This week, I write from another riverbank, the Tiber in Rome. I am visiting with our priests and seminarians here at the Pontifical North American College. Wednesday was a beautiful day and a full day. I had the opportunity to attend the Wednesday Papal Audience and listen to the Holy Father in the midst of thousands of pilgrims who gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope received many visitors and acknowledged the thirty-five men who were being ordained to the diaconate at St. Peter’s on Thursday, 6 October.
The Mass at St. Peter’s was a tremendous gathering of people from all over the USA—families and friends of the new deacons. There were a large number of bishops and hundreds of priests who concelebrated the two and one-half hour Mass. The newly ordained deacons will be ordained priests next year in their own home dioceses. Next year, Alan Guanella will be ordained here, if God wants. Joining him here, in their first year, are Dan Thelen and Charlie Richmond. Father Jeff Burill serves on the faculty as the Director of Homiletic Studies and Father Derek Sakowski is completing his studies for his doctorate in Sacred Theology. I have had a grand visit with them and have assured them of our love and support from back home.
We are, as you know, so blessed with our wonderful seminarians at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, St. John Vianney and St. Paul Seminary, both in St. Paul. I ordained the last of our three transitional deacons, Reverend Mr. Jeff Hennes, three weeks ago in Colby. Almost all of our thirty-three seminarians were present for that ceremony. Deacon Hennes joins Deacons Daniel Oudenhoven and David Bruener who were ordained earlier in the year. Please God, all three will be ordained next June. Your prayers for all of our spirit-filled and talented seminarians is so greatly appreciated.
That does remind me of another thing, the Diocesan Annual Appeal is starting up again. I hope you take some time to see the video at www.dioceseoflacrosse.com . Just click on the icon for the Appeal and enjoy this year’s video. I think it’s pretty good, even if I do get “upstaged” by some sheep! Curious? Stop by and view it. As a matter of fact, take some time to review our entire website. We keep trying to make it as current and user friendly for you as possible. Feel free to send us your suggestions and comments.
I’m coming home tomorrow—Friday. The Fall Clergy Days start in the Dells on Monday. The priests and deacons get a little chance to come aside and pray and study for a few days. We will spend some time reviewing the Missal in preparation for Advent and some other areas of Scripture.
Know that you have been remembered at many Masses celebrated during my time in Rome at many of the holy places. I will be returning to Rome with all the bishops of Region VII—that is Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana—probably in February when we have our turn to come to visit the Holy Father in person and give an account of each of our dioceses. I will explain more about that once we actually find out what our dates will be. We are already starting up the work for that important event called the “Ad Limina.” I’ll keep you posted.
October is the month of the Holy Rosary. The Rosary is a great family prayer. Why not take some time and gather the family together tonight and honor Our Lady with her special prayer?
…and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.