42 Annual Rural Life Day

For all of you who live in Wisconsin and have lived here for all of your lives – sun rising, fertile fields and sacred work is all part and parcel of what we kids from the city used to enjoy so much. Seeing these beautiful fields, it really just warms my heart as we drive through the diocese, now as your bishop, looking at these places, seeing cows and horses and all sorts of critters out there that are part of our rural landscape. God gives us the ability to take care of these things.

It’s nice for us to take some time every year for gratitude. Gratitude for you farmers, workers in the field, all of you who take time to give of yourselves, which I know sometimes is really hard. Family farms are in jeopardy these days. It’s difficult to figure out who’s going to take care of these crops, who’s going to take care of these fields? Who’s going to give us the memories of remembering how beautiful it looks both in the season when it’s just filled with crops and growth and the times when we take a little bit more quiet time and give thanks to God for all of the various ways in which we see the Earth regenerating itself.

I remember the first time I went out to a Rural Life Mass and climbed up on top of one of these machines that was bigger than a house.

Sacrifice is something that is a very important element of our lives, and we ought to be no strangers to sacrifice. God knows you aren’t. God knows how you pray for rain and how you need sunshine and how you need to be able to get out and take care of the things that all of us sometimes just take for granted when we walk into a grocery store and see the abundance of food that you have placed there for us. We’re grateful! you have a selfless vocation and you are always worrying about us and helping us.

We are coming to the season of Harvest, preparation time. I offer prayers for you, so that we can remind ourselves of what God has placed in you.

And every year, we get together and we pray together. So I invite you to join us at the Rural Life Mass on September 13 as a nice opportunity to come together. Food, festivities, families – you won’t want to miss it!

We pray, brothers and sisters, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, the farmer. We ask for God’s grace through his intercession. We pray that our fields may be abundant. Our families may be happy – grace filled. And we pray that the work of the Lord may be accomplished through our efforts and that we may always be grateful people who receive abundantly from a generous and loving father in heaven. Amen.