Monthly Archives: January 2015


I am always so grateful for your response and support as we continue to pray for the Cause of the beatification and canonization of our beloved Father Joseph Walijewski. At this writing, I am joined by the Diocesan Communication Director, Jack Felsheim and Bob Dolan with his production crew from Dolan Productions in Milwaukee, as we wrap up filming for a one hour EWTN special celebrating the life of Fr. Joe, with an expected broadcast date of April 11, 2015.

It has been an exciting time to be back in Peru. Even though the kids here are not in school, there are lots of things that they have to do around Casa Hogar. Last week, before we arrived, they hosted the Casa Hogar Optical Mission. This is a charitable outreach supported in part by the International Lions’ Club, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and the Mayo Clinic among others. During the course of the week, over 1700 of the poor neighbors came through Casa to have eye exams and be fitted (if necessary) with eyeglasses. This is part of the mission outreach of the Casa. Cindy Sjolander of our own Diocese (who also serves on our Diocesan Scouting Committee) is in charge of this vital work. As she is finishing up her time here with her own mission, she has been a significant part of our welcome and the hospitality here at Casa.

Adding to my own personal excitement is the challenging fact that American Airlines “misplaced” my luggage in Dallas. It is two days since we arrived and I am still expecting it. A search party of incredible Christians is on their way to the airport even as I write this to retrieve the arrival of clean clothes!! Right now, the bishop and the emperor are in serious need …

More importantly and of real value, is our work for the communication of the life and times of our beloved Fr. Joe Walijewski. What a joy it is to be back here with his cherished Casa Family. The children and their families here are just so amazingly beautiful. They represent the full reflection of the joy of the Gospel that empowered Fr. Joe throughout his entire life. This is the reason that we are begging God to let him be named a saint of the Church. Joy and hope certainly drive the work of Casa Hogar. This place truly stands in the midst of Lima’s poverty, squalor, and domestic violence, as a light for the Legacy of Fr. Joe and the Light of the Gospel.

If God wants, Dolan Productions could have the editing completed by the Solemnity of Saint Joseph (19 March) with the possibly for viewing on EWTN by 11 April (the anniversary of Fr. Joe’s death in 2006). What a thrilling event it is for us to be here. Msgr. Hirsch is doing much of the translations due to his proficiency with the Spanish language. This morning, the feast of Sts. Fabian and Sebastian, we celebrated the Mass in their memory and after the Mass, through the courtesy of modern communications, the children, staff and volunteers connected with Fr. Sebastian in Arcadia to sing to him on his birthday. It was so touching and exuberant!

Last night, everyone in our group split up and went to each of the eight homes of the families living here at Casa Hogar for dinner. Msgr. Hirsch and I had fantastic “gourmet” hamburgers with authentic Wisconsin Colby cheese! We all had amazing dinners—made up not only with great food, but vibrant family spirit and love around each table. It was a great opportunity for all of us. I hope that these moments will somehow be transferred to the upcoming show for you to see and share. These are the stories that you will share as you come to move deeper into the richness of the Gospel as it was lived by Fr. Joe.

I hope that you see, experience, and strive to live the joy and hope Fr. Joe communicated in his life and that you will feel vicariously the energy that is still in this place as part of the living Gospel and as part of the Legacy of Fr. Joe. Please join me in prayer for his Cause and thank you for your support.

See you at Sunday Mass!


Topping the news on 22 January 1973 was the sudden death of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The week before found the Miami Dolphins completing their undefeated season with a victory in Super Bowl VII over the Washington Redskins. We were driving our new Chevy Caprice Classic while listening to Carly Simon singing “You’re So Vain” and Elton John jammin’ “Crocodile Rock.” O, yes, another piece of historic data, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case entitled Roe v. Wade, that some abortions performed during the first two trimesters of pregnancy could be legalized as a part of women’s constitutional right to privacy.

That final stunning bit of history continues to be marked 42 years later as one of the most significant events ever etched into our corporate conscience as human beings.

After 42 years Americans are still struggling with the idea of killing children in their mother’s wombs as a “right” protected by the United States Constitution! No matter how many times we read and re-read the Supreme Court decision for Roe v. Wade, it is simply not a Constitutional license for murder of the unborn.

On January 22, 1974 thousands of pro-lifers participated in the first March for Life to stand up for the unborn. An inspiring rally was held as Members of Congress announced pro-life legislation and expressed their support for the pro-life cause. The program concluded with a “Circle of Life” march around the Capitol, followed by participants lobbying their Members of Congress.

Soon after that first March in 1974, it became apparent that congressional protection for the unborn was not high on the list of legislative priorities. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, the indefatigable Nellie Gray decided that the March for Life, rather than the originally anticipated one-time event, would instead be held every year until Roe v. Wade was overturned. That year, the March for Life became incorporated as an action-oriented non-profit organization, and the “Life Principles” were developed as the underlying guideline of the organization.

With Nellie’s leadership and until her death in 2013, the March continues to grow and develop each year. Nellie was an ever-faithful voice for the most vulnerable in society, working to protect the preborn until her last hours of life. While each March for Life has faced a unique challenge or obstacle, the numbers of participants have continued to grow.

Regrettably, the March for Life is still a necessary part of raising human consciousness and calling attention to the matter of the sin and social evil of abortion. Regrettably, too few, if any, of the major media outlets across our country will take note of the million plus—mostly millennial—people who will participate in the March next Tuesday.

Over two hundred people will represent the Diocese of La Crosse in Washington, D.C.; locally, hundreds more will participate in Prayer Vigils conducted by our Deacons in parishes across the Diocese. Whether you will be on the bus or at your parish, your prayers are needed to stop the murder of children and the misguided and erroneous thinking in the secular society that continues to condone it.

LIFE will prevail. Respect for human life becomes more and more imperative every day, not only in our vigilance for children in the womb, but for the elderly and those who require specialized medical care. Our prayers are necessary for those who are mistakenly being led to consider assisted suicide as a plan for their healthcare advanced directives. There are so many complications in these areas when technology was supposed to help and simplify our lives.

Our prayers and support are with those traveling to Washington and with all people of good will who pray for and support human life.

See you at Sunday Mass!