesar,” but, for this writing, I would like to return to the uncontaminated and unrelenting picture of the winter outside and the warm thoughts we may want to conjure up in our hearts through thoughtful, reflective, prayerful ponderings about our life while we sit inside.

Lent won’t begin for another month, so I am not going to focus on prayer, penance, and almsgiving. Later for that. Rather, I’m encouraging you to take time to pause. Appreciate this unique opportunity we have living in our part of the world for powerful introspection that like the seed buried deep within the earth—under mounds of snow—can and will produce abundance in the springtime sun and rain. This is an exceptionally difficult winter for so many of us, with extraordinary cold and more robust than ever winds, snow piled high in mounds many of us have not seen in these parts for years, fuel shortages and costs increases that boggle the mind. Nevertheless, I have heard in almost every part of the nineteen counties of west central Wisconsin, that while it may be brutal, we are “up to it;” hearty enough to endure it and poetic enough to appreciate it.

I’d like to think our winter hibernation could also provide us with an essential time for hunkering down deep into our own minds and hearts. Certainly being confined indoors can lead to “cabin fever,” that’s a fact of life; but, it can also provide opportunities—golden opportunities that may never again present themselves—to pick up a book, write a letter, listen to some favorite music, or simply ponder the status of one’s life beyond the fretful veneer of New Year’s Day. Make this a time to effectively create some genuine resolutions. Take time to daydream, reinvent yourself in silence and prayerful purpose. There is no “reason” to do this (mandatory New Year’s resolution time has come and gone—Lent is still a month away) other than the fact that you can’t, or really don’t want to go outside. Yes, as terrifying as it may seem, you really should spend some time with yourself. Use the blissful stillness of winter to establish some serenity and silence within yourself.

Make time for prayer and allow God to visit with you in that quiet voice He uses when He speaks clearly to a soul prompted to listen. Time spent in such reverie can warm the heart and stir the soul on even the most bone-chilling of winter’s days and provide great fruit for an authentic springtime of life.

See you at Sunday Mass.