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!