Mark your calendars for the first annual Catholic Men's Conference to be held at the Viterbo University Fine Arts Building, La Crosse, on Saturday, October 24. The theme is "The Call to Fatherhood" and features nationally-recognized speakers Father Larry Richards, Doug Barry, and Tom Peterson as well as our our Father Conrad Targonski and Bishop Callahan. In addition to these speakers the day includes lunch and fellowship as well as opportunties for Confession and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The day concludes with Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Callahan. For more information visit http://menofthecross.org/
Congratulations to Father Billy Dodge who was ordained as a Priest for our Diocese of La Crosse on June 27 along with Fathers Mark Miller, Charlie Richmond, and Dan Thelen. Effective July 1 Father Dodge is the Parochial Vicar (Associate Pastor) of Blessed Sacrament and Newman University Parishes in La Crosse. Photos from the day will be posted within the next few days. Pray for your priests!
Our own Catholic Times' reporter Joseph O'Brien covered the recent anniversary celebration of Saint Luke Parish in Boyceville.
BOYCEVILLE – Even as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Bishop John P. Treacy (1948-1964) was hatching plans to build a new parish church for the recently formed St. Luke Parish, Boyceville, the fledgling parish had already found a temporary roost for Sunday Mass – in a chicken coop.
Then it moved on to a renovated carpenter’s shop – a fi tting makeshift house of worship for those who believe a woodworker from Nazareth is also the savior of the world – before building and dedicating St. Luke Church in 1965.
On June 14, the 75 families that make up St. Luke’s gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of this little church at the top of the diocese with their pastor Father Kevin Louis and Deacon Kevin Ray to celebrate Mass and half a century of memories at a luncheon afterwards.
In his homily for the celebration Mass, Father Louis briefly sketched the parish’s history, noting that the last 50 years have been an opportunity for St. Luke’s parishioners to develop through worship and reception of the sacraments – especially baptism, confession, Communion, confi rmation and marriage – their relationship with God.
“The history of our parish is really the mystery of our own lives and our relationship with God,” he said. “If we trust and put ourselves at God’s disposal, and we do all that we can to open our hearts to Him … the challenge now is to look ahead. What will be here in 50 years? This gift of faith is a live thing – it isn’t just a rock we hand on, but a living reality that is so fragile, as God has reminded us from the time of the Old Testament to the time of Jesus Himself. So the challenge today is what am I doing right now to know Him better, to love Him more?”
As a result of a 1961 census of the Boyceville area, which found 50 Catholic families in the area, Bishop Treacy gave approval for the founding of St. Luke’s in 1962. It was the last parish which Bishop Treacy established during his tenure and the last of four parishes that he wished to take the respective names of the Gospel writers (St. John the Apostle Parish, Whitehall (1948), St. Matthew Parish, Wausau (1958), St. Mark Parish, Rothschild (1960). Although Bishop Treacy didn’t live to see St. Luke Church built, he had given his blessing for establishing the parish.
Appointed by Bishop Treacy as its first pastor, Father Arthur Redmond helped the diocese acquire 9.5 acres of land that would be the site St. Luke’s. Boyceville area Catholics provided the money up front (originally intended for a church to be built in Menomonie) for the building costs. By Easter 1965, the building was complete and the dedication celebrated on August 29, 1965, by Bishop Treacy’s successor, Bishop Frederick W. Freking
Today, the 75 families who keep St. Luke’s vibrant continue to bolster the parish’s faith life with eucharistic adoration, Mondays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the church’s eucharistic chapel, and locally famous monthly potluck brunches. There is also an annual and equally famous turkey dinner, the major fundraiser for the parish each year
Serving as parish catechist and assisting several of St. Luke’s pastors with administrative work, 1985-1994, Brother Michael Mandernach, CSPX, traveled from Spring Valley to attend the anniversary celebration. He said that St. Luke’s has the distinction of being one of, if not the only, parish in the diocese never to have had a resident pastor. “They’ve been on their own and taken ownership since day one,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful faithful community with a wonderful spirit in a very nonCatholic area, mostly Lutheran.”
Co-chair of the celebration committee with Joe Pieters and Joyce Hill for the June 14 event, Betty Jean Smith said the parish has been blessed with 25 nonresident pastors, which hasn’t always made for the most stable environment but the parish learned to adjust. “When you’ve had 25 priests in 50 years you know you just roll with the punches, and if it’s going to survive as a parish, it’s got to be from within,” she said. “If we see something that needs to be done, a broken window, for instance, then someone replaces it, no questions asked.”
Four members of this community who were present at the creation of the parish Dewayne Hedlund, Margaret Sykora, Shirley Humpal and Jackie (Kosharek) Crosby remembered with fondness the excitement surrounding the establishment of the new parish. “I remember the chicken coop that they had when they got the parish started,” said Hedlund, a retired construction worker and until recently fi nance council member and groundskeeper at the parish. “There was no other place available but for this coop owned by a local farmer right in Boyceville. It was cold [during Mass in the coop] in the wintertime, I’ll tell you.”
According to Crosby, everyone in the Boyceville area saw that building a new parish made more sense than driving to the more distant parishes in outlying Menomonie or Glenwood City. “We warmed up to the new church right away because there were so many people in this area so involved in it,” she said. “It made everyone feel good to know it was a little community and it is a beautiful church. We would clean it every Saturday in time for Mass on Sunday.”
Living across the street from St. Luke’s with her late husband Gilbert Sykora, Margaret Sykora had a bird’s eye view of the church’s construction and served as unoffi cial secretary/ courier for Father Redmond during that time. “I used to watch this church go up,” she said. “They didn’t have a phone here where the church was being built so Father Redmond would say, ‘There are going to be some messages.’ So I’d run back over here and give him the messages. I had a baby, too, so I had to have someone watch my baby.”
With her late husband Wenzel Humpal, who was part of group petitioning Bishop Treacy to establish St. Luke’s, Shirley Humpal said that the chicken coop and carpenter’s shop served as interim chapels because the new church’s main beam had been damaged en route. The mother of fi ve children, Humpal also served as a catechist and president and secretary of St. Luke’s Altar Society. “The great big timber that served as the main beam for the church was too damaged to use and so they had to get another and bring it on a train,” she said. “That’s when we had to go over to the little shed – the carpenter’s shop.”
Once the parish dining hall was built, Humpal added, the parish began having Mass on site with the help of chairs bought from an old movie theater in town. “We got those chairs in here and they didn’t have kneelers or anything,” she said. “We just sat and in the dining hall we had big tarps hanging down to keep the weather from coming in. Then the church was built and one, two, three it was like nothing.”
These founders were also unanimous in their hopes for St. Luke’s posterity – encouraging more of the young members of the parish to replenish its aging membership. “I hope they still have children – they have to have babies because we’re old now,” Sykora said. “There’s fresh blood here and there are people who come and they like to participate in everything,” Humpal added. “Everyone has a sense of duty and service; we’ve really gelled as a parish these past 50 years.”
Due to the July 4 holiday weekend, the Spring Valley Adoration Chapel will be closed July 2-3.
Seminarian Daniel Sedlacek has been assigned to our parishes for the Summer. He arrived on Wednesday June 24. Daniel is a native son of Holy Cross Parish in Cornell. Currently he is a Third Year Theologian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. This Fall he enters the final year of preparation for the Priesthood. God willing, he will be ordained a Priest for our Diocese of La Crosse in June 2016. He will be living with Father Louis in the Elmwood rectory and ministering in our parishes through the end of August. Daniel sent the following "biography" as an initial introduction. Please keep Daniel and all our seminarians in your prayers.
"Hello! My name is Daniel Sedlacek and I am a seminarian of the Diocese of La Crosse. I am currently finishing my third year of studying theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. I am 25 years old and ready to begin my 8th and final year of seminary. I plan on being ordained a transitional deacon on October 1st of this year in Rome, and a priest for the Diocese of La Crosse in June 2016.
I grew up on a dairy farm outside a small town, Cornell, on the northern edge of the Diocese of La Crosse, about 30 miles north and east of Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. I have eight siblings, five sisters and three brothers. I am the fourth oldest. My three older siblings are married have two children each. My parents are still farming, with the help of my four youngest siblings who are still at home. I was home schooled K-12 and so spent a lot of time growing up with my family, working with my dad and siblings on the farm and being educated by my mother and father. Growing up I enjoyed serving Mass at my parish, Holy Cross in Cornell. I also enjoy hunting, especially deer hunting (with both gun and bow), reading, playing the piano and organ, gardening, and pretty much any outdoor activity.
After I graduated from high-school in 2008, I entered seminary at St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. There I found great joy and peace, brotherhood and friendship among my fellow seminarians. In 2012, I earned bachelor degrees in Philosophy and in Catholic Studies.
I have been given a unique opportunity to pursue studies in Theology and continue my seminary training at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, which is located a mere 7 minute walk from St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican. Quite literally, Pope Francis lives in my neighborhood and the tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope and the leader of the Apostles, is just “down the hill.” It has been a blessing to study and prepare for the priesthood here.
I look forward to being at Sacred Heart and Saint Luke Parishes this summer! I am eager to learn as much as I can, both from Fr. Kevin Louis and from all of you, so that I may become a better priest and servant of God’s holy people. Please keep me in your prayers as I finish up this academic year and know of my prayers for you already. We will see you soon."
July 9, 2015, marks the 30th anniversary of then-Bishop John Paul assigning Brother Michael Mandernach, CSPX, to assist the Pastor, Father Becker, in meeting the pastoral needs of the faithful of Sacred Heart Parish, Spring Valley. His assignment also included assisting the Pastor, Father Brockman, in ministering to the Catholic community of Saint Luke Parish, Boyceville. After nine years serving Spring Valley and Boyceville parishes, the Bishop transferred Brother Michael to serve three parishes in the southwestern part of our Diocese of La Crosse. After more than a decade of ministry and then retirement, he was invited to return to Spring Valley to reside in the parish house and assist the Pastor, Father Varkey. In the Spring of 2011 Brother Michael approached the new Pastor, Father Louis, expressing his desire to be relieved of many of the pastoral and administrative duties he had borne so faithfully for years in Spring Valley. Without these burdens he was then free to complete the history of the diocesan religious community of which he is the last surviving member, the Brothers of Saint Pius X. Published in 2014, Brother Michael’s Together as Brothers beautifully captures the spirit and varied apostolates of the Brothers of Saint Pius X. With his love of Christ and his witness of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, Brother Michael has touched the lives of generations of people – Catholic and non-Catholic alike wherever he has served. Last year a person approached Father Louis suggesting that the Spring Valley parish rename its Catholic Catechetical Center in honor of Brother Michael as a public and permanent expression of gratitude to him and to the Brothers of Saint Pius X for their evangelical witness. Father Louis sought the counsel of the Spring Valley Finance Council and Pastoral Council who, of course, met the suggestion with great enthusiasm! The committee working on this project recently presented their final proposal which Father Louis happily accepted. Besides the new name on the facade of the building, the black and green shield of the Brothers of Saint Pius X with their Latin motto "Pax" ("Peace") and the Greek Chi Rho ("Christ") will also be included. In addition, within the Center there will be a permanent display depicting the history, life, and ministries of the Brothers of Saint Pius X. On May 26 Deacon Kevin Ray and Father Louis finally revealed to Brother Michael all this that has been in the works for the past year. Brother Michael was deeply moved at this gesture of our community. This summer, then, we will have the joy of dedicating the Brother Michael Catholic Center at a date yet to be determined. If you would like to make a donation to offset the cost of the signage and new landscaping around the Brother Michael Catholic Center, you may mail it to the Central Office or drop it in the Sunday collection. The check should be made out to Sacred Heart Parish and placed in an envelope clearly marked for the Brother Michael Catholic Center.
Congratulations to Levi Schmitt, son of Joe and Laurie Schmitt of Sacred Heart Parish in Elmwood. On May 23, 2015, Levi graduated from the University of Saint Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota, with a B.A. in Philosophy and Catholic Studies as well as a minor in Psychology. This marks his completion of college-level formation at Saint John Vianney Seminary on the campus of the University of Saint Thomas. Bishop Callahan has accepted Levi for the study of Theology and has assigned him to Saint Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee. This Summer Levi will be at our diocesan mission parish in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in order to learn Spanish. Pray for Levi and all the seminarians of our Diocese of La Crosse that they may discern well God's will and do it with joy!
By universal and diocesan Church law there are two bodies of consultation at the parish level, namely, the Pastoral Council and the Finance Council. The basic task of the Parish Pastoral Council, “is to serve, at institutional level, the orderly collaboration of the faithful in the development of pastoral activity which is proper to priests. The Pastoral Council is thus a consultative organ in which the faithful, expressing their baptismal responsibility, can assist the parish priest, who presides at the Council, by offering their advice on pastoral matters” (Congregation for the Clergy, Instruction on the Priest: Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community, 26). More concretely, the purpose of the Parish Pastoral Council is to investigate pastoral matters, to consider them thoroughly, and to propose practical conclusions about them. The Pastoral Council’s task is, first of all, to study those matters brought to its attention and shed light on them. Its second task is to reflect on them thoroughly, to discern their true nature, to evaluate and to ponder them. Its final task is to draw sound conclusions. The Pastoral Council presents these conclusions to the Pastor in the form of recommendations.
According to the norms for Parish Pastoral Councils in our Diocese of La Crosse (On Consultation in the Parish and Deanery, 19-20), two-thirds of the members are elected by parishioners and one-third are appointed by the Pastor. Members serve a two-year term that can be renewed twice.
Thank you to those who accepted nomination for the openings on our respective Pastoral Councils. This past Sunday the following were newly-elected for a two-year term: Spring Valley: Jim Huebel and Mary Lansing; Elmwood: Sara Asher and Craig Feuker; Boyceville: Lori Boesl and Ben Mrdutt. Father Louis also appointed the following for a two-year term: Dave Boisen for Spring Valley, Ben Blegen for Elmwood, and Betty Jean Smith for Boyceville.
The following councilors’ terms continue through 2016: Spring Valley: Mary Anderson, Teresa Fogarty, and Joelle Miller; Elmwood: Derek Auth, Greg Fesenmaier, and Mary Ann Jensen; Boyceville: Pat Flynn, Joyce Hill, Joe Pieters.