One of the signs of MMOC’s presence in our community is that more days than not, there’s an MMOC connection somewhere in the pages of the La Crosse Tribune. We’ve covered this many times in this blog. Two recent examples:

larson_jonahJonah, son of Jennifer and Chris Larson, was recently profiled in the Tribune for his expertise and international popularity in the art of crochet. What an amazing talent and generous spirit! Congratulations, Jonah!

lansing_caelenCaelen, daughter of Kim and Paul Lansing, was also profiled in the Tribune for her achievements in gymnastics, which seem likely to take her places.

We’re so grateful that the Lansings have shared their musical talents with our parish family for years, and it has been a joy to watch Lauren and Caelen grow up. So we close this post with a look back to Caelen’s performance at the Christmas vigil Mass in 2011.


Extraordinary Time

elsieThis weekend we witnessed the Baptism of Elsie Rose, child of Chris and Kori Bentzen. May Elsie remember splashing playfully in the water of her own Baptism. What a fitting way to celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

ordinary timeThis weekend we also wrapped up the season of Christmas, and the decorations came down. Tomorrow we enter into Ordinary Time. Our worship will be wearing green for a few weeks, until Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6. Until then, it’s Ordinary Time.

Yet new semesters are about to begin for our children. Days are growing longer. This time of year, let green be a color of hope and anticipation for Spring.

Touch the Water

DSC_0020 - CopyThis afternoon at the 4:00 Mass, we had a splash-fest. Thomas Xavier, son of Michael and Keri, was a very active participant in his own Baptism. He cried and squirmed in his grandma’s arms at the edge of the font until Fr. Konopa said to her:  It’s okay to let him touch the water. We should all strain to reach and connect with the water of our Baptism and the faith affirmed this day.

The Mass was very fully attended and there were a lot of sounds coming from young families. All good, affirming signs. Something is happening here. Families are responding. Let us pray:

Lord, inspire our parish family to welcome and include all. Help us to be a people of welcome and friendship and loving service. Inspire us to feed the hungry, welcome the newcomer, and help all people who are distressed. Inspire us to shelter everyone. May the Spirit connect the warmth of the Baptismal font to the warmth of our service.

Treasuring Family

Bill_and_MarilynThis afternoon at 4:00 Mass, we gathered with the Jaekel clan to bless and celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Bill and Marilyn Jaekel. Their clan at MMOC includes Dan and Kathy Skiles, Alicia Skiles and John Richards, and Sam Jaekel. All these and more family were at Mass this afternoon, then headed into the parish hall for a celebration.

dscf5774aThough today was grey and rainy, it reminded me of a sunny Sunday morning and this photo of the Jaekel tribe. This family is an incredible, multi-generational presence and witness in our parish. It is a joy to see their love and support for each other and all the service that they do. We are blessed by their friendship.

Remembrance_PhotosAlso at Mass this afternoon was the display of photos of people who have moved on in the last 12 months. We will remember them, celebrate their lives, and commend them to the Lord at a service of remembrance at 6:30 on Monday evening. Let us treasure and embrace those we love while they are with us. And may perpetual light shine upon all of our loved ones who have gone before us.

Beginning to Serve

This morning Fr. Konopa and Dn. Sage held a training session for new Altar Servers. Thanks to Heather Harpenau we have the sweet photo below. Two thoughts come up:

  • In these times, thank the Lord there are families who trust in the integrity they’ve seen and are willing to bring their children into serving.
  • When I was a server, I felt awe. To be so close to the altar, the sacrament, to touch the vessels, it changed the Mass from a spectator to a contact sport.

We are commanded to serve each other with love. God bless these children as they begin.


Parish Prayer

At the recent dedication of our Religious Education Center, we got to pray the latest edition of our Parish Prayer (below).

The Parish Prayer is one of the dear things about life at MMOC. A living thing, it evolves as we progress in our life as a parish family.


Abundantly Blessed

BusWednesday afternoon was literally an event on two levels:

  • For children in our K-5 Religious Education program, this was their first day of class and first time in their new classrooms with their new teachers. For some, this was their first bus ride from day school to MMOC. Things are safer now that the buses can pull up right outside the west entrance. Everyone should use the Horton Street entrance, not Weston.
  • For our parish family this was a time to celebrate that we once again can educate our children on our own campus. After scripture, song, and prayer, there was a lovely buffet and time to chat with friends. We are abundantly blessed.


EnteringAfter a closing prayer and blessing, the children and teachers headed downstairs to their classrooms, where snacks awaited them. There was a little time to begin to begin the work of learning our faith.

AbundantlyFr. Konopa came to each room to bless the children and the space with a sprinkling of holy water. He was very generous. The children were abundantly blessed.

BackpacksSo now we have officially opened our Religious Education Center. We now connect faith with learning and works, literally, because the spaces where we worship, teach, and serve are connected. We are blessed to enjoy all this in part because the generosity of Pat MaCabe moved our timescale ahead by a year or two. May perpetual light shine upon her.