My dear young people, Bishop Callahan here to greet you as you begin your new school year!
The past several months have been very busy for me; I’ve been to several important meetings, many of which concerned you because we bishops want to let everyone know how much we care about you and your futures in the Church and in the world at large. We share that concern with your moms and dads.
I hope you all had a good summer. I remember how much fun summer vacation was when I was a kid. But I also remember how I was ready to get back to school with new teachers and new challenges in studies.
This December you will hear about the Beatification of a man who was born and grew up near Stevens Point. Beatification, as many of you know, is the second to last step in the process of becoming a saint in the Catholic Church. This man’s name is Brother James Miller. He went to Pacelli High School in the 1950s and then joined the Christian Brothers. He was a teacher and worked in Central and South America. He was shot to death in Guatemala because he loved God and loved the people of Guatemala. He is a hero of our Catholic Faith and a hero of the Diocese of La Crosse.
There are other heroes of Faith who lived and worked in our area. Blessed Solanus Casey, a Franciscan was born near Prescott; Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, a Dominican, built St. Gabriel church in Prairie du Chien; and Servant of God, Father Joseph Walijewski whom we may know best of all, who worked in Thorp before leaving for South America where he started Casa Hogar. You can pray through the intersession of these heroes for help and guidance when you feel alone, scared or confused. You can also pray in thanksgiving when your prayers are answered.
These heroes of Faith all have in common their love of Jesus and their desire to follow His teaching. Jesus is the source of Truth and you will learn about His Truth in your classes. When you follow Jesus and your consciences and do what is right, you are acting just like these heroes!
I encourage you to stand up for your Faith and hope that you will encourage those around you to do the same! Your Catholic Education teaches and models an active participation in the evangelizing mission of the Church. Simply put, the Church exists because Jesus wants it to exist. Through your Baptism, you became a member of His Church. When you help others come to know Jesus, you are doing what God wants.
Try to make Jesus a part of everything you do. Listen to Him and ask Him for the help you need, not only at Mass, but throughout your day.
To all teachers and staff: Thank you for your service to your school and your guidance to your students!
Keep up the good work! I’m very proud of all the good you are doing and I hope to visit you sometime this school year and listen to your stories of heroism and courage.
Pray, learn, and stand up for your Faith!