Pastor's Letter August 27, 2017

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” This acclamation by Simon Peter (from today’s Gospel) was not simply a conclusion he had come to after careful consideration using human logic. Rather, it was an insight given to him by the Father. It is yet another example of how God chooses us, rather than the other way around. Simon Peter then receives from the Lord authority “to bind and to loose”. The Church has always seen this event as key to understanding the authority that Peter and the other Apostles (and their successors) exercise in the Church. It is not mere human authority. They do not derive it from any human consent. We have the Lord’s promise that no human power, nor “the gates of the netherworld” shall prevail against the Church which He establishes upon the authority of Peter. The late Pope John Paul II said that the new millennium is a time for renewed evangelization. In addition to the formation in faith which our Catholic schools, religious education programs, confirmation program, and adult faith classes provide, our parish also provides opportunities for those interested in becoming Catholic to learn more about our Faith. The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is designed for those who have never been baptized, and for baptized Christians from other churches, who are interested in becoming full members in the Catholic Church. Please call Deacon Jerry Ruesch at the parish office (423-1351) to register. 

Twenty years ago the Diocese of La Crosse instituted the Diocesan Annual Appeal which reduced the annual collections from fourteen to just two (Mission Sunday and Retired Religious). The Diocesan Appeal also benefits our parish by reducing by over two thirds the assessment to the Diocese. Most importantly, it is a means by which we participate in all the works that the Diocese supports in the local, national, and universal Church. You will be receiving more info on the Diocesan Appeal in the weeks ahead. Pray for its success! In last Sundays bulletin I briefly mentioned a few things I reviewed with the Pastoral & Finance Council members when I met with them on August 8. I am proceeding with the installation of a new phone system which will provide private voicemail for me and other staff, a clearer menu with pertinent info (Mass & confession times, etc.) when people call after hours, and the ability to forward critical calls to my cellphone (so that parishioners can reach me for pastoral emergencies). I anticipate that restructuring our service will also cut our phone/internet/tv bundle cost by about $200 per month. I am also interviewing candidates for parish secretary. Cindy Veverka, our current secretary, plans on retiring in October. I want to quickly hire another person so that a smoother transition can occur, and that the new secretary can be properly trained. I will then expand our parish office hours from Monday through Friday (they are currently Wed.-Fri.). The specific hours are yet to be determined. Jim Dietsch, our parish custodian, has been soliciting bids from local contractors to insure that we are able to seal/stripe the church parking lot, and replace the roof on the entrance to the parish office (school east entrance) in the upcoming weeks. Finally, I want to thank the men and boys of our Parish chapter of the Federation of North American Explorers for their fine work in removing the two dead apple trees and the overgrown cedars on the west side of the school building. It is an ever present task to maintain our Church, and the grounds around it, as a most visible sign of the love of our God and of His House within which we are nurtured in the Faith. Thanks Explorers! 

May God bless you! 
Fr. Schaller 

From Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (A compilation of wisdom from people of all ages and walks of life.) 
“I’ve learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss.” (Age 89) 
“I’ve learned that when my desk is clean and organized, I can’t find anything.” (Age 20) 
“I’ve learned that some people go for brains, and some for beauty, but everyone appreciates a good sense of humor.” (Age 30)