BOFT Story

Thanks to Linda Schwartz, we now have the story of our parish family’s journey through Building Our Future Together. A project in two parts, there is a printed booklet and also an appendix. Thank you, Linda!

Men’s Club

Thanks to Andy Foley for this photo of the Men’s Club, taken at a social on 11 January 2023.

Cookie Walk 2022

Thanks to Julie Marthaler for these photos, and thanks to everyone who baked and crafted to make this year’s PCCW Cookie Walk a big success!

Life Chain 2022

Kerry and Sue Groetsch

We thank our corner captains Sue and Kerry Groetsch for leading MMOC’s participation in the Life Chain today. Thanks also to everyone who turned out in prayerful witness.

On August 23, a cupcake fundraiser at MMOC benefitted our members Jeffrey and Leigha Saxton. Their 4 year old son, Parker was recently involved in a serious accident which left him with severe injuries to his lower extremities. The cupcakes were donated by local business Cupcake Artistry. Supporters purchased 1,632 cupcakes in 20 minutes! Tiffany from “Cupcake Artistry” presented a check for $4,600 to the Saxton family.

MMOC made a contribution of $1,475 from Works of Charity to the Saxton family for a mortgage payment.

Then the Aquinas football team showed up on a bus to see Parker and emptied their pockets before departing. A final total of $7,090 was raised from the sale of cupcakes and donations received. Then came this from the Saxton family:

“To all our fellow parishioners, Thank you so much for your financial contribution! It has allowed us more time to heal as a family and helped pay other expenses for our trips to Madison for Parker’s recovery from a tractor accident. We appreciate the support and promotion of the cupcake fundraiser, too. Thank you for all your support, kind words, and prayers! –The Saxton Family”

The weather today was perfect for the Mike Pederson Memorial golf scramble at Forest Hills: Full sun, light breezes, and very pleasant temps, quite a contrast to the wind and rain of last year. Dozens of foursomes turned out for what promised to be a lovely afternoon of golf and good company.

Congratulations to Cory Vegel and his teammates Chris Novak, Eric Cummings, and Michael Balduzzi, who placed third.

From an FSPA news release dated 1 August 2022:

At MMOC, Sr. Sue serves at the altar and as a Lector.

The 82-member FSPA General Assembly completed three days of meetings, July 29 to 31, 2022, and elected leaders to serve from 2022 to 2026.

Sister Sue Ernster was elected president. Sister Sue currently ministers as FSPA Vice President. As president Sister Sue is the official representative of the congregation. She takes office Nov. 1 with the newly elected leadership team.

Sister Georgia Christensen was chosen as vice president. Sister Georgia is currently serving as FSPA Congregational Secretary. As vice president Sister Georgia will assist the president in governing and assumes the duties of the president in the event of the president’s absence.

Three members were elected as mission councilors, which, with the president and vice-president, constitute the FSPA leadership team. The newly-elected mission councilors are Sister Marie DesJarlais, Sister Julie Tydrich and Sister Marcia Baumert. The new team will take office Nov. 1, 2022.

From left, Sisters Marie DesJarlais, Julie Tydrich, Sue Ernster, Georgia Christensen and Marcia Baumert

Today in our parish we celebrate the blessed virgin Mary, who is our parish patron saint in her role as Mary, Mother of the Church. We had Mass at 5:30 pm followed by a potluck dinner. After Communion, Father Konopa announced this year’s Woman and Man of the Year.

Congratulations to Marie Miller as Woman of the Year. She was chosen for longtime service and tremendous generosity to the parish.

Mark Outzen was named for the many ways he serves as a Lector, a Minister of Holy Communion, and more. Perhaps most conspicuously, Mark, a registered nurse, leapt into action on January 8 when our brother Tom Schaefer experienced cardiac arrest during Mass. (The La Crosse Tribune story is here.) Congratulations, Mark!

Also pictured here is our Deacon Terry Bell. Our deacon was invited to tell the story of his faith journey, which was fascinating and insightful. Thank you!

Heart of Healthcare: Mayo’s Ben Kruse exudes knowledge, compassion
Story by Emily Pyrek
Photo by Peter Thomson
Copyright 2022 by La Crosse Tribune

Blog note: Ben is the son of Barb and Joe Kruse. Ben and Nichole are the parents of three.

Ben Kruse had a number of jobs before pursuing nursing, and when he joined the staff at Mayo Clinic Health System, his vast experiences and knowledge proved invaluable in the hospital setting.

Kruse graduated with a degree in Spanish, working as an interpreter before taking a job at nonprofit Place of Grace and assisting with a mission trip. Reading a book about medical service in Haiti inspired him to take his passion for service work into the healthcare field, and after becoming a CNA Kruse worked in a nursing home. He later furthered his education to be a registered nurse and joined Mayo eight years ago.

Each of his careers has had an impact on his role at Mayo, where he exudes compassion and has the ability to communicate with patients for whom Spanish is their first language.

“We cared for a patient together who did not speak English,” says Kruse’s colleague, respiratory therapist Sarah Burnham, who nominated him for a Heart of Healthcare award. “Ben communicated with the patient effortlessly, and Ben helped me understand so that I could also be part of the conversation. He helped the patient feel comfortable by getting items printed in their language and made the patient’s experience at Mayo outstanding.”

While Mayo has interpreters onsite, having Kruse able to speak with the patient at the moment allowed him to learn about the symptoms the patient was experiencing and provide the necessary care faster.

“I have worked with Ben for several years, and have seen him go above and beyond every day to not only treat, but really care for his patients,” Burnham said in her nomination letter. “He really is the ultimate nurse because of his calming and friendly personality to his patients and other staff members he encounters day to day. I see that he has a joy in doing his work, and the expertise and knowledge he provides to his patients is exceptional.”

From the beginning, Kruse was eager to enhance his abilities by asking questions, being a team player and picking up extra shifts. While working in the ICU, Kruse enjoyed building an “amazing skill set” in the challenging role of keeping track of multiple measurements and needs at once, while always being alert to even subtle patients. Today, he takes the mentor role himself.

When COVID hit, Kruse already had experience with ventilators and other equipment needed to care for those with severe cases of the virus. But entirely new was the halt of visitation, and the difficulty of communicating with families who couldn’t be there for a face to face discussion. At times there was no one to talk to on behalf of a patient, and staff had to make the decisions for them. Adding to the stress was an influx of ICU patients — at one point half of those patients were there for the coronavirus.

“It was exhausting because it was new. It was a different disease progress. It was hard to tell when the patients were improving or not improving,” Kruse said. “You could put in so much effort and really not know if we were making a difference or not.”

During the height of the pandemic, Burnham says, Kruse provided “strength and support to his co-workers. He has jumped in to assist with medical emergencies.”

Kruse, who is currently enrolled in a nursing anesthesia program and working only a limited number of shifts, calls his Heart of Healthcare nomination, “A little surreal. I recognize that nurses everywhere give so much effort and step up to the plate. And we rely so much on other staff members, who contribute really key pieces to patient care.

“It’s hard for me to say that there is any one nurse who is deserving — you work as a team,” Kruse continued. “There is no way you do nursing on your own. To have a good outcome you need everyone’s input. I’ve been lucky enough to work with great people. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to do nursing.”

To Burnham, Kruse is no doubt worthy of the award.

“Ben is very deserving of this recognition,” Burnham said. “He is selfless, kind, and a good nurse and friend to all.”

This evening, 15 young ladies and gentlemen of MMOC received the sacrament of Confirmation at the cathedral. We congratulate you and your parents and families! We are proud of you! We welcome you into an ever more full participation in the life of our parish family. We pray you will find your calling as young leaders in the wide variety of our lay ministries. Take time to celebrate, then let’s talk about what your role might be. All the ways of serving at Mass are open to you now! Let’s talk about what role would be a good fit for you.