I’ve had the pleasure of driving through the diocese these past few weeks from Ellsworth to Edgar, with stops in Stratford, Marshfield and points back toward La Crosse. It is just beautiful out there! I joined some of my Franciscan brothers last week in Savannah, Ga. Another member of the Conventual Franciscans was ordained and consecrated as the bishop of Savannah. It was wonderful to see so many of the guys I’ve known for years. Many of those men are from New England states. People PAY money to drive through some of those areas this time of year. The guys were saying there wasn’t much of a color show this year. I told ‘em to come to Wisconsin. They wouldn’t have to pay and the colors were magnificent! I sure hope that we all take some opportunity to give thanks to God for this great season!

Now it’s Halloween. I’ve never really liked this holiday – even when I was a kid. It has only gotten worse over the years. Some people claim that Halloween is fast outpacing Christmas in popularity and decorations. Go figure. Makes me wonder why? I think Halloween has taken a real trend toward the dark side. Christmas is about light and the Light of the world. As society tries to turn that Light off, I guess it’s easier to dress up, act out, and accept fantasy in place of reality.

We bishops of Wisconsin have just completed our Fall Meeting of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. Archbishop Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, is the president of the gathering of bishops who include Bishop David Ricken (Green Bay), Bishop Robert Morlino (Madison), Bishop Peter Christiansen (Superior), and me from La Crosse. There is, of course, much to discuss in our state and how some of those issues generally affect each of us. You will be hearing about some of the actions we discussed in the near future as they are rolled out in The Catholic Times.

November will soon be upon us and two of the most significant celebrations for us as human beings with faith start the whole month off with a bang! November begins with All Saints Day. What a terrific celebration to keep in mind everybody in heaven! People like us, who have made it. They help us and they intercede for us. Remember your baptismal and confirmation patron saint that day. Keep in mind, All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation. Like Sunday, Catholics are obliged to attend the Mass on that day.

All Souls Day follows on Nov 2. That day we remember our own mortality. Every one of us will die someday. How we live helps us to plan for how we will spend eternity. We pray for our beloved dead since they are now outside of time. While we are not obliged to attend the Mass on that day, it is the best prayer we can offer for anyone dead or alive.

…and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.

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