A Message from Father William

As I’m writing this bulletin column, priests of the diocese recently met with Bishop Donald J. Hying to discuss the parameters for the resumption of offering public Masses in parish churches throughout the Diocese of Madison. With thanksgiving to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and great joy and an Alleluia!, I announce that Bishop Hying will allow all priests throughout the Diocese to resume offering Holy Mass publicly on the Solemnity of Pentecost, beginning here at Saint Clement Parish at 5pm Saturday, May 30, and at 7:30am and 9:30am Sunday, May 31. Alleluia! After two months of our governor’s shutdown and after two months of private Masses, please know that I joyfully look forward to being with all of you in church! With the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision over a week ago, let’s keep praying for hospitals and clinics to fully re-open, our farmers to recover from the shutdown, businesses to re-open and all people to return to work, and for everyone to use common sense, be prudent, and act safely as we open the doors of our homes, businesses and churches.

This weekend, as we prepare for the Solemnity of Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. This past Thursday, May 21st, was the 40th day after Easter and the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. However, the Church allows for the Diocese of Madison and other dioceses to transfer the celebration to the following Sunday (May 24th this year).

Preparing for the Solemnity of Pentecost, let’s reflect with Pope Saint Leo the Great (400-461 A.D.) on the Ascension of our Lord: “Today we are not only made possessors of Paradise, but with Jesus Christ we have ascended, mystically but also really, to Heaven, and have won through Christ a grace more wonderful than the one we had lost.” The Ascension of Jesus strengthens and nourishes our hope of attaining Heaven, Father Francis Fernandez has said (In Conversation with God) – it invites us always to lift up our hearts, as we state in the preface of the Mass, and seek the things that are above, to have great hope because Christ Himself has gone to prepare an eternal dwelling place of love, peace and joy for us (John 14:1-6; Luke 24:46-53).

Jesus is in Heaven in His glorified Body, with the signs of His redemptive sacrifice, the marks of His Passion (Revelation 5:6) – marks that Thomas could see and touch, marks that have brought about our salvation. Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and awaits us in Heaven, for we are “citizens of Heaven” (Philippians 3:20) – and at the same time we’re citizens of this earth, in the midst of difficulties, challenges and sorrows, but also in the midst of joy and serenity that comes from knowing that we are children of God. Along the way, let us seek the consoling help of Jesus’ Mother, Mary, as the Apostles did… “They returned to Jerusalem… and they prayed with one mind… together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus” (Acts 1-2; Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is Passing By, #126).

The hope of Heaven should fill our days with joy! Likewise, with the resumption of public Masses next weekend, our hearts should be filled with joy since the celebration of Holy Mass is an actual glimpse into Heaven! Jesus ascends, yet He also wills to remain close to each of us (Matthew 28:16-20): in prayer, in His Church, Word and Sacraments; through the communion of saints; by virtue of our baptism, the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwells in us; in the Holy Eucharist, He is substantially present in every Catholic parish tabernacle (let’s keep praying for 26 of our young people who will receive their First Holy Communion this Fall, that they grow in their love for Jesus Christ and His Church). May we go to Jesus by going to church to pray – and when we’re at work, school or home, may we go to Him with our heart and mind by thinking of the tabernacle at church and asking Him to help us in our daily duties. By witnessing to His love, mercy, peace and teachings, in our words and deeds, may we make Him known to others. As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, may we unite in prayer to God, praying with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Clement and all the saints, striving by God’s grace and the strength of the Holy Spirit, to live the virtues of faith, hope and love, with great joy! Amen. Alleluia!

With prayers and peace in Christ,
Fr. William