Monthly Archives: December 2017

A New Year Reflection

A year is dead, a year is born:
Thus time flies by on silent wing:
Thou, Lord, alone canst guide our course
And safe to heaven Thy people bring.  (Lapsus est Annus)

Long ago, our ancestors greatly feared the passage of time. We experienced a bit of that years ago when we turned the page on the year 2000. Certainly, our fear was more sophisticated than that of our ancestors, largely due to our advanced technological wisdom. I don’t think it was, however, solely a fear of universal computer crashes that sent our heads reeling into a “what would happen if …” syndrome. I believe we remain concerned about our inability to control time—basically to control our destinies—to set our own futures and control our own lives. While there is nothing inherently wrong with those kinds of thoughts, without anchors of faith, hope, and the awareness of the reality of God in one’s life they become strange specters of emptiness and fear.

For people of faith, the arrival of the New Year musters a sense of confidence and vision for a future that one is reasonably capable of attaining—with personal diligence and God’s help. The absence of faith, so prevalent in our society today, creates a vacuum of hopelessness that is being filled with worldly aspirations that consistently fail to satisfy or endure. Hence, New Year resolutions made without God’s blessings tend to fail almost as quickly as they are dreamed up.

We have an opportunity, as 2018 comes into existence, to experience something unique. For us, in the Diocese of La Crosse, 2018 is an anniversary year—our Sesquicentennial Year. For one hundred and fifty years, people living in western and north central Wisconsin have worked hard to develop a sense of the Catholic faith. Their diligence allows each one of us to possess a sense of integrity and centeredness that opens us to a useable future filled with purpose and hope.

Our ancestors struggled with lives of drudgery and hard work, but they achieved success through an understanding that their work was not in vain. They were building the future for themselves and, well, for us too. Their integrity and personal awareness helped build confidence that they were passing on a society filled with values and accomplishments. Their true sense of ethics and altruism paved the way for future generations who, with faith and confidence in the power of God, would build upon the foundations they laid. They planned a future with a clear vision of the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven as they were promised by God Himself.

As we embark on 2018, let us gather the good from our past and, with God’s providence, confidently move forward. May you have a happy and hope-filled New Year!

O Lord, our daily wants supply;
Protect from sickness and disease;
And deign to give, O God of love
The blessings of unbroken peace.  (Lapsus est Annus)             

Let your Christmas Joy Shine Forth

Grant, O Lord, we pray, that we may draw new vigor from celebrating the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son, by whose heavenly mystery we have received both food and drink.

Hi Everybody! Bishop Callahan here to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Jesus Christ came to earth, He was born in a humble stable, and he grew up in a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first to witness this moment in our earth’s history. In this stupendous action, God becoming man, heaven’s glory was made manifest and we have been singing the glory of that night ever since.

It is important for us to remember and celebrate this point in our history, that very first Christmas, because when we discover history, we discover the truth. History reveals our very nature; what we are meant to be as human beings.

This time of year, let your senses awaken. There are so many ways to open up to the wonder of God’s providence as revealed to us in small but beautiful ways. The fragrance of cookies, the sounds of bells, the warmth of mittens gives us reasons to remember that God is watching over us and even the smallest of actions are part of his intention for our lives.

Take time to be. So often we are pulled through our lives, rushing from one thing to the next, trying to stay ahead of this deadline or that reminder. This year, treat yourself with a few moments of quiet. Enter into a silent dialogue with Jesus, being with Him and letting Him be with you. Spend a few extra moments in prayer, linger after Mass, or make a visit to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. By taking a few small steps, you will find new energy and balance for your life.

Jesus Christ came to earth, He was born in a stable, and we have reason to celebrate! Let your Christmas Joy shine forth as you go out to all the world and tell the good news.

Blessed Christmas to you; may you share the Hope of Christ by your life.

Advent Message from Bishop William Patrick Callahan 2017

Grant to us, O Lord, a new vigor in our time of Advent, that, as we prepare to celebrate in adoration the festivities of your Son’s Nativity, so may we possess in gladness his everlasting rewards.

Hi Everybody,

Bishop Callahan here, asking you to make some time this Advent season to reflect on the great mystery of the Annunciation. We hear the reading from St. Luke on the Forth Sunday of Advent, recounting the visit of the angel Gabriel. Mary, fully human, encountered Gabriel, a pure spirit, and our world was forever changed. Mary’s response “May it be done to me according to your word” brought salvation to humanity in that very instant as Mary became the Mother of God.

Our Blessed Mother’s example gives us the courage to say “Yes”. “Yes” to the will of God in our lives. How many times are we prompted to do good or called to help someone in need.  Are we able to acknowledge our shortcomings and make amends for our failures?

Mary’s Love for Christ began at the moment of her “Yes”. After Our Lord was conceived in her womb, Mary set out in haste to bring Our Savior to her cousin, Elizabeth, whom she learned was also expecting a child, expecting John the Baptist. Her journey, her visitation is a model for us to follow. When we have an encounter with Christ we should attempt to tell others of what we experienced, to share what we have received.

Sharing our faith gives Hope. And sustained by hope, we are preserved from selfishness and drawn to the happiness that flows from charity.

The Church has given us this time of Advent, a time of expectant waiting, a time of preparation, and a time to anticipate receiving the Christ Child on Christmas!

Blessed Advent to you; may you say “Yes” to our coming Savior.