I am just completing my annual retreat here in Mundelein with my brother bishops from Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. As always, the retreat gives us bishops a chance to get together, share valuable quiet time together in prayer and share valuable social time together in sincere fraternity. What a blessing this retreat has been! I give thanks to God!

You have been a part of this retreat, too. I have kept so many of you in prayer during this time; so many intentions and so many different remembrances from all over the diocese and from family and friends. A retreat is a wonderful time for us to take stock of our lives and how we stand before God. Our retreat director reminded us that it is not always us standing accused before God as He says: “What have you been up to?! But rather that we stand humbly and quietly before God and listen to Him tell us what He has been “down” to in our lives. There is a wonder in reflecting on the many miracles that occur in our lives when we recognize the nearness of God – the great condescension of God in the Incarnation.

So, I am grateful for the new priests I ordained two months ago, I am grateful for the permanent deacons I will ordain two months from now and whose retreat I will join today in Marathon. I am grateful for all the members of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission who are contributing their time and support with our priests all over the diocese. I am grateful for my diocesan staff and all those who serve in various ways the needs of the Church in La Crosse. I have prayed especially for the priests and people of our diocese and God has given me great consolation in knowing of your support.

As we say: “GOD IS GOOD!” And the favored response: “ALL THE TIME!”

And I say … I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

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