I was recently reminded by one of the priests of the diocese that I really have been away from home a great deal in the past few weeks. Well, out of the mouths of babes and priests one can always expect to hear the blunt truth!

So, let me tell you a little about some of the things that have occupied my time in the far away places of Bolivia and Rome.

The trip to Bolivia was most of all an opportunity to celebrate the dedication and consecration of the new parish church in the Archdiocese of Santa Cruz. The parish, which was founded by our beloved Father Joe Walijewski, has been most capably under the ministration of priests of the Diocese of La Crosse over the 50 years of its existence. Currently, Monsignor Robert Flock and Father Edward Penchi are tending to the needs of the faithful in that enormous parish and most beautiful new church.

As you know, I am quite interested in the apostolic activity of Father Joe Walijewski and I am currently working to gather the resources and information that will lead to the formal petitioning and opening of the Cause for his eventual beatification and canonization. This is recognition of what many people already maintain in their minds and hearts. We will petition the Church in Her wisdom to make a proclamation about the Cause according to God’s will. Your prayers would be most welcome in this regard.

Secondly, the visit to Rome centered around another La Crosse “event”; the diaconate ordination of Reverend Mr. Alan Michael Guanella at the hands of Archbishop John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, at the Altar of the Chair in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Along with Deacon Alan were 32 other young men from around the United States who have been studying at the North American College.

It was a good opportunity to visit with our other four seminarians there, along with Father Justin Kizewski, who is currently on academic leave in Rome, and Monsignor Jeff Burrill, who serves on the faculty at the College.

While in Rome, I had a chance to see Cardinal Burke and discuss with him the plans for advancing the Cause of “Padre Jose.” I also visited with the Roman Postulator who will represent Father Joe’s Cause in Rome as well as other members of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints – the ecclesiastical Congregation who will review and study our petition and consider the miracles allowed by God through Father Joe’s intercession.

Much has been accomplished and you will share in the joy as it unfolds. Be assured of my prayers – no matter where I am. Right now, however, it is good to be home sharing the Year of Faith with you … and looking forward to seeing you at Sunday Mass!

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