‘Witnesses to Freedom’: Thomas More, John Fisher Relics Tour for Fortnight for Freedom

News from the USCCB
On World Refugee Day, USCCB Migration Chairman Calls Catholics To Remember Refugees Around The World WASHINGTON—In remarks in advance of World Refugee Day, celebrated June 20, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, called upon Catholics to remember that there are many different types of refugees in the world.

Much of the world's attention in recent years has been drawn to the Syrian refugee crisis and its widespread impact on the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, but Bishop Elizondo pointed out that the increase in migration from Central America of unaccompanied migrant children and families, many of whom would likely qualify as refugees, has been an ongoing concern for the Catholic Church and political leaders here in the United States for years. And these are not the only populations of concern...Read More

News from the Pope:
Pope Francis: Look in the mirror before judging others - Before judging others we should look first in the mirror to see how we, ourselves, appear. That’s what Pope Francis said at Monday morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse in the Vatican. In his last Mass with a Homily there ahead of the summer break, the pontiff pointed out that what distinguishes God's judgment from ours is not “omnipotence” but “mercy.”...Read More
News from the Church:
‘Witnesses to Freedom’: Thomas More, John Fisher Relics Tour for Fortnight for Freedom - The relics of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher are coming from England as part of a tour to coincide with this year’s “Fortnight for Freedom,” which begins on June 21 — the vigil of the feast of these martyrs.

Why these particular two saints? Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore thought it would be a good way for people to encounter these two great saints through their relics, explained Aaron Weldon, the religious-liberty program specialist who is coordinating this tour for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is sponsoring the event together with the Knights of Columbus.

“People here would have a chance to experience and appreciate the strength and the witness of these two martyrs,” Weldon said. “We would also have a chance to think about what it means for us today and reflect on that in regards to religious freedom.”....Read more

The Liturgy that Lasts Three Days!

By © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro /, CC BY-SA 3.0
The conclusion of Holy Week ends with the "Liturgy of Liturgies," the "Sacred Triduum." This liturgical event is so important, it spans three days!

It begins with the celebration of the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, continues through the commemoration of Christ's death on Good Friday, and culminates with the great Easter Vigil.

Pope Benedict XVI offered a perfect summary of each day in his Wednesday Audience in 2007:

Holy Thursday

"In the evening, entering the Easter Triduum, the Christian community relives what happened at the Last Supper in the Mass of the Lord's Supper. In the Upper Room, the Redeemer wanted to anticipate the sacrifice of his life in the Sacrament of the bread and wine changed into his Body and Blood: he anticipated his death, he freely gave his life, he offered the definitive gift of himself to humanity. 
With the washing of the feet, the gesture with which, having loved his own, he loved them to the end is repeated (cf. Jn 13:1), and he bequeathed this act of humility to his disciples as their "badge": love unto death. 
After the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the liturgy invites the faithful to pause in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, reliving Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. And we see that the disciples fell asleep, leaving their Lord on his own."

Good Friday

"Good Friday, which commemorates the events between Christ's condemnation to death and his Crucifixion, is a day of penance, fasting and prayer, of participation in the Lord's Passion. At the prescribed hour, the Christian Assembly, with the help of the Word of God and liturgical actions, renews the history of human infidelity to the divine plan, which was nonetheless brought about exactly in this way; and it listens once again to the moving narrative of the Lord's sorrowful Passion. 
The Assembly then addresses to the Heavenly Father a long "prayer of the faithful" which embraces all the needs of the Church and of the world. 
Subsequently, the community adores the Cross and receives the Eucharist, consuming the sacred species reserved from the Mass of the Lord's Supper on the previous day.
In commenting on Good Friday, St. John Chrysostom observes: "First, the Cross stood for contempt, but today it is something venerable; before it was the symbol of condemnation, today it is the hope of salvation. It has truly become a source of infinite good; it has freed us from error, it has dispelled our shadows, it has reconciled us with God, it has transformed us from being enemies of God to being members of his family, from being strangers to being his neighbours: this Cross is the destruction of enmity, the source of peace, the casket of our treasure" (cf. De Cruce et Latrone I, 1, 4).
Easter Vigil

Holy Saturday is the day when the liturgy is hushed, the day of great silence, and Christians are invited to preserve interior recollection, often difficult to encourage in our day, in order to be better prepared for the Easter Vigil. 
Finally, during the Easter Vigil the veil of sorrow which shrouds the Church because of the death of the Lord will be torn by the victorious cry: Christ is risen and has defeated death for ever! We will then truly be able to understand the mystery of the Cross, "since God also creates wonders even in the impossible", an ancient writer says, "so that we may know that he alone can do what he wills. From his death comes our life, from his wounds our healing, from his fall our resurrection, from his descent our uplifting" (Anonymous, Quartodecimano).
At one point in history, parishioners would not leave the church building and would stay in prayer and fasting for these three sacred days. The Church reminds us of the continuity of the three liturgies by not offering a dismissal on Holy Thursday or Good Friday, with the priest leaving in silence, not instructing the people to depart.

The Easter Vigil in particular is one of the high points in the Church's year, for it goes through all of Salvation History, reading scripture passages from Genesis onward to the New Testament. The liturgy reminds us of God's saving action that was foretold by the prophets and fulfilled in Jesus' death and resurrection.

The juxtaposition of darkness and light further brings out the symbolism and shows us that Christ really is the "light of the world" and came to bring us out of the darkness of sin.

The Easter Triduum is a great time of joy, even though we have to endure the sadness of Good Friday. It is meant to fuel us for the rest of the year, so that we do not forget how God can bring much good out of suffering.

No matter the cross, God will always lead us to the joys of His kingdom, as long as we let Him.

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Fortnight For Freedom TONIGHT at SSPP, Parish Picnic on Sunday.

Make plans to attend our annual Celebration of the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul on Sunday June 26th. Use the sign-up sheets at each entrance to let us know how many are attending and what you’ll bring as a dish to pass. (Father will provide the meat & buns). Mass will be at 10am with a picnic on the lawn (weather permitting) to follow. Please bring your own place settings, cups, and napkins. Lemonade, iced tea, & water will be provided. Novena will start on June 21 and will be said following Mass up to June 28th.

Fortnight for Freedom at SSPP
The bishops ARE troubled by what is happening in America. People who seek to live and work in conformity with their religious convictions are increasingly intimidated and penalized. The US Bishops call for a “Witness to Freedom” June 21-July 4 and it focuses in a special way on 14 powerful witnesses and invites us to imitate their fidelity and courage in the face of adversity. See their stories at www.diolc.org/freedom. Bishop Callahan will celebrate a Holy Hour on June 21 at 6:30pm . SSPP will celebrate Holy Hour and Benediction after 5:15 Mass Tues, June 21st . 

Pope Francis Urges Prayer in Wake of Orlando Massacre

News from the USCCB
USCCB President Reacts To "Unspeakable Violence In Orlando; Offers Prayers For The Victims - A statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville President of the United States Conference of Catholic BishopsWASHINGTON—Waking up to the unspeakable violence in Orlando reminds us of how precious human life is. Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act. The merciful love of Christ calls us to solidarity with the suffering and to ever greater resolve in protecting the life and dignity of every person.

News from the Pope:
Pope Francis Urges Prayer in Wake of Orlando Massacre - VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and Church leaders in the United States prayed for the victims and the families affected by the June 12 shooting at a nightclub in Orlando that killed 50 people.

In a June 12 statement, Father Federico Lombardi, the Holy See press officer, said the “terrible massacre,” which has left a “dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred.”

“Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion,” the statement reads. “Sharing in their indescribable suffering, he entrusts them to the Lord, so they may find comfort.”...Read More
News from the Church:
Apostle of the Apostles By the express wish of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published a new Decree on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 3 June 2016, in which the celebration of Saint Mary Magdalene was elevated and inscribed in the General Roman Calendar with the rank of Feast....Read more

Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus During Holy Week

Near the conclusion of Lent we enter into the holiest week of the year: Holy Week. Starting with Palm Sunday, the Church focuses our attention on the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

Holy Week closely follows the Gospel narrative and we are immersed into the final week of Jesus' mortal life. Beginning with Palm Sunday, we walk closely behind Jesus and observe his every move. The Catechism explains the significance of this episode,
"How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of "his father David". Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means "Save!" or "Give salvation!"), the "King of glory" enters his City "riding on an ass". Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God's poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds.Their acclamation, "Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord", is taken up by the Church in the "Sanctus" of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord's Passover.
Jesus' entry into Jerusalem manifested the coming of the kingdom that the King-Messiah was going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection. It is with the celebration of that entry on Palm Sunday that the Church's liturgy solemnly opens Holy Week. (559-560)
During this special liturgy, we listen attentively to the Passion Narrative and even participate ourselves by taking the role of the crowd. In doing so, we recognize that Jesus died for us and the fruit of His action 2,000 years ago was not limited to the people of Jerusalem, but has been applied to all peoples and places for all human history.

As we progress through Holy Week, we come upon Holy Thursday, where we commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. Traditionally it is on this day that priests renew their vows at the Chrism Mass at the local cathedral. This links the two days and shows how Jesus instituted the Holy Priesthood on that day. We then join Jesus after the evening Mass and spend at least an hour with Him before the Blessed Sacrament. This unites us with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, where His own disciples fell asleep while He prayed. We seek to comfort Jesus in His sorrow and wait in prayer for the fateful day of His crucifixion.

On Good Friday, Mass is not celebrated. The service held on Good Friday is a continuation of the Holy Thursday Mass and the solemn nature of service reflects the mournful tone of the day. We again hear the Passion Narrative and then venerate the wood of the cross. In some traditions, a tomb is erected in the church and the body of Jesus is laid to rest. All of these signs, symbols and activities allow us the opportunity to spiritually feel the hurt and pain of Jesus' passion.

However, the sorrow of Good Friday does not have the last say. Next week we will see how the Easter Vigil overcomes the sadness we felt and brings us to the joys of the Resurrection.

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Parish Picnic - June 26th

Make plans to attend our annual Celebration of the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul on Sunday June 26th. Use the sign-up sheets at each entrance to let us know how many are attending and what you’ll bring as a dish to pass. (Father will provide the meat & buns). Mass will be at 10am with a picnic on the lawn (weather permitting) to follow. Please bring your own place settings, cups, and napkins. Lemonade, iced tea, & water will be provided. Novena will start on June 21 and will be said following Mass up to June 28th.

Fortnight for Freedom in the Diocese of La Crosse

News from the Diocese of La Crosse:
Fortnight for Freedom 2016Join Bishop Callahan before the Blessed Sacrament – June 21 Holy Hour, 6:30 pm. It is fitting that this Fortnight for Freedom will begin with a Holy Hour celebrated by Bishop Callahan at 6:30 pm at Blessed Sacrament Church in La Crosse. We begin humbly on our knees.

Those in the La Crosse and surrounding area are encouraged to be in attendance at Blessed Sacrament for that Holy Hour. Elsewhere throughout the diocese, parishes, clusters or deaneries are invited to celebrate a Holy Hour (led by a deacon or priest) simultaneous with that of the Bishop, or, if that is not possible, at another time during the Fortnight...Read More

News from the Vatican:
Pope: Christ's miracles reveal God's love for us -  Jesus’ first miracle, at the Wedding Feast of Cana, was the focus of Pope Francis’ catechesis at the General Audience Wednesday 8 June 2016. Following on from his earlier reflections on parables of mercy during this Jubilee Year, the Pope said Christ’s miracles were not performed so that people would “marvel” at them, but rather, through them, Christ revealed the Father’s love for us....Read More
News from the Church:
Woodworking Bishop-to-Be Carves His Own Crosier - COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Deep in the heart of Texas, a campus chaplain is busy making his final spiritual and practical preparations for becoming a bishop. However, unlike many of his soon-to-be brother-bishops, Father David Konderla is carving his very own staff — or crosier — to signify his new position and duty as a teacher and head of a diocese. “Every Jedi has not completed his training until he has made his own light saber that he uses to fight evil with, so this is my ‘light saber,’” Bishop-elect David Konderla told CNA in an interview...Read more