Fifth Sunday of Lent

It was with a degree of sadness that I announced last weekend that Bishop Callahan has asked me again to assume the office of Moderator of the Curia, and that I will be leaving the Cathedral around July 1. I have certainly enjoyed my nearly eight years as rector. It has also given me valuable pastoral experience with which I will return to the office I left almost ten years ago. However if this is what the bishop wants, then this is what I should do. Once, in my earlier days in the curia, when then-Father Raymond Burke was Moderator of the Curia, I remarked that I had always imagined myself as a parish priest, where I would be doing “more priestly work.” He replied, “The work you are doing is priestly work.” I realized then and there that he was right and then I was satisfied to be working in the curia. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 St. Paul lists administration as one of the ministries God has given to the Church, so I am happy to do that. I know it was not easy for Bishop Callahan to ask me to leave the Cathedral, but this is where he believes he needs me more now.

Holy Week begins next weekend with the celebration of Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. Palms will be blessed and distributed at all the Masses next weekend. The 10:30 Mass will begin in the Gathering Area with the blessing of palms and procession. Plan also to participate in the solemn liturgies of the Easter Triduum, which commemorate the events from the Last Supper through the resurrection. A schedule for Holy Week is enclosed in this week’s bulletin. On Easter Sunday a chamber orchestra will perform three movements from Bach’s “Easter Oratorio” as a prelude to the Mass, beginning about 10:15. Those interested in hearing this should plan to come early for the Mass, which begins at 10:30. Bishop William Callahan will be the celebrant for the principal liturgies of Holy Week and Easter.

On Monday, April 18, priests from the deanery will be here to hear confessions continuously from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Hundreds of people from our area take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance in preparation for a worthy celebration of Easter. Plan to be among them, if you have not yet made your Lenten confession.

Pray the Rosary this week for all who are preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easter, and for the young people of our parish preparing for their First Holy Communion or Confirmation. Pray for people experiencing turmoil in their lives, for whatever reason. Pray for all who are struggling with illness and for the people who care for them. Pray for peace in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.

May God bless his people with peace.
Father Gorman

Announcement

4-3-2011-3-34-58-PM-101596611LA CROSSE, April 2, 2011 - The Most Reverend William P. Callahan, Bishop of La Crosse, announced today the appointment of Father Michael J. Gorman as the moderator of the curia for the Diocese of La Crosse effective July 1. He steps into the position previously held by Monsignor Richard Gilles who left the office last fall when he was appointed pastor of St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) Parish in Tomah.

The moderator of the curia is a position designed to assist the bishop with the direction and supervision of the functions of the diocesan curia (staff). Father Gorman will serve as a consultant to Bishop Callahan on matters of canon law and the function of the various offices of the curia. He will serve on many councils and committees in the diocese.

Born in Richland Center, Wis., he graduated from Richland Center High School and attended St. Francis de Sales College, Milwaukee, where he received a BA in Theology. After attending St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where he received a Master of Divinity degree, he was ordained on May 17, 1980 by Bishop Frederick W. Freking.

Following his ordination Father Gorman served as an associate pastor at St. John the Baptist in Marshfield and Blessed Sacrament Parish in La Crosse. In 1984 he was sent to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned his licentiate in canon law. Assignments since then have included bishop's secretary and master of ceremonies, diocesan chancellor, director of Catholic Cemeteries, moderator of the curia, acting director of the Office of Sacred Worship, parochial administrator of St. Leo Parish in West Salem and St. Mary Parish in Bangor, diocesan judge and defender of the bond, pastor of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Viroqua and his current position as the rector of St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral, La Crosse. He also serves as a Latin instructor at Aquinas High School in La Crosse.

He has also served on the College of Consultors and Presbyteral Council, and currently serves on the St. Joseph's Priest Fund Board of Directors and as dean of the La Crosse Deanery.

The Catholic Times

Laetare Sunday

We are now over half way through the season of Lent and into the second quarter of the year. We had some beautiful spring days this past week, although some of those anticipated April showers may turn out to be snow showers. Nevertheless sunshine and warmer weather seem to be putting people into a better mood.

The news out of Japan about radiation contamination is disturbing. This compounds the devastation and suffering of the people there. Catholic Relief Services offers us an opportunity to give direct assistance to Japan and other hard-hit places worldwide. Continue to support their work by prayer, Operation Rice Bowl and other donations. A link to donate directly to Catholic Relief Services can be found on our diocesan web site.

This week, during the 10:30 Mass, we celebrate the second of the three Scrutinies with our one catechumen, Nicholas Gutierrez. This past Wednesday we celebrated the rite of the “Presentation of the Creed,” during which the participants in our RCIA program recited the Apostles’ Creed while Nick listened, having been exhorted to “listen carefully to the words of that faith by which you will be justified. The words are few, but the mysteries they contain are great. Receive them with a sincere heart and be faithful to them.” This is what tradition is: handing on the faith. For Nick, like the townspeople in last Sunday’s gospel, he can no longer rely on the testimony of others; he must believe for himself. For us, we need to take the profession of our faith seriously, contemplate the great mysteries it contains and live in such a way as to set an example for others.

Pray the Rosary this week for all who are preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easter, and for the young people of our parish preparing for their First Holy Communion or Confirmation. Pray for people experiencing turmoil in their lives, for whatever reason. Pray for all who are struggling with illness and for the people who care for them. Pray for peace in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.

May God bless his people with peace.
Father Gorman

Third Sunday of Lent

Thanks to Clare Ruff for organizing the Saint Joseph’s Table last Sunday and to all who brought breads and pastries for the Table. Many people commented how nice it was. Thanks also to all who signed up for the traveling statue of Saint Joseph. It is good to have it making the rounds in our homes again. Saint Joseph, pray for us!

It seems that both “Old Man Winter” and “Old Man River” are teaming up to complicate our lives here in the seven-rivers region. Even so, the suffering of the people in Japan is far greater. In the face of that disaster the needs of the people in New Zealand and Chile–not to mention Haiti–have all but been forgotten. Nevertheless Catholic Relief Services remains present and active in all these places. Continue to support their work by prayer, Operation Rice Bowl and other donations.

The season of Lent has its origin in the final period of preparation of catechumens for baptism at Easter. This year, among those preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil, we have one catechumen, Nicholas Gutierrez. This Sunday and on the two following Sundays we will celebrate the Scrutinies, which are intended to inspire in him “a desire for purification and redemption by Christ…who is the living water (gospel of the Samaritan woman in the first scrutiny), the light of the world (gospel of the man born blind in the second scrutiny), the resurrection and the life (gospel of Lazarus in the third scrutiny).” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, n. 143) Aided by our prayers, he is to progress in his perception of sin and his desire for salvation. These rites will be conducted during the 10:30 Mass on these three Sundays.

Pray the Rosary this week for all who are preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easter. Pray for people experiencing turmoil in their lives, for whatever reason. Pray for all who are struggling with illness and for the people who care for them. Pray for peace in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.

May God bless his people with peace.
Father Gorman

Second Sunday of Lent

Doesn’t it seem that the whole world is in turmoil? On the one hand there is political turmoil at home and abroad. On the other the earth itself seems to be in distress and has been erupting over the past year with volcanoes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. I am reminded of the passage in Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans: “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now.” (8:22) If so, what is Mother Earth trying to bring forth? That I do not know, but Saint Paul goes on to say: “And not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.” (8:23-25) The only answer I can give for how to deal with all this turmoil is the final verse of today’s Responsorial Psalm: “May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:22)

On a practical level we can reach out to the people of Japan and New Zealand through Catholic Relief Services. You can go to our diocesan web site and the appropriate link is right on the front page. Even though Japan is a “developed” country, the scale of devastation is immense and the suffering is great. They need our prayers and assistance.

On this weekend after the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, we invite you to Saint Joseph’s Table in the Gathering Area after the Sunday-morning Masses. Let’s not forget that our parish, our diocese and the Church Universal is under the patronage of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary and Guardian of the Redeemer. This weekend we are also having a sign-up for the Pilgrim Statue of Saint Joseph after all the Masses. Why not invite Saint Joseph into your home for a week and seek his prayers for you and your family.

Pray the Rosary this week for all who are experiencing turmoil in their lives, for whatever reason. Pray for all who are struggling with illness and for the people who care for them. As always, pray for peace.

May God bless his people with peace.
Father Gorman

First Sunday of Lent

We have begun the holy season of Lent. Lent originated as a season for catechumens to complete their final preparation to receive the sacraments of initiation–baptism, confirmation and holy communion–at the Easter Vigil. For us already baptized it has become a season of prayer and penance offered for those who are coming into the Church, and also for our own ongoing conversion and purification from sin.

This afternoon catechumens from throughout the diocese will be formally enrolled as candidates for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist this coming Easter. Pray for them. Pray also for the many baptized persons from throughout the diocese who will be called to continue their preparation for confirmation and/or holy communion. Our Church will be enriched by their presence as they will be enriched by their participation in the sacraments of the Church.

The penitential aspect of Lent is characterized by liturgical simplicity. Singing and organ accompaniment are kept to a minimum. The Gloria and Alleluia are omitted. The sanctuary is devoid of flowers and other decorations. We will emphasize the proclamation of the gospel by the use of candles in the gospel procession. All this noble restraint will give way to the joy and solemnity of Easter.

Fridays in particular, the day of our Lord’s passion and death, are days of penance, characterized by abstinence from eating meat at least by those who are 14 and older. I encourage families to come to the Stations of the Cross at 5:10 on Friday evenings, and then participate in the soup supper and discussion to follow. Those who cannot attend both are welcome to attend either of these events.

Don’t forget the Men’s Club’s pancake/omelet breakfast this Sunday morning in the Undercroft. Also see the article about Saint Joseph’s Table being held next Sunday morning. Let’s not forget that our parish, our diocese and the Church Universal is under the patronage of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary and Guardian of the Redeemer. Next weekend we will also have a sign-up for the Pilgrim Statue of Saint Joseph. Why not invite Saint Joseph into your home for a week and seek his prayers for you and your family.

Pray the Rosary again this week for peace throughout the Middle East and for the safety of military personnel from our area serving abroad. Pray for the earthquake victims in New Zealand, and for the victims of flooding and tornadoes in our own country. Pray for a just resolution to the budget controversy in our state. Pray for all who are struggling with illness and for the people who care for them.

May God bless his people with peace.
Father Gorman

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