Dear Holy Family, St. Mary and St. Anthony Parish:
“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back
is fit for the kingdom of God.”
There’s no turning back now! At the 4:00pm and 8:30am liturgies this weekend we are saying good-bye to Fr. Joe Arokiam. This coming Thursday he departs for his new assignment as pastor of St. Mary’s in Viroqua and St. Mary’s in Coon Valley. He will go with his new car and the three suitcases he came with. But he also goes with some 45 years of experience as a priest and pastor. I don’t think we changed him significantly during these past four months. And that’s a good thing. His spirit of joy, his love for people, and the seriousness with which he approaches his pastoral duties will assure him a good reception in his new assignment. We wish you the very best Fr. Joe…. There’s no turning back now!
This Thursday too, our Mission Team heads for Kenya! We depart from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport at 7:30pm, fly 8 ¼ hours, and arrive in Amsterdam 10:30am. We leave Amsterdam at 12:45pm, fly 8 hours, and arrive in Nairobi 9:40pm. We return to Minneapolis around noon on Sunday July 10
. We have complete confidence in Fr. John Fortune our host who makes this all sound like the easiest and most natural thing in the world to do. But we all realize, that we will be leaving behind many things we take for granted and will soon experience a whole new way of life. That “whole new” part is both frightening and fascinating. It’s the very reason we go, yet what causes us the most anxiety. Well, there is no turning back now! I will try to post our progress on my Facebook page though I am not sure how often we’ll have access. While we are gone Fr. Charlie Hiebl will cover July 2 & 3 and Fr. Larry Berger will cover the weekend of July 9 & 10.
There is no turning back now for our Cave Questers who start this (Sunday) evening with four days of exploring. Caves are full of mysterious creatures and our Vacation Bible School kids will meet Sal the Salamander who never gives up hope, Mawtha the Moth who is full of courage, Radar the bat who gets his good sense of direction from Jesus and Olivia the owl whose heart shaped face tells of God’s life giving love. Thank you co-chairs Polly Lindner and Sharon Street for putting together an experience our children will never forget! And parents, they’ll take kids even if they just show up for the first session tonight (Sunday) at 6:00pm when all the fun starts!
We have another brave explorer in our midst. Perhaps you remember Isaac who came to us through the Work Force Resource Center. After working for St. Anthony’s parish and getting a good reference he got a job at the Wolf’s Sawmill. Well this past week another gentleman began working at St. Anthony’s through the Workforce Resource Center. Angel Serenity stands out, not only because of his name, but also because he is about 6 foot 5 inches tall! Commuting from Neillsville on Mondays to help Mr. Rueth with summer cleaning, Angel, like Isaac, is building his resume’ in hopes of landing a full time permanent job soon. Starting life over no doubt could cause one to constantly look back at the past wondering what you are leaving behind. Please welcome Angel and assure him, there is no need to turn back now.
At the time of this writing (Tuesday) the House of Mercy continued to slowly approach the goal of raising $65,000.00 to purchase the apartment building. We were just a hair under $55,000.00. That handsome sum is from seven businesses, four individuals and the Franciscan Sisters of La Crosse. There are six businesses considering a gift but their organizational structure will not allow them to decide before June 30
. They will help with operational costs. Another four said they cannot help us. New contacts continue to be made. As soon as the building is purchased the grant writer at Catholic Charities will start sending in Grant Applications. And that is because the Catholic Charities Board at their meeting June 20
approved taking on the House of Mercy as an official ministry of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse!! That is great news! There is no turning back now!
The temptation to turn back to what was familiar gnaws at everyone who undertakes significant change. It follows then, since this world has to change significantly for the Kingdom to come: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”