The “Fortnight for Freedom” has begun. This is a fourteen day period of prayer and action in support of religious freedom. Many Knights of Columbus and others were down town on Friday, June 21, as Bishop William Callahan led us and others in support of the principles that we share. Thanks to you who were there. Special thanks to the Honor Guard from our Council and the Bishop Schwebach Assembly 1195. “Fortnight for Freedom” continues until July 4.
As I write this on June 23, I’m looking forward to the Clergy Appreciation banquet on June 27. The Bishop of the La Crosse Diocese will be present and express his thoughts to us and to the clergy of the La Crosse deanery. Some Deacons and their wives will be present and they have become very important as the priest shortage continues. The hope of our Council is that this social and dinner will be a symbol of how we do appreciate the clergy. Our district deputy, Bruce Jerue, will speak on behalf of the Knights of Columbus.
Thanks to Norm Suhr for once again getting us involved in Riverfest. Members of our Council will work five nights selling tickets at Riverfest. The money that we earn will help to support some of our many charities. Thanks to Terry Stika who led a group of us today as we helped about 30 retired Sisters at Villa St. Joseph. They always look forward to the annual bingo party. Terry has done this every year for 21 years. His wife Sue and the the Ladies of Columbus support this afternoon of enjoyment. Please call me if you want to be involved in future activities. My number is 793-1972.
In charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism....
Denis Kuennen, Grand Knight.
Alan Guanella, a member of our Assembly, invites us all to his ordination and First Mass in June 2013. He writes on 4-25-13: “I wanted to Email you both to more-or-less formally invite you and all the 3rd and 4th degree members of the Knight from Council 839 and Assembly 1195 to my ordination to the priesthood on June 22, 2013 to the Cathedral in LaCrosse. I would be honored if there were a good number of knights and their families present at the Ordination Mass. I hope there can also be a good turnout of the 4th Degree Honor Guard at the Mass. I would like that.
Also, I hope that many Knights and families can be present at my First Mass the following day, Sunday, June 23, 2013 at St. James the Less in La Crosse. The Mass will be at 3:00pm with a reception dinner following. I am hoping as well that there can be a good turnout for an Honor Guard at that Mass. Please invite all the 3rd and 4th Degree Knights on my behalf to both of the Masses.
Vivat Jesus, Deacon Alan Guanella
June is a special month for Christian men with the celebration of Father’s Day. Several prayers in the liturgy address God as the one “from whom all fatherhood takes its name.” What a message that gives to Christian fathers and what an awesome responsibility that entails! You must be an image of God the Father to your spouse, and to your children and grandchildren. You are to reflect to them the steadfast love and mercy of God, as well as be a source of strength and support for them. Be men of virtue, which means “manliness”; and be holy, for God is holy. (Cf. Leviticus 19:2)
On Saturday, June 22, our diocese will receive one new “Father” with the ordination to the priesthood of Deacon Alan Guanella, a member of the Bishop Schwebach Assembly. Pray for him as he prepares to assume this ministry on behalf of the people of God in our diocese, and pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood.
Given the threat to religious liberty resulting from continued government interference in the internal workings of religious institutions, the United States bishops are calling for the observance of a second “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, to be observed throughout the country from June 21 through July 4. It begins on the evening before the memorial of Saints Thomas More and John Fischer, martyrs for the right of conscience over government coercion, and concludes on Independence Day, when the Declaration of Independence was signed on the basis of liberty for all. For more information as plans develop, go to our diocesan web site: www. dioceseoflacrosse.com. Certainly all of us will want to participate in prayer and local observances in support of the principles on which we stand both as a nation and as a church.
May God bless you and your families.
Monsignor Michael J. Gorman, Chaplain
We have recently received the gaudium magnum (“great joy”) of the election of Pope Francis. He has taken the name of il poverello (“the little poor man”) Saint Francis of Assisi. His Mass of Installation was celebrated on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, March 19. Let me share with you a few paragraphs from his homily during that Mass, in which he speaks of Saint Joseph as the protector of Jesus and Mary, and the protector of the Universal Church, and challenges us to emulate Saint Joseph in this role.
“How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelveyear- old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
“… Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly; but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
“The vocation of being a “protector,” however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children; and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!” Now we owe Pope Francis our prayers and support as he takes up the important ministry which has been entrusted to him.
Now we owe Pope Francis our prayers and support as he takes up the important ministry.
May God bless you and your families.
-- Fr. Michael Gorman, Chaplain
This month the Church will receive a surprise gift: a new pope. In a humble, courageous and unexpected move, Pope Benedict XVI has resigned from the Petrine office as Bishop of Rome, aware of his inability to carry out that ministry adequately due to advancing age. The eyes and prayers of the world now turn to the stovepipe of the Sistine Chapel and the Cardinal Electors as we await the news of Pope Benedict’s successor. I have no doubt that the one elected will be the right man for our time.
Well into the season of Lent, we are reminded of the ongoing need all of us have for conversion. Prayer, penance and almsgiving are the three traditional elements of Lenten observance. Prayer brings us closer to God; penance strengthens our will against temptation and sin; almsgiving opens us up to loving and serving our neighbor. As Saint Paul teaches, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6) The graces we receive from our Lenten observance not only benefit us as individuals, but enrich the whole Church.
March also brings us the feast of Saint Patrick on March 17 (though not observed liturgically on the Fifth Sunday of Lent) and the Solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19. Saint Patrick’s ministry was focused on conversion: the conversion of pagans to Christianity and the ongoing conversion of sinners through penance. Saint Joseph is honored on March 19 with the titles of “Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and “Patron of the Universal Church.” Both of these saints exemplify the wholehearted dedication to doing God’s will that ought to be characteristic of any Knight, whatever our vocation may be.
Finally, March brings us the beginning of spring. Having been swaddled in snow through what now feels like a long, hard winter, the earth will soon emerge clothed in the greenery of new life. Green is the liturgical color of hope. It reminds us that God always has something new for us and that his grace always renews us.
I look forward to seeing you at the Founder’s Day Dinner on March 23. May God bless you and your families.
-- Msgr. Michael Gorman, Chaplain
When I was in grade school, I saw a peculiar sight. A tall six-footer rode his bicycle to the nun’s convent for piano lessons. We kids knew that he was from the public school. It was more of a surprise when I got to the public high school and that same tall kid had bulked up and was named first team all-conference in Northeast Iowa. That teenager had two abilities that we would all like to have—musical and athletic. It seems that in our culture, athletic talent has come to be the one that everyone wants. At least that is for which we pay the most. Did you read that the Badger football coach signed a contract for ten million? Of course, that is for five years. And he replaces a coach who will get almost double that figure in his new position. But what about music and the other fine arts? Aren’t they important?
The Weber Center for the Performing Arts opened last weekend. Here is our chance to stand up and support the fine arts. I enjoyed visiting with Brother Knights at the Grand Opening and I look forward to attending future events. On May 11, we have reserved an opportunity to serve as volunteers to work in the beautiful Weber Center as guests arrive. We need a dozen or so Knights in shirt and tie beginning at 6:15 PM on May 11. I have a few couples who plan to join us but I need more. Please call me at 793-1972 if you are interested in free tickets. Social at Terry and Sue Stika’s will follow “Les Miserables” on that evening.
Serving the Weber Center will give our Council 839 visibility and good P.R. Another way to get good public relations is to get involved in Habitat for Humanity. This program is Christian and non-profit and seeks to eliminate poverty and homelessness one family at a time. The organization assists in providing affordable homes to needy families. Nationwide in the last three years, the Knights and their families have contributed about 4.3 million hours and $2.5 million to Habitat projects. Habitat for Humanity is one of the eight featured programs of the Knights of Columbus. You can get more info at www. habitat.org or stop in at the local store at Cass and South Third street.
Next meeting: Monday, February 11, 7 p.m., Cathedral Undercroft
Yours in a Happy New Year and in Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism,
Happy New Year! The year begins with the 46th annual World Day of Prayer for Peace. The theme of this year’s World Day of Prayer for Peace is, “Blessed Are the Peacemakers.” Pope Benedict XVI He begins his message with these words: “Each new year brings the expectation of a better world. In light of this, I ask God, the Father of humanity, to grant us concord and peace, so that the aspirations of all for a happy and prosperous life may be achieved.” In his message our Holy Father teaches that peace is both a gift from God and the fruit of human effort. “Peace concerns the human person as a whole, and it involves complete commitment. It is peace with God through a life lived according to his will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbors and all creation.” He says: “The attainment of peace depends above all on recognizing that we are, in God, one human family.” He states this fundamental principal: “The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.” The role of Christian families is indispensible: “The Christian family in particular serves as a seedbed for personal maturation according to the standards of divine love. The family is one of the indispensable social subjects for the achievement of a culture of peace. The rights of parents and their primary role in the education of their children in the area of morality and religion must be safeguarded. It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured.” The entire message can be found at the Vatican web site, www.vatican.va.
Brother Knights, continue to carry the torch in defense of the unborn and of all whose human dignity is threatened in any way! We must also continue to defend the nature of marriage as God has ordained it, and the right of people of conscience to act according to their religious and moral convictions. Tuesday, January 22, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the deception that the “right to privacy” is greater than the “right to life.” The March for Life will be held in Washington, DC, this year on Friday, January 25. This is one area where the young people of our diocese of high school and college age have demonstrated their enthusiasm and idealism. Let us pray for and support those who will participate in this year’s March for Life.
May God bless you and your families
This month the season of Advent and a new liturgical year begin. While God is timeless, we live in time. At every moment the story of human history is being written. The season of Advent is very much about the intermingling of the eternal and the temporal. God is both the author and goal of human history.
In December we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8) and the birth of our Savior (December 25). The Sunday after Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family. These feasts all have special significance for us as Knights. They challenge us to cherish the family and the life of the unborn. They remind us that God has known us from all eternity–that we are known by him even before we are born. Recall the words God spoke to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” (1:5) Modern science tells us now that the child in the womb can even respond to music and to the voices of his or her parents. The unborn child yawns and unborn twins interact with each other. Continue to promote the pro-life cause in all its elements, defending the dignity of all human beings, born and unborn. At the same time remember to “Keep Christ in Christmas” and to pray for the return of lapsed Catholics.
May God bless you and your families during these special holidays and always.
-- Fr. Michael Gorman, Chaplain