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Marv Elsen is anointed while Linda, Tom, and Diane Elsen await their moment.

“Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”

At all Masses this weekend, after the homily, Father Konopa offered the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. At the 4:00 Mass, he was assisted by our former pastor Msgr. David Kunz, who concelebrated.

A few years ago, our practice was to offer anointing separate from the Mass. Those seeking to be anointed would make their way over to the school gym after Mass. It is better that we now offer anointing during Mass, in the pews. It’s less work for people who seek healing, and they are surrounded by the love and prayer of their brothers and sisters in Christ. There are moments of sweet tenderness as people we’ve known and loved for years reach out their hands for the blessing.


“Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the elders of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” –James 5:14-15

Come Away Awhile

This evening we wrapped up the 2019 edition of our Spiritual Renewal Days. Three Franciscans have been our guests.

DSC_0005 - CopyOn Monday evening, Fr. Larry Janowski spoke of taking Lent as an opportunity to slow down, be still, and be silent so we can hear the voice of Jesus.

On Tuesday, DSC_0001 - CopySr. Marlene Weisenbeck told the story of St. Rose of Viterbo, the patron saint of our sisters who are deeply rooted in La Crosse. The story involved pungent, fresh-cut sprigs of mint. There were parallels to the life of St. Clare of Assisi. Despite the rain, a lot of us were there. The evening was lovely and meaningful.

DSC_0007 - CopyAnd on this concluding Wednesday evening, Fr. Conrad Targonski told in a dramatic way the story of St. Francis’ bold separation from his former, privileged life, and commitment to serving God’s will.

We thank the ensemble and hand-bell choirs that have made these evenings beautiful and prayerful.

This is only the first full week of Lent! Much is in store. Next Monday “Praise and Graze” returns. We will pray the Stations of the Cross most Wednesday afternoons. And on April 5, our new parish hall is the setting for a Catholic Lenten tradition, the Friday fish fry. Such an active parish family!

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.