Monthly Archives: April 2016

10 Years Ago Today – Remembering Father Joe

Believe it or not, today, 11 April, is the tenth anniversary of the death of Father Joseph Walijewski!  Some of us were fortunate enough to know him as a man and as a priest. For others of us, myself included, we came to know him by his works and by his reputation. In so many ways, Fr. Joe’s life was filled with an energy and enthusiasm for life and the work of God. He spent his time doing good—seeking and giving peace. Father Joe began Holy Week in 2006 with the Solemn Recollection and Celebration of Palm Sunday with his beloved children and parishioners of Casa Hogar Juan Pablo Segundo. On that day, he became gravely ill and was admitted to hospital in Lima. He died just 2 days later on 11 April 2006—Tuesday of Holy Week.

The passage of time is something we all note in one way or another. For me, one of the most extraordinary things was when Pope Benedict XVI named me a bishop! For some, time passes with drudgery, long, slow and hard; for others, there is never enough time to accomplish all of the tasks that we have set for ourselves or that others have set for us. One of the first things I did during these past 6 years as the Bishop of La Crosse, was to open the Cause for the Canonization of one of our own diocesan priests, Fr. Joe!

It is necessary for us to consider that time is truly a gift—a gift God gives to us in order to accomplish His tasks for our lives, namely: to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him. We are blessed that we may know people in our lives who are witnesses of God’s action and wisdom for us. Some of those people may be very close to us—like our parents, our grandparents, our spouses—or they may be people whom we have not known personally but may have only heard or read about. Fr. Joe certainly has become one of those influential people in our lives who showed us a way to know God intimately and lovingly. He truly served the poor, taking care of families and children who no one else would care about – whether they lived or they died. Fr. Joe cared, and he established Casa Hogar, parishes, and missions so that the real love and care of Jesus would be a part of their lives through him.

Now, ten years after his death, we pray for him. We pray that he will be proclaimed a saint by the Church so that we may publicly tell others of his good work as a part of our love for the poor and those who are in need. We want to see in Fr. Joe the way in which the Gospel is lived today, not only in Bolivia and Peru where Fr. Joe worked, but here in Western and Central Wisconsin.

We are working hard to complete the necessary testimonial paperwork so we can move the process of Canonization to the next level. We still have a long way to go and we need to start asking for miracles through the intercession of Fr. Joe. On this, the tenth anniversary of his death, it is so good for us to know that we can now pray for our priest to become a saint and that his work will be one with the Church throughout all of time and eternity. Please join in spreading the word about Fr. Joe and asking others to pray for miracles through his intercession.

Pray for miracles through his intercession using the following prayer:

Prayer for the Beatification and Canonization of Father Joseph Walijewski (1924-2006)

Holy and Good God, your servant and priest, Father Joseph Walijewski, through priestly zeal and heroic holiness, defended innocence against the sadness of evil, especially to broken families and helpless children.

Imaging the Compassionate Christ, he led others to the font of sacramental life and the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their True and Only Savior.

Heavenly Father, we humbly pray You to raise up Your servant, Father Joseph Walijewski, whose joyful priestly heart was resolute in the Heart of Christ Jesus, to the courts of heaven; and, through Your Holy Spirit, who guides and leads the Church, give him to us as a saint and hero of this generation.

Through his example may there be a new urgency of souls for Christ. Through his intercession, I humbly ask (make your intention here) through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bishop William Patrick Callahan, OFM Conv.
Diocese of La Crosse, Wis.

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