Praised be Jesus Christ! This weekend we come to the unofficial end of summer and collectively wonder where it went? As we celebrate Labor Day by refraining from any serious labor, our thoughts turn to the opportunities for spiritual growth that abound in our deanery. For example, “That Man Is You” begins on September 12th at Our Lady of Peace. God knows we need more men to be strong in their faith and this requires effort and formation. Please prayerfully consider joining this group - a description of what they’ll be learning is provided for your discernment: “The Fall semester will tackle head-on the issue that most separates the Church from modern society - the issue of love. Did you realize that only 17% of millennials list “getting married” as one of their top three goals in life? Nonetheless, the Catholic Church was founded by the God who is Love and has been contemplating the mystery for over 2000 years. Only the Church has a vision so vast that it embraces the latest neurological findings while soaring to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. It is time for us to tell our story! We will look at seven critical moments from the Nuptial Mass to answer the question regarding love. We will see that Love Is: desire, a free gift, communion, expansive, unconditional, sacrificial, eternal, and finally, yes, it is possible! There is great hope! We will find Love made Incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ and in a unique way expressed in the life of the Holy Family at Nazareth. The two greatest saints in all the Church are a mom and a dad! In the spring, we will help men understand the personal pathway to experiencing and living love! Modeled on the incredibly successful TMIY National Retreat, this semester will help men understand and dissect their spiritual lives as never before. They will be able to identify the issues that are truly keeping them from the desires of their hearts and receive practical advice about how to take the next step in the spiritual life. Finally, we will have the opportunity to encounter Our Lady in a very personal way. This promises to be a special year of TMIY. According to Steve Bollman: "I'm more excited than I've been in many years. The new year of TMIY can truly be a game-changer - both for men in TMIY and the larger culture." Other opportunities include the two Bible studies that are currently underway (it’s not too late to join them) as well as the monthly Evenings of Recollection. And for those who love the saints, please reserve a seat for the September 17th performance of Sister Nancy at the Lucille Tack Center in Spencer. Sister does an amazing job of capturing the beauty and heroic goodness of Saint Catherine of Siena as she shares her life with us. This is a unique opportunity and the tickets are selling quickly. Speaking of saints, I believe there is still some room on the bus that will be going to La Crosse on September 20th to venerate the relics of Saint Padre Pio. I hope to go too, but will have to drive as I have the school Mass at 8:00 a.m. (and the bus leaves at 7:45 a.m. – I think Father Berns did this on purpose...). Additionally, you’re always welcome to join us for the Movie of the Month: our first movie is Sunday, September 10th at 1:00 p.m. in the Columbia room. We’ll be watching “Assisi Underground,” a fascinating and true tale of how that little town saved thousands of Jews during World War II. And not to worry, the movie will be done well before the Packers kick off against the Seahawks! Finally, we’ll be hosting a marriage enrichment series titled “Beloved” beginning on October 29th in the Columbia Room. This will be a wonderful way to grow closer to God and to your spouse and family. Insofar as our faith seeks to understand, we’re blessed to have these opportunities – I hope you’ll take advantage and get involved!
May God grant us the courage to engage our faith, so that it may bear fruit for the salvation of souls!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin