Now, you may hear me say this again and again, but it is an exciting time to be Catholic. Take for example my recent trip to Bolivia. I would think that every Catholic in the Diocese of La Crosse is simply filled with joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude for the work of our wonderful priests in Santa Cruz.

The Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz sure loves them. I had the opportunity to meet and greet the Cardinal for a little while before the last Mass in the old church. As we stood together in the new church – a magnificent and appropriate house of worship – he spoke in beautiful Spanish about Fr. Bob Flock and Fr. Ed Penchi. I listened mostly at that point, but through the interpreter I was able to carry on an intelligible conversation. I announced to him my news from the Holy Father that Fr. Bob Flock is now Monsignor Bob Flock. By the time you read this, however, that will be old news.

The ceremony to dedicate and consecrate the new church was held that Sunday with all three of the auxiliary bishops joining in the celebration. It was a grand affair and, of course, there was a fiesta afterward that included a raffle – some things are just universally Catholic.

The weather was hot and humid coupled with incredible winds that rustled up the dust and dirt to rival the stories of the Dust Bowl, however on the Wednesday we left Bolivia it poured rain! Monsoon type rain! Our flight was delayed two and a half hours and we missed our flight (and any other in Miami) to get back to Chicago. It was a miserable end to an extraordinary time of grace and blessing. I guess when I get some rest, I’ll probably find some blessing in the botched up homebound trip. Always reminds me that “man proposes, but God disposes.”

I’ll close with another good reason to be Catholic – you can support the mission our priests have built in Santa Cruz. Yes, of course, by your prayers; we could also use a donation for the work to the Mission Office of the Diocese. I hope you’ll read all about our trip in the current issue of The Catholic Times (www.thecatholictimes.com) and you can see what I’m talking about. In the meantime …

… I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.

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