10th Anniversary of the Opening of the Cause for Canonization of the Servant of God, Father Joseph Walijewski

It is with great hope and admiration that we mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the cause for canonization of the Servant of God, Father Joseph Walijewski. So much has happened since 2013 and so many people have been involved telling the story of his life and ministry, all giving witness to his heroic holiness.

I have come to know him through the people who worked side by side with him and the countless more who knew him and his missionary zeal. It was Father Joe who introduced the people of Peru to the Diocese of La Crosse, and it was Father Joe who reminded the people of the Diocese of La Crosse of their baptismal calling to be missionaries for Christ—Go out to all the world and tell the Good News!

When I visited Casa Hogar in 2011, we were celebrating the 5th anniversary of Father Joe’s death. As nighttime drew near and while holding lit candles, everyone began the ascent to Father Joe’s tomb which is located on the side of the bluff overlooking Casa Hogar, the slums of Lurin and the Pacific Ocean. It’s about a 20-minute walk on mostly sandy rocky ground, but once you arrive, it is a most magnificent view. What was more astonishing, however, was the reverence we felt as we journeyed up. A quiet descended upon the adults and children as they approached the tomb. Then, one by one, they placed their candles on the ledge in front of his tomb, giving testimony to Father Joe’s love. Many of those gathered knew Father Joe and Father Joe knew them.

Their reverence showed me that something very special had happened. Their reverence was evidence of the encounter they had with Father Joe; the encounter they had with Jesus through Father Joe. As I watched their actions and felt their emotions, I further realized he was a heroically holy man. He touched lives, he healed brokenness and he brought hope to the children of Casa Hogar by giving them a sense of dignity—the dignity deserving of every child of God.

It’s been 10 years since his cause was opened so now, with renewed resolve in faith, we pray that if it be God’s will, Father Joe will be given to us as a saint and hero of the Church. Father Joe inspired the people of our diocese to imagine a better way for the abandoned and marginalized people of Peru and now Father Joe’s legacy inspires us to see how our lives can transform others if we align our actions with his; always seeing the face of Christ in everyone we meet, especially the people the world tries so desperately to forget.

Please join us for the 10th Anniversary Mass that will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman at 10:30am on March 19 or watch live at diolc.org/live

Lenten Greeting

Lent is a time when the Church invites us into authentic repentance and renewal. We are given 40 days to remind ourselves of how Jesus entered into His public ministry, the care He had for His people, the cruelty He endured and the promise He made at the Last Supper to be with us always. We can only marvel at the unfolding of the historical events and find consolation in the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies.

This year, pay particular attention to the actions carried out by Jesus on the night before he was crucified: He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Likewise, He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is the blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”

These actions, so simple yet so profound, shape our entire Catholic Faith. It is the Eucharist that gives life, it is the Eucharist that gives hope and it is the Eucharist that is pivotal to your spiritual journey. I encourage you to make your Lenten journey in the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. Open your heart and let Him speak to you.

Brothers and Sisters, my prayer for you this Lenten season is that you may come to a deeper love of Christ in the Eucharist. He is really present and wants to feed your soul with His very body. May you be transformed by His grace and keep alive in your desire for heaven.

Blessed Lent to you.

Catholic Schools Week 2023 – Greeting from Bishop William Patrick Callahan

There are so many people who make our Catholic Schools possible. Nearly twelve hundred teachers, administrators, and other staff, along with countless volunteers, work hard to make our Catholic schools possible. This week allows me to thank each of you for your leadership, dedication, and persistence! The work you are doing today has a lasting effect and is helping to shape the future of our Church.

I also want to thank the nearly seven thousand students and their families who sincerely love their school and make significant sacrifices. Together we are a Catholic force, going out to all the world telling the Good News!

We know that when God is the center of our lives, He will help and guide us. Let Jesus be part of your day, and pray to Him often. He hears your prayers and only wants what’s best for you.

This year you will hear more about the Eucharistic Revival in churches and schools throughout the United States. This is a special time for us to become better aware of Jesus in the Eucharistic experience. Just as the Real Presence of Jesus is about us, we too want to be close to Jesus in that real presence.

I have a great love for our Catholic schools. I’m happy to visit and get a chance to spend time with you, and I’m confident that we do great work together. I’ll be happy to be praying for the success of this week and the many weeks to come.

Remember that God loves you and only wants what’s best for you.

Merry Christmas!

Amidst the glitter and festivities, I invite you take a moment and think about the action of Christmas, the fact that God, from the very beginning, has loved the world so much that he gave us His Son.

God did not choose to become an angel, He didn’t form some new type of creature, but rather God chose to become man, to enter into our humanity. Mary, the spotless virgin, became the mother of His Son and St. Joseph, the foster father.

Oftentimes we take for granted this action. We look at the Christmas crib, we sing Christmas carols, we even exchange greetings and gifts, all good things to celebrate Christmas. But what I’d like you to remember is how God’s love was enacted. His great love from the very beginning made manifest to us—as one of us. Jesus is the reason for this great season! And we are able to pass along this love to those around us.

Christmas is the feast of peace. God and man have been united forever. Remembering the birth of Jesus gives us hope to believe that love has triumphed over hatred, and life over death. We have so much to be thankful for and should be open to receive His bounteous blessings.

My prayer for you this season is that you will find a way to make Christmas last longer than just one day. God’s love is unbounded and we are to remember what He has done for us throughout the coming year.

Blessed Christmas to you – May you carry the wonder of Christmas into the new year.

Bringing Christ to Others

Advent is my favorite liturgical season and there are so many facets for us to ponder. It’s a season when we are filled with expectation, anticipation and wonder. The Advent candle helps us mark each week, as if it were an ancient timepiece used to track our steps in Faith. The readings at Mass remind us of how God came into this world—to be with His people—and we remember what a great gift this is to us. The Jesse tree is a visualization of salvation history—each day adding another image to help us follow the historical events leading up to the birth of Christ.

It is fitting that we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary during Advent. Our Blessed Mother came into this world free from all stain of Original Sin. We are grateful for her “Yes,” allowing Jesus to enter into our reality and open up the doors to eternal life. 

Advent is a time set aside for quiet and contemplation, but it also must be a time for movement. God came to dwell with His people. Mary set off in haste when she heard her cousin Elizabeth had also conceived a son. We too must go forth and tell the Good News of the coming of Christ at Christmas.

We are an Advent people, on a journey to our ultimate reward—to be happy with God in heaven for all eternity. Let us walk together in Faith.

Blessed Advent to you!

Bishop William Patrick Callahan

Gospel of Life – White Mass and Banquet


Amidst the ordinary, when we listen, the extraordinary presses forward. One of our Catholic doctors recently shared in a meeting at our storied Diocesan Center that, “we live our faith through our practice”.

I find that statement to be a profoundly simply and powerful expression of why we gather annually to honor our healthcare professionals. These men and women humbly walk a path of faith in a world that has become increasingly polarized and combative. They persevere through a global pandemic. Through a tsunami of sickness, death and uncertainty, they lead and care for others with grace and compassion. How many of us could shoulder that burden and serve as they have and continue to do? Our Catholic healthcare professionals also live their faith through practice while embattled by a culture that politicizes and cheaply debates matters of life. I remain deeply grateful for our medical professionals and consider it a joy and privilege to celebrate this Mass honoring their service.

We will gather and celebrate our annual “White Mass” on October 18th, 2022 from 6:00-7:00pm at the majestic Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse. This Mass is our annual tradition in which we joyously thank and honor our healthcare professionals.  The Mass also overlays beautifully with our Respect Life month of October when we celebrate the dignity of all human life.

The evening will begin at 6:00 pm with the White Mass at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral. Once the Mass concludes, we will share dinner and then listen to a presentation from Fr. Paul Check. We are pleased to welcome Fr. Check as the evening’s keynote speaker. From serving in the U.S. Marine Corps to his current position as the Executive Director for our magnificent Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Fr. Check has served with distinction. I am grateful he will join us and share his thoughts on “Witnessing to Life, Truth & Love in a Hostile World.”

May I ask you now to do a few things?

  1. Pray to St. Luke for our healthcare professionals, their resiliency, their commitment and that they may feel always the power and fire of fulfilling our Lord’s purpose while serving in their profession.
  2. Would you join us on October 18th at 6:00pm at the St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral to help celebrate their service? And if you can, please join us for the banquet afterwards, when we will share food and be blessed with the words from Fr. Check (registration link below).
  3. Above all, let us rejoice both in the selfless commitment of our healthcare workers, who “live their faith through their practice” and in the vibrant life that surrounds us.

It is with joy and commitment that we prepare for Respect Life Month, and our White Mass is a centerpiece of our celebration of the “Gospel of Life.” Please join us at the table.

Yours in Christ,

Bishop William Patrick Callahan

To register, visit www.diolc.org/GospelofLife

Welcome Back to School 2022

I hope to get a chance to see you this year!  For now – I’ll just leave you with a few things to think about.

First of all, please remember that God loves you. 

Hopefully you hear this often and have had time to think about what this means. When someone loves you, that person wants what’s best for you and in return, you want to love them back. There are so many ways to love God. God knows you well and can love you well. Take time to get to know Him so you can love Him back.

God always wants what’s best for you.

Because God knows you, He knows what’s best for you. We talk to God in Prayer. When you pray, you give glory to God, you tell Him about yourself, you tell Him what you like and you ask Him for help. God will always hear and answer your prayers.

A friend wants what’s best for their friend.

Think for a moment of a good friend of yours. You have fun; you may work on projects or just enjoy spending time together. If your friend needs something, you want to help. That’s how it is with God. When you talk to God, you will get to know Him better and He will bless you with His friendship.

As you start your school year, take some extra time to get to know God better. Not only in your religion classes, but let Him help you throughout the day.

To all parents; thank you for your support! We will do our best to help your children grow academically and spiritually. We know our students will prosper when they are safe, happy, and free to feel the love of Jesus during their school days. 

To all teachers, staff and administrators; thank you for all you do for your students! The countless hours, personal sacrifice and the extra efforts do not go unnoticed. The excellence of our schools is evidence of your careful guidance.

To all students; thank you for letting Jesus be part of your day. Know that I pray for you every day. I pray that you will come to know the love of Jesus in a personal way and be excited to talk about Jesus with your friends. The more you talk about Jesus, the more you will hear other people’s story about how Jesus loves them. 

Keep up the good work! Keep loving Jesus! And keep praying that you will come to know how to share the love of Jesus with those around you.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven – Easter Greeting 2022

Hi everybody, Bishop Callahan here. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

As we enter into the season of Easter, our hearts are drawn into the mystery of the Eucharist. We celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, all historical facts that form the basis of our Catholic Faith. The Church teaches us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Let Him invigorate your life. Let Him bring comfort to your soul. And let Him animate your actions; living as children of God.

Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist is the Good News of Easter; He has been raised from the dead and is with us until the end of time. The power of the Eucharist will transform our lives and provide the necessary hope in our ever changing world.

The first witnesses of the Resurrection were compelled to share the Good News. We too are called to go out to the whole world and tell the Good News!

Easter is the day when everything changed—God clearly showed His victory over sin and death; winning for us our eternal salvation.

This Easter Season, stay close to Jesus and His Mother Mary. Give witness to the Gospel messages and be ready to receive the love and mercy only God can give.

Blessed Easter to you – and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

Lenten Greeting

Lent gives us 40 days to contemplate our relationship with God. We are given a chance to examine how our sins isolate us from His love and are called to repentance, to receive forgiveness for our sins in the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus would often go out into the desert to pray. Lent is our “desert,” our time when we can be separated from our daily routine and be attentive to His promptings when we pray.

Lent calls us to change our routine. We start off receiving ashes as an external sign of our desire for repentance. We are called to fasting and abstinence, a chance to practice self-control as we examine our habits and look for spiritual vitality.

Lent reminds us of our need for Mercy. We enter into a blessed encounter with God when we reverently examine our consciences and confess our sins, partaking in the sacraments and opening up His boundless Mercy. As we awaken our desire for heaven, we are naturally drawn toward a deeper sense of the brevity of life and the length of eternity.

Brothers and Sisters, my prayer for you this season is that you may enter into a deeper relationship with God and be ready to receive His Mercy. May your Lenten observance remind you that His love for us is eternal.

Blessed Lent everybody and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.

Catholic Schools Week 2022 Greeting from Bishop Callahan

My dear young people –Bishop Callahan here with a few words as you celebrate Catholic Schools Week!

It is good for us to take some time to celebrate our Catholic Schools. We set aside this week to reflect on the great gift of Catholic Education. Each day, when you come together, you experience God in a new and unique way. He is with you in your studies, when you interact with your classmates and most importantly when you spend time in prayer. Never take this time for granted and be ready to listen to Jesus when he speaks to you.

This past year, so many people have worked hard to keep everyone in our schools safe and healthy. Thank you for your extra efforts despite the many obstacles you have encountered. Thank you students for doing you best and trying to stay positive. Thank you teachers for being on the front lines, giving so much to your students. And thank you parents for believing in your children and believing in Catholic Education.

Our Catholic Schools are known for their excellence. Everyone involved is committed to making our schools the best they can be so our students will be the best they can be. Strong school leadership brings a great teaching environment for our teachers which then leads to success in the classroom. Students are known to perform better when surrounded by a safe, loving and Faith-filled community.

I’m always impressed when I hear how our Catholic Schools are active in their communities. When you serve others you are serving Christ. He teaches us “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me.” This is powerful teaching and sometimes hard to remember. When you help others in the name of Christ, you are acting as a child of God.

Think about the type of person God is asking you to be. Ask yourself ‘How can I grow in Holiness?’ ‘Am I loving God and loving my neighbor as much as I can?”

Strive always to stay close to God and keep firm on your desire to be happy with Him in Heaven.

I hope you will have a good celebration; I also hope to see many of you during this week. Take a few minutes to tell your teachers and parents about what Catholic Education means to you. They would love to hear from you.

Carry the love of Jesus in your heart and let his love shine wherever you are!

And may almighty God bless you: In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.