Joy of Family

DSC_0023 - CopyWhen you can clap at your own baptism, you’re doing it right. Congratulations to Stellan Kai, child of Larry and Kathleen Wopat, and to all the family. Stellan was born over a year ago in circumstances that were scary, but this weekend, the family gathered as we completed welcoming Stellan into our faith. Stellan perked up when Fr. Konopa said his name, and then Father had a little fun about eye contact.

Hadassa1We’ve had a lot of memorable moments of joy around our children. I think back to the exuberant, irrepressible joy of Hadassa, daughter of Erin and Steve Klar, as she stepped up to the font, exuberant, ready, excited. Here she has a moment with Fr. Konopa.

EliciaAnd then I’m reminded of the joy of Elicia as she was baptized by Fr. Robertson. She danced with unrestrained happiness.

White DressesWhether it’s the celebration of Baptism, the anticipation of first Holy Communion, weddings, funerals, or other passages, we are at our best when we are present for the important moments, and the daily struggles, in each other’s lives. We are a parish family.



Yesterday, workers built the ramp (left side of the photo) that will, for the first time, give access to our sanctuary to people who don’t do stairs. Imagine the possibilities! Grandparents more included in wedding, first communion, and other celebrations and photos. Our liturgical ministries made more inclusive. In this and so many other ways, our parish hall reflects our values.26 Ramp


Goodness, what a week it has been for MMOC.

McGarty - CopyThis weekend we welcome Msgr. Bernard McGarty, who gives a guest homily that both remembers the original St. Mary’s parish in La Crosse, and also reviews the Catholic experience in a broad way. You have to be impressed by the breadth of intellect, and the strong voice of a lion in winter.

So this weekend we look back. But most of the week was about pushing forward, hard, into our future. So, juxtaposition.

RoeslerAround our new parish hall, from all around our campus, we put together 1800 Chicken Que meals. Every one of those meals was grilled, baked, roasted, shredded, assembled, served, many delivered, and cleaned-after with love, joy, and a lot of laughter. To work the Chicken Que truly is to know that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. It is fun to be around people who are excited about serving.

DSC_0039 - CopyOur parish hall is galloping ahead. This week we mostly wrapped up the core masonry phase, and attention shifted to steel, roof and walls, which seemed to come together at tremendous speed. I hope you can see from this picture that the west entrance will be very grand, and the kitchen windows large.

A great thing is happening in our midst. Let us be grateful, and purposeful.

KonopaToday our parish family had a really great day despite some challenges. One of which was adjusting to a new traffic pattern.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0018.JPGTurnout among our volunteers was beyond our hopes, the weather was in our favor (hot but with a nice breeze), and word seemed to have got out, once again, that MMOC does chicken que right. We sold out around noon despite stepping up 200 dinners over last May (1600 to 1800). There was talk, can we handle 2000 dinners next May?

GrillingEverywhere there were parish friends enjoying, joking, laughing with each other. Linda Gillette and Jennifer Friedman are celebrating birthdays today, and there was a lot of laughter and kidding around that felt very warm and family.

So it was a good day. A lot of energy, and joy, and work, and hope.

Robb Pretasky talked with energy about making parish breakfasts in the new hall. We are a people who can hardly wait to have a space to embrace each other and educate each other’s children.

So my question is: If our members are willing to work so hard around our new hall, what will they strive to do inside it?


Action at The Pedey

DSC_0001 - CopyEach year at the end of August, our Men’s Club hosts a softball tournament at the Shelby Youth Ball fields. This year’s Pedey drew 16 teams from around the Coulee Region.

DSC_0015 - CopyThe weather has been mostly cooperative, with some sprinkles on Saturday and clear skies on Sunday. Fred Monk, treasurer vitae of the Men’s Club, said attendance and concession sales have been very strong.

DSC_0029 - CopyIt’s a classic play for our Men’s Club to bring people together socially at a fun, family-friendly event, all while raising funds for our parish. It will be a great day when our guys can get back into hosting parish breakfasts in our new hall.

Saint PedeyFor a few years now, the tournament has been properly known as the Mike Pederson Memorial. As Pedey would say, it’s for da church. Let perpetual light shine upon him.

In the end, it was Charlie Smader‘s team, Charlie’s Angels, who triumphed. For the record, says Fred, this was the 26th MMOC tournament, and Charlie’s team has been with us from the first.

DSC_0273 - CopyJesse Servais and Allyson Hennessy were married at MMOC on Saturday afternoon. They kindly gave permission for this photographer to capture a few images for the parish website and other communications. Congratulations, warmest wishes and much thanks to Jesse and Allyson!

Over the past week, our primary contractor poured the concrete main floor of our parish hall. Masonry crews also made a lot of progress on setting concrete block walls. There has also been work inside the church to create a fire barrier between the two buildings. Without this barrier, code would require a sprinkler system in the church.

Our first photo is taken on the main floor at the northeast corner of the hall, looking west. The doorway you see at right is where people will pass between the hall and the church.


Our other construction photo is taken from the from the opposite corner of the hall, the southwest, looking north and east. You can see the west entrance taking shape.


DCIM100MEDIADJI_0018.JPGOur fall Chicken Que is coming up on September 14. Just this once, our “Que Crew” will have to work around the construction zone (see photo). We hope to be able to employ our new hall and kitchen for the next Chicken Que in May 2018!

Please sign up for the Chicken Que in the gathering space, and please continue to pray for the safety of our workers.

Good weather and crew made for dramatic progress on our parish hall this week! The pictures here were taken by the time-lapse camera on the east end of the church, looking west. Click on any of the pictures to see it full size.

1 Monday MorningOn Monday morning, the walls of the lower level were complete, but standing separate from and not connected to the church.

2 Wednesday afternoon steelOn Tuesday, crews began to erect the first structural steel beams and posts. By early Wednesday afternoon, all the beams that will support the main floor of the hall were in place.

3 Wednesday afternoon pouring footingsAnother project this week was some foundation work on the north side of the hall (on the right side of these pictures). Late Wednesday concrete footings were poured, and on Thursday crews began to work on erecting walls.

4 Friday afternoonBy Friday afternoon, most of the lower level was put in shadow by corrugated steel deck plates. It is on top of these plates that the concrete main floor will be poured. The east wall of the lower level is fully complete, and the “fire wall” next to the church appears to be up to the main floor.

Please continue to pray for favorable weather and the safety of all workers as we Build Our Future Together.