Monthly Archives: March 2016

Easter Greeting

“Yes, Christ my hope is arisen; to Galilee he goes before you.” Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

Hi everybody, Bishop Callahan here to proclaim that Jesus Christ has indeed risen from the dead! As we just listened to a passage from the Easter Sequence, we can feel Mary’s excitement and joy as she exclaims “Christ my hope is arisen.” She proclaimed this just three days after watching her only begotten son endure such cruelty and torture ending in his most gruesome death . Now that she has seen Him alive, what joy she felt and what joy we can also experience as we recount this most stupendous act of Love, given to us for all time.

Easter is a time for us to explore the truth about Jesus. The readings at Mass recount the events that surround one of the principal truths of our faith – Jesus died, He rose from the dead, and one day He will come again in glory.

Easter is also a time for us to prepare ourselves to receive Him more fully, especially to receive His boundless Mercy. The Psalmist writes, Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.”

Pope Saint John Paul the Great instituted the feast of Divine Mercy on April 30, 2000 – the second Sunday of Easter in that jubilee year. In this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on April 3. Just imagine what it must be like now for Saint Faustina and Pope Saint John Paul the Great to see how this great gift is such a part of our Easter season and our year of mercy.

This Easter Season, take time to consider how God is calling us and challenging us in Jesus Christ. Seek Jesus in your life; listen to Jesus who is calling you out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary. Put out into the deep; listen to the longing in your heart; feel the spirit of God that is calling you more deeply into something new, exciting, and totally united to Him!

My prayer for you this Easter Season is that you may experience the Mercy of Jesus Christ in a new and profound way. And having received His Mercy, be committed to share that gift with those around you!

Blessed Easter

And I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

Does God Say “I Told You So?”

There may be times in our lives where we become involved in matters where we think we know more than we do. Nevertheless, in those moments we may find ourselves foolishly and helplessly involved in some of the biggest mistakes of our lives! The easiest thing to do when confronted with such things is get out of the mess as quickly and quietly as we are able. We try to save face because we are embarrassed, try to apologize because we may have been wrong, we simply try to put the whole event behind us and move on with our lives. Just when we think we are on the road to recovery of dignity and self-confidence, along comes an acquaintance or, worst yet, a friend, who knows what we’re going through, simply takes the moment to say: “You know, I hate to say ‘I told you so;’ BUT, I told you so.” There you are feeling doubly bad and even more sorry for yourself.

So, does God ever say: “I told you so?” You bet; the Scriptures are full of admonitions and chastisements, recommendations, and warnings that God issues on His own or through the mouths of the Prophets, or, better still, from the mouth of our Lord and Savior, Himself. Is God trying to be mean and hurtful to us? When God says: “I told you so” to Adam and Eve after they deliberately disobeyed and lost Paradise, was that simply a rebuke and a final judgment on the matter? Of course not. Every admonition from God in the Scriptures—coming from the mouth of whomever—is meant to encourage and lift us up. We need to remember one of the first examples of the whole experience in the Garden of Eden: God is God; we are His creatures. Pride is what caused so much difficulty in the first place and pride is still the chart-topper of the Seven Deadly Sins!

Think about it: when someone says “I told you so,” aren’t our feelings hurt because our pride is wounded? Don’t we hear “I told you so” with a bit more arrogance or sarcasm because it hurts our pride to know that we could make a mess of our lives? As Christians, we know that feeling as “sin.” You’re right, not every stupid human action is a sin—but a good number of our stupid,  human actions do come from our own pride and the lack of thinking about how we can act better with the principles of our faith or the teachings of Jesus informing our actions.

We are currently celebrating a Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church that is meant to help us understand, as Pope Francis has clearly proclaimed, “without God’s mercy, we would not exist.”  Mercy is that incredible and gratuitous gift of God that restores our ability to live as His children with full faith and confidence that in His love we are held in His embrace.

Every Divine admonition or word of caution in the Scriptures is a loving reminder from our Heavenly Father. Believe it or not, God does not want to punish us as much as He wants to love us; but love, as we know, typically involves receiving and giving. The Year of Mercy helps us to receive God’s mercy through a change of heart and action. We call this conversion. Conversion is an ongoing process in our lives. The more active we are about examining our lives and adjusting our behavior the more we have the opportunity to experience being loved by God. Yes, we will still hear an occasional “I told you so” both from God and maybe even from our friends (and maybe even from our non-friends); but, relax, that is a sign of our humanity, which God loves so much that He took it on Himself in Jesus, and clearly that we’re not in heaven yet.

Commit your life to Christ—and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

A Date and a Time in Our Lives

Today is the 3rd day of March—yes, this year IS moving rapidly, I’ve noticed that the older I get, the faster time flies. True enough, but that’s not my point today.

March 3rd is significant for us; it’s our birthday! March 3, 1868, the Diocese of La Crosse was born and in two years, 2018, we will be celebrating our 150th birthday, or our Sesquicentennial.

Now, 1868 was a banner year for all sorts of things: the first refrigerator car was invented in Detroit; the first US parade with floats was the Mardi-Gras in Mobile, Alabama; the stapler was patented in England; the “Type-writer” was patented; and so special and apropos, the song “Happy Birthday to You” was written (and still receives royalties for its copyright).

I just did a bit of date checking on Google and I found all sorts of interesting little facts that might be fun for a Diocese of La Crosse game of Trivial Pursuit; but I would imagine that so many of you would be able to rummage through your attics and basements and find all sorts of major facts, photos, and fun trivia that you can associate with your life in the Diocese of La Crosse. Now, we’re not looking for memorabilia from 1868 (only). What we are particularly interested in is your more recent memory items, especially things that have happened in the last twenty-five years. That, brothers and sisters, makes you a historian and a story-teller. You possess knowledge that we need to secure and pass on to the next generation of Catholics, Wisconsinites, and Americans throughout our nineteen counties and among the thousands of people in western and north central Wisconsin. We Build on a Tradition of Faith!

Get out your photo albums, your “baby-books,” your parish albums and school yearbooks. You’ll be amazed at how much history you possess and how much fun it will be to start talking about and sharing your experiences as members of our beloved Diocese. God has blessed us. One great way to praise and thank God will be to share His graces and tell His story through our lives—the lives of our families—and the life of our family of Faith.

March 3, 1868 to March 3, 2018—a Sesquicentennial of Faith in action! I hope you’ll share as much as you can as we prepare for local and diocesan celebrations marking this landmark in our history. Watch for commemorative books and events that capture and share our past and set us free to move into our future. While looking back, we’re plugging in to the many electronic and interactive ways to discover the many treasures that make up the Diocese of La Crosse.

Thanks be to God for the time He has given us and the ways He has allowed us to use His gifts, celebrate amazing talents, and Build on a Tradition of Faith!