Pastor's Letter - January 13, 2019

In quick succession the Church celebrates the birth of the Lord, His Epiphany, and in today’s feast, His Baptism (which closes the Church’s observance of the Christmas season). It would appear to be a rather big jump from His Epiphany to His Baptism – some thirty years separates the two events. The Church places these feasts together to show that the Lord’s public ministry is manifested by His Baptism, as His divinity was made manifest to the gentiles by the Epiphany. As the Baptism of the Lord inaugurated His public witness as the Messiah, so Baptism for a Christian begins a life seeking holiness – of emulating the Lord. This Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is also the First of the Luminous Mysteries (or Mysteries of Light) which Saint Pope John Paul II introduced in October of 2002. Whereas the other Mysteries of the Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious) focus on events early in the Lord’s life, or at the very end, the Luminous Mysteries present for our meditation the very events of our Lord’s ministry.

Each year, following Christmas, the Bishop invites all our Diocesan Seminarians and their families to the Diocesan Center in La Crosse for the celebration of Mass, a social, and dinner. I attended my first Bishop’s Christmas Gathering in 1979 as a first year college seminarian. Since the Bishop also invites priests to attend, I attended the recent gathering held on December 28. Indeed, I have attended every year since 1979 - eight as a seminarian, and 32 as a priest. I hope my attendance is supportive of our seminarians; I know I derive much encouragement by visiting with these faithful men and their families. I happily lead the Prayer for Vocations at the end of each Mass because I know people every state of Christian life - single, married, religious, priest - need prayers. Still, I pray particularly that many more young men answer God’s call to serve His Church as a Priest!

On behalf of Deacon Jerry Ruesch and all the parish staff, I want to express my deep gratitude for the many cards, gifts, and Christmas greetings which we received from you, the generous parishioners of SS Peter & Paul. May God reward you, and may He bless you with a safe, prosperous, and holy New Year!

May God bless you! Fr. Schaller